Two MCCA priorities made headway this week in the legislature. The Senate passed workforce bill, SB 10, sponsored by Sen. Jay Wasson, and two community college highway signage bills, SB 355 and HB 1039 made progress.
SB 10 changes the financial mechanisms for Missouri’s workforce training programs to make funding for training more flexible for businesses. The most significant change is that funding for the New and Retained Jobs training program would shift away from retained tax withholdings when funds are directly appropriated by the legislature.
With this change, businesses would be able to receive up-front funding for training, as opposed to having to wait until they have accumulated enough withholding tax to pay for training. The New Jobs Training and Retained Jobs Training programs would work like the Customized Training program does now.
The bill would also allow the Department of Economic Development to contract with other entities to market the Missouri Works Training program to businesses considering expansions in Missouri. Sen. Wasson has been a tremendous leader on workforce development issues, and he is a prominent voice in this important debate.
SB 355 mandates that 2-year colleges would qualify for the same road signs as 4-year institutions. Currently, community colleges are only allowed to purchase smaller signs like those displayed for restaurants and gas stations at highway exits. Universities, however, can purchase larger stand-alone signs. MCCA has been working to ensure that MoDOT applies sign regulations fairly to all higher education institutions. Two bills on this topic have advanced this week.
Sen. Gary Romine’s SB 355 was placed on the Senate consent calendar, where awaits a final debate and vote. Rep. Justin Alferman sponsored the same bill in the House of Representatives, known as HB 1039, and it had its first hearing this week. MCCA testified in support of this bill. We appreciate Sen. Romine and Rep. Alferman for their leadership on this issue.