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March 29, 2019

House committee considers bill allowing concession agreements
On Monday, March 25, the House Higher Education Committee, chaired by Rep. Dean Dohrman, received public testimony on HB 1099 (Griesheimer), which creates new provisions relating to agreements between public institutions of higher education and private developers. Committee members asked about how the normal bidding process would work in this situation, what would happen if the institution didn’t want to continue the agreement, and what the typical length of an agreement is in other states. Testifying in support of the bill was David Jackson, State Technical College of Missouri.
Senate committee passes community college retirement legislation
On Wednesday, March 27, the Senate Health and Pensions Committee, chaired by Sen. Bob Onder, received public testimony on HB 77 (Black), which modifies provisions relating to teacher and school employee retirement systems. Testifying in support of the bill were Brian Millner, Missouri Community College Association; Maria Walden, Public School Retirement System; Otto Fajen, Missouri NEA; and Matt Michelson, Missouri State Teachers Association. The committee then went into executive session and voted the bill out of committee 5-0, and recommended the bill for the consent calendar by a vote of 5-0. 
House committee hears two bills impacting higher education
On Wednesday, March 27, the House Special Committee on Career Readiness, chaired by Rep. Jason Chipman, received testimony on HB 1093 (Dohrman), which allows students enrolled in STEM Studies Enhancement Programs to be eligible for dual credit scholarships. Committee members asked about the different economic need standards and availability of quality educators for STEM courses. Testifying in opposition to the bill was a parent who worried about the safety of high school students.

The committee then received testimony on HB 744 (Riggs), which establishes the 21st Century Missouri Education Task Force, whose mission would be to evaluate and make recommendations regarding the condition of the state’s public higher education system. Committee members asked about the fiscal note, why this isn’t currently being done, and how this fits in with the governor’s reorganization of state government. Testifying in support of the bill were Kara Corches, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Otto Fajen, Missouri NEA.

House of Representatives approves House version
of FY 2020 budget
The Missouri General Assembly returned from spring break this week with the House positioned to pass its version of the state budget. On Tuesday, March 26, a total of 18 floor amendments had been distributed (not all were offered) for consideration that affected HB 3 which will fund higher education and workforce development for the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019. Of those, a total of five amendments were passed that replaced general revenue funding with lottery funding for the new Fast Track Incentive Grant program for a total of $10 million in lottery funding.

An amendment offered by House Budget Chair Smith added an additional $100,000 to the bill for a pre-apprenticeship program. Smith also offered an amendment which added $2 million in general revenue for the University of Missouri Precision Medicine Initiative, bringing total appropriations to $3 million for that effort.

A few amendments were offered but did not pass. House Amendment 10, offered by Representative Windham, would have moved money from Fast Track to the Access Missouri Grant program. It was defeated on a voice vote. House Amendment 9, offered by Representative Merideth, would have moved $2.5 million from Fast Track to the Parents as Teachers Program. It was also defeated on a voice vote. Finally, Representative Burnett offered House Amendment Number 8, which would have eliminated language prohibiting funding to higher education institutions that don’t charge international tuition rates to students with an unlawful status. That amendment was defeated on a vote of 42 ayes, 99 noes, and 20 absent with leave.

On Thursday, March 28, the House took up and passed the appropriation bills to the Senate. The final vote for House Bill 3 was 108 ayes, 43 noes, and 1 present.

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