As the clock hit 6 p.m. on Friday, May 17, members of the Missouri House and Senate reached the conclusion of a highly productive legislative session that saw a number of important policy reforms cross the finish line. After months of work, legislators were able to pass more than 90 bills and send them to the governor’s desk. The bills that re- ceived final passage include a number of priorities outlined by House leadership, as well as issues supported by the governor.
One bill approved by House and Senate members would create economic incentives meant to create and retain jobs, and implement a workforce development program to train Missourians to fill jobs in areas of high need. The legislature also approved the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, which is one of the strongest pro-life bills in the nation. Additionally, lawmakers gave final approval to bills that will protect some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, make substantive reforms to Missouri’s criminal justice system, encourage agricultural development and ensure food security, and improve the state’s legal climate.
The legislature’s efforts during the 2019 session also include passage of a fiscally re- sponsible state spending plan, without raising taxes. The $29.7 billion budget provides a record level of funding for K-12 education and fully funds the school foundation formu- la for the third year in a row. The spending plan also provides funding boosts for state scholarship programs and for the state’s institutions of higher learning. Additionally, the budget funds repairs for the state’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure.
In the budget process, the General Assembly agreed to provide an additional $1 million in core funding for most of the state’s four-year colleges and universities. Additional core funding in the amount of ten million dollars was added to Missouri State Universi- ty. Ozarks Technical community college received $4,750,000 in one time funding from the MoExcels Workforce Initiative and MSU received $3,111,250. OTC and MSU should benefit from Fast Track scholarship for students over 25years old returning to college pursue high need jobs.
Also, on the last day of session the School Turnaround Act was passed for public schools to identify and address schools in need of intervention. The bill came back from the Senate with amendments including limitations on school start date. I was one of the few representatives who voted against the amendment, which passed anyway because several other provisions of the Senate amendment were positive.
Please feel free to contact my office in Jefferson City if we may be of assistance at 573-751-3819.