MO.gov News Feed: Governor /news-rss?filter=governor MO.gov News Feed: Governor Sun, 17 Feb 2019 05:39:52 +0000 en-us Governor Parson Continues Statewide Infrastructure Effort to ‘Focus on Bridges’ https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/governor-parson-continues-statewide-infrastructure-effort-focus-bridges 1211 at https://governor.mo.gov Fri, 15 Feb 2019 11:19:05 +0000 Governor Parson Continues Statewide Infrastructure Effort to ‘Focus on Bridges’ Stephanie.Whitaker Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:19 February 14, 2019 Highlights Infrastructure Proposal to Accelerate over $1 Billion of Local Priorities Jefferson City – This week, Governor Mike Parson visited 5 of the 250 bridges scheduled for immediate repair or replacement if his administration’s proposed funding program is passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year. The Governor first outlined the statewide bridge infrastructure program in the State of the State address on January 16. On Thursday, Governor Parson visited bridges in Fenton, St. Clair, and St. James as part of his “Focus on Bridges” proposal. Yesterday, he made stops in Kansas City and Hannibal. Missouri has 922 bridges in poor condition throughout the state, and the Governor’s proposal would accelerate the repair or replacement of 250 of those bridges, in turn freeing up funding for additional transportation projects across the entire state. “Missouri has one of the nation’s largest highway systems with one of the lowest levels of funding in the country – it is now time to fix Missouri’s infrastructure needs,” Governor Mike Parson said. “Our plan to address Missouri’s critical infrastructure needs, funded through budget savings, will accelerate more than $1 billion worth of local projects with no new tax dollars.” The proposal would enable the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Office of Administration to enter a financing agreement to fund 250 bridge projects – bridges that are already programmed for repair or replacement in the state’s current five-year construction program. The proposal is set up to supplement existing transportation revenue with general revenue to pay off the debt. The resolution also calls for the bond proceeds to be deposited into the State Road Fund – meaning the funds will be constitutionally protected and regularly audited to ensure they are only used for state road and bridge projects. Accelerating 250 bridge projects and freeing additional funding for statewide transportation projects will create jobs throughout the state and boost the state’s economy. Senator Dave Schatz has proposed a Senate concurrent resolution to establish the program. The resolution recently passed out of committee with no opposition. “Taking seriously the needs of Missouri roads and bridges is vital to the success of our local communities through attracting businesses and ensuring the safety of Missourians,” Senator Schatz said. “The Governor’s plan is an important step to address our state’s critical infrastructure needs, and I’m proud to sponsor his bold proposal.”        “I applaud the Governor for presenting an innovative approach to address our critical infrastructure needs across the entire state,” Senator Paul Wieland said. “These long term investments will help to accelerate and boost local infrastructure priorities and projects with no new tax dollars. Thanks to the Governor’s leadership on infrastructure, our state will move forward.” “I appreciate Governor Parson’s leadership to focus on bridges across our entire state,” Senator Justin Brown said. “Prioritizing and addressing key infrastructure projects, without using new tax dollars, is a wise investment that will benefit Missourians for generations.” Missouri has 10,385 bridges on the state highway system – sixth most in the nation. Of that total, 922 are in poor condition, and 1,194 are weight restricted (450 fall into both categories). Governor Parson Leads Statewide Infrastructure Effort to ‘Focus on Bridges’ https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/governor-parson-leads-statewide-infrastructure-effort-focus-bridges 1206 at https://governor.mo.gov Wed, 13 Feb 2019 12:38:40 +0000 Governor Parson Leads Statewide Infrastructure Effort to ‘Focus on Bridges’ Stephanie.Whitaker Wed, 02/13/2019 - 12:38 February 13, 2019 Highlights Infrastructure Proposal to Accelerate over $1 Billion of Local Priorities Jefferson City  – This week, Governor Mike Parson plans to visit 5 of the 250 bridges scheduled for immediate repair or replacement if his administration’s proposed funding program is passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year. The Governor first outlined the statewide bridge infrastructure program in the State of the State address on January 16. On Wednesday, Governor Parson visited bridges in Kansas City and Hannibal as part of his “Focus on Bridges” proposal. Missouri has 922 bridges in poor condition throughout the state, and the Governor’s proposal would accelerate the repair or replacement of 250 of those bridges, in turn freeing up funding for additional transportation projects across the entire state. “Missouri has one of the nation’s largest highway systems with one of the lowest levels of funding in the country – it is now time to fix Missouri’s infrastructure needs,” Governor Mike Parson said. “Our plan to address Missouri’s critical infrastructure needs, funded through budget savings, will accelerate more than $1 billion worth of local projects with no new tax dollars.” The proposal would enable the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Office of Administration to enter a financing agreement to fund 250 bridge projects – bridges that are already programmed for repair or replacement in the state’s current five-year construction program. The proposal is set up to supplement existing transportation revenue with general revenue to pay off the debt. The resolution also calls for the bond proceeds to be deposited into the State Road Fund – meaning the funds will be constitutionally protected and regularly audited to ensure they are only used for state road and bridge projects. Accelerating 250 bridge projects and freeing additional funding for statewide transportation projects will create jobs throughout the state and boost the state’s economy. Senator Dave Schatz has proposed a Senate concurrent resolution to establish the program. The resolution recently passed out of committee with no opposition. “Taking seriously the needs of Missouri roads and bridges is vital to the success of our local communities through attracting businesses and ensuring the safety of Missourians,” Senator Schatz said. “The Governor’s plan is an important step to address our state’s critical infrastructure needs, and I’m proud to sponsor his bold proposal.”        “The Governor’s infrastructure plan provides immediate resources to our local communities for bridge projects most in need of critical repair or replacement,” Senator Tony Luetkemeyer said. “The plan will accelerate more than a billion dollars worth of local priorities, and I appreciate the Governor’s leadership in taking this bold action.” Missouri has 10,385 bridges on the state highway system – sixth most in the nation. Of that total, 922 are in poor condition, and 1,194 are weight restricted (450 fall into both categories). Three Schools in Missouri Will Each Be Gifted A $100,000 DON’T QUIT!® Fitness Center from the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/three-schools-missouri-will-each-be-gifted-100000-dont-quitr-fitness-center 1196 at https://governor.mo.gov Mon, 11 Feb 2019 13:34:02 +0000 Three Schools in Missouri Will Each Be Gifted A $100,000 DON’T QUIT!® Fitness Center from the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils Stephanie.Whitaker Mon, 02/11/2019 - 13:34 February 11, 2019 NOMINATE YOUR SCHOOL TODAY! Jefferson City – Continuing his goal of ending childhood obesity, fitness icon Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils (NFGFC), has kicked off 2019 by selecting the State of Missouri for its 2019 DON’T QUIT! Campaign.  The NFGFC will deliver a state-of-the-art DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center to three Missouri schools for demonstrating leadership in getting and keeping their students fit. School nominations will be accepted starting today and will run through Friday, March 22, 2019.  The nomination process is simple.  All you need to do is fill out a short application and include a written essay or short video.  Download your state application at http://natgovfit.org/nominate-your-school/.  It’s easy, nominate your school today! “Childhood obesity is a serious problem that can follow a child into adulthood. I’ve declared war on this preventable disease, and it’s inspiring to see elected leaders like Governor Mike Parson immediately jump on board to join the battle and welcome us into their state. Every governor we’ve partnered with recognizes that obesity is neither a democrat nor republican issue; it’s a kids’ issue and all have vowed to do everything possible to help,” said Jake Steinfeld.  “So far we’ve delivered DON’T QUIT! Fitness Centers to 28 states and Washington, DC and the response from students, teachers, and communities has been unbelievable.  Kids are excited about working out and being physically active and, as a result, their academic performance and self-esteem have skyrocketed.  Now, Missouri schools have an opportunity to make a change that will have a lasting impact on kids well into their future.” “I’m thankful that Jake Steinfeld and the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils have partnered with Missouri to help improve the health and well-being of children in our state,” said Governor Mike Parson. “Teaching young people the value of setting goals while also building confidence can be invaluable in so many other ways through the course of their lives. This program has been a success all over the country, and we are grateful for this generous opportunity. I encourage every elementary and middle school in the state to apply for this gift.” The NFGFC program will make its way into all 50 states in the coming years. Each fitness center is financed through public/private partnerships with companies like The Coca-Cola Company, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Wheels Up and Nike, and does not rely on taxpayer dollars or state funding.  TuffStuff Fitness International provides all the fitness equipment, which is manufactured right here in the United States.  The foundation’s goal is to build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world. “I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact fitness centers have had on students and their communities. When you provide schools with the tools and inspiration, you’ll be amazed by the changes that take place,” continued Steinfeld.  “Children are our most precious resource and by providing them with a strong foundation in health and fitness, we can feel confident that they’ll excel beyond their wildest dreams.” Physical activity and exercise are shown to help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases, enhance individual health and quality of life, and reduce health care costs.  In schools, studies show that physical activity improves academic achievement, increases confidence and self-esteem, reduces discipline problems, cuts absenteeism, and fosters better interpersonal relationships. For more information about the NFGFC or to download a nomination form, visit www.natgovfit.org.   About The National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness CouncilsThe National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils (NFGFC) seeks to encourage and reward innovation in the field of youth fitness by awarding fitness centers to schools that use new and unique methods to promote student physical activity and wellness. The NFGFC envisions a fitness center in every school in the U.S., helping to build a nation that—through innovation and a “DON’T QUIT!” attitude—boasts the fittest kids in the world. Since 2012, the NFGFC has delivered fitness centers in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Georgia, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, California, New Mexico, Connecticut, Virginia, Illinois, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Washington, Wisconsin, Arizona, Maryland, Louisiana, Oregon, Colorado, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.  In 2019, we will gift fitness centers to four more states including Rhode Island, Missouri, Michigan, and Minnesota. Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson to Host First Annual Heart for the Hungry Food Drive on February 16, 2019 https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/governor-parson-and-first-lady-teresa-parson-host-first-annual-heart-hungry 1191 at https://governor.mo.gov Mon, 11 Feb 2019 12:01:01 +0000 Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson to Host First Annual Heart for the Hungry Food Drive on February 16, 2019 Stephanie.Whitaker Mon, 02/11/2019 - 12:01 February 11, 2019 Jefferson City – On Saturday, February 16, 2019, Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson will host the first annual Heart for the Hungry Food Drive. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., canned goods, non-perishable food items, diapers, and other basic necessities may be dropped off at the Madison Street gate of the Governor’s Mansion at 100 Madison in Jefferson City, Missouri. Governor Parson said, “Whether it be across the state or across the street, there are countless Missourians whose lives will be touched by the generosity of everyone who makes a donation this Saturday. It is our goal to collect 2,019 items that will be sent to the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.” First Lady Teresa Parson said, “February is the month of love, a time for celebrating Valentine’s Day and remembering those we hold dear to us. Let us open our hearts to those who need our help by donating to Heart for the Hungry. Lindsey Young Lopez, executive director of the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, said, “One in six adults and one in five children in Missouri lack regular access to nutritious food. We are so grateful to the Governor and First Lady for their support of our mission and to those individuals, families, and partners who are helping us share food and bring hope to those we serve.”   Those who make a donation on Saturday during the food drive are welcome to take a special weekend tour of the Governor’s Mansion. Anyone who is unable to participate in person is encouraged to make a non-perishable or monetary contribution to their local food pantry. Governor Parson and Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr Join Together to Address Workforce Needs https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/governor-parson-and-speaker-house-elijah-haahr-join-together-address 1186 at https://governor.mo.gov Fri, 08 Feb 2019 15:43:40 +0000 Governor Parson and Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr Join Together to Address Workforce Needs thurme Fri, 02/08/2019 - 15:43 February 8, 2019 Roundtable held at SMC Packaging Group to discuss Fast Track, one of the Governor’s top workforce development priorities Jefferson City Governor Parson, Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr, business community leaders, and other stakeholders held a roundtable at SMC Packaging Group on Friday. The discussion centered around creating a unified effort between state government, the business community, education community, and other stakeholders to address Missouri’s workforce needs. “I want to thank Speaker Haahr for his excellent leadership in prioritizing Missouri’s workforce needs,” Governor Parson said. “Fast Track will create opportunities for tens of thousands of Missourians across our state and ensure our state has a skilled workforce ready to meet the needs of Missouri businesses.”  One of the Governor’s top workforce development priorities, Fast Track, is currently moving through the Legislative process. “Southwest Missouri has been a longtime leader in developing a vibrant workforce and I appreciate the Governor coming to Springfield to discuss legislation like Fast Track with regional business leaders,” Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr said.  “I am excited and committed to passing innovative and bold ideas like Fast Track through the Missouri House.” SMC Packaging Group is full service provider of various packaging supplies. The flagship company, Southern Missouri Containers, employs over 180 individuals at its facility in Springfield.  “I appreciate Governor Parson and Speaker Haahr’s commitment in aligning public and private efforts to create a more skilled workforce in our state,” SMC Packaging Group CEO Kevin Ausburn said. “Fast Track and other workforce development programs are going to help businesses like ours across Missouri better meet our workforce needs.” The Fast Track financial aid program will target adults working toward degree programs that fill a high-need skills gap. The proposed program would provide tuition assistance in high-demand fields to Missourians who meet the eligibility criteria. Legislation for the program unanimously passed the House Workforce Development Committee earlier this week and is moving through the Senate Education Committee.  “This program will put Missouri among the leading states that are serious about serving adults,” Commissioner Zora Mulligan said. “It will open doors for an entire segment of the population to get training and participate meaningfully in the workforce.” The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 data puts the median household income for Missouri at $51,713. Additionally, 755,000 Missourians have some college experience but no degree or certification. Fast Track will allow thousands of these Missourians the opportunity to pursue higher education opportunities in high-paying, high-demand fields, like advanced manufacturing, computer science, and healthcare. Missouri families will be equipped to achieve great economic success and the additional skillsets gained in high-demand fields will better meet the needs of employers across the state. “Access to a qualified workforce is key to growth for Missouri employers, and up-skilling Missourians to increase wages is key to a thriving economy,” Matt Morrow President of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce said. “The Fast Track Program helps us meet both of those needs – adults get access to training and education and by extension increase their earnings potential, and employers have a larger pool of trained individuals to meet job growth demand.  The Fast Track program is a “best practice” we have seen have success in other states and the Springfield business community is very supportive of its passage.” Bill summaries and legislative action for Fast Track can be found here: House Bill 225 https://house.mo.gov/Bill.aspx?bill=HB225&year=2019&code=R Senate Bill 16 https://www.senate.mo.gov/19info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=160 Governor Parson Commends Legislature for Quick Action on Fast Track https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/governor-parson-commends-legislature-quick-action-fast-track 1181 at https://governor.mo.gov Thu, 07 Feb 2019 15:57:00 +0000 Governor Parson Commends Legislature for Quick Action on Fast Track Stephanie.Whitaker Thu, 02/07/2019 - 15:57 February 7, 2019 Legislation for One of Governor’s Top Workforce Development Priorities Quickly Moving through House and Senate Committees Jefferson City  – After hearing public testimony last week, the House Workforce Development Committee unanimously voted earlier this week to pass House Bill 225, a bill creating Fast Track, a new financial aid program that will help provide training and put more Missourians to work. “I am pleased to see the Legislature swiftly take up and hear one of our administration’s top workforce development priorities,” Governor Parson said. “Fast Track will benefit thousands of Missourians across this state, and I applaud Senator Romine and Representative Swan for their leadership in making sure our workforce is prepared for the demands of the future.” A similar piece of legislation, Senate Bill 16, has been heard in the Senate Education Committee and is making its way through the legislative process. Senator Gary Romine, the bill sponsor in the Senate, said, “Fast Track gives Missourians the necessary tools and training for employment opportunities at small businesses and companies across the state and ensures our employers are able to find qualified workers to meet their workforce needs.” Representative Kathy Swan, the bill sponsor in the House, said, “Fast Track allows our higher education institutions to become more accessible to Missourians and ensures students have the opportunity to gather the necessary education and training to fill high demand jobs.” The Fast Track financial aid program will target adults working toward degree programs that fill a high-need skills gap. The proposed program would provide tuition assistance in high-demand fields to Missourians who meet the eligibility criteria. “This program will put Missouri among the leading states that are serious about serving adults,” Commissioner Zora Mulligan said. “It will open doors for an entire segment of the population to get training and participate meaningfully in the workforce.” The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 data puts the median household income for Missouri at $51,713. Additionally, 755,000 Missourians have some college experience but no degree. Fast Track will allow thousands of these Missourians the opportunity to pursue higher education opportunities in high-paying, high-demand fields like advanced manufacturing, computer science, and healthcare, which will achieve greater economic success for their families. Several business and education leaders testified in support of both bills. “Businesses in the Kansas City area are in need of skilled workers and Governor Parson’s Fast Track program is an excellent way to answer that need, as well as provide new paths to success for the women and men who will be trained through the program,” Joe Reardon President of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce said. “We appreciate and applaud Governor Parson’s commitment to workforce development.” “There are very few uses of taxpayer money more likely to break the cycle of poverty or improve economic mobility than higher education,” Shawn Strong President of State Technical College of Missouri said. “Nearly half of State Tech students are able to utilize A+, what many would say is one of the most successful scholarship programs in the country. I believe the Fast Track program has the potential to mirror the success of A+.” “We appreciate Governor Parson’s significant investment in workforce development through Fast Track,” Brian Millner President and CEO of the Missouri Community College Association said. “Expanding financial assistance for adult learners to receive training in high-demand jobs is an effective measure to enable more Missourians to obtain timely, flexible, and cost-effective skills for occupations that are constantly changing and evolving.” “The Fast Track program is welcome news for educators and businesses, as well as for the 755,000 Missourians who have some college experience but no degree,” Angie Besendorfer Chancellor of Western Governors University Missouri said. “As the demand for an educated workforce grows and the number of available jobs in high-skilled areas rise, it’s vital we do everything possible to increase the number of college-educated Missourians. WGU Missouri is pleased to play a role in reaching this goal, and funds from this grant program can only help in bettering the lives of even more adults across the state.” “With the expectation of a continued tight labor market, Missouri must extend efforts to equip all workers with the tools they need to reach full potential,” Dan Mehan President and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce said. “The Fast Track legislation does that by providing funding that under-skilled adults can use for training to fill high-demand jobs. We applaud Governor Parson and lawmakers for making this legislation a priority.”   Bill summaries and legislative action for Fast Track can be found here: House Bill 225 https://house.mo.gov/Bill.aspx?bill=HB225&year=2019&code=R Senate Bill 16 https://www.senate.mo.gov/19info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID… Governor Parson Announces Six Appointments to Councils and County Offices https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/governor-parson-announces-six-appointments-councils-and-county-offices 1171 at https://governor.mo.gov Wed, 06 Feb 2019 14:48:58 +0000 Governor Parson Announces Six Appointments to Councils and County Offices Stephanie.Whitaker Wed, 02/06/2019 - 14:48 February 6, 2019 Jefferson City  – Today, Governor Parson announces six appointments to various councils and county offices. Martha “Kacky” Daugherty, of Cape Girardeau, was appointed to the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Ms. Daugherty recently retired from her position as the Manager of Community Affairs for SSM Health in St. Louis. Before her time at SSM Health, she worked at Lindenwood University, where her duties included serving as the Director of Marketing for Historic Daniel Boone Home and Village. She also spent several years working on staff for former U.S. Senator Jim Talent and former U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson. Cindy McDaniel, of Appleton City, was appointed to the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Ms. McDaniel graduated with an LPN Nursing Degree in 1973 from Nevada Regional Technical Center. She has spent her career working in various capacities in the healthcare field. Ms. McDaniel has also been involved in numerous local boards and clubs engaged in community betterment. Susie Oberdahlhoff, of Bowling Green, was appointed as the Pike County Clerk. Ms. Oberdahlhoff is currently a public speaker who travels the country motivating audiences through stories from her recent book. She previously served as the Director of Agriculture Business for Norman Robert Communications and as the Director of Education & Promotion for the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council. Ms. Oberdahlhoff also owns and operates a livestock farm that has been in her family for over 75 years. David Jason Smith, of Gallatin, was appointed as the Daviess County Coroner. Mr. Smith is currently employed as the Ambulance Director of Daviess County since 1998. He has also been serving as the Deputy Coroner in Daviess County since 2000. Mr. Smith completed his paramedic training and certification at Hannibal LaGrange College and received his Missouri Paramedic License in 1997. Mr. Smith has also served as a volunteer fire fighter since 2000 and as a PRN Flight Paramedic. Additionally, he is a certified rescue scuba diver for the Gallatin Fire Protection Dive Team. Mary “Mimi” Stiritz, of Clayton, was appointed to the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Ms. Stiritz is a 1974 graduate of Washington University with her Masters of Arts in Art/Architectural History, after completing her Bachelors of Arts in the same course of study from Washington University in 1971. She is currently retired after serving for 20 years as a Historic Preservation Consultant writing nominations for properties in various Missouri counties.  David K. Yancey, of Springfield, was appointed as the Greene County Public Administrator. Mr. Yancey previously served as the Greene County Public Administrator from January 2009- December 2016 before retiring. He is currently serving as the interim public administrator. Mr. Yancey graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas and completed an Executive MBA program from the Southwest Missouri State University. He is also a Vietnam veteran from his service in the U.S. Army. His previous professional experience has included time as a law office administrator, a medical office administrator, and as a medical office credit manager. Governor Parson Delivers 2019 State of the State Address https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/governor-parson-delivers-2019-state-state-address 1026 at https://governor.mo.gov 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: oa.mo.gov/2020budget. The transcript for the 2019 State of the State can be found here: https://www.mo.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/2019-State-of-the-State-Text.pdf Governor Parson Announces Special Session to Address Legislative Priorities https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/governor-parson-announces-special-session-address-legislative-priorities 371 at https://governor.mo.gov 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.   Merit Reform Legislation to Change How State of Missouri Recruits, Recognizes Its Employees https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/merit-reform-legislation-change-how-state-missouri-recruits-recognizes-its 111 at https://governor.mo.gov Wed, 01 Aug 2018 19:56:13 +0000 Merit Reform Legislation to Change How State of Missouri Recruits, Recognizes Its Employees swobos1 Wed, 08/01/2018 - 19:56 August 28, 2018 Jefferson City Merit reform legislation passed by the State of Missouri General Assembly during the 2018 legislative session takes effect today, giving the state greater flexibility in how it manages its workforce. The State of Missouri now has the ability to identify and implement new ways to attract the best-qualified job candidates and recognize employees’ superior performance. Ultimately, merit reform will allow the state to strengthen its teams within all 16 executive departments to better serve the citizens of Missouri. “The citizens of Missouri have high expectations for their state government. And, they should. They expect us to move our state, its economy, and its infrastructure forward, while fulfilling our most important duty — ensuring the safety of all Missourians,” Gov. Mike Parson said. “To serve our citizens better and deliver the results they deserve, we must continue to build a strong workforce. The new merit reform law will help us improve how state government operates for the benefit of both our citizens and our committed public servants by investing in new ways of working like never before.” In 1946, the legislature passed the “State Merit System Law,” which created the Personnel Advisory Board and the state’s Division of Personnel. The law has been updated over decades in attempts to improve management practices and to streamline personnel systems. Despite the revisions, the law still hindered the state’s ability in several areas, including employee recruitment and recognition. The merit reform law gives the State of Missouri the opportunity to make meaningful management changes that will positively affect state workers. Now, the state has greater flexibility to increase the talent pool of job applicants and hire the best-qualified candidates. Under the merit system, the state was bound to hire from a restricted number of applicants for positions under the merit system. This limited the talent pool and sometimes excluded candidates with the most relevant work experience or specific skill set. “Just this past weekend a retired state employee stopped me in the grocery store to say they wish they could have been a manager in a state department absent the confines and restraints of the merit system,” Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe said. “Over and over, in a variety of unsolicited settings, managers in state government tell me of the imminent positive effects of merit reform. Enabling managers to place the right employees in the right jobs, based on their skills and performance, will make their units more productive and allow managers to better recognize and reward employees for superior performance.” Thanks to the merit reform law, the state will not only be able to recruit the best-qualified employees, but it will also be able to do so faster. In certain instances, the state has taken up to 90 days to hire applicants. The state’s Human Resources managers have spent tens of thousands of hours annually on processing merit system paperwork. That time can now be directed toward more valuable tasks, like recruiting job candidates. The merit reform law brings the majority of state employees into the “at will” category. “At will” employees may be selected at the discretion of the appointing authority, serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority, and may be discharged – as the statute says – for no reason or any reason not prohibited by law. The merit reform law does not change whistleblower, sexual harassment, or discrimination protections for employees. “State employees are state government’s most precious resource. For too long, they’ve gone unrecognized for the superior services they provide to our citizens,” Sarah Steelman, Commissioner of the Office of Administration said. “I look forward to continued collaboration between the Office of Administration and agencies across state government to find better ways to recruit, develop, and recognize state employees. They deserve it.” Merit reform is part of a bigger picture – the transformation of management in state government. Missouri is also investing in new ways to develop its leaders such as with the launch of the new state Leadership Academy and The Missouri Way advanced management training program. The State of Missouri is making strides in not only developing its overall workforce, but also the managers and supervisors who will lead it. Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, formerly a state senator, sponsored the merit reform law in the legislature. Read more about the merit reform changes in a joint opinion piece by Gov. Parson and Lt. Gov. Kehoe: Merit reform law to transform State of Missouri management