UPDATE September 14, 2018 – HB 3, handled in the Senate by Sen. Doug Libla (R-25), was Truly Agreed and Finally Passed today by the Missouri Senate. Senator Libla handled the original bill last session and led passage of the bill in a quick manner through the committee and floor debate. The bill will now go to Governor Mike Parson who is expected to sign the legislation soon.
UPDATE September 13, 2018 – The bill was not amended during House “perfection” debate and was advanced to the Senate. The Senate Committee on Economic Development heard the bill this morning and passed the committee with no real controversy.
September 11, 2018 – Today a House committee took the first steps toward approval of a bill that would provide an online introduction of students in grades 6-8 of careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.
The bill, HB 3, sponsored by Rep. Travis Fitzwater (R-49, Holts Summit) was heard in the House Workforce Development Committee chaired by Rep. Jeanie Lauer (R-32. Blue Springs). Rep. Fitzwater also serves as Vice Chairman of that committee.
The Committee heard testimony from many in the business community of the importance of the bill to employers.
“Associated Industries of Missouri supports this bill,” Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri testified. “Helping young students learn about careers is extremely important in helping them develop goals and achieving the education they need to reach those goals. Careers in manufacturing, health care, information technology, and many other fields require technical skills and may or may not require a college degree, depending on the occupation. Our educational system has been built around every student going to college and we set that as a measurement of the success of our high schools, but employers need workers that have learned the necessary skills to do their job and possess the work ethic (soft skills) that make them good employees (arriving to work on time, not consuming drugs or alcohol, appropriate dress, etc.).
“We also believe the computer science emphasis in the bill is important as nearly all jobs today have some computer component and allowing students this option will be important in preparing our workforce for the future,” he said.
The bill was passed by the Committee and referred to another committee for a brief review and vote before heading to the House floor for full debate. The special session may wrap up by the end of the week.