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MOHELA bill heads to Missouri House

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By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Senate has sent Governor Blunt's MOHELA proposal to the House. The controversial bill would use student loan assets to fund new construction on college campuses, a move opposed by most Democrats and various interest groups.

Before the final vote was taken Wednesday, Democrat Chuck Graham of Columbia - one of the bill's most vocal critics - told fellow senators that he would not renew debate on the bill or try to block it again with another filibuster.

"I'm gonna let it go and not belabor the point," Graham said. "cause I think it is time to send this piece of crap to the House, and pray to God for once they have more sense than the members of this body."

Republican Gary Nodler of Joplin, the bill's sponsor, says nearly every university president in Missouri supports it: "This bill provides more hope and more opportunity to more students than anything that this legislature has done in decades."

Two projects, however, were removed from the bill last week: A cancer research center at Missouri's Columbia campus, and a pharmacy and nursing center at UM-Kansas City.

They were removed because they're located in the districts that two Democrats represent; those Democrats led a filibuster of the bill until the GOP leadership used a rarely-used maneuver last week to end that effort.

In addition to using MOHELA funds for building projects, the bill would also expand access to scholarships and limit tuition increases.

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