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Lobbyist Money Help  

Missouri House Sends $720,000 Message to University of Missouri

April 3, 2002
By: Christopher Shields
State Capital Bureau

The House sent the University of Missouri System a message in the form of additional budget cuts.

Christopher Shields has the story from Jefferson City.

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The House passed a higher education funding bill that included cuts to the University of Missouri budget.

Cuts come in the form of amendments that lawmakers say are meant to send a message to the University.

The largest cut came from lawmakers who oppose a policy from the University owned KOMU-TV.

Management at the station decided not to let student reporters wear American flag pins after September eleventh.

The first proposal regaurding KOMU came from Representative Bubs Hohulin who wanted to cut the University budget by five million dollars because of outrage from his constituents over the flag policy.

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The Southwest Missouri Republican even suggested that the University should sell the TV station.

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Opposition continued when Represenative Luann Ridgeway argued that the University owned station is unfairly competing with private stations.

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In the course of debate, Representative Randall Relford introduced an amendment that reduced the cut from five million to five hundred thousand dollars.

After that amendment was introduced, House Budget Committee Chairman Tim Green who had been defending the University throughout the day changed his mind.

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After Green spoke the House passed the amendment ninety seven thirty three.

Columbia Representative Chuck Graham, who opposes the flag policy at KOMU says cuttingthe budget is the wrong way to send a message to the university.

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Graham also says lawmakers shouldn't send messages by cutting the budget and expect the senate to clean things up.

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There was more to the message than just criticizing KOMU.

The house also passed cuts intended to eliminate the salaries of a UMKC professor under fire for his essay on pedophilia and a lobbyist for the St. Louis Campus scrutinized for trying to pressure a representative from running for Senate.

Together, the amendments total seven hundred twenty thousand dollars in cuts in addition to the fifteen point three million in cuts already in the bill.

From Jefferson City, I'm Christopher Shields.