2023 Legislative Update – Jan. 23

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State of the State Address Kicks Off FY24 State Budget

On Wednesday, January 18th, before a joint meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Gov. Mike Parson’s delivered his state of the state address for 2023. Governor Parson highlighted his speech with a proposed $859 million plan to widen Interstate 70 east of Kansas City, west of St. Louis, and in the Columbia area. In addition to highway widening, Gov. Parson’s budget proposal includes a total of $51.6 billion with priorities including broadband internet expansion, childcare funding, and education programs to increase teacher pay. The Governor’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2024 will now be reviewed by the House Budget Committee and its subcommittees and by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The state fiscal year 2024 budget begins on July 1.

The governor’s executive budget asks for a record setting $50,532,767,022 (this breaks down into roughly $14 billion in general revenue, $12.2 billion in other funds, and $24.2 billion in federal funds). The two state departments with the highest amount of spending include the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at $10.1 billion (20%) and the Department of Social Services at $16.4 billion (33%).

The Governor outlined his budget priorities in the following categories:

Infrastructure:

  • $250 million to continue broadband expansion efforts
  • $35 million to update railway crossings
  • A planned $859 million investment to widen and rebuild the I-70 corridor from St. Louis to Warrenton, Kansas City to Odessa, and extending both East and West from Columbia

Workforce Development and Education:

  • Adds $117 million to fully fund the foundation formula
  • $233 million for school transportation needs
  • $32 million to expand the Career Ladder Program
  • A continuation of the Teacher Baseline Salary Program which raised teacher pay from $25,000 to $38,000 per year
  • $6 million to expand pre-kindergarten options to all four-year-old children eligible for free and reduced priced lunch at no cost
  • $78 million to increase child care subsidy rates and establishes three new child care tax credit programs:
  • Child Care Contribution Tax Credit: Encourages contributions to child care providers to improve and expand facilities and services
  • Employer-Provided Child Care Assistance Tax Credit: Benefits employers who offer child care assistance to their employees
  • Child Care Provider Tax Credit: Assists child care providers with payroll costs and incentivizes capital improvements to child care facilities
  • $272.4 million for transformational capital improvement projects at Missouri’s public higher education institutions
  • $71 million (7%) increase in core funding to Missouri’s public higher education institutions (the highest increase in 25 years)
  • $38 million for MoExcels workforce development projects on college campuses
  • $3 million for Apprenticeship Missouri
  • $2.2 million to modernize Missouri’s 27 job centers
  • $800,000 for the Fast Track program
  • $500,000 for Jobs for America’s Graduates

Government Reform:

  • $22 million for the Missouri Department of Social Services’ Children’s Division

Health and Mental Health Care:

  • $3.5 million to expand the youth behavioral health liaison program and add an additional 27 liaisons throughout the state
  • $4 million for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training programs to increase the number of individuals receiving CNA training
  • $4.3 million to the Missouri Department of Health and Mental Health to implement a new maternal mortality plan

Public Safety

  • $50 million for school safety grants for schools to make physical security investment on their campuses, develop safety plans, establish school resource officer programs, and increase their active training threats

The FY24 Executive Budget is available here.

The 2023 State of the State Address can be read in full here.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEES CLOSER TO BUSY HEARINGS SCHEDULE

With a shortened week because of no session on Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, only a few Senate and House committees met this week, the most notable the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee that met Wednesday to hear education bills that touched on K-12 curriculum transparency and critical race theory. Four House committees met on Thursday morning, primarily for organizational purposes. A more loaded schedule for committee hearings is anticipated for Week Four.

NEW HOUSE RULE WILL PROVIDE MORE FOCUS ON BILLS

Houses Speaker Dean Plocher (R-Town and Country) made a major house procedural announcement this week related to the number of bills accepted from standing committees. House committees will only be allowed two bills to emerge from each committee before Spring Break (mid-March) instead of an unlimited number of bills allowed in past sessions. The new rule regarding “slotting” will force more focus on which House bills of priority will move forward and which bills will be recipients of committee and floor amendments. Committee chairs are likely to put together “bill packages” instead of passing numerous individual bills, and it may provide more transparency in the process.

VIVEK MALEK SWORN IN AS STATE TREASURER

On Tuesday, Vivek Malek was sworn in as the 48th Missouri State Treasurer. The ceremony took place in the House Chamber where he pledged a fiscally conservative approach to protecting tax dollars, providing opportunities for growth, and promoting success for all Missourians. Treasurer Malek, 45, of Wildwood, is the first person of Indian descent and the first person of color to hold statewide office in Missouri. He was appointed on December 20, 2022 by Governor Mike Parson to succeed Scott Fitzpatrick, who was elected as Missouri State Auditor during the November 2022 General Election.

Committee Activity

Senate Bill 3 (Hoskins, R-Warrensburg) was heard by the Senate Economic Development and Tax Policy Committee on Jan. 17. SB 3 establishes the “Regulatory Sandbox Act” which creates the Regulatory Relief Office within the Department of Economic Development (DED). The Regulatory Relief Office shall administer the provisions of the bill with the purpose of identifying state laws or regulations that could potentially be waived or suspended for participating businesses during a 24-month period in which the participating business demonstrates an innovative product offering to consumers. During his presentation, Sen. Hoskins said the legislation would allow Missouri to become more attractive for new businesses. He said similar laws in Arizona and West Virginia have resulted in the development of new products.

One witness testified in opposition to SB 3, a representative of the Sierra Club citing environmental concerns. Witnesses who testified in support of SB 3 included Next Missouri, Associated Industries of Missouri, Americans for Prosperity, Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Cicero Action, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the City Council of Kansas City, United WE, NFIB-Missouri, and the Missouri Grocers Association.

Under SB 3, the Regulatory Relief Office shall create and maintain on the DED website a web page that invites residents and businesses in the state to make suggestions regarding laws and regulations that could be modified or eliminated to reduce the regulatory burden on residents and businesses.Included in the bill is transparency, suggested during the 2022 legislative session by the Missouri Press Association. Transparency issues addressed regard the identity of residents and businesses that make suggestions on the web site if they wish to comment publicly, annual reports to the governor, the General Assembly, and to each state agency with information regarding each participant in the sandbox program, most meetings and records of the advisory committee shall be considered as public meetings and records under the Sunshine Law except for those meetings and records that would reveal proprietary or confidential trade secrets, and incident reports involving a sandbox participant shall be publicly available on the regulatory sandbox web page except for proprietary information or confidential trade secrets, among other provisions.

The committee took no action on the legislation.

PARENTS’ BILL OF RIGHTS ACT OF 2023 LEGISLATION RECEIVES HEARING

Senate Bill 4 (Koenig, R-Manchester) and Senate Bill 89 (Ben Brown, R-Washington) are similar bills to create and modify provisions regarding transparency in elementary and secondary education. Both bills were heard jointly by the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee on Jan. 18.

SB 4 creates the “Parents’ Bill of Rights Act of 2023,” to empower parents to enforce rights, as outlined in the bill, and to access records maintained by schools in which their children are enrolled. SB 4 requires the Commissioner of Education to establish the Missouri Education Transparency and Accountability Portal to provide citizens with access to every school district’s curriculum, textbooks, and syllabi. SB 4 prohibits any school from offering a course on Critical Race Theory in kindergarten through 12th grade, without actually defining CRT, but prohibiting teaching that individuals of any race, ethnicity, color, or national origin are inherently superior or inferior and that individuals, by virtue of their race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, bear collective guilt and are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by others.

SB 89 also creates the Missouri Education Transparency and Accountability Portal and the “Parents’ Bill of Rights Act of 2023.” If a school district is found to have violated provisions in SB 89, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) may withhold up to 50 percent of the state aid for that school district. Some comments pointed out that SB 89 lacks definitions of various words and phrases that weaken the bill.

Discussion during the two-hour committee hearing was quite serious between senators on the committee and was divided among the hearing’s witnesses. Those who testified in support of the legislation included Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) who said he appreciates the two bills as he is a former educator and a parent.

Other witnesses in support of the legislation included the Show Me Institute, several parents supporting the portal for curriculum transparency, a representative of the Missouri Century Foundation, and two representatives of No Left Turn In Education-Missouri.

Witnesses in opposition to the bills included the Camdenton School District Board of Education president, two representatives of the Missouri Equity Education Partnership, a high school senior from John Burroughs School in St. Louis, a Japanese American senior from Ladue High School in St. Louis, the vice president of the Missouri Council for History Education, the NAACP of Missouri, Cultural Leadership in St. Louis, Dr. Eric Hahn, who is a high school history teacher of more than 35 years, a Jefferson City resident in opposition, the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, and the National Education Association-Missouri. Information only testimony was presented by Americans for Equal Parity. The committee took no action on the legislation.

Upcoming Hearings

Senate-Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence

01/23/2023 1:30 PM

Committee Hearing, SCR 1

SB72 Trent – Establishes the Judicial Privacy Act, which provides restrictions on the use of a judicial officer’s personal information

Senate-Economic Development and Tax Policy

01/23/2023 2:00 PM

Committee Hearing, Senate Lounge

 

SJR3 Koenig – Modifies provisions relating to taxation

House-Local Government

01/24/2023 8:00 AM

Committee Hearing, HR 7

Organizational Meeting

Senate-Education and Workforce Development

01/24/2023 8:00 AM

Committee Hearing, Senate Lounge

 

Executive Session:

SB4 Koenig – Modifies provisions regarding transparency in public schools and creates the Parents’ Bill of Rights Act of 2023

SB89 Brown – Creates the Missouri Education Transparency and Accountability Portal and the Parents’ Bill of Rights Act of 2023

House-Elections and Elected Officials

01/24/2023 12:00 PM

Committee Hearing, HR 6

HJR18 Lewis – Modifies requirements for the passage of initiative petitions proposing constitutional amendments

HJR24 Davidson – Modifies provisions for amending the constitution

HJR25 Davidson – Modifies provisions for amending the constitution

HJR30 Lewis – Modifies provisions for amending the constitution

HJR43 Henderson – Modifies provisions for initiative petitions and referendums

House-Economic Development

01/25/2023 8:15 AM

Committee Hearing, HR 1

HB268 Riley – Establishes the Regulatory Sandbox Act

Senate-Gubernatorial Appointments

01/25/2023 10:15 AM

Committee Hearing, Senate Lounge

Robin Wheeler Sanders, Democrat, as a member of the Missouri Ethics Commission (Washington)

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