Senate blocks nomination to MU Board of Curators
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Senate blocks nomination to MU Board of Curators

Date: February 2, 2012
By: Jordan Shapiro
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate blocked the nomination of Columbia attorney Craig Van Matre to the MU Board of Curators Thursday.

Several Senate Republicans filibustered Van Matre's nomination citing a 2007 editorial in the Columbia Daily Tribune where he called members of the Missouri Republican Party "minions" and said they wanted to create a Christian theocracy.

Sen. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, opposed Van Matre's appointment and said he should not expect the Senate to approve his nomination after the words used in his 2007 editorial.

"I told him [Van Matre] won't have to temper his comments on the Board of Curators because he won't be on the Board of Curators," Engler said.

In 2007, Van Matre attacked a Republican legislator's plan to eliminate the state's non-partisan plan to appoint judges. He accused Republicans of being in control of the anti-abortion group Missouri Right to Life.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, sponsored Van Matre's nomination and withdrew it after opposition from members of his own party. Schaefer said Van Matre was qualified for the position, but that his appointment faced "insurmountable hills" in the Senate.

The Senate had until Friday to give their advice and consent to Gov. Jay Nixon's appointment of Van Matre. If Van Matre were to resign prior to Friday's deadline, he could be nominated again according to Senate staff, citing previous opinions by Attorney Generals.

If the Senate rejects a nomination, then the nominee can never serve or be appointed to their position again. Senate staff, however, suggests that if the nominee resigns prior to the deadline then they could be nominated again by the governor.

Van Matre had been serving on the Board of Curators as the Senate considered his nomination, but he was not present at their meeting over proposed tuition increases Thursday in Kansas City.


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