Should suicide reports be public information?

One Missouri lawmaker, Rep. Genise Monticello, D-Affton, argues that such reports do not serve the public interest when used as source material by media organizations, instead often hindering a suicide victim’s recovery. She has proposed House Bill 2473 to limit access to such documents.

The editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch vehemently disagrees, saying that these reports ought to remain publicly accessible, especially at times when an elected official is directly involved.

Read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch opinion piece here, and an Associated Press piece on HB 2473 here.

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Sen. Schaefer followed by protestors after meet and greet venue change

A meet and greet with Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, was cancelled at the last minute on Friday, then suddenly changed to a different venue.

The event, a private meeting between Schaefer and the Mizzou College Republicans, was originally meant to be held at the Heidelberg in downtown Columbia. Fearing the ire of protestors, Schaefer’s campaign changed the location to an upstairs meeting room at the MU Student Center.

The protestors weren’t fooled, however. As Schaefer calmly spoke to the Mizzou College Republicans inside the closed room, dozens gathered outside in protest. Chants of “shame on Schaefer” could be heard through the doors.

Schaefer is currently running for state attorney general.

Read the Missourian’s coverage of the event here.

[Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include events following the meeting’s change of venue.]

UM System cuts finalized

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon approved a final version of the state’s higher education budget Wednesday.

Under the budget, funding to the University of Missouri System will be cut by $3.8 million, although this will be offset by a statewide increase in performance-based funds.

The $3.8 million cut marks a compromise between the House and Senate, who pushed for larger and smaller cuts, respectively.

Read the Missourian’s coverage of the 2017 higher education appropriation here.

Committee kills “religious liberty” proposal

Senate Joint Resolution 39, a controversial “religious liberty” proposal, was defeated during a committee vote on Wednesday afternoon in the Missouri Capitol.

The House Committee on Emerging Issues voted 6-6. Without a clear majority, the committee cannot recommend SJR 39 as “do pass.”

However, the resolution could still potentially make its way to the House floor through one of two methods. Either a committee member could change his or her opinion and ask for another vote, or 82 members of the full House – a majority – could vote to take up the resolution without the committee’s recommendation.

Despite these possible alternatives, even the resolution’s sponsor has admitted that SJR 39 is unlikely to be passed by the House.

Read the Missourian’s coverage of the committee meeting here.

Does American liberalism have a smugness problem?

…an incredibly divisive opinion piece from Vox believes so.

Possibly more interesting than the piece itself are the Facebook arguments it spawned.

Is Vox asking a fair question, or is the author’s argument against bias too biased itself?

Columbia 4.22.16

New circuit judge appointed for Boone and Callaway counties

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Friday that he will appoint Jeff Harris, a Columbia lawyer, as the new circuit judge for Boone and Callaway counties.

Harris has a long history of legal and public service, both in Columbia and, earlier, in Kansas City. He will replace outgoing circuit judge Gary Oxenhandler.

Read KOMU’s coverage of the story here.

Columbia teachers press for higher pay

The Columbia Board of Education is set to meet with local teachers Friday to negotiate potential pay increases. The discussion will take place during a meeting at 5 p.m.

Read KOMU’s coverage of the story here.

Malfunctioning motor triggers fire at Lincoln University

Dawson Hall – tallest building on Lincoln University’s Jefferson City campus – caught fire Friday. After evacuation and a brief investigation, a malfunctioning air conditioning motor was found to blame.

Read KOMU’s coverage of the story here.