ALEC Policy Champions: Missouri Sen. Andrew Koenig and Rep. Doug Richey Expand Education Freedom

We are proud to announce Missouri Senator Andrew Koenig and Representative Doug Richey as the latest ALEC Policy Champions for their successful effort to expand education freedom this year. Senator Koenig and Representative Richey were the primary sponsors of SB 727, which expands Missouri’s Empowerment Scholarship Account Program and gives thousands of additional families the ability to participate. The bill passed the legislature on April 18th and was signed into law by Governor Mike Parson yesterday.

The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Account Program was originally passed in 2021 as the nation’s first tax-credit-funded education freedom account (EFA) program. However, the program contains very limited eligibility requirements: only students residing in a city or county with a charter form of government and more than 30,000 residents are able to participate. In addition to this geographic requirement, there is also a prior-public-school-enrollment requirement, and students must have special needs or live in a low-income household.

SB 727 makes several crucial changes to the program including raising the cap on tax credits from $50 million to $75 million, removes the geographic requirements for participation, and increases the income requirements from 200% of the level for free and reduced-price lunches to 300%.

In ALEC’s 2023 Index of State Education Freedom, Missouri ranked 12th among the states for its education freedom environment. Missouri is also a top target of the Education Freedom Alliance, which has listed it as a target state for universal expansion by 2025. Model policies that empower parents with school choice, such as The Hope Scholarship Act, are featured in ALEC’s Essential Policy Solutions for 2024.

Senator Koenig represents Missouri’s 15th senatorial district, which includes parts of St. Louis County. In addition to his legislative duties, the Senator owns a construction and painting company and is a licensed insurance adjuster. He and his wife, Brooke, have 5 kids and are active members of the West County Assembly of God and their community.

Representative Richey represents Missouri’s 39th house district, which includes parts of Clay County. Representative Richey is a pastor, law enforcement chaplain, and adjunct professor. He spent eight years in the Missouri Army National Guard as a combat engineer and earned three master’s degrees and a doctorate from the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In Depth: Education

An excellent education has long been recognized as key to the American Dream. Unfortunately, the current monopolistic and expensive K-12 education system is failing our students, leaving them unprepared for college, careers, or life. Similarly, our higher education system is leaving students with higher debt burdens and fewer career guarantees…

+ Education In Depth