Loser: Missouri's Image
Who loves attention and outrage more than Rush Limbaugh? House Speaker Steve Tilley's decision to induct the bombastic radio host into the Hall of Famous Missourians created plenty of both. For better or worse, the 2012 legislative session will likely be remembered for Tilley's decision to lock the doors of the House of Representatives in order to hold a private induction ceremony for Limbaugh.
It's still legal to fire someone in Missouri for being or seeming gay. Legislation requiring public schools to adopt policies against bullying with respect to sexual orientation never got a public hearing. Meanwhile, lawmakers pondered but didn't pass a so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill that would have prohibited public schools from talking about sexual orientation except in terms of reproduction.
The 2012 legislative session began with House Speaker Steve Tilley pledging sweeping changes to public education, including expanded charter schools, elimination of teacher tenure and tax credit scholarships for private school students. Yet in the end, only charter expansion ended up on the governor's desk, and the back-and-forth over other issues helped derail bills revising the school funding formula and modifying student transfer laws.
No one was sadder to see Missouri lawmakers go home for the year than late night satirists Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno and Jon Stewart. The 2012 legislative session provided rich material. From the attempt to protect gun owners from discrimination while opposing the same protections for someone who is gay to the installation of a bronze of Limbaugh in the Capitol, Missouri legislators made easy fodder for comics.