Legislative Update - 2024, Week 17

By Otto Fajen, MNEA Legislative Director



Capitol Action Days are part of the Association's plan to promote positive policy for public education. MNEA's Capitol Action Days concluded on May 1 when MNEA-R members and MNEA Aspiring Educators visited the Capitol and met with their legislators. For more information, please visit https://www.mnea.org/CAD.


The Senate adjourned for the week after giving first-round approval to SS/SB 748 (Lincoln Hough). SS/SB 748 would extend the FRA healthcare provider tax for five years. The extension of the FRA provider tax is seen as an essential part of successfully passing the state budget. The combined budget impact of the FRA and federal matching funds is more than $4 billion, and the House and Senate versions both assume that these funds will be available to fund Medicaid services.

The Senate was in session continuously this week for over forty hours while several members of the so-called "Freedom Caucus" engaged in filibusters to delay the FRA extension in an attempt to pressure Senate leaders to bring up the House version of SJR 74 (Mary Elizabeth Coleman), a joint resolution seeking to weaken the citizen initiative process for amending the Missouri Constitution.  

The budget deadline for this session requires completion of all legislative action on the budget by 6 p.m. on May 10. When it reconvenes on May 6, the Senate could give final approval to the FRA extension contained in SB 748. The Senate is expected to then take up the state budget bills since next week is the last week for passing the budget in regular session.

Any changes adopted by the Senate would also have to be approved by the House by the end of the week. Typically, the differences are resolved in a formal budget conference, but due to the lack of time, House and Senate leaders are already attempting to identify and reconcile key differences prior to final adoption of the Senate version of the budget.


The House passed HB 1991 (Sherri Gallick) on April 29. The Association supports the bill. The bill requires public schools to develop and implement a cardiac emergency response plan. The bill requires coordination with emergency service providers, include guidelines for the plans, and require relevant training for appropriate personnel. The Missouri NEA believes that all schools must have written plans that delineate procedures regarding emergencies. The Association also believes that education employees should have the opportunity for training in CPR and the proper use of defibrillator, Naloxone, and epinephrine dispensers by qualified personnel. The House also adopted an amendment to require each licensed childcare provider to adopt a policy on allergy prevention and response.


The committee voted to approve many bills on April 30:

SCS/HCS/HB 1569 (Ann Kelley) adds additional provisions to the House version of HB 1569. The House version contains several provisions to increase financial support for higher education students. The Association supports the House version of the bill. The SCS adds provisions relating to a pilot program for media literacy and critical thinking, instruction in cursive writing, public school background checks in charter schools, reading instruction in grades K-3, educational assistance for members of the Missouri National Guard, and modifying the Higher Education Core Curriculum Transfer Act.

HCS/HBs 1715 & 2630 (Tricia Byrnes) 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 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.

HB 1945 (Brenda Shields) to remove the sunset on DESE's teacher externships program. The Association supports the bill.

HCS/HB 2310 (Cameron Parker) to increase the amount of lower-division core curriculum credit hours that a student may transfer among public institutions of higher education from forty-two credit hours to sixty credit hours. A transferring student who completes the sixty credit-hour block of courses at one institution shall receive academic credit toward the degree program rather than simply receiving academic credit.

SB 1446 (Brian Williams) to require the State Board of Education to convene a work group to develop a curriculum framework of instruction on the dehumanization of marginalized groups. The Association believes teaching current and historical truths, including wrongs done to marginalized and oppressed peoples, connects students to the past and fosters critical thinking and growth. The Association supports the bill.

SB 1447 (Brian Williams) to authorize a sales tax for early childhood educational services in St. Louis County and ensure the proceeds are used for that purpose.

SB 1125 (Ben Brown) to ban certain policies in public college admissions, contracting, hiring and promotions. The Association believes that school recruitment policies should seek to recruit and retain culturally diverse education professionals. The Association is concerned that the broad definitions and wording in the bill may prohibit schools from assessing and revising employment policies and practices to improve opportunities and increase applications from underrepresented groups.


The House Pensions Committee approved an HCS version of SS/SB 898 (Rusty Black) on April 30. 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 HCS adds several additional provisions, including the language of HB 1937 (Bill Owen). HB 1937 would enact additional provisions regarding the investments of all Missouri public pension systems, including PSRS and PEERS, regarding proxy voting and their fiduciary investment priority. These provisions are consistent with the current practices of PSRS and PEERS and will not interfere with the operation of the Systems.

SS/SB 898 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.

Read past Legislative Updates at www.mnea.org/legupdate