House leadership defeated on education reform


by Scott Faughn

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – House leadership was defeated Wednesday night, 102 to 55, on an education reform initiative.

House Bill 631 was a measure sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Elmer, R- Nixa, and supported by House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, that would have required schools to evaluate teachers based on state standards.

Rep. Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa
Rep. Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa

After contentious debate, the vote was finally taken just before midnight. The board was held open for some time, but there was little change in the final tally. The bill went down to defeat by a wide margin.

Throughout the day, Republican lawmakers discussed the upcoming vote. According to several sources, the debate in the caucus meeting was lengthy and passionate, as well as the leadership meeting afterword with a final whip count coming in at approximately 53.

The reaction was swift on Twitter, with Katie Casas, state director of the Children’s Education Council of Missouri posting, “Rep. Elmer has been a great champion for Educator Quality tonight! ”.

The tweet prompted Jones to reply, “I need 2 trade for 26 more Elmers. For the kids.”

MNEA was also quick to celebrate a their victory, posting on Twitter, “Strong bi-partisan vote against removing local control . Thank you for supporting students & educators.”

Rep. Vicki Englund, D-St. Louis County
Rep. Vicki Englund, D-St. Louis County

Representative Vicki Englund, D-St. Louis County, said, “It is refreshing to see that education reform is important to both sides of the aisle.  Rushing through a poorly thought out solution is not in the best interest of our children. The House overwhelmingly showed that tonight.”

Legislators voting in favor of the bill were: Tim Jones, Zerr Wieland, Webb, Swan, Stream, Spencer, Sommer, Shull, Scharnhorst, Ross, Riddle, Richardson, Rhoads, Rehder, Parkinson, Neth, Muntzel, Miller, Love, Lichtenegger, Leara, Lant, Korman, Koenig, Keeney, Caleb Jones, Hough, Hinson, Hicks, Haefner, Haahr, Guernsey, Gosen, Gatschenberger, Funderburk, Flanigan, Elmer, Diehl, Davis, Curtman, Crawford, Cox, Cornejo, Cookson, Conway, Colona, Cierpiot, Burlison, Bernskoetter, Barnes, Bahr, Austin, Anderson, and Allen.

Those opposed were: Wright, Wood, Wilson, White, Webber, Gray, Walker, Torpey, Thomson, Swearingen, Solon, Smith, Shumake, Shupp, Schieffer, Schieber, Schatz, Runions, Rowland, Rowden, Roorda, Rizzo, Remole, Reiboldt, Pogue, Pike, Pierson, Phillips, Pfautsch, Pace, Otto, Norr, Nichols, Newman, Neely, Morris, Morgan, Montecillo, Molendorp, Miten, Mims, Messenger, Meredith, McNeil, McManus, McKenna, McGaugh, McDonald, McCann-Beatty, McCaherty, Mayfield, May, Marshall, Lynch, Lauer, Lair, LaFaver, Kolkmeyer, Kirkton, Kelly 45, Kelly 127, Justus, Johnson, Hurst, Hummel, Houghton, Hoskins, Higdon, Harris, Hansen, Hampton, Grisamore, Frederick, Franklin, Frame, Fraker, Fowler, Fitzwater, Fitzpatrick, Entlicher, Englund, English, Engler, Ellington, Ellinger, Dunn, Dugger, Dohrman, Curtis, Cross, Conway, Carpenter, Butler, Burns, Brown, Brattin, Black, Berry, and Anders.