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February 25, 2022 Updates

This week…

Governor Parson signed the $4.6 billion emergency supplemental bill that includes funds for state employee pay raises, federal funds for Missouri’s K-12 schools, and Medicaid expansion. Read more regarding the supplemental budget bill here.

Senator Roy Blunt addressed the Missouri House of Representatives this week, ahead of his retirement, he spoke to several key issues that are important to Missourians. In his speech, he also highlighted some of the accomplishments, research, and innovations that are taking place at UM System campuses. Watch his full speech here.


Missouri Senate

Financial Aid
This week, the Senate passed several bills including Senator Lincoln Hough’s Fastrack Workforce Development bill (SB672). The Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant is a financial aid program for those pursuing a certificate, degree, or industry-recognized credential. The grantees must reside and work in Missouri for three years following their graduation. This bill will extend the program until 2029 and will also add eligible apprenticeships. Extending this program is a priority for Governor Parson, who would like to see it permanently established.

Higher Education Funding
On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations committee met to hear testimony regarding the proposed budget for the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.

Diploma Program
The Senate Education committee held a hearing this week on Senator Lauren Arthur’s Senate Bill 660, which would establish the “Show Me Success Diploma Program”. This program would be create an alternative pathway to graduation for high school students for eligible students at the end of tenth grade. Those who get this diploma may enroll in a postsecondary educational institution that qualified. For each student enrolled in such an institution, an amount equal 90% of the pupil's proportionate share of the state, local, and federal aid that the district or charter school receives for such student shall be deposited into a higher education savings account that lists the student as the beneficiary. The bill also established a competency-based educational grant program and task-force and establishes provisions regarding competency-based high school credits.

Medical Student Loans
The Senate Health and Pensions Committee held a hearing this week regarding Senator Bill White’s Senate Bill 757, which makes changes to medical student loan program administered by the Department of Health and Senior Services by adding psychiatry, dental surgery, dental medicine, or dental hygiene students to the list of eligible students in the program. This bill also changes the amount of the loan that students may be eligible to receive from $7,500 each academic year to $25,000 each academic year. The bill also makes changes to the Nursing Student Loan Program by changing the available assistance for students from $5,000 each year for professional nursing programs to $10,000 each year.

Animal Research
Senator Doug Beck has introduced Senate Bill 979, which would require colleges and universities for conduct animal research to post on their website a report on such animal research prior to December 31st of year. The report shall include the amount of funds used for animal research, a list of active animal research projects, a review of compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, number of animals adopted out to animal shelters and the number of animals euthanized, and all efforts done by the university to reduce or replace the use of animals in research. This bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources.

Flood Resiliency
Senator Dan Hegeman has introduced Senate Bill 984, the “Flood Resiliency Act”, which shall be a flood resiliency program administered by the Department of Natural Resources to increase flood resiliency along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and their tributaries and to improve statewide flood forecasting and monitoring ability. This bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources.

The Missouri Senate passed Senator Andrew Koenig’s constitutional amendment that would prohibit the Missouri General Assembly from setting a state income tax rate that exceeds 5.9% (SJR33). The joint resolution was reported to the House and read for the first time.


Missouri House of Representatives

Performance Funding Formula
Representative Henderson introduced House Bill 2602, which will establish a performance funding formula for universities and two-year college systems. The House Higher Education Committee has scheduled a hearing for this bill on February 28, 2022. Please see below for more detail regarding the portion of the bill that applies to universities.  

  • The “University Rewarding Workforce Readiness Act” does the following:
    • Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development shall calculate a performance score for each university that is regulated by the Department. The department shall calculate this score by using the following indicators and corresponding weights.
      • 30% weight- average annual earnings of students who matriculated at the university six- and ten-years prior, are currently employed, and are not currently enrolled in postsecondary education
      • 25% weight- average annual earnings of students who are federal Pell Grant recipients and matriculated at the university six- and ten-years prior, are currently employed, and are not currently enrolled in postsecondary education
      • 25% weight- proportion of students who are federal Pell Grant recipients at the university
      • 15% weight- proportion of students who completed a bachelor's or master's degree in education, law enforcement, corrections, or social work at the university five years prior, and are currently employed in Missouri by an employer in the corresponding field.
      • 10% weight- proportion of students who graduated from the university one year prior and are enrolled in graduate education or employed in Missouri above the high school threshold earnings.
    • The Department shall develop a performance funding formula, as detailed in the bill, that calculates a share of university funding by December 31, 2022. The performance funding formula shall:
      • Rely on the performance scores calculated
      • Weight the performance score for each university-by multiplying the university's performance score by the university's full-time equivalent enrollment
      • Average the current year's performance indicators for each university with the previous two years' performance indicators, creating three-year rolling averages
      • Adjust the earnings performance indicators with a cost-of-living index based on the university’s location.
    • The General Assembly shall determine the allocation of university system funding through a phase-in schedule, from July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2026.
    • The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations may execute data sharing agreements with other states and the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development may use other means of collecting performance indicator data relevant to the performance funding formula.

The Missouri House of Representatives passed Representative Cody Smith’s constitutional amendment that modifies the eligibility requirements for MO HealthNet (HJR117). The joint resolution has been reported to the Senate and read for the first time.

Rural Primary Care Physician Grant Program Fund
The House Rural Community Development Committee passed out of committee Representative Herman Morse’s House Bill 1630, which creates a grant program for primary care physicians working and residing in rural counties. The physician will need to work and reside in a rural county, which is 35,000 inhabitants or less. The physician will also need to practice and reside in the rural county for five years. The House Committee on Rules and Legislative Oversight will take up the bill next.  

Vaccine Mandates
The House of Representatives passed the following bills regarding vaccine mandates. Please see a list of those bills below.

  • House Bill 2358, introduced by Representative David Evans, requires that employers make reasonable accommodations from a COVID-19 vaccine mandate including sincerely held beliefs and clarifies the religious exemption. There would also be a shifting of the burden of proof on to the employers to prove that what the employee is claiming is false. The bill also addresses employee misconduct, unemployment, workers’ compensation, and visitation rights.
  • House Bill 1686, introduced by Representative Bill Hardwick, which establishes exemptions for the right to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine and limits the entities that are able to require vaccine mandates. There is a specific provision that excludes public colleges and universities that that have to require the vaccine for employees in order to receive federal funds but that it should not be a mandate for students to get the vaccine for enrollment.

Concealed Carry
The House General Laws Committee met to hear public testimony regarding Representative Ben Baker’s House Bill 1698, which will amend current law to allow firearms in churches and other places of worship with a concealed carry permit.

Workforce Diploma Program
The House Workforce Development Committee held a hearing on Representative Jon Patterson’s House Bill 2325, that would create a workforce diploma program to assist students in obtaining a high school diploma while getting them ready for the workforce and developing their career technical skills.

Reviewed 2022-02-25