Sen. Dave Schatz’s Legislative Column for Jan. 28, 2021

Increasing Workforce Development in the Show-Me State

It is no secret, the coronavirus has had a devastating effect on our state’s economy. Prior to the pandemic, our state was experiencing robust growth and low unemployment; however, fast forward to today and we see a different picture. Families are struggling and too many of our friends and neighbors are looking for work.

As our state continues to recover from the pandemic, I believe it is vital that we look at ways to increase workforce development. In an effort to eliminate red tape and make it easier for Missourians to find work, I have sponsored Senate Bill 11. Also known as the Missouri Statewide Mechanical Contractor Licensing Act, this legislation creates a statewide license for mechanical contractors. Currently, Missouri utilizes a patchwork system to provide occupational licenses. What is required in Sullivan might be completely different from the licensing requirements in Cape Girardeau or Joplin. Under SB 11, instead of applying for a new license in multiple municipalities, Missourians who practice mechanical contracting would have the ability to apply for a statewide license that would allow them to work anywhere in the state. This idea isn’t unique to Missouri, five of our eight neighboring states give mechanical contractors the option of applying for a statewide license. In my opinion, this streamlined process will make it easier for contractors to do their jobs, instead of worrying about applying for a different license in every town they work in.

Outside of the State Capitol, I am a businessman, and I know from personal experience how unnecessary red tape can burden and even threaten the livelihood of working families. On Monday, Jan. 25, I was honored to present this important workforce development legislation to the Missouri Senate Professional Registration Committee. I truly believe this legislation will make it easier for contractors to do their jobs, and it has the potential to make our business community stronger, while providing new opportunities for working families across our state. As SB 11 moves through the legislative process, I am hopeful it will receive approval from my colleagues and make its way to the governor’s desk before the end of the legislative session.

This week also saw the governor outline his legislative agenda during his annual State of the State address. The governor presented a bold agenda to the General Assembly during his speech. While the governor laid out numerous priorities, he specifically talked about the importance of investing in workforce development and infrastructure. As he said during his address, these two issues go hand-in-hand, and I agree — it is vitally important to the success of our state that we continue to make both of these issues a priority.

As I listened to the governor lay out his agenda for the session ahead, I realized that we both share many of the same legislative priorities: education, infrastructure, workforce development and so much more. I believe we both are committed to doing everything we can to make our state a better place for generations to come.

It is an honor to serve our community in the Missouri Senate. If you have any other questions or concerns about state government, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (573) 751-3678 or by email at — we are honored to serve you.