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NewsBook:  Missouri Government News for the Week of March 14, 2016

Minors considering an abortion in Missouri would be required to have all parents and guardians notified of their decision under a measure passed by Missouri's House Thursday, March 17.

They are currently required to have one parent approve of the procedure in writing. The bill passed by a 121-34 vote.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Lake Ozark, was put into a situation the bill is expected to protect against, when his ex-wife called him about his daughter's upcoming abortion. She decided against the procedure after she and the representative talked.

"What we are trying to do here is to start a conversation, not start a fight," said Miller.

Opponents of the bill argued that parental notification would lead to infighting in the minor's family over a legal operation. Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County, said minors do not always have a happy enough family relationship to involve all parents and guardians. She satirized the 'perfect family' required to make all notifications happen without issue.

"These kids grow up to lead ideal, perfect lives," Newman said. "Like those sitcoms where everyone's dilemmas are solved in thirty minutes."

Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, said the proposal helps minors avoid regret after after a major decision.

"We're speaking about the lives of children," Brattin said. "Not one child, two."

The measure includes an exception for medical emergencies, as well as major issues with a parent or guardian.

A couple consumer protection measures were passed by the House onto their final votes.

One would require minor repairs to be covered in automobile service contracts. The bill had no opposition voiced in committee, and an insurance group supported the proposal.

Another bill would impose restrictions on insurance plans requiring a patient try other drugs before a more expensive one that was prescribed. The practice is called "step therapy" and is seen as a simple cost-cutting measure by its supporters. The measure's opponents say step therapy helps to bring costs down for everyone.

It will be weeks before there's a final count in Missouri's razor-thin presidential primaries held Tuesday, March 15.

And that means weeks before the losing candidates could request a recount.

Stephanie Flemming, media director for the Missouri Secretary of State, said it could be a least four months before the candidates could request a recount.

"We have to wait until the results are official and certified before the losing candidate could do anything," Fleming said. "It can take up to four weeks to certify the primary results."

Under Missouri law, a losing candidate can request a recount if the margin is with one-half percentage point.

Unofficial figures from the secretary of state's office show both  Democrat Hillary Clinton and and Republican Donald Trump with 0.2 percentage-point lead over the closest opponent.

The figures do not include provisional ballots and overseas absentee ballots.

After the results are certified, the Secretary of State's office would issue a press release informing the public that a recount had been requested. It would then take 20 days to conduct and certifiy a recount.

The Associated Press reported that Democrat Bernie Sanders said he would not request a recount. There was no immediate response from the campaign of Republican Ted Cruz as to whether he would seek a recount.

Missouri has 52 delegates at the Republican national convention and 71 at the Democratic national convention. Because delegates will be awarded based, partially, on results in each congressional district, the number that each candidate will receive was not immediately available due to the narrow margins.

Missouri's Senate began debate on a bill Wednesday, March 16, 2016 that could cut retirement benefits of public school teachers.

The cut was proposed by Sen. Robb Schaaf, R-St.Joseph, who proposed an amendment that would lower the current retirement benefit from 2.55 percent to 2.50 percent of the annual salary for year of service. Schaaf argued that the current pension rate encourages teachers to stay longer costing schools more money.

"It in actuality is going to shift costs over to the local school districts who then will have to pay those older teachers who are going to stick around in order to achieve the higher pay," Schaaf said of the original provisions in the bill.

Schaaf said he believes it's wrong to offer teachers more than 100 percent of their salary back when others in other cities are getting around 60 percent back. Schaaf argued that the current annual rates would encourage teachers to stay on the job longer which would cost schools more money to keep because older teachers get paid more than younger teachers.

"And the only reason that they are going to say longer is because you're going to pay them more money when they retire later right," Schaaf said.

In response, Schaaf's amendment was attacked by Senate Education Committee Chair David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, who disputed Schaaf's argument that the current rates encourage teachers to stay on the job.

The Senate adjourned and took no immediate vote on the bill.

Municipal officials voiced opposition to a Senate-passed measure that would impose further restrictions on how much of a city's budget could be financed by municipal court fines.

In 2015, lawmakers imposed a limit on how much of a city's budget could be financed from municipal traffic fines. The bill currently before the legislature would extend that limit to include fines from non-traffic offenses.

The measure also would lower the maximum total costs that could be assessed by a municipal court for an offense from $300 to $200.

One city official complained that lower limits on fines along with last year's provision restricting municipal courts from imposing jail sentences interfered with the ability to enforce the law.

"So it's the possibility of a jail sentence that motivates people to resolve these issues,"Kansas City Municipal Housing Judge Todd Wilcher told the House Crime Committee Wednesday, March 16."Without the possibility of a jail sentence, without the posssibilty of a high fine it's very difficult to motivate some people."

Buckner County Municipal Court Judge Don Lograsso said the bill would let those who violate municipal codes go freely.

But the bill's sponsor -- Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County -- said charged city courts were abusing their powers to finance city budget.

"All of us gained a better understanding of the abuses that were taking place accross the state," Scmitt said. "In particular in St. Louis County, but across the state where citizens were being used as nothing more than ATMs by governments seeking more and more revenue by way of traffic tickets and fines."

The bill passed last year, which Schmitt sponsored, lowered how much of a city's budget could be financed from minor traffic fines from 30 percent to 20 percent, with a lower limit in of 12.5 percent for towns in St. Louis County.

The lower limit from St. Louis County communities has been challenged by in a lawsuit by several St. Louis County towns.

The House committee did not take an immediate vote on the measure.

The Senate Commerce Committee heard a bill Tuesday, March 15, that would allow electric companies to raise rates each year without prior approval from the utility-regulating Public Service Commission.

Supporters said the measure would make rate increases more predictable -- for both the utilities and the consumers -- by providing an annual adjustment rather than the large increases that can arise from formal rate-change cases heard by the commission that are years apart.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, said the bill would provide the utility-regulating commission some control, but would change the process of raising utility rates. The annual increases would be capped and subject to subsequent review by the Public Service Commission.

But opponents argued the bill would diminish consumer rights. David Woodsmall, representing Missouri Consumer Energy Group, said the bill would take advantage of consumers.

"Customers have historically taken comfort knowing that the commission was considering the reasonableness of such factor," Woodsmall said. "SB 1028 eliminates the commission's authority and places the inmates in charge of the asylum."

Supporters of the bill said it would help businesses in Missouri and customers by providing better service.

"This is about making sure that we continue to maintain that and get in front of it and do better than that because, honestly, the expectations are not getting any less," said Ameren President Micheal Moehn whose company serves a large portion of eastern and central Missouri. "The overall economy is so tied to what we produce on a daily basis."

The bill would also help Noranda, an aluminum smelting company that experienced financial trouble in recent years. The bill would allow lower rates for industrial customers that purchase large amounts of electricity like Noranda.

The Senate Commerce Committee did not take immediate action on the bill.

A bill heard by the Senate Transport Committee on March 16 would make it a crime for towing companies to engage in predatory towing practices in Missouri.

The bill sets up new regulations for towing companies, making it illegal for tow trucks to arrive on the scene without being summoned by authorities, an auto club or the owner of the vehicle.

Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Jefferson County, said the bill would help protect Missourians from being targeted by tow companies looking to make a quick profit.

"What we're trying to prevent is people that see you on the side of the road and say, 'Hey, here's prey, let me jump on this person,'" Wieland said.

The bill would also require towing companies to be open or accessible for at least 8 hours between 7 am and 7 pm during the work week.

Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar bluff, said he is concerned about creating legislation that requires businesses to operate in a specific way.

"I like the fact that people should know they have a window, a little bit larger window maybe, to be able to retrieve their vehicle," Libla said. "But I don't think we ought to be requiring businesses to be open a certain amount of time."

Wieland said the bill does not require businesses to be open but only requires them to be accessible.

He also said the hour requirement will ensure that patrons can access their vehicles quickly and without being overcharged.

"We have problems where some of these predatory companies charge an unusually large amount per day," Wieland said. "And people go to retrieve their cars and their like, 'Well we're not going to be open for a week.' and so the people get charged another 5 days."

The bill includes additional provisions that require towing companies to establish an operational telephone and to display their address and telephone number.

John Borowski, President of AutoReturn, a company that uses technology to manage towing requests, said the bill would bring Missouri forward to meet other states.

"This is the hundredth year of the tow truck we're doing the same procedures here now as we were a hundred years ago," Borowski said. "Many states have adopted laws to change these things and control things because there is a better way.

Others in favor said the bill would allow for greater access to cars for patrons and insurance appraisers.

The state Supreme Court upheld the felony conviction of a woman who was told she had HIV and later had sex without telling her partner of her condition.

The partner subsequently was diagnosed with HIV.

Neither the woman nor the victim were identified in the court decision.

In a unanimous decision, the court rejected the arguments of the woman's attorney that the law constituted a violation of First Amendment free-speech rights.

Instead, the court held that the law regulates conduct rather than speech.

"The statute restricts what individuals may do, not what they may say," wrote Judge Mary Russell.

"The purpose of section 191.677 is not to compel disclosure. Instead, the statute seeks to prevent certain conduct that could spread HIV to unknowing or nonconsenting individuals."

The House Emerging Issues heard two bills that would allow concealed weapons on college campuses.

A mother testifying on behalf of the Missouri Chapter of Moms said allowing guns to mix with drugs and alcohol on college campuses is a huge safety concern.

"Allowing our students as young as 19 to carry a gun on campus only increases the risk that someone will make a poor decision involving alcohol and a firearm," she said. "The heavy use of alcohol and drugs on college campuses does not mix with guns."

But Rep. Gary Cross, R-Jackson County, told a personal story of his own daughter.

"I got a daughter that's 31 today that's a victim of a drive by shooting, and I'll tell you where it's at, it's right here in Missouri it's called Missouri State," Cross said. "If you ever get that phone call at 11 o'clock at night - I've been shot - I guarantee you as a dad it does raise some, you don't know how you'll respond until you get the call."

Cross said he supported allowing concealed carry on campuses, because it would allow students to protect themselves in those kinds of situations.

A member of the Missouri Federation of College Republicans said the bill was common sense, because there are no legitimate reasons why guns should not be allowed on campuses.

"We believe that you have the right to protect yourself, and there are no reasons that have been given that say why that should be limited," they said.

Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis City, took issue with the remarks being accusatory and overly-presumptuous of his colleagues.

"What you're attempting to do, is really more of an art, and what you're doing is taking a blunt hammer and telling folks that don't agree with you, that they're idiots," Colona said. "That's the way it came out."

Several other members of the committee criticized those testifying - for and against the bills - for using skewed or incorrect information.

Currently, a concealed carry permit does not allow a person to carry their weapon into a higher education institution without their consent.

Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, sponsored a bill that would lift those bans on concealed weapons on college campuses.

Kelley’s bill would also allow colleges to get an exemption from the rule allowing concealed firearms on campus by applying for one through the Department of Public Safety.

However, the bill outlines several safety requirements in order for an institution to be granted the exemption, which some consider costly.

The other bill, sponsored by Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, would lift the ban on concealed carry weapons in higher education institutions with the exception of some locations on campus.

No vote was taken on either bill in the hearing.

The Missouri Senate approached partisan gridlock for the second week in a row, just days before they adjourn for their spring break.

Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis County, led Democrats in stalling the body from moving forward with any legislation on Monday.

The comes after a record-breaking filibuster over a resolution to allow businesses to refuse wedding services to gay couples, during which Democrats accused Republicans of using an improper parliamentary trick to get to a vote.

Sifton took the floor after a nearly hour-long reading of the Senate's journal from the previous week.

Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis City, joined Sifton in talking about how the Senate should behave in the future.

"I'm trying to make the point about going forward, and that when we go forward, I think it's important for us to understand that there as many as 32 different opinions on what any given piece of legislation ought to look like before it comes to a vote," Sifton said.

Sifton also talked with Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, about the trick they said Republicans used last Wednesday morning.

"A procedural motion was used at that moment that did not allow for other senators to participate in trying to fix the problem," Holsman said. "A filibuster is designed for compromise, when you have the minority locked out of being able to publicly negotiate and then you move to procedural question, that is not a compromise."

Holsman said it rules dictate all senators must be recognized to speak when they are on the floor, and that the Senate broke that rule last week when Sifton was ignored by Republicans.

After more than an hour of stalling, the Majority floor leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, called for the Senate's session to end. Kehoe said they plan to move forward with debate on legislation next session.

"You know, we have a lot of bills on the perfection calendar so, outcome or no outcome, what you like or don't like about last week, we ate up a lot of time that we'd like to try to make up and get some perfection bills moving," Kehoe said.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said he did not know how the rest of the week would go.

"I'm not sure that's the pace, but if it is, I think the majority leader has indicated that he's just gonna stay on the calendar just like we would before," Richardson said. "So I don't see that anything is gonna change, the pace may change or may not, you know, let's just see."


Last Week

The Missouri Department of Conservation began requesting voluntary farmers to harvest deer from farms to be tested for chronic wasting disease in the winter post-hunting season.

Currently, the department has initiated 5 different sampling areas in Linn, Franklin, Adair, Macon, and Cole-Moniteau counties.

The Missouri Department of Conservation began testing deer in 2001.

It hopes testing the meat will help it find a pattern of the growth of the disease in local deer, and appropriate disease management techniques.

Some voluntary landowners have been requested to submit as many as five deer for testing. If the meat does not test positive for the disease, it will be returned back to the farmers or landowners. Road kill or sick deer can also be accepted for testing.

As of January 2016, Missouri Department of Conservation announced a record of 33 free-ranging and captive deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease in counties across the state. Counties with infected deer included Macon, Adair, Cole, Franklin, and Linn.

The Department's website states Chronic Wasting Disease as a slow progressive disease in members of the deer family. The disease's symptoms include lack of coordination and paralysis, excessive salivation, trouble swallowing, unusual behavior, and emaciation. It is believed to be caused by an abnormally folded prion protein, and can spread directly between deer and indirectly by infected soil or other surfaces.

Chronic Wasting Disease can be spread easily and cause mass death in groups of deer and elk. If a deer tests positive for the disease, counties within a 25-mile radius are labeled as a Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone. Statewide surveillance includes counties outside of the disease management zones, but are still subject to testing.

The department’s Wildlife Health Specialist and Surveillance Coordinator Jasmine Batten has been investigating the affects of CWD on deer.

"There is no known care or treatment for it," Batten stated, "it is a fatal disease."

She said the best prevention methods include educating the severity of CWD hunters and farmers, and limiting transportation of carcasses.

"Yearling males are more likely to disperse and spread the disease," said Batten.

Out of season testing in the sampling areas is planned to conclude March 15.

Missouri's Senate passed and sent the House Thursday, March 10, a measure that would allow individuals and businesses to refuse to provide services or products for same-sex marriages.

This amendment will protect those individuals from being commandeered into a wedding ceremony in violation of their religious conscious," said the measure's sponsor, Sen. Bob Onder, R-St. Charles. "This is to protect religious freedom and free speech from the iron fist of government,"

The proposed constitutional amendment now goes to the House. If approved by the legislature, the measure would require statewide voter approval in either August or November.

Democrats charged the measure would discriminate against gays. In a breaking voice, Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis County, talked about his gay father and uncle.

"The most functional, long-standing relationship between two adults that I have ever known is that between my uncle and his partner," Sifton said.

"I think that if every Missourian would meet my father, would meet his partner, would meet his uncle, my uncle's partner, would spend a day or a weekend or a week with them, this resolution would fail, 32-0," Sifton said.

Passage came after Republicans voted to shut-off a Democratic filibuster that had extended for three days -- one of the longest filibusters in recent history. It was only the 16th time in the past century that an issue had been brought to a vote by voting to shut off a filibuster.

The debate began Monday afternoon and did not end until late Wednesday morning in a marathon session that lasted 39 hours. The following day, Thursday, the Senate took the final vote to send the measure to the House -- but only after Democrats retaliated by delaying routine approval of the previous day's journal for nearly six hours.

The Senate Democratic Leader, Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis, did not rule out that Democrats would continue their delaying tactics in retaliation for Republican actions Wednesday to shut off the Democratic filibuster.

In addition to approving "previous question" motions that forced an immediate vote on the issue, Democrats charged Republican leaders violated Senate rules by failing to recognize Democrats who sought to speak or make motions on Wednesday.

Missouri's House has voted to cut women's health funding for Planned Parenthood.

An amendment to the state's $27 billion budget would strip all state and federal funds from the non-profit organization. It provides services for reproductive health, and has 14 facilities in the state. The St. Louis center is the only one that provides abortions and that operation can only be done with federal funds in non-emergency situations.

"An overwhelming majority of Missourians have been crystal clear on this issue," said Rep. Robert Ross, R-Yukon, who introduced the proposal to the House floor. "They do not want their hard-earned tax dollars to be spent to snuff out a human life."

Opponents argued the state already does not fund abortions and punishing Planned Parenthood hurts women across the state.

"It is way more than abortion," said Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County. "It is all types of family planning and all types of women's exams."

Democrats also said the measure could be struck down by the courts and impact Medicaid funding across the state.

The budget also reduced the governor's office's purse through a Democratic representative's proposal, sending that money to a state education program. The money was pulled from the governor's general expenses budget and moved to an education program to help parents teach their children before kindergarten.

Genise Montecillo, D-St. Louis County, said the Parents as Teachers program helps children be ready for school when they are old enough.

"We can get interventions for students who have special needs and we can help parents get their children on track so when those children enter our classrooms they are ready and able to learn." Montecillo said.

Gov. Jay Nixon has been under fire throughout his terms for using external departments' funds to finance his travel expenses, including a $1,300 float trip for the Democrat, his wife, and four state employees. Nixon said he took the trip to boost the state's tourism industry.

The measures passed with bipartisan support. The budget will move on to the Senate for approval.

The House voted to perfect a bill that would require both parents of a minor to be informed in order to get an abortion.

Currently law only requires the consent of one parent in order for a person to knowingly perform an abortion on a minor.

House Bill 1370, sponsored by Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Lake Ozark, would require the consenting parent to inform any other custodial parent or guardian prior securing consent for the abortion.

Miller said the real reason he sponsored this bill is because of the situation he found himself in with his daughter.

He told the House that his ex-wife had informed him when his teenage daughter was considering getting an abortion, and this gave him a chance to be a part of this decision.

In the end, Miller said his daughter did not get the abortion, and he and his wife raised the child as their own.

"I don't want to stop anything, I want to start something," Miller said. "I want to start a conversation among good actors, and that's what this bill is attempting to do and has done."

Opponents of the bill have said it does not take into account families that do not have good relationships with their children.

Rep. Sue Meredith, D-St. Louis County, said she recognizes this would have been a great thing in Miller's case, however, many people do not have that good of a relationship with their children.

"We cannot legislate certain actions of people. We cannot legislate caring about your family. We cannot legislate loving and talking to your children," Meredith said. "Some children are abused by one parent or another. Sometimes if that parent who has abused them finds out what their situation is, if they are a young woman, minor, pregnant, it could be risking their life."

Rep. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton, argued that, regardless, making the decision to get an abortion is one that should be made among family.

"Bringing life, working through life, choosing life, is a healing process, it is a loving process, it is a valued process," Franklin said.

Opponent of the bill Rep. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City, said the bill is working in opposition to the small government that House Republicans preach.

"I find it funny that the party on small government is trying to regulate the most personal part of a person's body," Arthur said.

Arthur attempted to propose an amendment that would weaken the bill but it was denied on grounds that it was beyond the bill's scope.

The Senate Education Committee heard a bill that would allow non-UM system schools to create doctorate programs independently of the UM system universities.

The bill was created to make doctorates more accessible to Missourians and give flexibility to the other Missouri universities.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County, who said that his Alma Mater, Truman State university had drawn back on doctorate programs because of barriers.

Schmitt said, "This would lift some of the barriers for universities to determine what they want to be and the programs they do want to offer."

Missouri State University President, Cliff Smart said, "We think each university ought to be able to submit doctorate and professional programs for approval on their own merit."

Smart said the proposed bill would allow non-UM universities from having to work in collaboration with UM system and be able to give ownership to their higher ed programs.

However, representatives from UM system opposed, saying they were concerned with resources and funding.

Associate Vice President for MU system, Steve Graham said, "For the professional and doctoral programs they are very expensive to offer." Graham said, "We're concerned that we're going to spread resources too thin."

Those opposing the bill said they were concerned about the state funding and resources diminishing, and therefore diminishing the quality of the higher ed program.

Just hours after the conclusion of a roughly 37-hour Senate filibuster, members of the house called out the Senate for its inability to work constructively toward the passing of House bills.

Representative Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, "They owe us some bills," Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, said. "And I hope they can figure out how to get their act together on that end of the building."

Engler voiced his frustrations during floor debate over a bill that would make CPR training a mandatory requirement for Missouri's high school students.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ron Hick, R-St. Peters, would require at least one half-hour of training in CPR and Heimlich maneuver techniques.

In 2014, Hicks performed chest compressions on a woman that he noticed having a seizure while he was having lunch in the third-floor rotunda of the Capitol.

He also sponsored a bill that would make CPR a graduation requirement during last year's legislative session.

It passed in the House with near-unanimous support in late April, but fell victim to the Senate stalemate at the end of the session.

After eight hours of debate just days before the session ended in 2015, the Senate voted to pass right-to-work legislation.

Republican senators utilized a rarely-used method known as a "previous question," to shut down debate on the right-to-work bill and allow it to pass.

While right-to-work passed three days before the end of the session, after Republicans shut down debate, Senate Democrats vowed to effectively paralyze the Missouri Senate until the end of session.

Several bills, including the CPR training graduation requirement, were not voted on by the Senate before the session ended.

Senate Republicans once again used the "previous question" to cut off the longest continuous senate filibuster in recent Missouri history Wednesday morning.

This time, it was over a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow businesses to refuse services to gay marriages.

"We're getting on a verge of them having difficulties again," Engler said to Hicks in reference to last year's stalemate and Wednesday morning's previous question. "And I just want to remember with you why your bill died, why my bills died."

Rep. Jeremy LaFaver, D-Jackson County also said he was tired of the Senate blocking House bills.

"We're just setting ourselves up I think to allow the Senate to once again rule the day," LaFaver said. "I think that's unfortunate."

The House voted to perfect the bill, and it will be voted on one more time before it is sent to the Senate.

A historic roughly 37 hour Senate filibuster ended Wednesday, March 9, but Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis County, said the way the filibuster ended could slow progress.

Walsh said fellow St. Louis County Democrat Scott Sifton was ignored by Republican legislators when he tried to speak on the Senate floor.

Instead, the Republican leadership recognized a motion to shut off debate.

"I can say I think there will be," Walsh said when asked if the end of the filibuster could halt progress in the legislature. "I think it's evident by what happened when we went back into chamber after we stood at ease."

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said the debate had to end because it was no longer relevant to the legislation being discussed.

"We felt that the debate wasn't being substantive and that the debate was starting to meander," Richard told reporters in a press conference after the filibuster ended.

Walsh also criticized what she said was a lack of compromise on the legislation.

"We were run over like a train," Walsh said. "Once they use that PQ [the previous-question motion to stop debate] that ends it all. We were willing to negotiate. There was no negotiating on this bill."

Richard said the length of the debate allow all sides to voice their opinion.

"We've been going on, like I said, for 40 hours," he said. "I mean, the whole world was listening, one side or the other."


Shortly after 7:30 Wednesday morning, Senate Republicans voted to shut off a debate that had lasted 39 hours.

The filibuster started shortly after 4pm on Monday afternoon.

Democrats charged Republicans used an improper parliamentary trick to get to a vote.

But the issue is far from finished. The proposed constitutional amendment requires one more vote before going to the House. And Democrats could launch another filibuster on that vote.

The measure approved 23-9 would prohibit any state or government agency from taking action against a person for refusing to provide services or products sought for a gay marriage.

Supporters argued the measure would protect the religious and self-conscious rights of Missourians. Opponents argued it discriminated against gays.

If it clears the legislature, the proposal would require statewide voter approval to become part of the state Constitution.

Last year when Republicans shut off a Democratic filibuster over "right to work" in the last week of the session, it prompted a subsequent Democratic filibuster that prevented passage of any further bills.

On Wednesday morning, there was a sign of another partisan gridlock when Democrats demanded a rollcall on the simple procedural motion to finally end the three-day Senate session.

There will be a personal cost from the filibuster for Senate members -- more than $200 per member in per diem.

Because the three-day Senate session that began on Monday did not adjourn until Wednesday, there was no official session for either Tuesday or Wednesday for which members could collect their per diems that cover meals and lodging expenses.

Instead, for three days the Senate technically was still holding its Monday session.

The University of Missouri's flagship campus would lose $1 million to Lincoln University to double its agriculture program funds, under an amendment to the higher education budget approved by the House Tuesday, March 8.

The $1 million is on top of a $7.6 million cut recommended by the House Budget Committee.

The Missouri House of Representatives passed the cut by a vote of 83-75.

The opposition framed the issue of funding Lincoln as uncontroversial, but pulling money from the Columbia campus this specific year as peculiar.

"The Missouri General Assemby needs to do better than pitting students against students in a fight for a higher education," said Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia.

The amendment's sponsor Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said the state needs to invest more in agriculture. He also noted that the University of Missouri's lobbyists had promised cuts to a major agricultural research center if the amendment passed.

"Think about the implication of that argument," Barnes said. "If a lobbyist from Mizzou told you that, what they are saying is that ag research is their lowest priority."

Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, proposed moving over $4 million to the University of Missouri System from the state's transportation department. He said the university had met all of the requirements necessary to recieve the funding.

"There has never been a precedent by which the university or any university has hit their performance measures, and then has failed to recieve those dollars," Rowden said.

Opponents said the Missouri Department of Transportation is already poorly funded, and could not stand another cut.

"We're going to have an infrastructure crisis if we do not start putting more money into our roads and bridges," said Rep. Delus Johnson, R-Andrew County.

The measure failed by a resounding voice vote.

The University of Missouri is already facing a $7.6 million cut in its administration, and the Columbia campus is now facing a $1 million cut in its previous year's funding.

The University of Missouri's flagship campus would lose $1 million to Lincoln University to double its agriculture program funds, should the bill pass as amended.

The Missouri House of Representatives passed the measure by a vote of 83-75.

The opposition framed the issue of funding Lincoln as uncontroversial, but pulling money from the Columbia campus this specific year as peculiar.

"The Missouri General Assembly needs to do better than pitting students against students in a fight for a higher education," said Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia.

The amendment's sponsor Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said the state needs to invest more in agriculture. He also noted that the University of Missouri's lobbyists had promised cuts to a major agricultural research center if the amendment passed.

"Think about the implication of that argument," Barnes said. "If a lobbyist from Mizzou told you that, what they are saying is that ag research is their lowest priority."

Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, proposed moving over $4 million to the University of Missouri System from the state's transportation department. He said the university had met all of the requirements necessary to receive the funding.

"There has never been a precedent by which the university or any university has hit their performance measures, and then has failed to receive those dollars," Rowden said.

Opponents said the Missouri Department of Transportation is already poorly funded, and could not stand another cut.

"We're going to have an infrastructure crisis if we do not start putting more money into our roads and bridges," said Rep. Delus Johnson, R-Andrew County.

The measure failed by a resounding voice vote.

The University of Missouri is already facing a $7.6 million cut in its administration, and the Columbia campus is now facing a $1 million cut in its previous year's funding.

Citizens expressed their support of the religious liberty bill, one saying the bill is protecting basic first amendment rights.

The Missouri Senate Democrats have been filibustering for over a day, one of the citizens thinking that the filibuster is unnecessary.

"The precedent has been set that the people want it," Bailey Cordonnie said.

The proposed amendment has received support and backlash, as it continues to be debated in the Senate.

The filibuster has been the longest continuous filibuster in recent Missouri history.

As tension in the Senate heats up over a filibuster over a religious liberties bill, another gay rights bill may be losing steam.

Sen. Sen. Joseph Keaveny, D- St. Louis City has sponsored a bill on sexual orientation and gender orientation to the state's civil rights law, that has passed out of committee but has not yet reached the Senate floor.

Under Keaveny's bill, LGBTQ individuals could not be fired or discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender orientation.

The bill has not yet reached the Senate floor due to the republican super majority.

Following the filibuster on Monday, Keaveny fears that a republican controlled Senate will not put another LGBTQ rights bill on the floor for debate.

"I was hoping it would get to the floor sooner than now, with the current situation with the bill that we have here. I don't know if the president is going to give me any time on the bill or not. I was hoping he would, but things are not looking very optimistic right now," Keaveny said.

Keaveny and his committee are unable to do anything else with the bill until the president pro tempt requests the bill.

Democrats began this historic filibuster of the religious liberties bill at around 4 p.m. Monday night.

They said the bill, SJR 39, would write discrimination of LGBTQ groups into the Missouri Constitution.

Bill sponsor Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, aimed for the bill to prohibit the state from imposing penalties on those who act in accordance with a sincere religious belief concerning same-sex marriage.

Democrats in the Senate took issue with the bill specifically targeting the LGBTQ community.

Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, said this bill could potentially make members of the LGBTQ community second-class citizens forever.

"In my faith, we don't deal with the same obligation to separate individuals in our society who have chosen a different partner to be romantic with or to build a life with or to have a monogamous relationship with," Holsman said.

Republican senators had trouble seeing what made the bill so discriminatory.

Sen. Kiki Curls, D-Jackson County, said it was the entire foundation the bill was created on that made it descrimination.

"Senator, when you allow folks to refuse service to anyone based upon their sexual orientation or sexual preference, that would be discrimination," Curls said.

Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, said the bill is not meant to stop same-sex marriage from happening, it is about keeping the state from forcing it upon those who are religiously opposed to it.

"This bill does nothing to keep a gay couple from getting married,” Sater said.

Co-sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, said he believes there are two types of people in the world, those who believe God gave them their conscience, and those who don’t.

Emery said the bill would give those who hold the belief that same-sex marriage is wrong the freedom to refuse to take part in activities that pertain to those weddings.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis City, and Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis County, argued that gay couples do not intrude on the religious freedoms of others by expecting the same wedding goods and services they would provide to anyone else.

"How are you harmed by someone’s actions and different beliefs that say they want to marry someone they love?" Schupp asked of Emery.

The bill is a response to the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage.

Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis County, said this decision set a precedent that would override any hope of a person winning a case using the Missouri Constitution claim suggested by this bill.

"The notion that somehow voters are going to approve this amendment and now Missourians who have a sincerely held religious belief that requires them to discriminate against same-sex couples dont have to worry about it, is naive," Sifton said. "You're still gonna get sued, it's just gonna be the Federal Constitution claim."

Pro-LGBTQ rights groups have shown support for the Senate Democrats on social media throughout the 24-hour span of the filibuster.

Several businesses and organizations have also come out against the bill, saying it is not good for Missouri business or economy.

Changes to the bill have been offered by both Democrats and Republicans, however neither side has given in.

This filibuster is the longest continuous filibuster in the Missouri Senate in recent memory.

Senate Democrats had an all-night filibuster of a bill that aims to protect religious freedoms.

The proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution would keep the state from penalizing those who refuse service to same sex couples because of their religious beliefs.

Senator David Sater, R-Cassville, said the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage forces it on people who oppose it for religious reasons.

"To me this is about freedom, freedom of religion, freedom to express your own beliefs, and freedom to act accordingly," Sater said.

Senate Democrats who oppose the bill argued the amendment pointedly targets and discriminates against the LGBT community.

Senator Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, said he subscribes to a similar religion as the one he assumed the bill is aiming to protect.

He said he has a hard time with the amendment because it would be allowing a religious community to persecute an entire group of people for something out of their control.

"In my faith, we don't deal with the same obligation to separate individuals in our society who have chosen a different partner to be romantic with or to build a life with or to have a monogamous relationship with," Holsman said.

Senator Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis County, was emotional in his opposition to the proposed amendment.

Sifton said the proposed amendment is not about protecting freedoms at all, but about marginalizing LGBT community, which is already dealing with discrimination every day.

"We're talking about people who, in Missouri, can be fired because of who they love. Today, they can be fired because of who they love," Sifton said. "They still live in that danger and I understand, and am sensitive to the concern, the sincerely held religious concern."

Sifton proposed amendments that would broaden the scope of the bill to include all religious beliefs, not just the one that same sex marriage is wrong.

Republican Senators opposed Sifton's amendment saying that it missed the point and weakened their original legislation.