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Pirate Fish image courtesy of the CotFSM.

The Missouri Constitution has an establishment clause in, not one, but two places. The first:

Missouri Constitution

Article I


Section 7

Public aid for religious purposes–preferences and discriminations on religious grounds.

Section 7. That no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion, or in aid of any priest, preacher, minister or teacher thereof, as such; and that no preference shall be given to nor any discrimination made against any church, sect or creed of religion, or any form of religious faith or worship.

[emphasis added]

And, in another place in the Missouri Constitution:

Article IX


Section 8

Prohibition of public aid for religious purposes and institutions.

Section 8. Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other municipal corporation, shall ever make an appropriation or pay from any public fund whatever, anything in aid of any religious creed, church or sectarian purpose, or to help to support or sustain any private or public school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other institution of learning controlled by any religious creed, church or sectarian denomination whatever; nor shall any grant or donation of personal property or real estate ever be made by the state, or any county, city, town, or other municipal corporation, for any religious creed, church, or sectarian purpose whatever.

[emphasis added]

A bill, introduced yesterday by Representative Scott Fitzpatrick (r):


HOUSE BILL NO. 687 [pdf]



1463H.01I D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk


To repeal section 173.1104, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof one new section relating to financial assistance awards for theology degrees.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

Section A. Section 173.1104, RSMo, is repealed and one new section enacted in lieu

thereof, to be known as section 173.1104, to read as follows:

173.1104. 1. An applicant shall be eligible for initial or renewed financial assistance only if, at the time of application and throughout the period during which the applicant is receiving such assistance, the applicant:

(1) Is a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States;

(2) Is a resident of the state of Missouri, as determined by reference to standards promulgated by the coordinating board; and

(3) Is enrolled, or has been accepted for enrollment, as a full-time undergraduate student in an approved private or public institution[; and (4) Is not enrolled or does not intend to use the award to enroll in a course of study leading to a degree in theology or divinity].

2. If an applicant is found guilty of or pleads guilty to any criminal offense during the period of time in which the applicant is receiving financial assistance, such applicant shall not be eligible for renewal of such assistance, provided such offense would disqualify the applicant from receiving federal student aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

3. Financial assistance shall be allotted for one academic year, but a recipient shall be eligible for renewed assistance until he or she has obtained a baccalaureate degree, provided such financial assistance shall not exceed a total of ten semesters or fifteen quarters or their equivalent. Standards of eligibility for renewed assistance shall be the same as for an initial award of financial assistance, except that for renewal, an applicant shall demonstrate a grade-point average of two and five-tenths on a four-point scale, or the equivalent on another scale. This subsection shall be construed as the successor to section 173.215 for purposes of eligibility requirements of other financial assistance programs that refer to section 173.215.

[emphasis in original, added strike through emphasis illustrates text to be removed]

Chapter 173 RSMo refers to higher education and, in part, scholarships and tuition aid programs administered by the state.

The bill listing on the House web site:

HB 687

Specifies that any benefits afforded to students enrolled at an institution of higher education shall be afforded to students enrolled at a theological or divinity school

Sponsor: Fitzpatrick, Scott (158)

Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2015

LR Number: 1463H.01I

Last Action: 01/26/2015 – Introduced and Read First Time (H)

Bill String: HB 687


[emphasis added]

How do the changes in HB 687 conform with the requirements of the Missouri Constitution? Just asking.