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Southwest Missouri State University will get a new name. The House approved the name change by a vote of and sent the bill to the governor's desk. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
It's the end of an epic quest.
Springfield area legislators have tried for twenty years to get the General Assembly to approve a name change for S-M-S.
That quest ended in victory for S-M-S and bill sponsor B-J Marsh expressed his feelings at a press conference after the bill passed.
The bill faced opposition from both Republicans and Democrats.
Democratic opponents criticized Governor Matt Blunt for pushing the name change when there are other issues lawmakers need to address.
Jeff Harris of Columbia is the House Democratic Leader.
But name change supporters including Governor Blunt have said the bill is an important issue for higher education that will attract out of state students and businesses.
Representative Mike Cunningham of Marshfield says he supports the bill because of its potential economic benefits.
Representative John Kuessner of South Central Missouri says businesses want the state to do everything it can to create a better educated workforce.
Some bill opponents, including a lawmaker who is an economist dispute the economic benefits of the name change.
And Representative Bryan Pratt of suburban Kansas City says changing the name doesn't fundamentally change the university.
But S-M-S officials and name change supporters say it's only the name that needs to change so that the name reflects what the university has become.
The bill now goes to the governor's desk.
Governor Blunt has said he'll sign it.