Earlier this month, the governor called a second extraordinary session for the Legislature to pass a supplemental budget bill designed to appropriate more than $1.2 billion in funds to aid in the state’s fight against the COVID-19 virus. Approximately $1.17 billion of the bill’s price tag comes from federal funds associated with the CARES Act. The House handled and passed its version of House Bill 14 on Nov. 10, so now the $1.2 billion package will be considered by the Senate when it reconvenes after Thanksgiving. The appropriations bill includes additional federal funding to help the state with testing, contact tracing and other services designed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Also, the extra session bill appropriates more than $75 million to help the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education feed students through the School Nutrition Services Program. Other state departments will also receive additional funds to sustain current programs. Additionally, HB 14 allocates $2 million to the Pretrial Witness Protection Fund that was created over the summer during a previous extra session.
The governor expanded his call last week to include legislation on COVID-19 liability. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass legislation that gives Missourians the tools and resources they need to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.
Get Started Finding Your Next Career
Click on the image to register for the next round of virtual job fairs scheduled Dec. 1, 8 and 15.
Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Information
One of the programs put in place to help small business owners keep their employees on the payroll during last spring’s mandatory shut-downs is the Paycheck Protection Program. These loan payments may be deferred as long as expenditures were eligible and employee retention criteria were met. In order to have the loans remitted, businesses must submit the loan forgiveness application within ten months after the last covered period ends. Click here for a list of frequently asked questions about the PPP.
Nominate a Conservation Champion for an Award
The Missouri Department of Conservation is accepting nominations through the end of the year for two awards: the Master Conservation Award and the posthumous honor, Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame. If you know a nature lover who made significant progress in fisheries, forestry or wildlife conservation, submit a nomination with a short biography describing his or her distinct accomplishments and lasting contributions.
Also note, the firearm portion of deer season runs from Nov. 14-24, so please exercise extreme caution and wear bright orange if you are going to be out in nature.
Missouri Grown Holiday Gift Boxes Now Available
Looking for a unique gift idea for that hard-to-please friend or relative? For the first time, individuals can indulge their taste buds and Missouri pride by purchasing Missouri Grown holiday gift boxes. Each kit contains an assortment of products manufactured here, including candles, sauces, soap, nuts, honey and meat products. Safely order your basket and peruse the other items available on the Missouri Grown USA website.
Remain Thankful Amid the Crisis
This Thanksgiving may well go down in history as one of the strangest seasons ever. Health experts are cautioning against large family gatherings, COVID-19 continues to wear on health care workers, and teachers and students are stranded in limbo between in-seat and distance-learning models. I understand how frustrating and frightening this can be, so I want to encourage you to find small things to be grateful for, putting the focus on what you can do and have.
- Utilize programs like Zoom, Skype and other video chatting programs as an alternative to “gathering” around the table;
- Dedicate the time and resources usually spent preparing a huge feast to a community service project;
- Plan several small, fun-themed events with friends and relatives;
- Hand-craft cards or bake cookies for the residents of the Mt. Vernon Veterans Home or a local assisted living center;
- Take advantage of the warm weather forecasts and move activities outdoors.
I am so proud of our community’s resilience through this ordeal. Please embrace the positive and acknowledge that this crisis, too, shall pass. Happy Thanksgiving!