JEFFERSON CITY - A bill that would allow the UM student representative to attend closed-door Board of Curators' meetings passed the state Senate on Tuesday, the point at which the perennially-introduced idea is usually killed.
Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, sponsored the measure, which he attached as an amendment to another bill about open meetings laws.
"Public policy is always better the more people you have participating," Jacob said.
Both he and Rep. Ted Farnen, D-Mexico, have been working to get the bill passed since the legislature convened in January. The bill picked up support earlier in the year when it was changed to allow the curators to vote unanimously to exclude the student representative from closed sessions. The bill would not allow the student to vote.
During the same debate on the Senate floor, Jacob was prevented for parliamentary reasons from including language that would have created a faculty representative position and allowed that faculty member to attend closed meetings, too. Jacob said he will continue to work during the next two weeks to find a vehicle for that idea.
Jacob's amendment passed by a vote of 18-12.
It still faces several legislative hurdles though as the bill to which it was attached works its way through the rest of the legislative process.
The final deadline for all bills to pass is May 15, when the legislature adjourns for the year.