Senate gives "Facebook Fix" first round approval -- Questions remain if Governor would sign bill should it reach his desk

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Missouri News Horizon
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.
-- The Missouri Senate has given first round approval to legislation that would allow school districts to set their own policies when it comes to teacher communication with students through social media websites.

The so-called “Facebook Fix” to legislation sponsored by Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, passed by voice vote in less than 15 minute on the Senate floor Monday afternoon. The bill requires school districts to have policies in place by March 1 and expands those covered by the policies to include school employees and staff, including administrators.

Cunningham says her bill has unanimous support among school groups, such as teachers’ organizations and the Missouri School Boards Association. She says the school boards association has drafted model language for districts to use.

The bill will almost certainly breeze through both houses of the legislature this week. Less certain is how it will fare when it reaches the governor’s desk. Governor Nixon, in his call for the special session of the legislature said the electronic communication portion of the bill should be stripped out of the bill, but not necessarily rewritten. Last week, a spokesman for the governor said Nixon was standing by his original intentions.

Spokesman Scott Holste
said it was too early to say what might happen should the bill reach the
governor’s desk.