Towson Joins Cierpiot In Leadership Race
May 20, 2015

AP) – Missouri state Rep. Caleb Rowden announced Wednesday that he’d run for majority leader against the current second-in-command Rep. Mike Cierpiot, previewing what could be a competitive race after the former speaker’s resignation last week led to a shuffle in Republican leadership.

Rep. Todd Richardson of Poplar Bluff left the position open upon his election as House speaker, replacing John Diehl of Town and Country, who resigned Friday from the House’s top office after admitting to exchanging sexually suggestive text messages with a Capitol intern.

Rowden was the first to publicly announce a bid to replace Richardson. Cierpiot told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he’s running as well.

House Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins said he has no plans to run for majority leader, a position that determines if, when and how long House members debate bills. It’s considered a stepping stone to speaker.

Tilley loads Up House Education Committee, Cierpoit from Lee’s Sumitt Appointed
January 6, 2012

From the Post Dispatch via johncombest:

Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley has quietly packed the committee that will write this year’s legislation on K-12 schools with lawmakers who are friendly or open to his agenda of shaking up public education.
This week, Tilley added eight legislators to the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, boosting its roster by a third. His additions include legislators who have sponsored measures that would eliminate the state constitutional ban on giving public money to religious schools and authorize tax credits to pay for tuition at private schools.
Teacher and school administrator groups said Tilley bypassed legislators who are former public school educators and who have resisted his proposals, including bills to abolish tenure and base teacher pay on student progress.
“It looks like the committee got increased to move a certain agenda,” said Otto Fajen, who lobbies for the Missouri National Education Association.
Tilley, R-Perryville, said he expanded the committee to include legislators with “a broader base” of experience. “This is going to be a big year for education,” he said. “I’m trying to find a group of people who will find a consensus.”
Education promises to take center stage because of the convergence of several factors. First, the state has been underfunding its school aid formula, which has distorted the way legislators intended for the money to flow and could shift millions of dollars next year among the state’s more than 500 school districts.
Second, children in unaccredited urban districts have the legal right to attend suburban schools at the home district’s expense, but that law is tied up in court. Urban schools say they would go bankrupt if a flood of students transferred out; suburban districts fear overcrowding.
Last year, a bill giving suburban districts control over transfers died when it was linked to school choice initiatives, such as giving county districts authority to operate charter schools in St. Louis.
Education committee Chairman Scott Dieckhaus, R-Washington, said Thursday that Tilley “was just trying to diversify the committee, because we had a bunch of former educators, people on school boards, administrators, whatever. The committee’s more diverse now.”
The new members include some legislators who have worked on school choice issues. For example:
• Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst, R-St. Louis County, has long championed legislation establishing tuition tax credits to pay for autistic children to attend private schools.
• Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, last year proposed repealing the constitutional ban on using state money to support religious schools.
• Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St. Peters, last year sponsored a bill allowing home-schooled students to participate in public high school sports.
Another new committee member, Rep. Kurt Bahr, R-St. Charles, was home-schooled from the fourth grade on. He and his wife home-school the couple’s four children.
Bahr said Thursday that he had no preconceived education agenda, but “I’m for finding other options” for children in failing urban districts.
The other new Republican members are: Rep. Mike Leara, R-St. Louis County, and Rep. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit. One Republican legislator, Rep. Lindell Shumake, R-Hannibal, left the committee.
Since committee membership is proportionate to the total House membership in partisan makeup, Democrats got to add two members. The Democrats chose Rep. Ira Anders, D-Independence, and Rep. Chris Carter, D-St. Louis.