Annoucement sends plan back to the lawmakers
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Annoucement sends plan back to the lawmakers

Date: September 26, 2006
By: Meghan Maskery
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: The governor sent his college loan sale back to state lawmakers who failed to reach agreement on the plan during the past legislative session. This latest announcement creates another hurtle for the governor's plan that has faced many since it was first proposed in January.

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During the past legislative session, state lawmakers blocked the governor's proposal to use profits from a sale by the state's loan agency to fund higher education projects. At the time, House Speaker Pro Tem Carl Bearden demanded assurance that students would have greater access to scholarships before he would allow the governor's plan to move forward. The House Republican leader says he still has the same concerns.

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While Bearden says the legislature does not need to give the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority permission to move forward on the governor's plan, Attorney General Jay Nixon disagrees. A couple weeks ago, Nixon told MOHELA board members that they might face lawsuits if they voted to approve Blunt's plan. Three members of the board soon resigned, and Blunt's spokesman says the prospect of lawsuits sparked the governor's decision to send the proposal back to lawmakers. But Democratic Senator Chuck Graham says he thinks more than just the threat of a lawsuit prompted the governor's latest move.  
 
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Description: Graham says the stem cell provision and other issues may have led to the governor's decision to send the proposal back to the lawmakers.
 
At a Wednesday meeting, MOHELA board members will vote on whether to fund the governor's proposal. The resolution also requires legislators to approve the loan sale, and to enact a shield law to protect board members from being sued. From Jefferson City, I'm Meghan Maskery.