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Two Missouri House GOP members removed from committee

Thursday, April 25, 2013 | 5:59 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones removed two Republicans from a committee Thursday after they joined with Democrats to block one of his top education priorities.

Reps. Denny Hoskins and Jeff Messenger were dismissed from the Fiscal Review Committee after a vote to advance the bill failed 4-4. The measure would require school districts to develop teacher evaluation systems that focus on student achievement and performance.

The committee's vote comes just two weeks after more than half of Jones' fellow Republicans voted with Democrats to defeat a similar teacher evaluation bill 102-55.

Hoskins, of Warrensburg, said he voted 'no' Thursday partly because the measure would take control away from local school boards in evaluating teachers.

"I'm frustrated I was removed from that committee, however, it's the speaker's prerogative to add or remove members," he said.

Jones, R-Eureka, defended the removal in his regular weekly news conference Thursday. He said Hoskins and Messenger, of Republic, disagreed with him on the committee's purpose.

"They have policy objections, not fiscal objections. Fiscal review is supposed to be a filtering committee on fiscal issues," Jones said.

To advance to the House floor, the bill needs the support of a majority of the nine-member panel. For the committee to pass a defeated measure, legislative rules require a member who voted "no" to ask for the bill to be reconsidered at the panel's next scheduled hearing.

Because Hoskins and Messenger are no longer on the committee, one of the two Democratic "no" votes would have to ask for another vote on the measure.

The committee met later Thursday to make another attempt at passing the bill, but it failed again.

Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, was not immediately available for comment on whether he would try to pass it again.

The legislation would require school districts to implement an evaluation system for teachers and administrators that would be used as the basis for employment decisions. School personnel would be classified on a four-part scale ranging from highly effective to ineffective and evaluations would be conducted at least annually.

Earlier this session, Jones had criticized House Democratic Leader Jake Hummel for removing Rep. Penny Hubbard, of St. Louis, from House committees. Hubbard joined Republicans in supporting an earlier effective date for a measure changing how vacancies are filled for statewide offices.

"I think it's a completely different situation in some aspects, but it's not in others. I guess he doesn't follow his own thinking on the matter," Hummel, of St. Louis, said about Jones' decision.

Jones said Thursday he removed the Republicans because they did not understand the purpose of the committee.

Reps. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, and Sonya Anderson, R-Springfield, will replace Hoskins and Messenger. Jones said the women "completely understand" the purpose of the fiscal committee.


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