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Hough-sponsored bill includes funding for governor’s Fast Track

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A bill sponsored by state Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, passed yesterday with funding for Gov. Mike Parson’s Fast Track grant program.

The bill, which also gives incentives to General Motors for an expansion of its Wentzville plant, authorizes $10 million for the governor’s legislation that seeks to help nontraditional students get degrees in high-demand fields. Parson promoted Fast Track during a February visit to Springfield for a workforce roundtable.

In a statement issued this morning, Parson called the passage of Senate Bill 68 “a complete victory for Missourians and jobs in every corner of the state.” He thanked Hough and other legislators for their involvement.

“We are sending a powerful message to the nation that we are ready to compete with every state for more jobs,” Parson said in the release, adding “we now have the necessary economic development tools to make an important investment in the skills of Missouri workers.”

Parson had sought $22.2 million for the statewide Fast Track grant program. A spokesperson with Parson’s office could not be reached for comment by deadline on the status of the additional funding.

Through Fast Track, Missourians with average household income of $80,000 or less can receive coverage of four semesters’ worth of tuition and fees to take courses in such fields as computer science, health care and advanced manufacturing, Springfield Business Journal previously reported.

Fast Track sunsets in three years, according to the bill language.

Hough’s bill was approved after a 27-hour filibuster.

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