Legislative Update - 2024, Week 14


The House Fiscal Review Committee approved SS#2/SCS/SB 727 (Andrew Koenig) on April 11. The bill is now on the House calendar and likely to be taken up for debate soon. The Association opposes the bill.

SB 727 expands the existing tax credit voucher enacted in 2021 and authorizes the establishment of charter schools in any district in Boone County without sponsorship by the local school board. The Association recognizes that positive provisions were added during Senate floor action but remains opposed to the bill.




The Senate Select Committee on Empowering Missouri Parents and Children heard HCS/HB 1989 (Brad Pollitt) on April 9. The bill would create a public-school open enrollment program. The Missouri NEA believes that public school choice plans with state funding may harm students and our public schools unless essential criteria are in place for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating their effectiveness. HB 1989 included specific provisions to mitigate the potential for open enrollment to increase racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic segregation. However, the HCS removed the provisions to mitigate re-segregation. The Association opposes the bill.



The Senate gave final approval to SS/SB 898 (Rusty Black) on April 11. The original bill pertained to local government retirement systems. The SS version included SB 1286 (Mike Bernskoetter) regarding PSRS/PEERS Systems. The Association supports the school retirement portions of the bill.

The bill allows PSRS/PEERS retirees on disability retirement to work part-time under the working after retirement provisions for the system. The bill also reduces the penalty for exceeding the working after retirement limit to the actual amount of excess earnings, rather than a full month's pension and allows an employer to set the compensation for such a position with the approval of the System. The Senate approved an amendment to establish a 2.6% benefit factor for new PSRS retirees with 33 or more years of service. If approved, this latter provision would apply to those retiring after the provision becomes effective.



The House perfected HCS/HBs 1715 & 2630 (Tricia Byrnes) on April 9. The bill pertains to school anti-bullying policies. The bill requires certain changes in district anti-bullying policies, including disallowing zero-tolerance discipline policies. The HCS also requires that incident reports be reduced to writing and includes additional reporting requirements within schools and districts. The perfected version extends the current requirement to provide education, resources and referrals to students who are victims of bullying to also apply to students who commit acts of bullying.



The House Special Committee on Innovation and Technology approved HB 1688 (Rodger Reedy) on April 10. The bill requires DESE to develop a driver education instruction and training program to be offered as part of the high school health curriculum in district and charter schools. The instruction shall include habits and skills necessary for the safe operation of motor vehicles, distracted driving hazards, and traffic stop procedures. The instruction will not require operation of a vehicle.



The Senate Fiscal Oversight Committee heard SJR 53 (Bill Eigel) on April 11. The SJR would limit growth in total state general revenue appropriations from year to year to no greater than the rate of inflation and the rate of population growth. The SJR would also phase out all personal property taxes in the state over a four-year period, while providing reimbursing all local governments, including school districts, of all lost revenues by a standing appropriation of general revenue. The SJR is estimated to reduce state revenues by $1.93 billion when fully implemented. This measure would seriously undermine the state's capacity to support investments in K-12 and higher education and other essential services. The Association opposes the joint resolution.



The House Special Committee on Property Tax Reform voted to approve HCS/SS/SB 756 (Tony Luetkemeyer) on April 10. SB 756 revises the senior citizen property tax credit enacted in 2023 in SB 190. The bill clarifies that any such homestead credit starts when a county acts to adopt the optional property tax credit and is not retroactive to a prior year when a taxpayer might have otherwise become eligible based on age qualification. The bill also clarifies that a taxpayer must be 62 years or older to qualify, rather than being Social Security-eligible. Qualifying taxpayers must also not have delinquent taxes to qualify. The Senate also adopted an amendment providing that the additional value of new construction and improvements on qualified properties would be subject to taxation, but such additional taxation would then be frozen in the same manner as provided for the existing, qualified property.



The committee approved three bills on April 10:

HCS/HB 2696 (Kathy Steinhoff) to allow pre-K students identified with developmental delays to continue services through both the kindergarten and first-grade year. Currently, Missouri rules require that services must end after kindergarten unless the student has a specific identification of a disability and an IEP. The Association supports the bill.

HCS/HB 2562 (Kurtis Gregory) to allow high school athletes to negotiate and receive compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness after signing a letter of intent to enroll with a Missouri educational institution.

HB 1758 (Brad Pollitt) to create an educational stabilization fund. Money appropriated to this fund could be used to cover the cost of full funding of the school formula in years when actual revenues are less than the estimates on which the budget is based. The Association supports this proactive step to create a more sustainable state budget and sustained commitment to education funding.



The committee again postponed the scheduled hearing on April 10 for HB 2938 (Bishop Davidson). The bill creates a new state-level council that would create a school letter-grade accountability system. The Association continues to oppose this kind of top-down approach and supports the increased local control proposed in HB 1851 (Paula Brown) and SB 814 (Jill Carter).



In addition to hearing HB 1989 (Brad Pollitt) on open enrollment, the committee heard three other bills on April 9:

SB 1311 (Curtis Trent) to establish the "Media Literacy and Critical Thinking" pilot program requiring DESE to select 5-7 school districts for a pilot program to address the components of media literacy.

HB 1486 (Brenda Shields) to expand state formula support for more low-income students in early childhood education programs. The Association supports the bill.

HCS HB 1569 (Ann Kelley) to increase financial support for higher education students. The bill creates grants for students pursuing degrees in STEM fields and allows A+ eligible students to use A+ funds for certificate programs such as EMT, CDL, and LPN certificates. The bill increases maximum award amounts for Access Missouri grants and requires public institutions to offer undergraduate course credit for any student who receives a score of 4 or higher on an IB exam. The bill also increases the maximum allowed income to qualify for Fast Track workforce grants. The Association supports the bill.