Stamp commemorating Missouri bicentennial to be issued this year

[ad_1]

  

A new stamp from the U.S. Postal Service commemorating Missouri’s bicentennial is set to be issued this year as part of the service’s 2021 stamp program. 

The design, shared by Gov. Mike Parson Wednesday, depicts a photograph of Bollinger Mill State Historic Site taken by landscape photographer Charles Gurche. The historic site, located near Cape Girardeau, is a state-owned property preserving a mill and a covered bridge predating the Civil War. The park opened in 1967 and offers picnic areas and tours of the mill; its bridge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

The original owner of the site, George Frederick Bollinger, received the property as a land grant from the Spanish government. Bollinger was later elected to serve as a senator in Missouri’s first General Assembly. 

“The new 2021 stamps are designed to look beautiful on your envelopes, to be educational, and to appeal to collectors and pen pals around the world,” said U.S. Postal Service Stamp Services Director William Gicker. “As always, the program offers a variety of subjects celebrating American culture and history, and this year, we made a special effort to include a little fun.”

The state is gearing up for its bicentennial celebration, with several initiatives and events underway to recognize the milestone. The Attorney General’s Office launched a celebratory campaign on social media this year, presenting historical videos and graphics in addition to the new Attorney General Honors Initiative award. 

The Bicentennial Bridge will provide a pedestrian and bike path from the Capitol to Adrian’s Island, an area along the Missouri River. The bridge will connect to a 30-acre parkland north of the Union Pacific Railroad. The project broke ground last summer after decades of planning and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. 

Missouri was officially incorporated as the 24th state in the union on Aug. 10, 1821. 

Cover image from the U.S. Postal Service. 

[ad_2]

Source link

Inside the FRA reauthorization negotiations

[ad_1]

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Most Republican senators met with Gov. Mike Parson for nearly an hour Tuesday afternoon to see if they could coalesce on an FRA reauthorization plan. And the consensus following the discussion is that they’ve inched closer to a deal with a special session in the works possibly as soon as next week. 

Nearly every Republican senator attended the meeting with one calling in remotely. On the table, in particular, were three components to the FRA debate: the length of reauthorization; language prohibiting Medicaid funding for abortion providers and affiliates; and restricting the program from covering family planning services that include certain abortifacient drugs like Plan B or IUDs when used to induce an abortion. 

Sens. Paul Wieland and Bob Onder were some of the most vociferous advocates for attaching pro-life language to the FRA reauthorization during session. However, the legislative session ended without reauthorizing the program which is set to expire on Sept. 30 and brings about $4 billion to the state. 

Following the meeting, multiple senators said they were closer to reaching a deal on reauthorization and could be ready for a special session to be called as early as next week. 

Onder said lawmakers are closer to a deal on the drug language than funding abortion providers. 

“Our FRA bill opens up Medicaid funding statutes and is the perfect mechanism to do what the body — the House and the Senate — has voted overwhelming to do in previous years [with budget bills] which is to say abortion providers and their affiliates cannot receive state Medicaid dollars,” Onder said. 

Sources said the Governor’s Office wanted the reauthorization to be set to sunset in five years, but lawmakers expect to whittle that down possibly during floor debate. 

“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” one senator who attended the meeting said of the five-year sunset. “The FRA is a big deal, and it’s something Republicans use to leverage in negotiations with Democrats over other things. Why would you give up the biggest bargaining chip in negotiations in the Senate? 

The language worked on yesterday says: 

Family planning as defined by federal rules and regulations; provided that such family planning services shall not include abortions or any abortifacient drug or device unless such abortions are certified in writing by a physician to the MO HealthNet agency that, in the physician’s professional judgment, the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term. 

As used in this subdivision, “abortifacient drug or device” includes: mifepristone in a regimen; misoprostol alone when used to induce an abortion; levonorgestrel (Plan B); ulipristal acetate (ella) or other progesterone antagonists; an intrauterine device (IUD) or a manual vacuum aspirator (MVA) when used to induce an abortion; or any other drug or device approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration that is intended to cause the destruction of an unborn child, as defined in section 188.015;

One Republican senator pontificated on whether Democrats could derail the reauthorization if the pro-life language was added: “I don’t think Democrats are going to be responsible for killing the bill. We, Republicans, are holding are the cards here.” 

“I’ll be ready for a special session,” Onder said. “It would definitely be ideal if we could work out this abortion provider funding language before we get to special session.” 

House members reiterated over the weekend they prefer to work with a clean FRA bill. 

Kelli Jones, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Wednesday afternoon “nothing at this time is confirmed” regarding a special session timeline.

[ad_2]

Source link

PSC approves changes to gas safety, transportation rules

[ad_1]

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) approved new requirements for its gas and transportation reporting requirements this week.

The addendums put the commission in compliance with federal reporting requirements. Staff and stakeholders evaluated recent changes on the federal level, noting funding for the commission’s Pipeline Safety Program would be in jeopardy if the state’s requirements were not as stringent as those on the federal level. The Governor’s Office also evaluated and approved Staff’s proposed changes. 

The commission voted to enact the new requirements during Wednesday’s agenda meeting. The deadline for the new standards to go into effect is March 12, 2022. 

The commission denied Spire Missouri’s request to dismiss a complaint from natural gas provider Clearwater Enterprises. Clearwater alleged Spire failed to comply with its tariff agreements following February’s cold snap by assessing more than $8 million in operational flow order penalties. Spire moved to dismiss the complaint, saying Clearwater failed to state a cause of action. 

The commission found Clearwater’s complaint valid and approved the case to proceed. Two similar complaint cases against Spire related to the cold weather event were approved to move forward last month. 

Ameren Missouri’s 2019-2021 Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA) plan was approved in 2018, setting up a three-year roadmap for investments and programs. The commission approved a request to extend the program through 2022, but Ameren noted its Residential Heating and Cooling Program, which provides incentives for energy-efficient products such as HVAC units, was in jeopardy of exhausting its funding by the end of 2021. 

The commission approved a request for an additional $5 million for the program’s budget to allow it to continue without interruption. 

The next PSC agenda meeting is scheduled for June 23. Commissioners recently returned to in-person agenda meetings after more than a year of convening remotely. 

[ad_2]

Source link

Schmitt opposes revision of federal water regulation rule

[ad_1]

  

Attorney General Eric Schmitt is opposing efforts to revise the federal Navigable Waters Protection Rule enacted under the Trump administration. 

The 2020 edict altered the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, lessening the federal government’s authority to regulate pollution in wetlands and certain streams. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan and the Army Corps of Engineers announced their intention to revise the rule last week, saying the move was prompted by claims that the current version was causing harm to local governments and organizations. 

Schmitt sent a letter to Regan and Jaime Pinkham, acting assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, opposing the move. Schmitt argued the groups were exceeding their statutory authority through their definition of “waters of the United States” by attempting to regulate private property.   

“Missouri’s farmers and ranchers have been tending to their land for generations. They don’t need another federal government land-grab threatening their livelihood and ability to make a living,” Schmitt said. “President Obama’s Waters of the United States rule was a disaster for Missouri’s farmers, ranchers, and small businesses – we cannot return to that level of unprecedented federal overreach and intrusion.”

Schmitt pointed to a 2006 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court found the agencies’ definition of their jurisdiction had increased over the past three decades to include “storm drains, roadside ditches, ripples of sand in the desert that may contain water once a year, and lands that are covered by floodwaters once every 100 years.”

Schmitt’s move garnered the support of the Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins, who said any actions pushing the limits of the rule would not go without challenge. 

“We are extremely disappointed — but at the same time, not surprised — that we are going to have this conversation yet again about the boundaries between what is federal jurisdiction and what is left to the states,” Hawkins told The Missouri Times. “Overturning changes that were made by the previous administration demonstrates the Biden administration’s disregard for not only those whose jobs depend on working lands, but the rule of law under which these regulations have been unsuccessfully challenged.” 

Hawkins said 99 percent of Missouri land would have fallen under federal regulation through the Obama administration’s version of the rule. 

“I expect farmers, ranchers, and other Missourians will be ready to fully engage in this discussion that the administration is kicking off,” he continued. 

According to Hawkins, the current rule was enacted based on inputs from hundreds of thousands of stakeholders. The American Farm Bureau backed the Trump administration’s version of the rule when it was enacted, praising the leeway for landowners to preserve their own land. 

On the other side of the argument, Regan said the revision would allow the government to prevent environmental degradation. 

“We are committed to establishing a durable definition of ‘waters of the United States’ based on Supreme Court precedent and drawing from the lessons learned from the current and previous regulations, as well as input from a wide array of stakeholders, so we can better protect our nation’s waters, foster economic growth, and support thriving communities,” Regan said in a statement.  

Schmitt has weighed in on the federal government numerous times over the past year, from similar letters to pending lawsuits against the new presidential administration. He recently joined other attorneys general on a letter opposing the appointment of David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). 

[ad_2]

Source link

Parson fills 5 county office vacancies

[ad_1]

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Today, Governor Mike Parson filled five county office vacancies.

Densil Allen Jr., of Knob Noster, was appointed as the Johnson County Presiding Commissioner.

Dr. Allen is a former veterinarian and owned and operated Warrensburg Animal Hospital until his retirement. He has also owned and operated Allen’s Auction Service and taught animal science courses at the University of Central Missouri. Dr. Allen has served as a board member for Central Bank of Warrensburg, an advisory board member for the Warrensburg FFA, and the president of West Central Electric Cooperative board. He is also a member of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, National Cattlemen’s Association, and American Quarter Horse Association. Dr. Allen earned a Bachelor of Science in animal husbandry and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Sonja Childers, of Rolla, was appointed as the Phelps County Circuit Clerk.

Ms. Childers has 17 years of experience in the Phelps County Courthouse and recently served as Chief Deputy and Principal Clerk for the Phelps County Circuit Court. She has also served as the Secretary to the 25th Judicial Circuit Presiding Judge. She is a member of the Missouri Professional Association of Court Clerks and holds a Missouri Real Estate License. In 2014, she participated in the Institute for Court Management-Court Performance Standards, hosted by the National Center for State Courts. Ms. Childers graduated from Drury University with a Bachelor of Business Administration.

Jamie Kaylor, of Ewing, was appointed as the Lewis County Circuit Clerk.

Ms. Kaylor currently serves as the Interim Lewis County Circuit Clerk. Previously she served as Deputy Lewis County Circuit Clerk and as a Certified Court Administrator for the City of LaGrange. She has also served as Historian and Region 3 Director for the Missouri Association for Court Administration. Ms. Kaylor received a Court Administration Certificate and Advanced Court Administration Certificate from Missouri State University.

Carla Markt, of Oregon, was appointed as the Holt County First District Commissioner.

Ms. Markt served as the Holt County First District Commissioner from 2016 until her retirement in 2020 when she chose not to seek re-election. She has also previously served as the Holt County Assessor and Holt County Floodplain Coordinator. Ms. Markt is a member of the Missouri River Recovery and Implementation Committee and is a past member of the Missouri Assessor’s Association.

David Stubblefield, of Alton, was appointed as the Oregon County Presiding Commissioner.

Mr. Stubblefield is the owner and operator of Stubblefield Farms, a cow/calf operation in Alton. Previously, he co-owned and operated Stubblefield Implement – a John Deere implement dealership. Mr. Stubblefield received the Oregon County Farm Family of the Year award in 2017. He currently serves as the Chair of the Oregon County Soil & Water Board and is a former member of the FCS Financial Board of Directors. He previously served on the Oregon County Fair Board and Oregon County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.

[ad_2]

Source link

DESE Board of Education votes to approve hybrid work model

[ad_1]

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Board of Education voted to amend its rules to allow hybrid work schedules this week.

Under the new rule, employees would be able to work remotely or through a hybrid work model if approved by management. The policy is meant to promote recruitment and retention as well as productivity. It also allows temporary remote work during extraordinary circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The rule includes standards on remote workspaces and equipment requirements. 

The rule was approved during Tuesday’s meeting, during which the board covered a myriad of topics. Members also voted to update the department’s internet filtering policies, requiring schools to keep up-to-date with filtration software and completing annual certifications. 

Other rule changes altered the requirements to obtain a teaching certificate and clarified requirements for access to the department’s records.

The American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER III) funds are on their way from the federal government, and the department outlined its spending plan during Tuesday’s meeting. Missouri is set to receive $1.96 billion; the state will have immediate access to two-thirds of its allocation with the remainder dependent on the approval of its application which will be submitted this week. 

The plan seeks to address the state’s teacher shortage, an issue Missouri has grappled with since even before the pandemic. The department hopes to fund a statewide recruitment campaign and grants geared toward retention and recruitment. Board members also encouraged an extension of the temporary waiver allowing retired teachers to gain certification which is tied to Missouri’s COVID-19 state of emergency set to expire on Aug. 31. 

Another focus was addressing the digital divide, an issue the board considered numerous times over the past year as the state moved to virtual learning. Funds would go toward bolstering access to technology and equipment while legislators are considering broadband access in rural Missouri.

Board members noted spending authority for the funds would have to be granted by the state, either through a supplemental budget or a regular appropriation. 

The Normandy School Collaborative presented its Normandy Next plan to pave the way to full accreditation by the state. The presentation was the first of a series of quarterly reports required by the board to monitor the academic performance of the school. Planned initiatives include college readiness programs, a more rigorous curriculum, and working with human resource experts to bolster recruitment. 

The board also disciplined four educators and heard an update on the newly-formed Office of Childhood which is set to begin operating later this year. 

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Aug. 17. 

[ad_2]

Source link

All the bills Parson has signed in 2021

[ad_1]

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers ended the first session of the 101st General Assembly with nearly 70 bills passed. 

From budgets to health care, here’s a look at what bills Gov. Mike Parson has signed so far. (This story will be updated.)

Restricting local governments’ health orders: June 15

HB 271 signing, Parson

HB 271, sponsored by Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, prohibits local officials from issuing public health orders or restrictions leading to the closure of schools, businesses, or places of worship beyond 30 days during a six-month period amid a state of emergency. Those orders could be extended by a majority vote of the local governing body, but outside of an emergency, the limit would be set at 21 days. 

It also restricts communities from requiring so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports for public transportation. 

Second Amendment Preservation Act: June 12

The governor signed HB 85, called SAPA, at Frontier Justice, a shooting range and gun store in Lee’s Summit. The bill declares federal gun laws that restrict gun ownership or sale void in Missouri. It also said public officers and employees cannot enforce federal firearm laws that would be void under this law and those who do could be subjected to a $50,000 penalty. 

Rep. Jered Taylor, the bill’s sponsor, has said he expects the law to end up in court. 

Inspection of agriculture facilities: June 10 

HB 574 from Rep. Kent Haden restricts the inspection of certain agriculture facilities to just local sheriffs, law enforcement, and the departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Other entities could inspect the facilities if invited.

Facilities included in the bill include those raising livestock or producing eggs, milk, or other dairy products. Charter counties, except St. Charles County, as well as the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City are exempt. 

East Locust Creek Reservoir Project: June 10 

Parson signed off on a resolution from Sen. Dan Hegeman affirming the legislature’s support of the East Locust Creek Reservoir Project by allocating an annual maximum of $1.5 million toward its construction. The long-term commitment stems from the Multipurpose Water Resource Program Fund with a cap of $24 million. 

Statewide PDMP: June 7 

Establishing a statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) was something Sen. Holly Rehder has long championed in the statehouse, but Parson signed into law her SB 63 her first year in the Senate. Proponents say the program allows health care professionals to monitor and control the distribution of opioids and other prescriptions for their patients better. The bill establishes the Joint Oversight Task Force of Prescription Drug Monitoring within the Office of Administration. 

Although the majority of the state was covered under St. Louis’ PDMP program run by a third party, Missouri was the only state without a statewide program until Parson signed Rehder’s bill. 

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum license plates: May 17 

Sen. Barbara Washington’s SB 189 allows vehicle owners to apply for a special Negro Leagues Baseball Museum license plate upon donating at least $10 to the Kansas City museum. Parson held a ceremonial signing of the bill at Kauffman Stadium. 

“As someone who has family members play in this league, it has always been my honor to fight for this amazing organization since I arrived in Jefferson City,” Washington said

Supplemental budget: May 13

The supplemental budget bill included more than $2.1 billion in federal and general revenue funds for the state. In addition to funding for government operations, HB 15 also included $50 million for the Municipal Utility Emergency Loan Program, a bipartisan effort assisting local utilities reeling from the cold weather earlier in 2021. An additional provision provided $1 million for the Pretrial Witness Protection Fund approved by the legislature last year. 

Adding military jobs to Missouri Works program: April 22 

Sen. Dan Hegeman’s SB 2 included certain military jobs in the Missouri Works program. It allows tax credits to be awarded based on part-time and full-time civilian and military jobs created by the project. 

Foster care, adoption support: April 22 

Rep. Hannah Kelly

Championed by Rep. Hannah Kelly, HB 429 allows Missourians who serve as foster parents for at least six months to receive a tax deduction to cover costs associated with the process — capped at $5,000 for married couples or $2,500 for individuals. 

Her HB 430 expands the opportunity for a $10,000 tax credit to those facing non-recurring adoption fees and expenses. Although the special needs requirement was eliminated, priority is given to applicants adopting children with special needs. The bill also authorized tax credits for donations made to domestic violence shelters and increased a credit for donations to maternity homes. 

Emergency Rental Assistance Program: Feb. 11

The first bill of the session to be signed into law allocated more than $324 million to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) in federal funds. Established by Congress in December amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ERAP includes up to 12 months of assistance for rental and utility assistance. 



[ad_2]

Source link

Funds to combat food insecurity donated on behalf of state employees

[ad_1]

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A group of state employees was recognized for contributions to the Missouri Primary Care Association (MPCA) over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fifteen employees from the departments of Health and Senior Services, Economic Development, and Mental Health, as well as Missouri Health Laboratory and MO HealthNet, were honored Tuesday morning. 

MPCA CEO Joe Pierle presented a donation of $5,000 to the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri and $1,000 to the Samaritan Center on their behalf.

“The vital work MPCA and its community health centers do to provide care to our most vulnerable citizens wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing partnership, assistance, and dedication of people like this remarkable group of Missouri state employees,” Pierle said. “It is our hope by presenting these donations to The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri and the Samaritan Center that the community commitment goes forward and keeps spreading so that other Missourians in need can continue to receive the help and assistance they require.”

The donation was presented at the Jefferson City Samaritan Center, with Mayor Carrie Tergin and Gov. Mike Parson on hand. Parson applauded the workers and groups for their contributions to the state’s vulnerable populations.

“We are proud of the dedication our state workers demonstrated in their efforts to support community health centers and provide needed supplies and services to Missourians throughout the pandemic,” Parson said. “Partnerships with the MPCA and The Food Bank allowed us to better serve our most vulnerable populations, and we could not be more appreciative of their work.”

The employees’ contributions helped fund community health clinics, COVID testing and vaccinations, and mental health services. 

Feeding America projected more than 1 million Missourians faced food insecurity, and the state reported a surge in people seeking assistance over the course of the pandemic. 

[ad_2]

Source link

P-EBT program returns, but many changes for 2021

[ad_1]

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Starting today, families who have children who qualified for free or reduced price meals can once more apply for Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits to help cover food costs they experienced while their student was not doing in-seat learning due to the pandemic. However, the P-EBT 2020-2021 program is very different from last year’s program.  Here are highlights of those changes:

  • All families must apply to get the P-EBT benefit, regardless of whether or not they receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamp benefits.
  • A child may be eligible for P-EBT if the school was closed, not doing in-seat learning, or had reduced hours at least five school days in a row due to COVID-19.
  • P-EBT benefits are available for the months of September 2020 through May 2021.
  • The P-EBT benefit is based on the school’s report of how much of the month was not in-seat learning. If most of the school’s month was not in-seat learning, the monthly P-EBT benefit amount is $129.58. If only some of the school’s month was not in-seat learning, the monthly P-EBT benefit amount is $77.75.
  • Families download the P-EBT application (aplicación en Español)
  • Families directly email or mail the P-EBT application to the Family Support Division by July 31, 2021.
  • Each eligible student will get an EBT card in his or her name with the lump sum P-EBT benefit amount for the 2020-2021 school year. Ineligible families will receive a denial letter.

“We heard from Missouri families how last year’s P-EBT benefit helped with the extra household food costs and I am very pleased Missouri can once more make the benefit available,” said Jennifer Tidball, Acting Director, Department of Social Services. “A special thank you to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and school districts around the state for their tremendous support that makes the P-EBT benefit program possible.”

It is important to note, families who receive SNAP with an eligible child under age six will automatically get a P-EBT benefit for that child added to the household’s existing EBT card. Families do not need to apply for P-EBT benefits for children under age six.

Visit dss.mo.gov for more information about P-EBT. Missourians can email the completed P-EBT application (aplicación en Español) to FSD.MOPEBT@dss.mo.gov, or mail it to:

Family Support Division
615 E. 13th Street
Kansas City, MO 64106

The Missouri Services Navigator has information on over 2,800 programs and services available in the state. Missourians in need of information on SNAP, Medicaid, Child Care Subsidy, LIHEAP, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefit programs can visit dss.mo.gov. Missourians who have questions not specific to an individual’s case can use the DSS Virtual Assistant to get immediate answers to basic questions 24 hours a day. Phone assistance is also available Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. call 855-FSD-INFO or 855-373-4636.

SkillUp and Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) are free programs available to all SNAP and TA recipients that help low-income Missourians with career planning, overcoming challenges to work, as well as getting and keeping a job.

The mission of the Department of Social Services is to empower Missourians to live safe, healthy, and productive lives.  Visit dss.mo.gov to learn more about the Department of Social Services and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.



[ad_2]

Source link

Parson signs legislation limiting public health orders

[ad_1]

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill curbing the power of local officials to issue shutdown orders and other health ordinances Tuesday.  

HB 271, sponsored by Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, prohibits local officials from issuing public health orders or restrictions leading to the closure of schools, businesses, or places of worship beyond 30 days during a six-month period amid a state of emergency. Those orders could be extended by a majority vote of the local governing body. Outside of an emergency, the limit would be set at 21 days. 

Parson signed the bill into law at the state Capitol Tuesday morning with Wiemann and Senate handler Sen. Sandy Crawford on hand.

“This legislation I am signing today requires local leaders to be more transparent in their reasoning and accountable for their decisions when it comes to public health orders,” Parson said. “It also prohibits local, publicly funded entities from requiring a vaccine passport in order for residents to use public services, and while we encourage all Missourians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it is not the government’s job to force them.”

The bill went into effect upon his signature due to an emergency clause.

The issue of shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic was a hot topic in the statehouse this session: A similar attempt — aimed at St. Louis County’s handling of the situation — failed to move forward in the upper chamber, with nine GOP members joining forces with the other side of the aisle to reject the measure on a perfection vote. 

The final version of Wiemann’s bill was approved by both chambers the final week of session after conference negotiations whittled down the bevy of Senate amendments that swelled the bill to more than 100 pages. The final version passed overwhelmingly in both bodies. 

The underlying bill establishes the Missouri Local Government Expenditure Database to track local expenditures and vendors doing business with communities. The database would be voluntary, but citizens could vote to require a county or city to participate. Wiemann championed the same measure last year, but it failed to progress to a hearing in the Senate. The database garnered bipartisan support on the House floor this year before the other provisions were added. 

Parson Wiemann HB 271 signing
Rep. John Wiemann’s bill was signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson Tuesday. (THE MISSOURI TIMES/CAMERON GERBER)

“This has been a labor of love for me for the last three years to try to get the local government transparency bill passed in Missouri,” Wiemann said. “Normally when we do omnibus bills we’re a little nervous about what’s being added on that may not necessarily be good, but we spent a solid week vetting through and I can tell you those 23 amendments are solid local government bills.”

It grew to include a myriad of provisions related to local governments as it progressed through the legislature, including regulations on county commissioners, county clerks, utilities, and circuit courts. Another section restricts communities from requiring COVID-19 vaccination passports for publicly funded transportation, a provision that was attached to other bills as well.  

Wiemann’s bill is the latest piece of legislation to be signed into law this month; Parson signed several bills last week, establishing a statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), outlining who could inspect agricultural facilities, and affirming the state’s financial commitment to a water project in the north. The Second Amendment Preservation Act was signed Saturday, allowing state gun laws to supersede federal regulations. 

This story has been updated. It was originally published June 14. 

[ad_2]

Source link

Legislation checking power of local health officials to be signed this week

[ad_1]

  

A bill curbing the power of local officials to issue shutdown orders and other health ordinances is scheduled to be signed into law this week. 

HB 271, sponsored by Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, would prohibit local officials from issuing public health orders or restrictions leading to the closure of schools, businesses, or places of worship beyond 30 days during a six-month period amid a state of emergency. Those orders could be extended by a majority vote of the local governing body. Outside of an emergency, the limit would be set at 21 days. 

Gov. Mike Parson is scheduled to sign the bill into law Tuesday morning at the Capitol. An emergency clause was adopted by the legislature, putting the bill into effect upon his signature. 

Wiemann could not immediately be reached for comment. 

The issue of shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic was a hot topic in the statehouse this session: A similar attempt — aimed at St. Louis County’s handling of the situation — failed to move forward in the upper chamber, with nine GOP members joining forces with the other side of the aisle to reject the measure on a perfection vote. 

The final version of Wiemann’s bill was approved by both chambers the final week of session after conference negotiations whittled down the bevy of Senate amendments that swelled the bill to more than 100 pages. The final version passed overwhelmingly in both bodies. 

The underlying bill would establish the Missouri Local Government Expenditure Database to track local expenditures and vendors doing business with communities. The database would be voluntary, but citizens could vote to require a county or city to participate. Wiemann championed the same measure last year, but it failed to progress to a hearing in the Senate. The database garnered bipartisan support on the House floor this year before the other provisions were added. 

“For those who were in this chamber last year, we passed this bill out of the chamber,” Wiemann said at the time. “It’s virtually the same bill dealing with local government municipal transparency.”  

It grew to include a myriad of provisions related to local governments as it progressed through the legislature, including regulations on county commissioners, county clerks, utilities, and circuit courts. Another section restricts communities from requiring COVID-19 vaccination passports for publicly funded transportation, a provision that was attached to other bills as well.  

Wiemann’s bill is the latest piece of legislation to be signed into law this month; Parson signed several bills last week, establishing a statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), outlining who could inspect agricultural facilities, and affirming the state’s financial commitment to a water project in the north. The Second Amendment Preservation Act was signed Saturday, allowing state gun laws to supersede federal regulations. 

[ad_2]

Source link

Former House employee’s COVID-related lawsuit partially dismissed

[ad_1]

  

A former legislative employee’s lawsuit against the House and several employees alleging he was fired after requesting a mask mandate was partially dismissed earlier this month. 

In his June 2 order, Judge Douglas Harpool dismissed Tad Mayfield’s whistleblower claim as he did not disclose “something previously unknown” when he requested the legislature implement a mandatory mask policy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mayfield sued the House, the former speaker, and several employees in March, alleging he was terminated from his job as a legislative specialist after he repeatedly expressed his concerns about a lack of a mask mandate in the Capitol. After he sent an email to leadership in both chambers about his concerns, Mayfield was asked to resign for alleged poor performance. When he declined to do so, he was terminated. 

Mayfield alleged he was retaliated against for exercising his First Amendment rights.

Harpool denied a motion to dismiss Mayfield’s First Amendment retaliation claim but did toss his whistleblower claim, noting his emails referenced CDC guidelines and information from Gov. Mike Parson’s executive orders. 

“[T]here is no indication or reason to believe that the House of Representatives would not have otherwise been aware of such information, or public information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in general,” the order said. 

However, the judge said Mayfield “sufficiently alleged that he spoke as a private citizen on a matter of public concern, rather than pursuant to his job duties” in allowing the First Amendment retaliation complaint to continue. 

The case is in the Western District of Missouri. A House spokesperson previously told The Missouri Times the lower chamber spent $8,000 over a six-month period on face coverings for legislators and staff members. Regular updates with instructions for administrative and caucus staff to social distance and wear masks were also sent.  

Representatives struck down a resolution at the start of session mandating all members follow recommendations from the CDC and Department of Health and Senior Services during a state of emergency related to a communicable disease. 

Loader
Loading…

[ad_2]

Source link

Department of Natural Resources awarded grant for initiative to assess rare earth elements, critical minerals

[ad_1]

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A partnership between the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the University of Kansas will receive $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to study the feasibility of recovering critical minerals from coal and associated strata in the Cherokee-Forest City Basin, which encompasses Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Osage Nation.

The Department of Energy’s Carbon Ore, Rare Earth and Critical Minerals Initiative is a $19 million nationwide effort to assess rare earth elements and critical minerals in fossil fuel-producing areas. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Geological Survey is partnering with the state geological surveys of Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma, and the Osage Nation on the initiative. Each state and the Osage Nation received a portion of the $1.5 million in funding, with the remainder of the $19 million going to other projects.

“This project will further Missouri’s understanding of rare earth element and critical mineral potential in coal-bearing regions in northwestern and western Missouri,” said Dru Buntin, acting director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “Team members with DNR’s Missouri Geological Survey will begin evaluating critical minerals in coal and associated bedrock units this year. The project will support the department’s efforts to further economic development opportunities in Missouri.”

Rare earth elements and critical minerals are necessary components of numerous products across a wide range of applications, such as cellular telephones, computer hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, solar and wind energy, flat-screen monitors and televisions, and defense technologies. Identifying and producing rare earth elements and critical minerals is part of an initiative by the federal government to reduce the nation’s reliance on foreign sources of these important resources.

“We will use portable X-ray fluorescence analysis (pXRF), to assess samples both from the field and at our McCracken Core Library and Research Center in Rolla,” said Larry “Boot” Pierce, Geologic Resources section chief with the Missouri Geological Survey. “The pXRF is a field screening analysis tool used by geologists. Any samples that look promising will be sent to a laboratory for more detailed and confirmatory analysis.”

The project will provide a robust geochemical dataset by combining pXRF analyses of field samples and subsurface core samples of Missouri’s coal and associated units. The produced dataset will provide a guide for further geochemical analyses and future project efforts of targeted geologic units.

Learn more about the DOE award at energy.gov/articles/doe-awards-19-million-initiatives-produce-rare-earth-elements-and-critical-minerals. Visit the department’s McCracken Core Library and Research Center webpage at dnr.mo.gov/geology/geosrv/geores/mccracken.htm to learn about the repository for nearly 8 million feet of subsurface rock core and cuttings.

[ad_2]

Source link

Jasper Logan seeking HD 1 seat in 2022

[ad_1]

  

Jasper Logan, the former president of the Northwest Missouri State University (NWMSU) College Republicans, is running for HD 1 next year. 

Logan, who holds a degree in political science and public relations from NWMSU, pointed to the new administration in Washington, D.C., as a catalyst for his run.

“Under the Biden administration, our freedom and our future are threatened now more than ever before,” Logan said. “I am running because we need a representative who will fight back against federal overreach and stand strong for our conservative values in the state Capitol. We need a representative who will protect our constitutional rights at all costs and hold true to the principles of free enterprise, limited government, and fiscal responsibility. As the next representative for northwest Missouri, that’s exactly what I will do.” 

Logan is no stranger to the campaign trail; his involvement in politics began when he interned on Austin Petersen’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2018 and served as campus team leader for the Missouri Republican Party in the general election that same year. He also volunteered on Maryville City Councilman John McBride’s campaign who has signed on as his campaign treasurer. 

Logan served as treasurer of the Missouri Federation of College Republicans from 2020-2021 and director of the Northwest Missouri Conservatives PAC which campaigned in favor of last year’s Amendment 3, altering the state’s redistricting process.

“We rolled up our sleeves, got to work, and with some much-appreciated help from grassroots organizations across the state, we pulled off an upset victory for the people of Missouri. To this day that is one of my proudest accomplishments. If elected, I will bring that same kind of determination and work ethic to the table as I continue to stick up for the interests and values of our Northwest Missouri communities.”

Logan listed the Second Amendment, reducing the state’s tax burden, and voter ID among his highest priorities. 

“I hope I can be a voice not only for my district but for the next generation of Missouri Republicans as well,” he said. “We need to get them engaged by showing them that they are represented within our party and within our government and that they, too, can make a difference.”

Logan seeks to replace outgoing Rep. Allen Andrews who is term-limited. Prior to redistricting, the district encompasses Atchison, Holt, Nodaway, and Worth counties. 

The November 2022 election is scheduled a week after his 24th birthday, making him one of the youngest representatives since 1935, when Rep. Carleton Fulbright began his tenure 13 days shy of his 24th birthday. Alex Dubinsky, a recently-announced contender for HD 88, would also cross the age threshold just before being sworn in if he were to win his bid.

[ad_2]

Source link

Hartzler: ‘I’m more than just rhetoric’

[ad_1]

  

As Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler officially enters the U.S. Senate race, she said the biggest element that sets her apart from her competition was her track record on Capitol Hill

“Policy matters, and I have the track record of getting things done that I think Missourians need and appreciate,” she said. “I’ve been taking their ideas to Washington and fighting for them, whether it be rebuilding the military, expanding rural broadband, standing up for life and freedom — those are things that Missourians embrace and I can show I’ve actually delivered it, so I’m more than just rhetoric. I have results and I think that’s going to win at the end of the day.”

Hartzler entered the race for U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s seat last week, announcing her candidacy in Lee’s Summit. She joins Attorney General Eric Schmitt, former Gov. Eric Greitens, and St. Louis attorney Mark McClosky in the contest for the Republican nomination. 

Hartzler appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” to discuss her bid for the open seat, reiterating her commitment to the defense budget, the Second Amendment, and former President Donald Trump’s policies. She also touched on the situation at the southern border and concerns over the new administration in D.C. 

“We’re at a crisis in our nation. I think people understand the gravity of this time in our history,” Hartzler said. “They want somebody who has experience getting things done in Washington who is one of them, who’s been fighting for them, and I’m just looking forward to building a team effort to take a stand against socialism and take back our country.”

2022 elections

This week’s panel included Hannah Beers Sutton, a senior associate with Axiom Strategies, and Jonathan Ratliff, a partner with Palm Strategic. Sutton said she still expected Schmitt to lead the race despite Hartzler’s entry.

“I still think that Attorney General Eric Schmitt is the front runner,” Sutton said. “I think he’s the only person who is a serious contender who has represented the entire state of Missouri and has fought for people from the cities to the rural areas and I still think he’s the front runner but I really do have to applaud Congresswoman Hartzler and her work at the federal level.”

One contender has already announced his intention to run for Hartzler’s seat: Former state Sen. Ed Emery threw his hat in the ring shortly after her announcement, and other state legislators have been named possible candidates. Ratliff said the race was up in the air with redistricting on the horizon.  

“It’s going to in some cases dramatically change the lines that we currently have,” he said. “I think that along with this race and potentially more members getting more members of Congress getting in, I think what the map looks like today and what it might look like a year from now could be very different.”

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below, or listen to the podcast version here.

[ad_2]

Source link