JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – To the surprise of no one, Rep. Travis Fitzwater’s HB 3 continues to roll through the legislature with ease.
After clearing the House on Wednesday with a 119-23 vote, Fitzwater’s STEM bill headed to the Senate, where it received its first hearing in the Senate Committee on Economic Development on Thursday afternoon.
Presenting his bill, an identical one to Sen. Doug Libla’s SB 1, Fitzwater reiterated the points he’s become so used to saying over the course of the last legislative session and the past few weeks. The Republican from Holts Summit explained that the bill had only received a few changes from the one that had passed and was vetoed by Gov. Mike Parson, reducing the number of standards from 12 to 6.
Sen. Jamilah Nasheed asked that Fitzwater go through the changes during the committee hearing, which didn’t take Fitzwater very long, reiterating his point.
After speaking his piece, Fitzwater watched again as a parade of witnesses came forward – nearly the same ones who had spoken during the House hearing – to show support for the bill.
After nearly a dozen testified, only one opponent to the legislation stood up – the same one as the previous hearing held on Tuesday: Scott Penman, testifying on behalf of the Missouri School Counselor Association.
Penman again shared their concerns about the legislation, including the possibility of negating a math requirement, but as before, he knew there was little chance of changing any minds. The committee moved into executive session, voting on HB 3 and not Libla’s SB 1, with Chairman Jay Watson noting that, as both bills were identical, it would simply move the process more quickly to act on the House measure.
It passed with a 10-0 vote.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.