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Legislative session begins  

The 2022 legislative session began on Wednesday, January 5. Work in both chambers will quickly get underway concerning two large issues which must be addressed early in the session - drawing new congressional districts and approving the spending of billions of dollars in federal stimulus money.  

So far, a large number of education bills have been filed in both chambers. Bills expanding school choice include the expansion of vouchers, charter schools and virtual education. There will also be another push by members of the legislature for open enrollment. In other states, open enrollment has led to school consolidation which hurts the relationships between schools, families and communities. Bills relating to school employee retirement, greater flexibility for school districts and state regulation of school curriculum have also been filed.  


Funding for public education continues to be supported by the legislature. MSTA legislative priorities include advocating for increased funding for student transportation costs and reinstituting the career ladder program with state funding. Legislation has also been filed that would expand the time limit on the work after retirement critical shortage provision to allow retired teachers to fill needed positions without giving up their PSRS benefit. This expansion would increase the allowable use of critical shortage from two years to four years.  

The 2020 census was completed late due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so work on drawing maps was delayed. Drawing congressional districts is the responsibility of the Missouri General Assembly, while state legislative districts are drawn by bipartisan commissions appointed by the governor. The legislature is under a time crunch to approve new maps because 2022 is an election year. Districts must be settled prior to candidate filing which begins on February 22.  Bills have been filed in the House and Senate for new maps that will detail Missouri’s eight congressional districts, but there is still no agreement on what those maps should look like. The approval of the maps will go through the legislative process and could take some time to get to the governor’s desk. 

The commission appointed to draw Missouri House districts submitted two maps to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. The two maps largely agree on districts outside of urban and suburban areas. The House commission will have until late January to come to an agreement for a finished product. The Senate Commission was unable to produce a new redistricting map, so the Missouri Supreme Court will select six appellate judges to draw new state Senate districts.  

The legislature will address a supplemental budget spending bill early in the session as well. Items that have already been mentioned for the supplemental budget include funding for the state Medicaid program and approval of federal stimulus dollars, with a large portion directed toward public education. Even though the federal government already approved the use of the federal Covid relief money, the legislature must appropriate the money before it may be spent pursuant to federal guidelines. Currently available federal education funding under review by the legislature amounts to almost $2 billion.  

A bill approving this expenditure must be passed by the legislature and signed by the governor prior to March 24. This work will be done while still addressing other bills filed during the session, as well as the constitutional requirement to pass a state budget by May 6. The legislature will adjourn for the year on May 13.  

MSTA lobbyists will continue to work in the capitol during session - attending legislative hearings, testifying on legislation and working with legislators to advocate for Missouri students, teachers and local communities.   

Advocacy starts with you  

MSTA advocates for and empowers public educators so they can teach. MSTA provides valuable information about the legislative session, PSRS/PEERS and the State Board of Education. While advocacy is a full-time job for the association, members can make a big difference with just a few actions throughout the year. Major policy decisions happen each session and it is important that educators make their voice heard in the process.   

We all know that decisions are made by those who show up, but we must also be aware that the narrative is controlled by those who speak up. It is vitally important that Missouri educators and supporters of public education make their voices heard. Policy makers don’t make decisions in a vacuum - they rely on input from stakeholders, constituents, friends and family.  

 Missouri education professionals are doing amazing things inside schools each day and helping students to reach success in innovative ways. Each member has a story about how they made a difference in a student’s life and how that student makes a difference for their community.  Those stories must be shared with legislators and policy makers.  

MSTA has many strong leaders that are passionate about advocacy, but even small actions by many people can make a difference. Advocacy can take many different forms: making a phone call, sending an email, sharing MSTA Action with your coworkers, being involved in a political campaign or discussing current education issues with your friends and families. You may consider attending an MSTA Region Capitol Visit and connecting with your elected official.  

To stay on top of the most critical issues, sign up for MSTA’s Rapid Response program by texting “MSTA” to 52886. When it comes to education in Missouri, there are no greater experts than the members of MSTA.  

See the capitol visit schedule.