With just days left to push education legislation through, the House took up several education bills and sent them to the Senate.
Senate Bill 718, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Anne Washington, D-Kansas City, began as a bill to designate the third week of September as "Historically Black College and University Week" in Missouri. Since its introduction, lawmakers have added provisions that would:
• Modify scholarships and reimbursements for dual credit courses.
• Provide for student academic planning prior to the freshman year of high school.
• Create a "workforce diploma program" to help people obtain their high school diploma.
• Add the suicide and crisis hotline information to student IDs for grade 7 through college.
• Exempt education savings accounts from bankruptcy.
• Provide a tax credit for preceptors for medical students.
• Allow coaches to assist student athletes in earning compensation for their name, image and likeness without acting as an agent.
• Expand computer science education in elementary and secondary schools and create a task force to address computer science education.
• Require colleges and universities to accept a score of 3 or higher on advanced placement exams.
That provision, originally sponsored by Rep. Chris Brown, R-Kansas City, would require schools to accept a 3 or higher on AP tests. In Missouri, the score to qualify for college credit depends on the school and the course. However, many surrounding states will accept a 3 for all colleges and courses.
Brown argued this may draw Missouri students looking at colleges to other states. The bill faced some initial opposition from colleges that want to see higher scores on courses involved in students' majors, but those colleges later spoke in support of the legislation.
The bill had made it through House and Senate committees before being amended on to SB 718, which the House third read and passed.
However, SB 718 hit a hurdle when it made its way to the Senate the same day.
Sen. Mike Moon offered a substitute to the bill that would include his "Save Women's Sports Act" that would prevent transgender women from playing on women's athletic teams, a measure Moon said would prevent unfair competition.
Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Fulton, and bill sponsor Washington asked Moon to withdraw his motion, saying it was not relevant to the bill.
Washington said the provision could disqualify Missouri schools from participation in the NCAA, costing them money and hurting women's sports.
"You won't have to worry about whether or not sports is fair. There won't be any," Washington said.
Riddle said to Moon, "You know that it's a controversial subject. You and I may agree on the subject; we may not. But the point is, if you put that on, that kills another colleague's bill. It doesn't help your cause. It doesn't help you at all. You don't get across what you want, you just hinder somebody else's work, and that is saddening to me."
Moon said he was bringing forth the bill out of duty to his constituents.
Moon's substitute motion was defeated, but the underlying bill, SB 718 was finally passed by the Senate 32-1.