Per Missouri Constitution, Session ended at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 17. This has been a session unlike any of the two previous sessions I have been through; a lot of blocking of legislation took place. Even with all of that, we were able to achieve some major accomplishments. After months of work, we were able to pass more than 90 bills and send them to the governor’s desk.
The legislature’s efforts during the 2019 session included passage of a fiscally responsible state spending plan. The $29.7 billion budget provides a record level of funding for K-12 education and fully funds the school foundation formula 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. The following details spending totals for the FY20 budget by state departments.
• Total spending for Medicaid (all funds) = $11,044,477,704
• Total GR and “other” funds appropriated for Medicaid = $4,975,658,193
• Total spending for the K-12 foundation formula = $3,553,211,885
• School transportation spending over the formula amount = $107.5 million
• Early childhood special education spending over the formula amount = $194.5 million
• School nutrition program spending over the formula amount = $321.4 million
• Total FY20 spending from General Revenue = $10,216,523,762
• FTE (Full Time Equivalent) total of state employees = 53,932 (FY19 = 54,410 FTE)
• State employees will receive a 3% pay raise beginning January 1st, 2020.
• Department of Corrections employees will receive a 3% raise in January plus 1% for every two years up to 20 years of service.
• Over $300 million in funding to fix Missouri bridges. Two bridges in the 117th district are on the list.
General Assembly Approves “School Turnaround Act” to Aid Low-Performing Schools
During the last week of the legislative session, my colleagues in the House and Senate approved my legislation (HB 604) that creates the School Turnaround Act. This is a bill I worked hard to pass this year in order to provide more tools to better help meet the needs of students in underperforming schools.
The bill empowers the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to identify underperforming schools and provide an influx of much-needed support to the teachers and leaders within those schools.
Once implemented, the program will create opportunities for identified schools to partner with outside organizations that have demonstrable expertise in school improvement. Those organizations will provide the intensive professional learning and coaching necessary to help school staff better meet students’ needs.
This bill is the first of its kind in Missouri and includes an innovative “pay for performance” provision, ensuring that outside providers will only receive their full fee payments for schools that meet improvement targets.
With its passage, we take a major step to help ensure that all of Missouri’s students have access to a high-quality education. The bill reaffirms Missouri’s commitment to ensuring that every child has the access they need to receive the best education we can give, while also providing our educational staff the tools they need to accomplish the goal of creating the best and brightest Missourians.
The bill was passed by a vote of 116-35 in the Missouri House of Representatives and received a unanimous Senate vote. It now goes to Gov. Mike Parson to be signed into law.
2019 Legislative Accomplishments
• Fast-Track – SB 68 is designed to fill workforce gaps in high demand industries by providing financial aid for adult learners. Fast Track will give adults whose income is below the Missouri average an opportunity to gain skills that boost their earning potential and prepare them for work in high-demand occupations. The program will provide short-term training in fields like manufacturing, nursing, welding, and information technology. It will also help student’s complete degrees in majors that prepare them for work in high-demand fields.
• Missouri One Start – Another provision of SB 68 would allow the Missouri Department of Economic Development to improve and consolidate its workforce development programs. Missouri One Start is meant to improve Missouri’s workforce programs that help businesses recruit and train large numbers of job applicants during major expansions. The changes made to the programs will make them easier for businesses to navigate. They will also enact performance-based funding for training providers, and claw back protections for taxpayers.
• Missouri Works – Deal Closing Fund - SB 68 would also give the Missouri Department of Economic Development an additional tool to bring new jobs to Missouri. The bill would modify an existing state program to establish a closing fund the department can use to make agreements with companies to create new jobs in the state. The bill would enhance the existing Missouri Works Program, which helps businesses access capital through withholdings or tax credits to embark on facility expansions and create jobs. The program includes a claw back provision to provide protection to taxpayers.
• Automotive Economic Development Tools – SB 68 would help retain automotive jobs by granting tax credits to auto manufacturers that invest $500 million or more in plant upgrades and agree to retain jobs. The bill would provide $5 million annually in credits for 5 years, and a company could qualify for an additional 5 years of credits if it makes an additional $250 million investment. The program also contains a claw back provision to protect taxpayers. The bill is in part meant to incentivize General Motors to make a $750 million expansion to its plant in Wentzville.