Capitol Report

by Allen Andrews

Gov. Parson delivers annual State of the Union address

Members of the House and Senate gathered in the House Chamber on Wednesday afternoon to hear Governor Parson share his vision for the state. Parson delivered his annual State of the State address where he unveiled the budget items and policy initiatives he wants to put in place with the help of the legislature.

In his speech, Parson outlined priorities that include key investments in workforce development, new investments to support and improve the state’s infrastructure, improving access to health and mental health care, and downsizing government by consolidating two correctional centers. He told lawmakers, “I stand before you today to share a vision – a vision that will chart Missouri’s future into the next decade. Missouri is dear to my heart, and by working together, we can protect and build a Missouri that is successful for the next generation.”

Some of Parson’s proposals include:

• A new scholarship program called Fast Track that will help adults over 25 get the certification or training they need to fill a skill gap.

• An investment in Missouri One Start, which is a consolidated, streamlined version of the Missouri Works Program, that will help new and expanding businesses by providing and covering the costs of training for employees.

• Investment in the Missouri Excels Workforce Initiative to develop and expand employer-driven education, training programs, and initiatives to substantially increase educational attainment.

• A bonding initiative to address the 250 bridges statewide that are in need of critical repair or replacement.

• A cost-share program that will allow the state to partner with local communities to help address the most serious infrastructure needs in their areas.

• Increasing access to broadband Internet in rural areas.

• Funding for improvement projects for Missouri’s ports so that they can continue to move billions of dollars in cargo each year.

• Expanding access to mental health services.

• Enhancing telemedicine options to provide better care to rural Missourians.

• Improving opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery across the state for high-risk and vulnerable populations.

• Curbing costs in the state’s Medicaid program while also improving the quality of care for Medicaid recipients.

• Restructuring the state’s corrections system by consolidating Crossroads Correctional Center with Western Missouri Correctional Center, and providing significant pay increases to correctional officers in an effort to retain employees.

In response to the governor’s address and proposals, Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr, Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, and Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo issued the following joint statement:

“The Governor did a great job of presenting his vision of building a better Missouri. Whether it’s increasing broadband access, making government more efficient, criminal justice reform, or educating Missouri employees to meet 21st century workplace demands, we share many of the ideas he has for Missouri. We know our members have a strong desire to move the state forward with bold solutions to the challenges that face us. As a co-equal branch of government, we look forward to reviewing the details of his proposals and budget recommendations in the weeks to come. We appreciate the great working relationship we have with Governor Parson and are optimistic that together we can further our shared priorities for our state.”

As always, it is a pleasure to represent you!

Representative Allen Andrews, District 1

Missouri State Capitol, Room 406 B

201 West Capitol Avenue • Jefferson City, MO 65101

Telephone: 573-751-9465