Sen. Mike Cunningham’s Legislative Column for Sept. 7, 2018

Cunningham Updated Banner March 2017

Sen. Mike Cunningham’s Legislative Column for Sept. 7, 2018

Next week, Missouri lawmakers will return to the State Capitol in Jefferson City for the First Extra Session of the Second Regular Session of the 99th General Assembly and the annual veto session.

The governor called the extraordinary session to address numerous appointments he has made to the state’s boards and commissions since taking office in June. Calling this extraordinary session will not be a hindrance to the state’s budget, because lawmakers were slated to return to the Capitol on Sept. 12 for veto session.

Veto session will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 12. During this time, lawmakers will address legislation the governor vetoed. Following the legislative session, the governor vetoed legislation promoting computer science education, as well as a bill intend to expand the state’s drug treatment courts. The governor said he supports the overall intent of both pieces of legislation and that the extraordinary session is aimed at replacing problematic language in both bills.

One of these bills would have allowed high school computer science courses to count toward math, science or practical art credits required for graduation. The other is a wide-ranging bill dealing with treatment courts, judicial retirement plans and language allowing for abandoned property to be cleaned up.

Senate Bill 894 would have established new computer science standards to include coding and programming along with guidelines designed for K-12 schools. This will encourage more Missouri students to study computer science by allowing these courses to count toward high school graduation. Computer science skills are in demand across our state and country. This program will provide our youth with the skills necessary for the 21st century job market. The bill also created a certification program for computer science teachers as well as established an online program that showcases STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers and their impact on today’s economy. In a letter to legislators, the governor noted he objected to a section in the bill which created an online career awareness program for STEM professions because the detailed criteria for bidders appeared to be too narrow.

Statistics indicate that most Missouri parents want their children to be taught the computer science skills they need in order to prepare them for the 21st century job market.

The governor also vetoed House Bill 2562, a wide-ranging bill dealing with drug treatment courts, judicial retirement plans and efforts to clean up abandoned property. In a letter to lawmakers, the governor said the bill began as a measure to expand drug treatment courts, but ultimately contained 13 different subjects, which did not appear to relate to the title of the legislation.

This bill began as a piece of legislation which would have expanded drug treatment courts, including the Adult Treatment Court, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Court, Family Treatment Court, Juvenile Treatment Court and Veterans Treatment Court. The final version of the bill included language affecting the salaries of Kansas City police officers, provisions relating to court personnel and procedures, language relating to judicial retirement options and numerous other measures.

As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.