Government & Politics

Senate leader says report on Missouri lobbyist’s son slows momentum for Title IX bill

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Title IX was signed into law in 1972 and was initially aimed to address gender inequality in sports. Here's how the law got started, and how it expanded over the years.
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Title IX was signed into law in 1972 and was initially aimed to address gender inequality in sports. Here's how the law got started, and how it expanded over the years.

Missouri’s top Republican state senator said Wednesday that lawmakers are likely to “withdraw and take some consideration” of legislation to strengthen protections for college students accused of Title IX violations after a report that the measure has been pushed by a leading lobbyist whose son was expelled from Washington University in St. Louis last year.

Senate President Pro-Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said the report Tuesday in The Kansas City Star has “had an impact” on the bill’s path.

“I think things posted in that article, I don’t know that many people were aware and so I think that will make people take a second look,” he said.

The Star reported that the son of Jefferson City lobbyist Richard McIntosh was expelled from Washington University last year through the Title IX process. During that same period McIntosh asked for an amendment to to an unrelated bill that would have, if enacted, allowed his son to appeal the decision to the state Administrative Hearing Commission, where his mother and McIntosh’s wife, Audrey Hanson McIntosh, is the presiding and managing commissioner.

Lawmakers in favor of the measure argued that the legislation would give more due process protections to the accused. It was later stripped out of the bill in a different committee.

This year, the amendment surfaced as a standalone bill in the Missouri House, with significant backing from a phalanx of 29 lobbyists, polling and ad time paid for by a “dark money” group, Kingdom Principles, started by McIntosh.

Though such groups are known as “dark money” because they are registered as nonprofits that don’t have to disclose their donors, The Star confirmed that a source of funding for the group is St. Louis billionaire David Steward — a client of McIntosh’s since 2000 who is also a member of the Washington University Board of Trustees.

The Senate version of the bill doesn’t provide for retroactivity and sponsor Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, has said it was drafted without outside assistance. Unlike the House bill, it received floor time last week but ran into a filibuster by Senate Democrats.

Schatz said general conversations have led him to believe that supporters may wait for Title IX changes that are expected to be made at the federal level this year,

“I think it’s an opportunity for them to reevaluate how to proceed forward with what they are trying to accomplish,” Schatz said.

Whether the bill will make another appearance on the Missouri Senate floor is up to Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden, Schatz said.

Asked Wednesday whether the revelations had halted the bill’s momentum, Rowden responded, “I assume so.”

“I haven’t talked to anybody today about it and (the bill) doesn’t seem like it’s moving too quick in the House,” Rowden said.

He said the story added “a layer I think we need to be careful with as it relates to the perception.”

Like most lawmakers, however, Rowden was cautious when it came to declaring the bill dead.

“Nothing’s dead until May 17,” he said, referring to the last day of legislative session.

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Crystal Thomas covers Missouri politics for The Kansas City Star. An Illinois native and a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, she has experience covering state and local government.