JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Legislation signed into law last year ended up with an unintended consequence of putting an added burden on community colleges, and lawmakers are looking to correct that.

“It is just amazing how much vetting goes into the House and the Senate and even the executive office looking at this, sometimes we overlook and it is just a matter of how the language was drafted,” said Sen. Gary Romine, who is proposing a bill to fix the issue.

With the changes made last year, anyone retired from the Public School Retirement System of Missouri may be employed by an employer included in the retirement system in a position that does not normally require a Missouri teacher certification. The employer’s contribution rate to the Public Education Employee Retirement System would be paid by the hiring employer.

That puts an added cost burden on community colleges, according to Romine.

On Tuesday, Romine presented SB 17 to the House Pension Committee. The bill exempts those employed by a community college and receiving a retirement allowance from the changes made during the 2018 regular session.

Romine’s bill is very similar to a one that the House recently perfected. Rep. Rusty Black’s HB 77 also aims relieve the financial burden put on community colleges.  

“The bill last year was good legislation that helps teachers and this is just a good fix to take care of some unintended consequences,” said Matt Michaelson, representing the Missouri State Teachers Association.

“This was an inadvertent error on a really good bill. Something that helped some folks in the retirement system that unfortunately had an impact on community colleges that is both costly and cumbersome,” said a representative from the Missouri Community College Association.

Retired teachers from the state’s public school system have a great background and history to be able to teach at community colleges, Romine notes. He added, that because of the changes, it is hard for community colleges to hire those retired teachers because it now comes with an added expense.

The bill includes an emergency clause.

“We want to move forward and correct this,” said Romine. “There is an emergency clause because every day that it is not [corrected] there is an additional cost to community colleges. It is a cost they have never had to incur in the past and it is a cost they shouldn’t have to incur.”