With the nearly unanimous, bipartisan approval from the Missouri Senate on Friday, two pieces of legislation will now go to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. The Missouri General Assembly met this week to discuss STEM Education and Treatment Courts expansion after Governor Mike Parson called for a special session to focus on passing these two priorities.
In addition to the legislation that was passed, the Senate confirmed 43 of 46 of Governor Parson’s appointees.
With the passing of these bills, Governor Parson’s mission to grow Missouri’s workforce and prepare our students for tomorrow’s jobs remains intact. Governor Parson was proud of the accomplishments from both the Senate and the House, and their unified response to help our citizens.
“I am thankful to all the legislators who worked hard this week to pass STEM Education and Treatment Court expansion,” said Governor Parson. “This is a great day for Missouri, passing these two important issues with overwhelming, bipartisan support is a major step forward in preparing Missouri’s future workforce.”
Originating in the Missouri House, two bills were approved and sent to the Senate Wednesday evening for further discussion.
One bill establishes a statewide STEM career awareness program and will allow for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to create the program to increase awareness among students from 6th-8th grade. The passing of the bill will encourage more young people to pursue career paths in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit and handled in the Senate by Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff.
“Today, many computer science jobs go unfilled because not enough students have been trained for the jobs,” said Sen. Libla. “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 other piece of legislation focuses solely on reforms to treatment courts throughout the state. By expanding treatment courts, it will allow for individuals to get treatment, instead of being incarcerated in an overcrowded prison system. Rep. Kevin Austin, R-Springfield, sponsored the bill, and Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, handled it in the Senate.
“The treatment court bill not only saves taxpayer dollars through reduced recidivism rates, it saves lives. It transforms a defendant who is abusing drugs, suffering from mental illness such as PTSD, and committing crimes against society into an adjusted and employed citizen,” said Rep. Austin. “I want to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for their work and the passage of this bill. I especially want to thank our Governor for his recognition of the effectiveness of these courts and his desire to turn defendants into contributing citizens of our state rather than inmates.”
Sen. Dixon said, “With this additional success, we consolidate and beef up treatment courts and their ability to multiply the countless number of success stories they’ve made possible. Treatment Courts reduce recidivism rates. People are able to get well and become productive members of society again. As a result, their entire family and community becomes upward bound. I would like to thank Governor Parson, the leadership of both chambers, and Rep. Austin for their willingness to call the special session and take up this important legislation that will save many lives.”
Once signed into law by Governor Parson, these bills will go into effect 90 days after his signature.