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Politics

Name Calling on the Last Day of Session

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/namecallin_265.mp3

The word that drew the most attention on the last day of the legislative session was "punks." That's what the senate's Democratic Floor Leader called Senate Republicans after they used a rare procedural maneuver to shut off debate and force votes on two controversial issues. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

The word that drew the most attention on the last day of the legislative session was "punks." That's what the senate's Democratic Floor Leader called Senate Republicans after they used a rare procedural maneuver to shut off debate and force votes on two controversial issues.

Senate Republicans shut off debate and forced votes on two measures. One was an anti-abortion bill that places tougher restrictions on abortion clincs, bans Planned Parenthood personnel from teaching sex education in public schools and gives schools the option to teach abstinence-only sex ed. The other measure puts before voters a requirement that all official proceedings in Missouri be done in English. Coleman's comments referenced rumors in the capitol that the Senate Republicans forced through those two bills at the request of the House Speaker who, in exchange agreed to bring to the floor legislation instituting the new Medicaid program, MO Healthnet. Asked whether the Senate Republicans gave in to the House, Governor Matt Blunt defended the relationship between the House Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tem. Blunt says he should know since he regularly meets with the two Republican leaders.

Republican leaders held a joint press conference with the governor last Friday evening. They declared the session a victory, citing passage of the budget, the new Medicaid program and the college construction bill that's being funded with proceeds from the state's student loan agency. Democrats had a very different characterization of the session, calling the new Medicaid program a farce.