Weekly Update
April 23, 2021
As time goes by
With the Kansas legislature on a break until May 3rd, we are taking a closer look at the time remaining in Missouri. 

The legislative session is 85% complete and the Missouri General Assembly has not approved one education-related bill.

Aligned is tracking 190 pieces of legislation. Click here to see them all. If a bill hasn't "crossed over" - meaning made it to the other chamber by this point in session, then it's likely dead. However, lawmakers are working at a fevered pace to have their provisions amended on other vehicles (bills). 

Bill Progress Breakdown
# of billsCurrent locationPercent complete
18Chamber 260%
2Chamber 1 - 3rd Reading40%
112Chamber 1 - Referred to Committee30%
58Chamber 1 - Filed20%

We will be watching the lucky 18 to see what opportunities exist for Aligned priorities to pass and other legislation related to education in Missouri. So far, our priorities have been amended to several of the "60% complete" bills. 

Among the more hotly debated education legislation with a chance to pass are provisions for charter school funding equity, tax credit scholarship programs and open enrollment

Less controversial education legislation that shows good prospects for passage is competency-based education, gifted education, computer science education, and workforce-related education programs

We will be reporting in depth over the next couple of weeks.
Funding for voter-approved Medicaid expansion fails in committee 7-7.
Missouri News
Aligned Priorities

Bills moving...

Real-World Learning

HB 1304 (Henderson) a bill that ensures businesses are protected from liability claims when hosting real world learning opportunities was voted "do pass" from the Committee on House-Rules Legislative Oversight on 4/20. Time will not allow this bill to make it through the Senate, therefore we will continue to search for suitable places to amend the language. 

SB 448 (Rowden) - the Visiting Scholars bill that addresses teacher shortages by allowing the State Board of Education to grant temporary teaching certificates for hard-to-staff schools or hard-to-fill subject areas received a hearing in Senate Committee on Education, was voted "do pass" on 4/20 by a vote of 8-0. Again with the clock ticking, we have worked to have this language placed in SB 152 which was voted "do pass" from the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education. The bill will receive another committee vote next week as members are making some technical fixes. 

Early Care and Education

Language from HB 1071 (Shields) - a bill that extends the sunset on the Quality Assurance Report was amended onto SB 152 this week in the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education. 

HB 973 (Shields) - a bill that increases the amount of state aid districts and charters can claim for Pre-K has been held in the committee on Rules-Administrative Oversight since 3/4. 

HB 865 (Shields) - a bill that gives counties the authority to seek voter-approved property tax increases and establish local early childhood boards for early childhood education has been held in the committee on Rules-Legislative Oversight since 2/25.

Language to allow school districts to claim state-aid for half-day Kindergarten programs has been amended to HB 101 (Pollitt).

Innovative Practices

HB 624 (Richey), the Show-Me Success Diploma program, also includes language to establish a competency-based education task force. The Senate Committee on Education voted this bill "do pass" on 4/20.

SB 152 (Hoskins), an education savings plan bill that includes the competency-based education grant program and task force received a host of amendments in committee this week, including the Visiting Scholars and Quality Assurance Report provisions mentioned above. You can find a full breakdown in our Aligned Capitol Report

Other education legislation

HCS HB 137 (Richey) which fixes a glitch in the funding mechanism for distributing to charter schools their share of local revenue will be heard in Senate Committee on Education on 4/27.

Legislative News

Here are a few toplines from the activity this week:
  • On Wednesday, members of the House unanimously voted to expel Rep. Rick Roeber (R-Lee's Summit) following the release of the House Ethics Committee report that found him guilty of sexually, mentally and physically abusing his children.  It is only the second expulsion in legislative history.  The only other expulsion was in 1865 and involved a secessionist member of the House. 
  • This week, dozens of witnesses testified in support of a Senate bill (SB 508) that would prevent the Invenergy Grain Belt Express project from utilizing eminent domain to build its wind power transmission lines across eight rural counties (from Buchanan through Ralls).  
  • This week the Missouri Appropriations Committee failed to pass a motion that would have funded the expansion of Medicaid.  The vote was 7-7 with three Republican Senators voting with the four Democrats on the Committee.  
  • Two high ranking members of the Parson Administration abruptly resigned this week.  Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams and the Governor's Chief Operating Officer Drew Erdmann sent resignation letters to the Governor which were promptly accepted. 
  • This week, former Governor Eric Greitens named former Fox personality and Trump advisor Kimberly Guilfoyle as his national chair of his campaign for the U.S. Senate 
Read all the details in our Aligned Capitol Report.

For an extra deep dive, read the weekly report from GovWatch

Budget Update

The Senate Committee on Appropriations completed the mark-up process of the $34 billion FY 2022 budget this week.  The Senate Committee differs from the House in that they either concur with the Department, the Governor, or the House recommendations or create their own position. The Senate agreed with the House on all pay plan and beyond performance pay plan for the eleven different departments. However, they took a Senate position on the mileage reimbursement rate to align with the new federal standards. 

Click here to see the major differences between the House and Senate budgets.

Governor Links Early Childhood Education to Workforce Development

On Wednesday, Governor Mike Parson was the opening speaker for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce Workforce2030 Conference. In his address to business leaders from across the state, he noted the importance of high quality early care and education to building a strong workforce. He said the recent reorganization of the functions in various state departments into a single Office of Childhood will help streamline services and create greater efficiencies for families.
Kansas News

Legislative Update 

The Kansas House and Senate are adjourned until May 3rd. However we have a few items to report. 

Kelly rejects two education bills and approves one

Governor Laura Kelly vetoed HB 2039a bill requiring students to pass a civics test and financial literacy course before graduating high school and returned it to the House on April 22nd
 
Kelly also vetoed Sub for HB 2089, a bill that allows local school boards to provide firearm safety education and directs the state board to establish curriculum guidelines for a standardized firearm safety education program.

Approved
HB 2085, the students' right to know act, which provides information on postsecondary education options to better prepare students for the workforce, was approved by the governor on April 16th.

Also, according to Hawver's Capitol Report, "The Consensus Revenue Estimating (CRE) group today forecast that Kansas will see $361 million in higher revenues for the remainder of this fiscal year and next."

Governor Kelly's response to the CRE:

"It's encouraging that our state is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, but we must be cautious. Kansas has been through a lot and we need to allow adequate time to recover and rebuild by continuing to invest in our schools, our infrastructure and the economic development tools that helped bring in a record amount of capital investment last year."

Aligned's optimism highlighted in press
The Missouri Independent published a piece by Staff Reporter Tessa Weinberg that highlighted a National Institute for Early Education Research report. The 2020 State of Preschool Yearbook assesses state funding for pre-kindergarten, enrollment figures, and quality measures.

The article notes while Missouri received high marks for the Missouri Preschool Program, the state programs only serve "an estimated 7.4 of the states 4-year old and just 1.5 percent of 3-year-olds."

Aligned quoted

"This year, early childhood education has been deemed a priority by both legislative leaders and Gov. Mike Parson. Linda Rallo, vice president of Aligned, a nonprofit coalition of business leaders focused on improving education in Kansas and Missouri, says that level of support makes it feel like Missouri is on the cusp of gaining ground."

"I feel like we are just on the precipice of really moving the needle," Rallo said, later adding: "People are doing a lot behind the scenes to set us up for, I think, some tremendous progress in the next five years."

Read the full article here.
We are nearing the final weeks of legislative session in both states. We misplaced our crystal ball but we do expect twists and turns. Stay tuned.

All our best.

Torree Pederson
Torree@WeAreAligned.org
(913) 484-4202

Linda Rallo
Linda@WeAreAligned.org
(314) 330-8442