Yet another busy week at the Capitol has come and gone while my fellow senators and I had our first 13-hour, all-night debate of the Second Session of the 98th General Assembly this past Tuesday. The big focus of this week was ethics reform and tort reform for Missouri legislators, and I’m happy to say that the Senate perfected and passed this year’s first piece of ethics legislation and is looking forward to debating even more in the weeks to come.

I would like to use this week’s column to answer some questions that many of my constituents and District 33 residents have been asking about the National Popular Vote Bill and the electoral vote process. With this bill making headlines over the past year and with the presidential primary elections underway, I’d like to set the record straight over what it means for concerned Missourians.

The Electoral College is a collection of 538 electors who cast votes to decide who will become the next president and vice-president of the United States. Every four years, when voters go the polls and cast their votes, whichever candidate receives the majority of the popular vote will win that state’s electoral vote as well. This is known as the winner-take-all system.

The National Popular Vote Bill would guarantee the presidency to whichever candidate receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and D.C. Where currently a candidate wins each state individually, paying attention to some states more than others, this Bill would lump all of the states together to reflect the national popular vote, rather than 50 separate popular votes. Currently, the bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions, which possess 165 electoral votes – just over 60 percent of the total electoral votes necessary to activate it. In 22 states, the bill has passed a total of 33 legislative chambers.

The Bill would do away with battleground states like Florida, Iowa and Ohio, and instead force the candidates to focus on every state as part of a whole: Each as important as the last. Hopefully this explanation has answered some of your concerns, and please visit the following website for more information: http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/.

There is one more thing I would like to mention briefly today, and that is the update presented to the Missouri Board of Education on state learning standards during the board’s Feb. 16 meeting. The updated standards will be taking the place of Common Core, and the entire proposal can be viewed online on the State Board’s meeting page: http://dese.mo.gov/state-board-education/agendas-minutes/february-2016-agenda.

Mike Cunningham is a Republican member of the Missouri State Senate, representing District 33. Contact him at 573-751-1882 or www.senate.mo.gov/cunningham

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