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Politics

SMS Name Change Wins Senate Committee Approval

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/smsnamecha_2228.mp3

Legislation changing the name of Southwest Missouri State University won approval Tuesday from the Senate Education Committee. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

By a party-line vote of 6 to 3, the bill that would change SMS to Missouri State University won senate committee approval.

Opponents of the measure say it will take prestige and funding from the University of Missouri.

But the bill sponsor, Springfield Senator Norma Champion says the name change will benefit the whole state.

The bill likely will come to the senate floor next week for debate.

At that time, lawmakers will be able to amend the bill and speak for or against the proposal.

Columbia Senator Chuck Graham, whose district includes the University of Missouri says he'll do whatever it takes to stop the bill from passing.

But the bill sponsor Norma Champion says Graham's extended debate on the name change will be intended to block the bill, not change the minds of senators.

Graham says a new report shows the name change would hurt MU.

That report came from the Higher Learning Commission.

Champion and other supporters of the SMS name change say the proposal will help bring more businesses to the state and that could mean more money for all colleges and universities in Missouri.