Senate Approves Two Bills that Will Help Move Missouri Forward
The Measures Better Prepare Missouri’s Future Workforce and Help Certain Offenders Become Productive Citizens
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Senate approved two measures this week, which intend to improve the lives of Missourians and allow people in the Show-Me State the opportunity to be productive citizens. The bills were a result of the extraordinary session convened by the governor to focus on the passage of legislation promoting computer science education and the awareness of career opportunities through STEM education, as well as legislation expanding Missouri’s treatment courts.
Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said as Senate Leader these were two issues that he believed were vital to moving our state forward.
“Job creation and economic development have always been my top priorities,” said Richard. “I believe the governor shares the same vision, and the two bills we passed this week will help move Missouri forward with new solutions for workforce development and innovation.”
On Friday, the Missouri Senate passed House Bill 3, which establishes a statewide STEM career awareness program and creates new provisions of law related to computer science. The measure allows the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to create the “STEM Career Awareness Program” to increase STEM career awareness among students in grades six through eight, while also creating a dedicated fund known as the “STEM Career Awareness Program Fund.”
“Today, many computer science jobs go unfilled because not enough students have been trained for the jobs,” said bill handler Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff. “By improving computer science education in the state, we can better prepare students for the workforce and for the many companies that desire and depend on these skills.”
The Missouri Senate also approved House Bill 2, which expands and reforms the state’s drug treatment courts. The measure allows a circuit court to establish a “Treatment Court Division,” which may include cases assigned to an adult treatment court, driving while intoxicated (DWI) court, family treatment court, juvenile treatment court or veterans’ treatment court. These courts will serve as an alternative for the judicial system for certain cases.
Bill handler Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, said drug treatment courts will allow offenders to stay in their communities and lower the recidivism rates of offenders when compared with either incarceration or probation.
“Nearly 25 percent of offenders in our prisons are there for convictions relating to drug and alcohol abuse,” said Dixon. “Drug treatment courts have proven to be effective in reducing recidivism rates and changing lives, and our goal is to keep people out of prison and encourage offenders to become productive citizens.”
Assistant Majority Floor Leader Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, said while the extraordinary session was short, it was very productive.
“The governor is working hard to improve relationships across the state and that was evident in the work this week,” said Onder. “I want to thank my colleagues in both the Senate and House for their hard work and dedication. The two bills passed are critical to moving Missouri forward, and I’m happy we were able to advance these priorities.”
The First Extraordinary Session of the Second Regular Session of the 99th General Assembly convened on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018 and adjourned on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. The General Assembly is not expected to meet again until Jan. 9, 2019.