News Feed: Governor /news-rss?filter=governor News Feed: Governor Sun, 15 Sep 2019 09:55:02 +0000 en-us Governor Parson Applauds General Assembly’s Passage of HB 1, Amendment to Motor Vehicle Sales Tax Allowances 2741 at Fri, 13 Sep 2019 15:56:30 +0000 Governor Parson Applauds General Assembly’s Passage of HB 1, Amendment to Motor Vehicle Sales Tax Allowances Katy.Alexander Fri, 09/13/2019 - 15:56 September 13, 2019 Today, the Missouri Senate unanimously passed HB 1, which will allow the sales proceeds of more than one vehicle to be used as a credit against the sales tax owed on the purchase of a new vehicle.  The Missouri General Assembly met this week after Governor Mike Parson’s call for a special session to address the issue.  “We appreciate Representative Ruth and Senator Wallingford's leadership on this issue and are thankful for the overwhelming bipartisan support of the legislature in getting it passed,” Governor Parson said. “They came together and worked hard to make this right for the everyday people of Missouri, and that’s what it’s all about.”  In Kehlenbrink v. Director of Revenue (SC 97287), the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the sales proceeds of only one vehicle, trailer, boat, or outboard motor may be used as a credit against the sales tax owed on the purchase of another.  The legislature’s passage of HB 1 will amend the law to allow for the sale of multiple vehicles to be used as a credit, in line with the Department of Revenue’s prior practice and what consumers have come to expect. Without this amendment, the law would limit Missourians in offsetting their tax liability, creating an unnecessary financial burden for taxpayers.  “On behalf of the Department of Revenue, I want to express our gratitude to Governor Parson for bringing this issue to the forefront and calling this special session,” Department of Revenue Acting Director Ken Zellers said. “Passage of HB 1 gives clarity to citizens as it was intended by the General Assembly, ensuring hardworking Missourians will continue to enjoy the benefits of tax savings associated with vehicle and titling transactions.”  “Enforcement of the ruling in my parents’ case would have far-reaching impacts, affecting not only my family but many other families across Missouri,” Scott Kehlenbrink said. “We greatly appreciate Governor Parson’s swift action in calling a special session to address and correct the issue.”  HB 1 will take effect 90 days after Governor Parson signs the legislation into law. Governor Parson Signs Executive Order 19-16, Announces Commencement of Missouri as a Model Employer Initiative 2716 at Mon, 09 Sep 2019 12:55:54 +0000 Governor Parson Signs Executive Order 19-16, Announces Commencement of Missouri as a Model Employer Initiative Stephanie.Whitaker Mon, 09/09/2019 - 12:55 September 9, 2019 Jefferson City Today, Governor Mike Parson signed Executive Order 19-16, announcing the commencement of the Missouri as a Model Employer initiative. The Model Employer classification is an emerging trend supported by the federal Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy to help more people with disabilities obtain competitive, integrated employment.  “Being a Model Employer is critical to developing and maintaining a talented state workforce that reflects the rich diversity of Missourians,” Governor Parson said. “We are committed to doing everything we can, both through this initiative and other efforts, to eliminate barriers to employment and expand job offers to individuals of all abilities.”   Currently, 79.8 percent of working age individuals in Missouri without a disability are employed while only 37.1 percent of working age individuals with a disability are employed. Governor Parson’s Executive Order aims to reduce this disparity by directing Missouri state government to serve as a Model Employer of individuals with disabilities through improved recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies.  Through the initiative, the state will set annual goals for continuing to increase the percentage of individuals with disabilities in the state workforce and evaluate its progress in achieving those goals each year. The Office of Administration will also designate a State Disability Employment Coordinator or Coordinators to advise and support state agencies with the initiative, helping to ensure its success.  To assist with the launch of the initiative, a Missouri as a Model Employer Talent Showcase will take place at the State Capitol on October 10, 2019.  The Talent Showcase event is a reverse career fair that provides individuals with physical, mental health, or cognitive disabilities to showcase their talents and achievements through display or presentation. State agencies and private employers will have the opportunity to circulate the booths, introduce themselves, and learn about the individuals' skills and abilities that may meet their hiring needs.  To view Executive Order 19-16, click here. Governor Parson, Congressman Cleaver Join to Support Missouri Farmers, Ranchers, and Agribusinesses 2711 at Fri, 06 Sep 2019 16:53:38 +0000 Governor Parson, Congressman Cleaver Join to Support Missouri Farmers, Ranchers, and Agribusinesses Katy.Alexander Fri, 09/06/2019 - 16:53 September 6, 2019 United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Ratification Remains in Focus for Missourians Jefferson City Today, Governor Mike Parson joined Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn, and various agriculture leaders to explore the benefits of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to Missouri agriculture during a grain elevator tour of Missouri’s 5th Congressional District.  The tour, which stretched from Marshall into the heart of Kansas City by way of the Kansas City Southern’s Southern Belle train, was hosted by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City. “Our state, including the farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness that build up Missouri’s economy every day, needs USMCA to be ratified,” Governor Parson said. “Our leaders in Washington are all doing important work by ensuring that this deal is the right deal for America, and Missouri is ready to see it cross the finish line.”     Missouri’s 5th District is known for its immense contribution to Missouri agriculture – nearly 26,000 jobs and $7.5 billion in sales. The district is not only home to more than 3,700 farms that canvass 1.1 million acres of land, but agribusiness and manufacturing also thrive in the area. One out of five manufacturing firms in Missouri currently exports to Canada and Mexico, 71 percent of which are small- and medium-sized businesses. “We must do everything possible to work out any and all kinks that would derail what could be beneficial to the 5th District of Missouri and the nation,” Congressman Cleaver said.  Agriculture exports support more than 1.2 million American jobs. In Missouri alone, agriculture employs nearly 400,000 citizens. Mexico and Canada purchase nearly 65 percent of agriculture exports from the United States.  According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, an independent and bipartisan agency, full implementation of USMCA would increase agricultural exports to the world by $2.2 billion.   “When farmers and ranchers thrive, the businesses and communities around them grow and remain strong,” Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said. “USMCA is a bright spot for Missouri agriculture, maintaining zero tariffs with our neighbors, providing better market access for certain commodities, and offering biotechnology protections that support 21st century agriculture.” The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the World Trade Center – Kansas City hosted a roundtable discussion immediately following the grain elevator tour. The following leaders representing several businesses, cooperatives, and organizations participated in the conversation:  Governor Mike Parson, State of Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, 5th Congressional District Chris Chinn, Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Joe Reardon, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Pat Ottensmeyer, Kansas City Southern Stuart Shaw, Black & Veatch Jeff Krum, Boulevard Brewing Company Andrew Etkind, Garmin Sarah Moe, Hallmark Ray Kowalik, Burns & McDonnell Beau Heppler, Ray-Carroll Elevator Jim Edwards, Ray-Carroll Elevator Greg Bertz, Ray-Carroll Elevator John Graverson, Ray-Carroll County Grain Growers Billy Thiel, Missouri Corn Growers Association John Fletcher, Central Missouri AGRIService LLC Don Schlesselman, MFA Incorporated Craig Childs, MFA Incorporated Kris Denzel, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Agriculture is an $88.4 billion industry in Missouri, remaining the backbone of the state’s economy. To learn more, visit Governor Parson’s Bridge Program Awarded Contracts on First 14 Bridges 2706 at Fri, 06 Sep 2019 11:43:26 +0000 Governor Parson’s Bridge Program Awarded Contracts on First 14 Bridges swobos1 Fri, 09/06/2019 - 11:43 September 6, 2019 Jefferson City Today, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded construction contracts to rehabilitate or replace 14 of the state’s poor bridges. They are the first bridges to be awarded under Governor Mike Parson’s Focus on Bridges program, which was proposed in January and passed by the Missouri General Assembly in May.  “We’ve made great progress toward improving Missouri’s bridge infrastructure in recent months, and this set of contracts is another major step in the right direction,” Governor Parson said. “With one of the nation’s largest but lowest-funded highway systems, Missouri’s road and bridge needs must be addressed to ensure we have the framework for future access and expansion. Our bridge program is critical to meeting those needs, and we’re excited to see it move forward with these first 14 bridges.”  The Focus on Bridges program provides $50 million in state general revenue for the repair or replacement of 45 bridges that had already been prioritized for work. All 45 bridges will be under contract by the end of the year and completed in 2020. Since these bridges were already programmed in the state’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), the $50 million that originally would have been spent on these projects is now available to be used for other important projects. Those new projects will be identified by local planning partners in the 2021-2024 STIP. “We’ve had some great transportation news in the state of Missouri the last several months,” Missouri Department of Transportation Director Patrick McKenna said. “This is just one more example of what can happen when a Governor takes such a strong leadership role in the transportation investment arena and is joined by bipartisan support in the General Assembly.” In July, MoDOT received an $81.2 million INFRA Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation that will facilitate the construction of a new I-70 Missouri River Bridge at Rocheport and I-70 climbing lanes at Mineola Hill in Montgomery County – two significant improvements to the I-70 freight corridor. The grant will also trigger a $301 million bonding program, authorized by the legislature in the 2019 session, that will repair or replace an additional 215 bridges across the state and free up $301 million from the current STIP for new transportation improvement projects. For a list of the bridges awarded contracts, please see attachment. For additional information, call MoDOT at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or visit  MoDOT to Receive $20.7 Million Federal Grant, Replace 40 Rural Northern Missouri Bridges 2691 at Thu, 29 Aug 2019 10:01:03 +0000 MoDOT to Receive $20.7 Million Federal Grant, Replace 40 Rural Northern Missouri Bridges Katy.Alexander Thu, 08/29/2019 - 10:01 August 29, 2019 Jefferson City The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will be able to replace 40 bridges in northern Missouri as a result of an announcement by Congressman Sam Graves that Missouri has received a $20.7 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Competitive Highway Bridge Program.     The bridges, all located north of I-70, are in poor condition, weight-restricted, supported by timber pile, and one-lane wide but carry two-way traffic. In addition to removing current detours and preventing future ones, the grant will help increase safety on the state’s rural roads and reduce costs associated with maintaining the bridges.  "Missouri's infrastructure, specifically bridge infrastructure, has been a key focus for our administration since day one. This grant continues the momentum we’ve gained in recent months to invest in infrastructure improvements," Governor Parson said. "Missouri’s farm-to-market roads are critical connections to Missouri’s highways, railways, and waterways, allowing our farmers to compete in the global marketplace. The bridges that will be replaced as a result of this grant would have posed obstacles to that connectivity had they been further weight restricted or closed."  “When this project is complete, there will be no bridges remaining in northern Missouri that meet those criteria,” State Bridge Engineer Dennis Heckman said. He said the bridges, on average, are 77 years old and deteriorating rapidly. Only 25 states were eligible to apply for the $225 million in the Competitive Highway Bridge Program – those with a population density of 100 or less per square mile. The grant also required bridges be bundled in a single contract. MoDOT intends to pursue a design-build contract to deliver this project. The Competitive Highway Bridge Program grant comes on the heels of an $81.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to build a new I-70 Missouri River Bridge at Rocheport. Receipt of the INFRA grant will also trigger $301 million in state bonding, authorized by the Missouri General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session, that will repair or replace another 215 bridges across the state. “We are poised to deliver these bridge improvement projects as quickly, efficiently, and innovatively as possible,” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said. “We are grateful to Congressman Graves, Governor Parson, and Missouri legislators for their support of additional investment in transportation in Missouri.” Historic Statewide Reorganization Takes Effect, Signals Major Milestone in Governor Parson’s Plan to Improve State Government 2681 at Wed, 28 Aug 2019 15:06:13 +0000 Historic Statewide Reorganization Takes Effect, Signals Major Milestone in Governor Parson’s Plan to Improve State Government Stephanie.Whitaker Wed, 08/28/2019 - 15:06 August 28, 2019 Jefferson City Today marks the official restructuring of four state agencies, signaling a major milestone in Governor Mike Parson’s plan to improve state government.  Initially announced through a series of Executive Orders issued by Governor Parson in January, the changes represent the most significant reorganization of state government in decades.  “During my State of the State Address in January, I committed to the General Assembly that our administration would fundamentally restructure state government. We are pleased to say today that we have accomplished that goal,” Governor Parson said. “To move our state in the right direction, we had to roll up our sleeves and get to work, and that’s what this day represents. Today, we celebrate this historic moment for our state, our government, and most importantly, our citizens.”  The reorganization moved several divisions from the Department of Economic Development to other state agencies in an effort to create a more focused economic development strategy and be more competitive with neighboring states:  The Division of Workforce Development and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center moved to the newly named Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (formerly the Department of Higher Education) to establish a single state resource for all postsecondary education options. The Division of Energy moved to the Department of Natural Resources. The Office of Public Counsel (OPC) and the Public Service Commission (PSC) moved to the newly named Department of Commerce and Insurance (formerly the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration). The Missouri Arts Council moved to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. By better aligning certain functions of state government, these changes will streamline operations, increase efficiency, and improve customer service to all Missourians.  “It’s been more than a decade since we evaluated our economic development strategy, and it was time we took a hard look at how we could provide better solutions in our state,” Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon said, noting that the Department’s year-long strategy assessment led to a “complete overhaul and new pathway for growth in rural and urban areas.” “This change gives Missourians a resource for the full range of postsecondary options – from apprenticeships to certificates to doctoral programs,” Commissioner of Higher Education and Workforce Development Zora Mulligan said. “This is consistent with national trends toward recognizing the value of shorter-term, lower-cost programs, and through this bold move, Governor Parson will be positioning Missouri as a thought leader in this area.” “Returning the Division of Energy to the Department of Natural Resources provides multiple benefits to Missouri businesses, communities, and citizens,” Department of Natural Resources Director Carol Comer said. “The move improves our ability to balance a healthy environment with a healthy economy and allows us to provide a more complete package of services to Missouri communities and residents.” “Moving the PSC and OPC to the Department of Commerce and Insurance made good strategic sense,” Department of Commerce and Insurance Director Chlora Lindley-Myers said. “We have similar missions and fully understand the regulatory environment. We’re very pleased to welcome our new colleagues to the department.” “I appreciate Governor Parson’s leadership in ensuring the Department of Economic Development is effectively organized to focus on growing Missouri’s economy, adding employers, and maintaining a top-notch workforce,” Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe said. “I am thrilled to have the Missouri Arts Council as part of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office. The arts, in all varieties, are important to Missourians, and I look forward to actively promoting their significance throughout the state.” In addition to Governor Parson’s Executive Orders, SB 68 also took effect today. Governor Parson signed the bill into law in July, which includes four key pieces of workforce and economic development legislation designed to meet employer needs and help Missouri compete for major business expansions across the state. To view the Executive Orders, click here. Governor Parson Appoints Renée Hardin-Tammons as Circuit Judge for the 21st Judicial Circuit 2676 at Tue, 27 Aug 2019 16:25:24 +0000 Governor Parson Appoints Renée Hardin-Tammons as Circuit Judge for the 21st Judicial Circuit Stephanie.Whitaker Tue, 08/27/2019 - 16:25 August 27, 2019 Jefferson City Governor Parson appointed Renée Hardin-Tammons as Circuit Judge for the 21st Judicial Circuit. She will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Thea A. Sherry. Hardin-Tammons, of Olivette, is an Associate Circuit Judge for the St. Louis County Circuit Court. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice from the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri, Columbia.  EDITORIAL: Basin States Need to Speak with Unified Voice on Missouri River Management 1431 at Thu, 28 Mar 2019 10:33:04 +0000 EDITORIAL: Basin States Need to Speak with Unified Voice on Missouri River Management Stephanie.Whitaker Thu, 03/28/2019 - 10:33 March 28, 2019 Jefferson City – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the Missouri River through the Master Manual, a 432-page document that lays out eight congressionally authorized purposes: flood control, river navigation, hydroelectric power, irrigation, water supply, water quality, recreation, and fish and wildlife (including preservation of endangered species). Congress authorized flood control and navigation as the dominant project purposes for the Missouri River system. However, during a 2004 update of the Master Manual, the Corps shifted the prioritization of these purposes to hold water higher in the reservoir system to benefit fisheries – an action that effectively reduced flood control. For decades, the State of Missouri has strongly argued flood control must be the Corps’ top priority and that reducing flood impacts is the dominant project purpose that Congress authorized to guide the Corps’ management of the Missouri River. The Midwest is now bearing witness to the devastating results when those eight purposes are not appropriately prioritized. The Corps maintains one of the nation’s largest flood control systems on the Missouri river main-stem, but the devastating flooding we are experiencing and the previous record 2011 flooding have demonstrated the current system is insufficient to protect us. The majority of the runoff causing the flooding in the Missouri River basin this week came either from unregulated tributaries to the Missouri River without a Corps reservoir or in tributaries to the Corps’ most downstream reservoir, Lewis and Clark Reservoir above Gavins Point Dam – a reservoir with very little flood storage. The Corps should be considering expanding Lewis and Clark Reservoir, adding more flood control reservoirs on the tributaries in the lower Missouri River, or implementing other strategies to expand flood storage, instead of being distracted by protracted debates about endangered species. It is long past time for change. We must begin a serious discussion about how we improve flood control on the Missouri River. To accomplish this, the states of the Missouri River basin must reassert our leadership in guiding the federal government’s management of the river. After the 2011 flood, the Governors of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming agreed that flood control was their number one priority. I am certain it remains so today. The State of Missouri has always been vigilant about protecting the life and property of its citizens. For decades Missouri has vigorously opposed changes to Corps operations that would reduce flood control. Unfortunately, despite Missouri’s strong opposition, the Corps’ recently released Missouri River Recovery Program Management Plan includes the possibility of an artificial spring rise, which would deliberately cause downstream flooding to purportedly benefit an endangered species of fish. As this year’s flooding clearly shows, however, there are too many natural rises on the Missouri River. It is time for the Corps to finally abandon any proposal that includes a man-made spring rise on the Missouri River.  In the weeks and months following this flood, it is imperative that the Corps work with levee districts and municipalities to quickly repair the damage to our flood-control infrastructure. The Corps must also work with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make our infrastructure more resilient to these recurring impacts.  The Corps can, and needs to, improve the way it manages the system, but we as a state also need to take a stronger role in guiding the federal government’s management of the Missouri River. Our citizens can’t continue to risk their lives, homes, livestock, and futures on a flood-control system that is insufficient to protect them. Governor Parson Delivers 2019 State of the State Address 1026 at Wed, 16 Jan 2019 15:11:16 +0000 Governor Parson Delivers 2019 State of the State Address kellmm Wed, 01/16/2019 - 15:11 January 16, 2019 Jefferson City Today, Governor Parson delivered his first State of the State Address to a Joint Session of the 100th Missouri General Assembly. The Governor’s speech focused on his two core priorities, workforce development and infrastructure. The Governor stated these are the right priorities to ensure the State of Missouri thrives both now and into the future.   “I firmly believe the people of Missouri are eager to have leadership that will propose bold ideas and is willing to tackle tough issues that have been put off too long,” said Governor Parson. “My administration is focused on making significant investments in workforce development and infrastructure, reforming and restructuring government responsibilities, and saving for the future. We look forward to working with the Legislature to move Missouri forward.” Governor Parson announced $22 million towards a new scholarship program called Fast Track, which will allow Missourians to receive training in high-demand areas largely taught at our community colleges, technical schools, colleges, and universities. The Governor also announced $10 million towards a new fund known as Missouri One Start, which is an increase and consolidation of the Missouri Works program, aimed at assisting new and existing businesses with upgrading their workers’ skills to build out their workforce needs. Further, he announced $16 million for the creation of Missouri Excels, a program for Missouri Higher Education Institutions to develop and expand employer-driven education, training programs, and initiatives to increase career readiness. The Governor announced several long-term investments in Missouri’s infrastructure, beginning with $5 million to help every Missourian have access to high-speed broadband internet. He also announced $350 million were being freed up to allow MoDOT to begin immediate work on nearly 250 bridges across Missouri in need of critical repair or replacement. Further, $50 million were announced for a transportation cost share program to assist cities and counties with addressing the most serious infrastructure needs in our local areas. The Governor discussed other measures aimed at restructuring state government to demand greater efficiency and accountability and to improve our customer service to Missourians. He announced that his budget reduces the size of state government by 450 positions and saves nearly $120 million dollars, the first time in over a decade a Governor’s budget does not spend every tax dollar.  His speech also discussed the Governor’s efforts to improve the health and healthcare of all Missouri citizens. He announced that his budget provides a substantial increase to directly help those facing mental health challenges, expand telemedicine technology, combat the opioid crisis, and better serve those in need. The Governor and First Lady’s commitment to promote awareness and advance autism research was also discussed, with the Governor announcing a proposed $1 million towards that cause. He also restated his commitment to safeguarding the integrity of the Medicaid program and the importance of curbing Medicaid costs in future budget years.  The Governor’s FY 2020 Budget Summary can be found here: The transcript for the 2019 State of the State can be found here: Governor Parson Announces Special Session to Address Legislative Priorities 371 at Fri, 31 Aug 2018 17:36:18 +0000 Governor Parson Announces Special Session to Address Legislative Priorities swobos1 Fri, 08/31/2018 - 17:36 August 30, 2018 Session will Focus on STEM Education and Expansion of Treatment Courts Jefferson City Governor Mike Parson announced today that the Missouri General Assembly will be called back in for a Special Session concurrent with Veto Session.  The Special Session will take place the week of September 10-14 and will focus on the passage of computer science course access and awareness of career opportunities through STEM education as well as expanding treatment courts in the State of Missouri.   “When I addressed the General Assembly nearly three months ago, I pledged that I would change the tone and work with the legislature,” said Gov. Parson. “This call is a step in delivering that promise.  These two issues were a part of the General Assembly’s historic session as they passed a number of their priorities.  By working together to come up with a more narrowly defined focus, we will have better served the people of Missouri.” The new STEM education requires Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to establish an online program to educate students about STEM careers and allows for multiple companies to apply to provide the program.  By passing this during a special session, it will allow for DESE to start the process of implementing it for the 2019-2020 school year.  Senator Doug Libla sponsored one version of the original bill.   “Computer science being offered in our K-12 schools is so important to the future of our Missouri students and to the many companies that desire and depend on these skills. Thousands of high-paying jobs are available right now all across Missouri,” said Sen. Libla, R-Poplar Bluff.  “I would like to thank Gov. Parson and the Missouri Legislature for their past support of this life-changing legislation.” The new treatment court legislation will focus solely on reforms to treatment courts throughout the state.  Expansion of treatment courts will allow for more individuals to get treatment, rather than being incarcerated in our already overcrowded prison system. Representative Kevin Austin was the original sponsor of the treatment court bill. “I applaud the Governor's action and comments.  I appreciate his recognition that Missouri treatment courts have been a great success at changing lives for the better, lowering criminal recidivism rates, saving tax-payer dollars by reducing incarceration, all the while making our communities safer and aiding our citizens in their quest to be more productive and improve their quality of life. I am excited to work with my colleagues and the governor to pass this crucial expansion of our treatment courts into law,” said Rep. Austin, R-Springfield. Both leadership from the House and Senate have endorsed the Governor’s decision for a special session.  The timeliness of the call to have a special session concurrent with veto session will ensure that this special session is run efficiently, cutting down on any additional costs and saving taxpayer dollars.    “Since taking office in June, the governor has asked us for a fresh start and for us to begin working together for a better Missouri. We believe in his vision of moving Missouri forward by finding new solutions for workforce development and exploring innovation,” said President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin. “We understand there are priorities the governor would like to accomplish before the end of the year. We respect those priorities, and as the Senate Leader, I will do what I can to push his agenda forward.” “I appreciate the governor’s willingness to work closely with us to resolve these pressing issues that will have a positive impact on thousands of Missourians all across our state,” said House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff. “My colleagues and I are ready to have an efficient session that will improve our system of education to better prepare our young people for the jobs of the future, and give Missourians battling substance abuse access to treatment that will allow them to become healthy, productive citizens.” In addition to legislators, Missouri leaders have spoken up in favor of the upcoming special session.  “Businesses across the state are struggling right now to find workers who have the skills they need. This problem severely impacts companies that are hiring for jobs that require computer science skills. I applaud Gov. Mike Parson and the Missouri General Assembly for focusing on STEM workforce readiness during the upcoming special session,” said Daniel P. Mehan, President and CEO, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Passing this legislation is an important first step toward improving computer science education in our state and giving students essential skills needed in today’s economy. This effort aligns with our Missouri 2030 plan and the business community anticipates important progress being made when lawmakers return to Jefferson City.” "With tens of thousands of unfilled tech jobs in Missouri, it is more important than ever to make STEM career pathways visible to young people. As an organization that provides free, accessible tech training to Missourians, LaunchCode is proud to support legislation that will open doors to new generations of learners and better prepare them for accelerated, job-focused training programs like ours," said Jeff Mazur, Executive Director, LaunchCode. "We are grateful to Gov. Parson and legislative leaders for making STEM career awareness an urgent policy priority." “Preparing tomorrow’s workforce for careers in STEM is an important priority for Cerner and we work to provide students with learning programs that offer the professional skills and technical knowledge to set them up for future success,” said Julie Wilson, Chief People Officer, Cerner. “We appreciate the continued focus by Gov. Parson on growing STEM education, which will further make Missouri a place to attract and recruit top talent for the jobs of today and the future.” “Treatment courts are the most successful intervention in our nation’s history for holding accountable people living with substance use and mental health disorders, and leading them out of the justice system into lives of recovery and stability,” said Judge Alan Blankenship, 39th Circuit Court and President of Missouri Association of Treatment Court Professionals. Though vetoed during the regular session due to problematic language that had been added, both received strong bipartisan support, and Gov. Parson reiterated that this special session is about agreement not division.