I just returned from a jobs summit in New York City. It provided an opportunity to discuss economic growth with other state legislators, and as a result, to think outside the box a bit. More about this in the report.
Also, as mandated by the Missouri Constitution, the General Assembly will meet September 16, otherwise known as the first Wednesday after the second Monday in September, to consider bills that were passed by the House and Senate but vetoed by the governor. The annual Veto Session gives legislators a final opportunity to enact their ideas into law despite the governor's objections. In both chambers, a two-thirds vote is required to override a veto. In the House this equates to 109 votes, and 23 votes are needed in the Senate to successfully complete an override motion. Many of these bills are summarized in the second section of this week's report.
This week I attended the third Jobs Summit sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislators. Held in New York City (and funded by NCSL), this proved to be very beneficial to legislators interested in creating jobs for the future.
A good deal of the topics concerned educating the new workforce. This is a challenge for all policymakers, but there are many opportunities for the future. The following proved to be my important takeaways:
-- Technology and job requirements are fast moving targets.
-- As a result, higher education must be flexible in their offerings.
-- Education requirements change as workers move through their careers, so offerings for mid-career workers is as important as those for entry level.
-- Transferability and credit for prior learning is an issue for all students, and states have various strategies for handling these important issues.
The one-and-a-half day conference had analysts, practitioners, and legislators from the East, Midwest, West, and the South, so the mixture proved to be very beneficial. Hearing how they faced their challenges and how they see job strategies applied across the nation helps give a heads up perspective of current jobs and job training trends. Needless to say, some ideas are more appealing than others.
Concerning education, accountability is important. However, if we only focus on graduation and initial employment rates, we will be selling ourselves short. The field of information technology is a great example: certifications in various abilities is very important, especially for initial hiring. However, as a person's career progresses, they may wish to move into management, which almost always requires a bachelors' degree, and this often comes in a non-traditional manner. This is a very important matter and one I will keep an eye on as we make changes in Missouri.
Veto Session Bills
Also, as noted above, the General Assembly will meet on September 16 to consider the override of the governor's vetoes. One bill the legislature will likely move to override is the governor's veto of SB 224. The bill is an effort to ensure scholarship benefits through the state's A+ Schools Program are received only by young people who are lawful residents of the United States: a United States citizen or a permanent resident. This is a Senate bill, so they must act first before it moves to the House.
The General Assembly also is likely to consider an override motion on HB 722, which was approved by the legislature to ensure Missourians continue to have the choice of paper or plastic bags at the grocery store. The bill specified that all merchants,
itinerant vendors, and peddlers doing business in this state must have the option to provide customers with a paper or plastic bag for any item or good purchased. The bill also made it clear that a political subdivision cannot impose any ban, fee, or tax upon the use of paper or plastic bags. In addition, the bill contained language to prohibit municipalities from mandating a minimum wage above the state minimum wage. These actions are currently being taken in Kansas City and St. Louis although they do not have the specific authority to take such action.
Other vetoed bills that might be considered during Veto Session include:
-- HB 63-Involves some minor revisions of nominating some candidates for office.
-- HB 116-Right to Work is being discussed and could be called for a vote.
-- HB 326 --Specifies that each defined benefit plan must establish a board member education program.
-- HB 618-Changes the laws regarding the disposition of human remains.
-- HB 629-Changes the laws regarding public retirement systems.
-- HB 799-Moves the 12th Division of the 16th Judicial Court from Kansas City to Independence.
-- HB 878- Specifies that the Department of Public Safety must have the authority to commission corporate security advisors and establishes procedures to do so.
-- HB 1022-Authorizes a return of premiums paid by insured individuals.
-- HB 1098-Changes the laws regarding trust companies.
-- SB 20-Creates a sales and use tax exemption for commercial laundries.
-- SB 67-Authorizes certain court surcharges, Buchanan County to establish a county municipal court, certain circuits with a SORTS facility to appoint a court marshal, requires certain reporting regarding municipal courts, and modifies procedure in landlord tenant cases.
-- SB 142-Requires t he Department of Natural Resources to take certain actions when submitting plans to the Environmental Protection Agency.
-- SB 345-Increases fees imposed by the Director of the Division of Finance.
Representative David Wood, sponsor of HB 42, the school transfer bill, says that he does not intend to bring it up for an override vote.