Senate advances bill reversing burden placed on Missouri community colleges


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Legislation addressing community colleges and retirement systems passed out of Senate committee Wednesday morning — the latest step in what one lawmaker said corrects a previous mistake.

HB 77, put forth by state Rep. Rusty Black, aims to correct previous legislation that levied an additional financial burden on the state’s community colleges, proponents have said.

Rep. Rusty Black

Legislation approved last year allowed anyone from the Public School Retirement System (PSRS) of Missouri to be employed by someone within that retirement system without ending the retirement benefits. The employer’s contribution rate to the Public Education Retirement System would be paid by the hiring employer.

“Last year, I was fortunate at the time to pass a piece of legislation, but inadvertently I was not capable of figuring out that I hurt community colleges,” Black told the Senate Health and Pensions Committee.

Black’s new legislation exempts retired people who receive a retirement allowance from PSRS and are employed by a public community college from the current law related to retirement allowance restrictions.

Black noted the original bill included “two major things” that were harmful for public community colleges: the salary cap for adjunct professors retired from the PSRS and the contribution percentage community colleges had to pay to employ someone retired from the PSRS.

“I’ve learned a lot since” July 2018, Black, a Republican, said, noting the legislation will “revert” the burden placed on community colleges.

Before passing Black’s bill, the committee noted it is identical to SB 17, from Republican state Sen. Gary Romine. That legislation already passed out of the same committee.

“We want to move forward and correct this,” Romine previously said. “It is a cost [community colleges] have never had to incur in the past, and it is a cost they shouldn’t have to incur.”

The committee heard from a few witnesses in support of HB 77 Wednesday, but none who were against the legislation.

Lawmakers move to correct language that placed added burden on community colleges

Alisha Shurr contributed to this report.