CAPITOL REPORT: REPRESENTATIVE PATRICIA PIKE
House Budget Proposal Begins to Take Shape
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – An interesting fact for our District 126th Vernon and Bates County Citizens is that there is a balance of $1,652,032.39 at the MO State Treasurer’s Office in unclaimed property funds for citizens listed in our District. As a service of our office, we are notifying citizens to visit the website www.treasurer.mo.gov or call 573-751-0123 to double check if their name (or relative’s name) is listed. One in ten Missourians have unclaimed funds to be returned to them.
House Budget Update
The chairman of the House Budget Committee has unveiled his versions of the appropriations bills that will make up the Fiscal Year 2019 state operating budget. The bills include some key changes from the recommendations made by the governor.
One such change calls for the K-12 School Foundation Formula to be fully funded. The governor has called for a $50 million increase to spending for elementary and secondary education. The budget proposed by the committee would add another $48 million to the governor’s funding recommendation for an increase that is $98 million above the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriation level.
Because of uncertainty with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at the federal level, the Budget Committee took a fiscally responsible approach last year by opting to protect Missouri’s at-risk children without relying on federal funds. Now that funding for the program has been extended through Fiscal Year 2023, there are approximately $80 million in state revenues available for use in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget.
The chairman of the House Budget Committee is recommending that a portion of these funds be used to restore the governor’s recommended core cuts to higher education. Right now, House leaders are working with the state’s institutions of higher learning to ensure tuition isn’t raised for students and families. If no agreement can be reached, the chairman is recommending the additional dollars be used to boost funding for need-based scholarships.
The House Budget Committee will now work through each of the appropriations bills and decide if any changes need to be made to the current proposal. The Budget Committee will then give its stamp of approval to the spending plan and send it to the House floor for discussion, which should take place when the House returns from its Legislative Spring Break.
Increasing STEM Career Awareness (HB 1623)
Legislators took time last week to observe the state’s annual STEM Day and took action by approving legislation that would establish a statewide program designed to promote careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The legislation is modeled after successful programs in Tennessee and Arkansas that have helped promote the importance of the STEM fields to young people.
The bill would require the state Department of Economic Development to establish the STEM Career Awareness Program to increase awareness of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for students in grades six through eight. The program would involve online-based curriculum that would raise awareness of more than eighty different careers and technologies, and would be organized around the concept of solving societal or human-centered problems. The bill expands high school offerings and teacher training as well and would require the department to have the program in place by the 2019-20 school year.
It is an honor to serve on your behalf. Please contact my office at 573-751-5388 or e-mail at [email protected] for assistance on State issues, Resolutions, or visits to the Capitol. Our District 126 Legislative Assistant is Matt Glover and our House of Representatives Office is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. year-round in Room 305A, at the Missouri Capitol, Jefferson City, MO.