News Feed: Governor /news-rss?filter=governor News Feed: Governor Thu, 25 Apr 2019 00:00:09 +0000 en-us Governor Parson Requests Federal Disaster Declaration in Response to Flooding 1566 at Wed, 24 Apr 2019 09:38:17 +0000 Governor Parson Requests Federal Disaster Declaration in Response to Flooding thurme Wed, 04/24/2019 - 09:38 April 24, 2019 Jefferson City Governor Mike Parson today requested that President Donald Trump approve a major disaster declaration for Missouri to provide federal assistance to a total of 13 counties in response to devastating flooding that began March 11. The Governor said he expects the request to be expanded to include additional counties once floodwaters recede and full damage assessments can be conducted.  “Working in strong coordination, our local, state, and federal assessment teams have documented widespread and devastating damage as a result of the flooding. It has now been well over a month after the flooding began, and some areas still can’t be accessed,” Governor Parson said. “I am confident federal assistance will be forthcoming, and I greatly appreciate all the work that’s already being done by our faith-based and volunteer responders to help communities recover. Our state team and all our partners are committed to ensuring Missouri families, businesses, and communities rebuild.” Governor Parson said the joint Preliminary Damage Assessments, conducted by the State Emergency Management Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and local officials, had already estimated $25 million in damage to infrastructure and emergency response costs eligible for federal assistance. Governor Parson is requesting Public Assistance for 13 Missouri counties, so local governments and qualifying nonprofit agencies may seek federal assistance for reimbursement of emergency response and recovery costs, including repair and replacement costs for damaged roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure. Those counties are Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Holt, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Platte, Ray, and Ste. Genevieve.  Governor Parson is requesting Individual Assistance for five Missouri counties, so eligible residents can seek federal assistance with temporary housing, housing repairs, replacement of damaged belongings, vehicles and other qualifying expenses as a result of the flooding. Those counties are Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Holt, and Platte.  The Governor is also requesting that the U.S. Small Business Administration assist businesses, homeowners, and renters in these counties with low-interest loans. Those affected by the flooding are encouraged to continue documenting losses by photographing damage and retaining all receipts. On March 21, Governor Parson declared a state of emergency in response to worsening conditions along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers as a result of excessive rainfall, releases from upstream reservoirs, and snow melt. On March 29, the Governor signed an executive order giving the Department of Natural Resources discretionary authority to temporarily waive or suspend rules or regulations in support of flooding response and recovery. On April 3, Governor Parson, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA to identify regional solutions for recovery and levee repairs along the Missouri River. On Friday, the Governor will again meet with the Iowa and Nebraska Governors for a follow-up meeting with the Corps.   Governor Parson Calls Special Election for Two House of Representatives Vacancies 1551 at Tue, 23 Apr 2019 07:59:09 +0000 Governor Parson Calls Special Election for Two House of Representatives Vacancies Stephanie.Whitaker Tue, 04/23/2019 - 07:59 April 22, 2019 Jefferson City Today, Governor Mike Parson called for a special election to fill two vacancies in the House of Representatives due to the resignation of Representative Jean Evans, who was recently named Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party, and the appointment of Representative Scott Fitzpatrick as Missouri State Treasurer. “It’s important that we work quickly to fill vacancies in the people’s house to ensure that Missourians have representation here in Jefferson City,” said Governor Mike Parson. “We appreciate the dedication and hard work of our local election authorities, especially when preparing for and conducting a special election. I am confident that Secretary Ashcroft will continue focusing our election process in a free and fair manner.” The special election for the Missouri House of Representatives 158th District (Barry, Lawrence, Stone Counties) and the 99th (St. Louis County) will take place on November 5, 2019. “I appreciate Senator Dan Hegeman and Representative Dan Shaul for their work last year passing election reform (SB 592),” said Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. “It is important for Missourians to have full representation in the General Assembly, and last year’s legislation has allowed us to move more efficiently to fill these open seats.” To view Governor Parson’s official writ of elections, click 99th House District and 158th House District. In Flood Recovery Meetings, Governor Parson Says Request for Federal Disaster Declaration Will Likely Come Next Week 1546 at Thu, 18 Apr 2019 16:40:31 +0000 In Flood Recovery Meetings, Governor Parson Says Request for Federal Disaster Declaration Will Likely Come Next Week thurme Thu, 04/18/2019 - 16:40 April 18, 2019 Jefferson City Governor Mike Parson today told groups of farmers and volunteer responders he expects to request a federal disaster declaration next week, based on preliminary damage assessments being conducted in 16 Missouri counties in response to historic flooding. “Our preliminary damage assessment teams have more work to do tallying the damage, but it’s already clear that the flooding had devastating effects on homes, roads, bridges, and other essential infrastructure,” said Governor Parson. “There’s no doubt federal recovery assistance is warranted to help Missouri families and businesses rebuild and keep their communities moving forward.” Governor Parson said damage assessments have been conducted or will soon be conducted in Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Holt, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Platte, Ray, Ste. Genevieve, and Scottcounties. He said continuing high water levels are preventing crews from assessing damage in Cape Girardeau and Pike counties, but assessments will take place there as soon as possible. The Governor today met with leaders of faith-based and volunteer organizations that have responded to the Missouri River flooding that began March 11. He told a joint meeting of the Missouri Governor’s Faith-Based and Community Service Partnership (The Partnership) and Missouri Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster that their work is making a tremendous difference for people in need. The meeting took place at Crown Pointe Assembly of God Church in Lee’s Summit.  “Missouri’s faith-based and volunteer recovery organizations are an inspiration to all of us because they give assistance and hope to people when they need it most,” said Governor Parson. “It started with sandbagging and opening shelters and serving hot meals for those who had lost their homes and progressed to clearing debris and muck from flooded homes and getting families on the road to recovery. The hard work volunteers do has become an essential part of our recovery framework in Missouri.”  “We very much appreciate Governor Parson’s support and leadership as we continue to assist people affected by the recent flooding,” said Debi Meeds, United Way of the Ozarks President and The Partnership Chair. “Our coordinated response and collaborative approach to recovery ensures we provide crucial services quickly and efficiently to the people who need them most.”  Organizations whose leaders met with the Governor today included the American Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, The Salvation Army, Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief, Seventh Day Adventist Disaster Response, Operation Bar-B-Que Relief, and the United Way.   In Orrick, Governor Parson was joined by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II for a meeting with Ray County farmers, ranchers, agriculture leaders from Missouri Farm Bureau, and the Missouri Levee & Drainage District Association (MLDDA) for the second ‘Farmer’s Talk’ of the 2019 season. The discussion was preceded by a survey of farmland impacted by a levee breach. The breach occurred on part of the Missouri Valley Drainage and Levee District, which protects 12,000 acres of farmland. Across Missouri, one-third of all cropland is in a floodplain. “I am pleased to be here in Orrick with Governor Parson and Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst to see how flood stage water decimates levees on the Missouri River,” said Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II. "If we are to mitigate the damage of future floods, it is important to understand what happened in this flood event, as well as the diligent work landowners do to keep the river from flooding their lands. Landowners are expressing concerns that flood control should be the primary focus of the Army Corps of Engineers. Farmers below the reservoirs are more vulnerable compared to the upper Missouri River Basin, and it is no coincidence that the largest flooding events have taken place in the lower Missouri River.”  “Thank you to Governor Parson for hosting another roundtable with farmers and their stakeholders to visit about the 2019 flood,” said Blake Hurst, President of Missouri Farm Bureau. Although the threat of flooding is not over for this year, it is not too early to begin discussions about how to improve flood protection in the future. The Governor and his staff’s support of these ideas and his leadership in improving flood protection throughout the Missouri River basin is greatly appreciated. We look forward to continuing these conversations into the future.” “It was great to have the opportunity to discuss the ongoing flood event with the Governor,” said Tom Waters, Chairman of the MLDDA. “We need to focus on recovery now to find ways that Missouri can help assist in rebuilding critical infrastructure like levees. All of us in agriculture are closely watching river levels as we move into May with an already compromised flood control system.” Next Friday, April 26, the Governor will join Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds for a follow up meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The three Governors met with the Corps in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on April 3. The meeting will continue ongoing discussions the Governors are having with the Corps and other federal officials to identify regional solutions for better future management of the Missouri River system. DSS Director Dr. Steve Corsi Leaving for New Opportunity with Faith-Based Non-Profit 1541 at Thu, 18 Apr 2019 15:12:19 +0000 DSS Director Dr. Steve Corsi Leaving for New Opportunity with Faith-Based Non-Profit swobos1 Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:12 April 18, 2019 Jefferson City Yesterday, Governor Parson received a letter of resignation from Dr. Steve Corsi, Director of Social Services (DSS), stating his last day with the department will be June 3, 2019, which will help to ensure enough time for a smooth transition of leadership within the department.  “Dr. Corsi has served our country nobly as a veteran and has been a great asset to the State of Missouri during his time as a Department Director,” said Governor Parson. “He has had a distinguished career in public service, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in this exciting new opportunity with a faith-based non-profit.”  During his time as DSS Director, Dr. Corsi has been dedicated to making numerous positive reforms within the Department. Under his leadership, DSS has accomplished the following: Moved more people to work and economic sustainability Helped foster children and youth achieve permanency faster through reunification with their families, adoption, or guardianship Initiated positive transformation of Missouri’s Medicaid Program Broken down vertical and horizontal communication barriers Made continuous improvement a designed and trained trait of DSS team members  “I have full confidence that the Department of Social Services will continue providing excellent service to the people of Missouri,” said Governor Parson. “My administration will work over the coming weeks to identify new leadership that can continue to build on the positive reforms made within the department.” Governor Parson Signs FY 2019 Supplemental Appropriations 1536 at Wed, 17 Apr 2019 12:15:17 +0000 Governor Parson Signs FY 2019 Supplemental Appropriations Stephanie.Whitaker Wed, 04/17/2019 - 12:15 April 17, 2019 Jefferson City Today, Governor Mike Parson signed HB 14 to ensure that the state has the necessary funds to operate through Fiscal Year 2019.  The supplemental appropriations bill allows for the continued current operations of Missouri state government. The Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed Fiscal Year 2019 supplemental HB 14 totals $468 million, including $189 million General Revenue, $183 million Federal Funds, and $97 million Other Funds. Major items included in the supplemental bill are the following: $311,342,306, including $116,289,123 General Revenue, to operate the MO HealthNet program. $14,933,472 federal funds for a State Opioid Response grant to provide prevention, treatment, and recovery services in response to the opioid crisis. $14,306,011, including $8,726,667 General Revenue, to pay state employee health benefits through the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan. $5,123,140 General Revenue for staffing costs at Missouri’s mental health facilities. $4,300,000, including $1,500,000 General Revenue, to provide services to Missourians in the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Program. $3,720,644, including $1,485,391 General Revenue, to provide adoption/guardianship payments for children in the care and custody of the Children’s Division. $3,161,975 Missouri Veterans Health and Care Fund and 14.75 FTE for start-up costs of the Medical Marijuana Program. $1,246,090 General Revenue for increased early childhood special education costs. Additionally, yesterday Governor Parson signed House Bill 77, sponsored by State Representative Rusty Black (R-Chillicothe) and carried by State Senator Gary Romine (R-Farmington). The consent bill was passed in the House by a vote of 151-4 and in the Senate by a unanimous 32-0 vote. The legislation makes revisions to teacher and school employee retirement systems and will go into effect immediately. The bill can be found here: Governor Parson Requests U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Manage Missouri River for Flood Control, Navigation 1526 at Wed, 17 Apr 2019 10:36:58 +0000 Governor Parson Requests U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Manage Missouri River for Flood Control, Navigation swobos1 Wed, 04/17/2019 - 10:36 April 17, 2019 Glenwood, IA On behalf of Missouri citizens, Governor Mike Parson today submitted written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.  The committee field hearing in Glenwood, Iowa, will focus on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers river management following devastating flooding in the region. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley will participate. Witnesses will include officials from the Army Corps as well as leaders and stakeholders from Iowa among others. “Our citizens rely on us to be their voice when their concerns need to be heard,” said Governor Mike Parson. “The State of Missouri has continually been frustrated about the need for greater focus on flood control. It should not be hard to realize why when nearly one-third of our state falls within flood plain, and our state economy’s number one industry is agriculture.” In his testimony, Governor Parson requested Congress to work with Missouri to expedite the delivery of federal aid as the state recovers from recent and ongoing flooding impacts. He also urged federal agencies to refocus the conversation away from fish and wildlife issues to the more pressing matter of flood control.  “The discussion we need to be having is how can the states of the Missouri River Basin work with Congress and the federal agencies to improve flood control and flood protection on a Missouri River system that has once again proven to be inadequate to protect our citizens,” wrote Governor  Parson in his testimony. Two weeks ago, Governor Parson met with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts to identify regional solutions for recovery and flood repairs as well as a better path forward for future management of the Missouri River system. Governor Parson requested the committee direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to return to managing the river in a manner that “clearly reflects the dominant congressionally authorized purposes of flood control and navigation.” “If we are to ensure that the system is managed in a way that reflects the priorities of basin citizens, it is imperative that the states of the Missouri River basin have direct input and that our recommendations are given due consideration,” Governor Parson said. To view Governor Parson's Missouri River Congressional testimony submission: click here. Governor Mike Parson Visits Advanced Manufacturing Job Fair at Ozarks Technical Community College 1511 at Tue, 16 Apr 2019 14:10:19 +0000 Governor Mike Parson Visits Advanced Manufacturing Job Fair at Ozarks Technical Community College Stephanie.Whitaker Tue, 04/16/2019 - 14:10 April 16, 2019 Springfield Today, Governor Mike Parson visited the Advanced Manufacturing Job Fair at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield to announce the creation of 500 new training opportunities with the Certified Production Technician (CPT) certificate. The goal of the CPT certification program is to raise the level of performance of production workers, in a high-demand field, both to assist the individuals in finding higher-wage jobs and to help employers ensure their workforce increases the company’s productivity and competitiveness. The CPT credential will be available statewide at all public two-year institutions that offer a standardized Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) credential, preparing workers to enter the industry and advance along a manufacturing career pathway. Participants who complete the CPT credential have the potential to earn an annual starting salary of $30,000. In his State of the State address, the Governor announced his commitment to workforce development by updating training pipelines to ensure economic growth in Missouri and partnering with employers to develop that talent. “One out of four jobs in Missouri directly supports our strong manufacturing industry," said Governor Parson. "It is important we remain focused on building and ensuring that our workforce is prepared to meet the demands of tomorrow. Today, we recognized employers who are committed to taking the steps to ensure that workers are adequately trained and have opportunities to succeed,” said Governor Parson.  Advanced Manufacturing represents 8.6 percent of Missouri’s total private sector employment, employing 202,419 workers across 9,727 establishments in 29 industries. More than a quarter of all jobs in Missouri support the manufacturing industry, with an anticipated growth of nearly 10 percent by 2026. 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.