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February 21, 2019

Fast Track legislation debated on the Senate floor
The Senate took up SCS SB 16 for perfection on Feb. 19. The bill creates the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant for adult students to receive a degree, certificate, or industry-recognized credential. Sen. Romine offered a Senate Substitute which would change the title of the bill to workforce development, as well as adding on various other workforce development bills.

Several amendments were offered over the course of the four-hour debate, some of which included the following:

  • Sen. Holsman proposed adding that a student must be employed in Missouri for three years following completion of a program or the grant would convert into an interest-free repayable loan;
  • Sen. Hoskins proposed clarifying that the repayment period be at least five years for a student who does not meet the criteria for the grant to be forgiven, as well as clarifying that a military transfer would exempt repayment of the grant;
  • Sen. Onder proposed assessing interest if the student does not meet the criteria for the grant to be forgiven; and
  • Sen. May proposed allowing a grant to be awarded to students in grades 11 or 12 who are participating in a paid internship or paid job training program.

Sen. Eigel proposed an amendment that addressed income taxation, after which a point of order was raised by Sen. Rizzo regarding the scope of bill amendment. The point of order was taken under advisement and the bill was placed on the informal calendar.
House committee hears student housing bill
The House Higher Education Committee, chaired by Rep. Dean Dohrman, received testimony on HB 435 (Chipman) on Feb. 18. The bill prohibits public institutions of higher education from requiring students to live on campus for more than one year. Committee members asked about common exceptions to the housing requirement and what kind of notification students receive prior to enrollment about institutions’ housing requirement. Testifying in opposition of the bill was Paul Wagner, Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE).                         
Senate committee hears bill impacting Title IX procedures
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Gary Romine, received testimony on SB 259 (Romine) on Feb. 19. The bill implements due process proceedings for complaints made under Title IX. Testifying in support of the bill were Mike Colona, Locke Thompson, and Chris Slusher, all attorneys speaking on their own behalf. Testifying in opposition were Paul Wagner, COPHE; Jill Patterson, Missouri State University; Andy Hayes, University of Missouri; Jordan Lucas, Associated Students of the University of Missouri; J.P. Hasman, St. Louis University; Sherry Phillips, Evangel University; Mark Falkowski, Columbia College; Bill Gamble, Independent Colleges and Universities of Missouri; Colleen Coble, Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence; and Megan Owens, a student testifying on her own behalf. Questions from committee members centered around institutions’ policies, parties’ access to evidence, how the bill could affect Title IV eligibility, and effects of legislation on reporting.
House committee hears bill allowing A+ funds to be used
for dual-credit and dual-enrollment courses in high school 
The House Special Committee on Career Readiness, chaired by Rep. Jason Chipman, received testimony on HB 221 (Kelley) on Feb. 20. The bill allows eligible high school students to receive reimbursement from the A+ Program for the cost of tuition, books, and fees for any dual-credit or dual-enrollment course offered by an institution of higher education. Testifying in support of the bill were Jeremy LaFaver, Aligned; Paul Wagner, COPHE; and Otto Fajen, Missouri National Education Association. Questions from committee members focused on the fiscal note, which estimates costs could exceed $22.7 million.         
House subcommittee amends the higher education budget
On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the House Subcommittee on Appropriations for Education amended HB 3, which is the budget bill that funds higher education in the state beginning July 1, 2019.

A total of nine amendments were offered by the subcommittee to reduce the funding for the Fast Track Scholarship Program by $4.18 million. This would leave funding for the program at $18 million, which is the estimated cost based upon the current House version of the legislation. Roughly $2.16 million of the $4.18 million cut from the program was moved to cover various programs in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education budget. The remaining $2 million was used in the higher education budget as follows:

  • $405,486 to restore funding for the Marguerite Ross Barnett Scholarship Program;
  • $1,500,000 for an increase in the deferred maintenance line item for the public community colleges;
  • $60,000 for deferred maintenance for State Technical College of Missouri; and
  • $50,000 for an increase in funding for the University of Missouri St. Louis International Collaboration Program.

Two different amendments moving institutional deferred maintenance funding proposed by the Governor to institutional cores were offered and adopted. The first amendment, offered by Rep. John Black, moved the $2 million for deferred maintenance to the core of Missouri State University. The second amendment, offered by Rep. Brenda Shields, moved the $2 million for deferred maintenance to the core of Missouri Western State University. In both cases, the funding justification was that both institutions deserved an equity funding adjustment based upon the current state funding per full-time equivalent student compared to other institutions.

Finally, a series of amendments moved $2 million in deferred maintenance for the University of Missouri System to the UM Nuclear Medicine Program and later renamed the line item to “Precision Medicine Initiative.” As adopted, the newly named line item now has a total of $3 million.

It is important to note that appropriations subcommittees are limited to the spending bills assigned them and can only offer amendments to those bills. However, the House Budget Committee has the ability to move money to and from any appropriations bill. The changes to the Governor’s recommendations voted on by the subcommittee will be considered by the House Budget Committee on Feb. 27.

Missouri Department of Higher Education
P.O. Box 1469
Jefferson City, MO 65102
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