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The threat of a filibuster stopped a bill containing the proposed merger between the University of Missouri and Northwest State University. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
Republican Senator Norma Champion of Springfield threatened to fillibuster the bill that would clear the way for Northwest to become part of the MU system.
She says she's playing hardball because MU opposes letting Southwest Missouir STate University drop the regional designation from its name.
Champion says while MU continues to oppose the name change, she'll block the merger.
Shortly after taking her stand on the senate floor, Champion got a hug from Columbia Democrat Ken Jacob, a long-time opponent of the SMS name change.
Jacob has blocked the SMS name change with a fillibuster but says he respects Champion and what she's trying to do for her constitutents.
Champion says she doesn't apologize for threatening a fillibuster to block something MU wants.
The merger is part of a larger bill that authorizes name changes for other higher education institutions in the state.
The bill sponsor is Saint Joseph Republican Charlie Shields.
He says Champion's actions will have dire results for the SMS name change.
He says he no longer supports the SMS name change and will assist with the filibuster on that bill.
Shields says it's regrettable that name changes for Western State College, Harris Stowe, and other schools are tied up in the debate over the SMS name change.
Shields says the SMS name change shouldn't hold up the proposed merger between the MU system and Northwest Missouri State.
Opponents of the SMS name change have suggested the schoold should join the MU system, something that many people connected with the Springfiel school oppose.
Champion says whether MU is trying to absorb Northwest or SMS, it's not a good idea.
The sponsor of the bill containing the proposed merger says the bill isn't dead yet but he says he won't bring it back up for discussion until Champion withdraws her filibuster threat.
Champion says that won't happen until she's sure the SMS name change will become law.