The 2018 legislative session has officially come to an end. The Missouri General Assembly was able to pass 93 bills in addition to the state’s $28 billion state operating budget for the 2019 fiscal year.
Senate Bill 573 modifies several provisions of state law relating to tax deductions for National Guard and reserve members. This legislation is a continuation of Senate Bill 814, which was passed and signed into law in 2016. Both of these bills are designed to allow active military personnel and members of the National Guard and the reserve components of the Armed Forces to deduct their military income from their Missouri adjusted gross income for tax purposes.
It is important to recognize the huge impact of the military on Missouri’s economy. Between 2013 and 2015, military spending constituted more than $32 billion per year in goods and services purchased from Missouri companies and resulted in 183,000 jobs created in the state. This number has steadily increased over the last several years, and the economic impact of the military on our state is substantial.
House Bill 1415 reauthorizes two of Missouri’s most important economic development tools. Under this legislation, the Missouri Works Training Program and the Missouri Works Program are extended until 2030.
The Missouri Works Training Program addresses the No. 1 challenge facing Missouri businesses in today’s growing economy — finding educated, skilled workers. Through this program, businesses receive funding for job training when they introduce new product lines, new technology, competition-driven quality or productivity improvements or when they expand or relocate their business within Missouri.
Senate Bill 894 allows the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to create a program intended to encourage participation in science, technology, engineering and math courses. Careers in computer science are growing at a rate faster than most job fields. Currently, there are more than 10,000 available computer science jobs in our state. By encouraging our students to take computer science classes, I believe we are giving them the tools they need to succeed in today’s advanced workforce.
Senate Bill 793 raises the age of adult court jurisdiction to 18 years old in Missouri, except in the most serious offenses. The vast majority of 17-year-olds arrested are accused of offenses that are non-violent and involve no weapons. Missouri has been considered a leader in juvenile justice, but our state is falling behind when it comes to addressing their rehabilitative needs. Enacting this legislation would allow these young people to have access to education and rehabilitation while being protected from the kinds of assault and abuse that are too common in adult jails and prisons.
As always, I encourage my constituents to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or suggestions by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, visit www.senate.mo.gov/brown. Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.