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By a vote of 23 to 7, the Missouri Senate gave first round approval to the SMS name change bill this morning after working through the night. The bill would chance the name of SMS to Missouri State University. KSMU's Missy Shelton has this report on the name change debate and how it got resolved.
That was the word at about 6 o'clock this morning from the chief opponent of the name change, Columbia Democrat Chuck Graham.
He announced that the University of Missouri President Elson Floyd wanted him to stand down.
Graham and other democrats had tied up the bill with a filibuster since about 4:30 Monday afternoon.
Legislators working on the name change issue say phone calls to SMS President John Keiser and Floyd around 3:30 in the morning resulted in a deal: MU would ask Graham to stand down if the senate approved an amendment to the bill.
The sponsor of the name change proposal, Springfield Senator Norma Champion says the amendment simply outlined what name change supporters had promised MU all along.
And the amendment states that SMS will not be entitled to more state funding simply because of the name change.
But Champion says it doesn't preclude SMS from seeking funding increases, something the university has done almost every year.
Despite the deal that was struck between MU and SMS, Columbia Senator Chuck Graham said he was disappointed that MU backed down because of political pressure.
With MU calling off its legislative opposition, SMS name change supporters say it's possible the bill could go to the governor's desk in time for the university's 100th birthday.
Springfield Senator Norma Champion.
The bill faces a final vote in the senate before advancing to the House.
A similar proposal was voted down last year in the House but Champion says she expects more House support this year because of the deal that's been brokered between MU and SMS.