The Missouri General Assembly officially kicked off the first session of the 101st General Assembly at noon on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Members in both chambers took the oath of office. Legislators, staff and many family members participated in a more subdued and in some cases logistically different ceremony. In the Missouri House, the oath of office was taken by class in order to reduce the crowd size in the chamber and upper galleries. The Missouri House had 49 new members sworn in out of the 163-member body. In the Missouri Senate, members took their oath of office at their desks as opposed to the dais, with 11 new members joining the 34 member body.
There have been 1,173 bills filed thus far, many of those related to education. As mentioned during our advocacy presentations, the link for a list of key bills is listed below. We have highlighted a few below:
Tracking List: https://www.govwatch.net/report/13172
House Bill 86, sponsored by Representative Jered Taylor, includes higher educational institutions in the list of locations an individual can carry a concealed firearm or an individual with a ccw permit can carry a concealed firearm within the state. The bill prohibits public institutions of higher education from imposing any policies or contractual requirements that would prohibit employees or students from the carrying of concealed firearms into locations where concealed carry is not otherwise permitted by law.
Senator Eric Burlison filed the same language, Senate Bill 117.
Representative Chuck Basye filed a similar bill, but more specific to public institutions of higher education. House Bill 568 allows CCW permit holders to carry concealed firearms on the premises of college campuses. It allows institutions to implement policies regarding permits to carry firearms, but these policies shall not extend to any general prohibition on carrying, chambering, active operation, or storage of concealed firearms.
House Bill 320, filed by Representative Travis Fitzwater, and Senate Bill 204, filed by Senator Mike Cierpiot, would both mandate that high schools offer a computer science course that could be substituted for a mathematics unit, or science unit. The University of Missouri System has expressed concerns with substitution of a mathematics course for computer science.
Representative Ann Kelley filed House Bill 311, which would allow public institutions of higher education to charge differential tuition rates based on program of study.
Governor Parson Releases 2021 Federal Stimulus and General Revenue
Wednesday afternoon Governor Parson announced the release of $126,921,606 in previously restricted Fiscal Year 2021 funds, including $117,460,583 in general revenue. Additionally, Governor Parson announced over $68 million in Federal Budget Stabilization Fund appropriations for infrastructure and capital improvement projects at Missouri's public universities and State Technical College of Missouri. The total funds released for UM System is $36.9 million.
The Inauguration Ceremony for state officials will be held Monday, January 11th at 11:30 a.m. on the south lawn of the Missouri Capitol. Governor Mike Parson, Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick will all be sworn in. The event is free and open to the public - masks will be encouraged and social distancing measures enforced. Information regarding the inaugural ball and parade will be announced following the ceremony.