LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS IN THE STATE CAPITOL
Last week marked the end of the First Regular Session of the 100th General Assembly. This was a historic session on multiple fronts and I am proud that we were able to pass legislation that will impact the lives of all Missourians in a positive way. Between both chambers of the Legislature, we passed more than 90 separate bills and resolutions, including 17 bills that comprise the state budget and satisfy Missouri’s financial obligations.
Joplin Museum & Cultural District
As the sponsor of Senate Bill 397, I am proud to see this bill sent to the governor’s desk for final consideration. This legislation extends the period of time in which a petition to create a museum and cultural district can be filed from five years after a presidential declaration establishing a disaster area, to 15 years after the declaration has been issued for the impacted area. Ultimately, this legislation allows the citizens of Joplin to move forward with their desire to create a museum and cultural arts district.
An Emphasis on Jobs
Senate Bill 68 is a comprehensive workforce development package that reinforces our state’s commitment to working families and job creators. The newly created Fast Track grants will provide advanced career training and new skills to existing workers. The state’s existing workforce development incentives have been reorganized into Missouri One Start, which focuses heavily on training workers and partnering with employers who make long-term investments in Missouri.
The Legislature approved and sent to the governor a roughly $30 billion balanced budget which pays for all programs and services provided by our state government, without raising taxes on Missouri citizens. The largest single portion of the budget funds the Mo HealthNet program, which is Missouri’s version of Medicaid. The budget also included record investments in education: $6.2 billion to fully fund the K-12 Foundation Formula, a $10 million increase for school transportation and core increases to Missouri’s public colleges and universities.
Several local colleges will receive additional funding for the upcoming fiscal year. The General Assembly approved a core increase of $1 million annually for Missouri Southern State University, in addition to a one-time $1.8 million for STEM facility upgrades. Crowder College will receive a one-time allocation of $332,500 for the expansion of their nursing program.
Transportation & Bridges
Decisive action was taken to repair and replace hundreds of failing bridges across Missouri with the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 14. The legislation approved the use of $300 million in bonds that was coupled with an aggressive repayment schedule that aims to accelerate $1 billion in road and bridge infrastructure projects. This will allow the Missouri Department of Transportation to repair or replace 215 deficient bridges throughout the state. Several of the bridges scheduled for replacement or renovation are located in the 32nd Senatorial District.
Protecting the Unborn
Lawmakers also truly agreed and finally passed House Bill 126, one of the strongest sets of pro-life protections in the country. The bill established the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act and now heads to the governor’s desk for final approval.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve as your senator of the 32nd Senatorial District. I look forward to visiting with my constituents in the district this summer.