• April 2024 Lobbyist Report

    As of the writing of this newsletter, members of the General Assembly are back in their home districts for the annual legislative spring break. Typically, this would signal the halfway point in the legislative session, but we have already passed that mark as there will only be eight weeks of session remaining when legislators return to Jefferson City on March 25. As we mentioned in last month’s column, not a single piece of legislation has passed and been sent to the Governor for his signature. That fact has not changed as movement of bills in the Senate continues at a snail’s pace.

    House Budget Chairman Cody Smith has released his version of the Fiscal Year 2025 state budget, making numerous changes to the spending plan put forth by Governor Mike Parson. Smith’s FY25 proposal cuts $2 billion from Parson’s plan, leaving the overall state budget sitting at $50.7 billion. One of the newsworthy items in the version outlined by Smith is an earmark of $727.5 million for major reconstruction projects on Interstate 44. It is anticipated that House members will debate the spending plan on the House Floor the week following the legislative spring break. From there, the Senate will have their turn in making modifications to the proposal. The state constitution mandates the budget must be finalized by May 10.

    Embattled House Speaker Dean Plocher recently appeared before the House Ethics Committee, as the months-long probe into his actions continues. The committee is rumored to be looking into several potentially damaging allegations against Plocher, including filing expense reports seeking reimbursement for travel already paid for by his campaign; firing staff members who acted as whistleblowers; and urging House staff to enter into a contract with an out of state private contractor for services already performed by in-house staff. Plocher testified before the committee along with two of his attorneys in a closed session of the committee. By House Rules, Ethics Committee proceedings are confidential, and will not be made public until a final report is released by the committee.

    The latest push in the General Assembly to assist potential employees to enter the workforce centers around providing adequate childcare for workers with children. Recently, the Senate Governmental Accountability Committee heard testimony on legislation that would establish tax credits for employers who make contributions for their employees’ childcare expenses and would also set up a tax credit framework for parents who pay for childcare and childcare providers. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce has been leading the push for passage of the bill, along with numerous trade and retail associations and organizations. Additionally, the legislation is a priority for Governor Mike Parson and has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

    Filing for elected office remains open through March 26 for statewide offices, all 163 House seats, and 17 of the 34 Senate seats. We will keep you appraised of any news on that front, along with other political happenings that impact ASA and the construction industry.


  • March 2024 Lobbyist Report

    Although the 2024 legislative session is well underway, not a single piece of legislation has found its way to the Governor’s desk. As we have written about before, Senate Republicans have continued their infighting, with the end result being very little floor action on legislative issues. However, in an unusual turn, the Senate passed its first piece of legislation, SJR74 which would modify the initiative petition (IP) process.  Passage of this legislation was the result of a multi-day standoff.

    Republicans are seeking to make the process of changing statute or the constitution via an initiative petition process more difficult, especially in light of current efforts to overturn the state’s abortion ban. Democrats say that changing the process interferes with the ability of citizens to have a voice in modifying the laws of the state. SJR74 now makes its way to the House we expect changes will be made.  This issue will continue to dominate discussions in Jefferson City until the end of session.

    House members have been working steadily through numerous priorities as session progresses, as they have already sent nearly a dozen bills to the Senate for their consideration. A recent issue on the House floor caused tempers to flare, as HB1659, a measure which changes provisions in various aspects of criminal law, was approved by the body. The bill was up for debate in the House immediately after members had returned to Jefferson City after having attended the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl celebration, where gunfire left one person dead, and 23 others injured. Many legislators used the opportunity to recount their experiences during the shooting, with Democrats calling for stricter gun laws to be inserted in the crime bill as it moved forward. Heated debate followed, as Democrats and Republicans sparred over 2nd amendment issues. The bill eventually passed by a vote of 120-26. House Democrats then held a press conference calling for stricter gun laws, with Minority Leader Crystal Quade saying that she will be filing a proposed constitutional amendment to allow cities to write local gun laws that are stricter than state laws and allow cities to regulate concealed weapons. We are certain to see gun debates occur in both chambers throughout the legislative session.

    Some House members have also continued their effort to fundamentally change the way MoDOT operates in the state. Numerous bills have been heard in the House Transportation Accountability Committee, including some that would dissolve the Highway and Transportation Commission, make the Director of MoDOT a cabinet position appointed by the Governor, and have all funds expended from the State Road Fund subject to legislative approval. The passage of such a bill would remove the current structure of MoDOT from the state constitution, a system which has been in place since 1921, and which was designed to keep politics out of distribution of funds. Although we don’t expect any of the proposals to gain traction, the bills certainly have caused much discussion.

    Important dates ahead include the opening of candidate filing for elected office on February 27, with the period remaining open until March 26. The halfway point of the legislative session is also closing in on us, as the legislative spring break – considered the halfway point of session – runs from March 18-22.

    We will continue to keep you updated through our weekly email updates regarding the political happenings in Jefferson City and around the state that impact ASA and the construction industry.
    Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group.


  • February 2024 Lobbyist Report

    The 2024 legislative session is underway as lawmakers gathered in Jefferson City at noon on January 3 for the opening day ceremonies. The prediction of a dysfunctional year in the Senate by most Capitol observers seems to be coming true, at least during the first few weeks.

    At issue again, and in a repeat from previous years, is in-party fighting between far-right conservative Republicans and “regular” Republicans. The far-right faction, who had previously called themselves the Conservative Caucus, have rebranded themselves into the Missouri Freedom Caucus and appear to be a sub-group of the Washington, D.C. based House Freedom Caucus. While the session started with Freedom Caucus members stating they wanted to move forward with important legislation, that came to a sudden halt on January 18, when they mounted a nine-hour filibuster to block a slate of gubernatorial appointments that needed Senate confirmation. At issue was their complaint that Initiative Petition (IP) reform hasn’t moved through the process quickly enough. The discussion on the Senate floor quickly turned into hours of angry debate and name calling. As of the writing of this newsletter, there has been no resolution to the standoff and the Freedom Caucus has promised to continue blocking all of Governor Parson’s appointments until they get their way.

    The in-fighting has not slowed members of the General Assembly from filing record numbers of bills. To date, nearly 1,800 bills and resolutions have been filed by House and Senate members. While numerous bills will be heard in the committee process, we will see how floor debate shapes the progress and how many of these bills actually get across the finish line.

    Filing for elected office in the August primary election begins on February 27. While many questions remain about who will be on the ballot, a handful of candidates have already announced their intentions. Especially noteworthy is the fact that several members of the Missouri Senate will be running for higher office. Senator Holly Rehder has launched her campaign for Lt. Governor, while Senator Mary Elizabeth Coleman has announced she will be running for the 3rd Congressional District to replace retiring Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer. Also in the mix is Senate President Pro-Tem Caleb Rowden and Senator Denny Hosking who are both running for Secretary of State. The fact that numerous Senators are seeking higher office will certainly add to the drama in the chamber as session unfolds.

    In other legislative news, the House Committee on Transportation Accountability met earlier in session to get a general update from MoDOT officials on all thing’s transportation related. Committee members learned that the first bid in the series of projects to improve Interstate 70 will be awarded on February 14th. The $340 million project will focus on the much needed replacement of the 63/70 interchange in Columbia.

    The Governor gave his state of the state address on January 24 outlining his budget priorities.  Now the House and Senate budget leaders will meet to determine the scope of the Governor’s recommendations and how they will revise or follow through with his request for the FY25 state budget. The Governor and legislative leaders are preparing for relatively flat revenue growth during the next fiscal year, as they are predicting an uptick in collections of only 0.2 percent. The spending plan must be approved by May 10. The low revenue growth number will cause a slowdown of the spending on new decision items we have seen the past couple years.

    We will continue to keep you updated with political happenings in Jefferson City and around the state that impact ASA and the construction industry.  If you aren’t receiving your weekly ASA Legislative Update via e-mail, please contact [email protected] to be added to the list.  Thank you Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group.


  • January 2024 Lobbyist Report

    The 2024 Legislative Session begins at 12 noon on Wednesday, January 3 and will run through Friday, May 17 at 6:00 p.m.  On December 1, legislators began the annual ritual of pre-filing legislation.  The pre-filed bills gave a telling look at the legislative priorities of our state representatives and senators.  This year marked a near-record number of bills pre-filed, where well over 1,000 bills and resolutions were filed within the first week and throughout the month.  This was a huge increase over the amount filed in the same period last year, where 769 legislative initiatives were filed.  Legislators may continue to file bills until March 1.

    As session gets under way, it marks the beginning of the end for two highly respected members of the Missouri Senate. Karla Eslinger, of the 33rd district, which covers six counties in southern Missouri, has accepted an appointment from the State Board of Education to be Missouri’s next Commissioner of Education. Eslinger will finish the upcoming legislative session, and then take the lead at her new position as current Commissioner Marge Vandeven plans to retire at the end of June. Eslinger holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis and served in various capacities in public education before her service in the Senate. State Representative Brad Hudson (R-Stone and Christian Counties) had already announced plans to challenge Eslinger in next years’ primary election. At this juncture, he appears to be the only Republican candidate for the position.

    Senator Elaine Gannan also recently announced her plans to forgo a second term as she will not seek reelection in 2024. Gannon currently serves in the 3rd Senatorial District which includes Crawford, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francios, Washington and southern Jefferson Counties.  Gannon issued a press release stating that her Senate service has limited the time she is able to spend with her family, especially her grandchildren.  At this juncture, it appears this race will have a crowded primary of three Republican candidates have announced their interest in running for this open seat, including current state representatives Michael Henderson and Cyndi Buchheit-Courtway.

    In a recent hearing of a House appropriations subcommittee, Department of Transportation director Patrick McKenna told committee members that the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission has the authority to make expenditures regardless of the opinion and directives of the General Assembly. McKenna was referring to an October court ruling where Cole County Circuit Judge Cotton Walker ruled in favor of the commission after they filed suit when the Office of Administration refused to implement a pay increase for MoDOT employees. The pay plan was approved by the commission, but was never approved by the legislature, thus setting up a battleground over which branch of government controls MoDOT spending. Walker was slated to hear arguments on December 18 on a motion by the Attorney General’s office to reconsider his decision. Regardless of the decision made by Walker, one would assume the losing side will appeal the ruling. It appears the battle over who controls the purse strings of the road and bridge fund is far from over.

    The far-right branch of Missouri Senate Republicans – formerly called the Conservative Caucus – has rebranded themselves into the Missouri Freedom Caucus. A number of former Conservative Caucus members recently issued a release with their updated name and several new members, including some House members. Included in the group are Senators Koenig, Hoskins, Brattin, Carter, Eigel, and Schroer. House members included Representatives Keathley, Boyd, and Sparks. It remains to be seen if the newly named group will be obstructionists as they were in past sessions, but they have already launched social media attacks at Senate leadership.

    We will begin sending weekly legislative updates to ASA members shortly after the legislative session begins on January 3.  These weekly updates will continue until the legislative session ends in mid-May.  As a reminder, weekly legislative updates including information regarding the general activities of the legislature and also include updates on legislation that directly impacts ASA members during the week.  We will continue to keep you informed as the legislative session progresses.



  • December 2023 Lobbyist Report

    The drama surrounding Speaker of the House Dean Plocher has continued throughout the month of November as the House Ethics Committee held two hearings that reportedly focused on Plocher’s actions which we reported on last month. At issue are whether Plocher pressured staff to implement a costly IT program, the firing of his long-time chief of staff, and his requests for personal reimbursement for travel expenses, even though the expenses were paid for by his campaign and not him personally.

    The issue of travel reimbursement caused the most uproar with Plocher’s fellow Republicans, as several House and Senate members issued statements calling for him to resign. The matter was discussed in early November at the House winter caucus meetings, where many members were critical of Plocher’s actions and implied that he should resign, but no one actually made the call to formally seek his resignation. Most Capitol observers believe the issue is mostly over unless additional information comes to light.

    Other actions by Plocher caught the attention of the media this month, as he named his new chief of staff. Former Speaker of the House Rod Jetton was tapped by Plocher to replace recently fired staffer Kenny Ross who had served under four different speakers. Jetton was once a rising star in Republican politics, serving as a state representative from Bollinger County and leading the House as speaker for four years. He also orchestrated numerous republican victories in House races around the state, which helped the GOP gain supermajority status in the lower chamber. However, after he left office, he was investigated for bribery and conspiracy over fallout from large political contributions, but no charges were ever filed. In a separate incident, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge after being accused of drugging and assaulting a woman during a sexual encounter.

    Senate Republicans recently held their pre-session caucus meetings at Beg Cedar Lodge south of Branson. The meetings give senators the opportunity to discuss their priorities for the upcoming session and hopefully set an agenda to avoid the in-party fighting that has plagued the senate in recent years. The disagreements have been between “Conservative Caucus” senate members and the remaining more moderate Republicans. However, most of the conservative members were not in attendance, so it remains to be seen if the gridlock will continue.

    In other news, Governor Mike Parson recently announced the appointment of Ginger Gooch as the newest member of the Missouri Supreme Court. Gooch was currently a judge on the Southern District Court of Appeals and was a private practice attorney for many years before her appointment to the appeals court. The appointment of Gooch means the makeup of the court will be majority female, and it also gives southwest Missouri representation on the court as she resides in Springfield. Parson had stated recently that he felt that the southwest part of the state was underrepresented on the court.

    Finally, House and Senate members are currently busy drafting their legislative priorities for the next legislative session, as prefiling of bills begins on December 1. Session begins at noon on January 3, 2024


  • November 2023 Lobbyist Report

    It’s been a fairly quiet month in Jefferson City as legislators are spending their time in their home districts preparing their legislative agenda for the upcoming session that begins in January, while some are gearing up to run for higher office.

    There have been a few newsworthy items coming from the House of Representatives, where a dust-up occurred recently over a proposed contract for some IT related services in the lower chamber. At issue is a software program used by House members to manage constituent information services. In a report released by The Missouri Independent, which is a news organization covering state government, fingers were pointed at House Speaker Dean Plocher who had apparently pushed for the legislature to possibly contract the constituent services program with a private company. The current system used by House members is an in-house program developed by the House IT staff and has been used by members for many years. After reviewing the option to outsource the program, a decision was reached by a legislative committee to continue using the in-house program, but not before staff members made statements that they had “growing concerns of unethical and perhaps unlawful conduct” by Plocher in his desire to outsource the services. The issue drew the attention of law enforcement, as an FBI agent attended the committee hearing when the issue was brought up for discussion. No charges have been brought against Plocher who issued a statement saying that “No one has asked, received, nor will receive, any special treatment in regard to software contracts or any contracts while I am speaker.” Plocher has announced his intention to run for Lieutenant Governor in 2024 and is being challenged by Senator Holly Rehder in what will be a hotly contested Republican primary.

    Speaker Plocher made the news again in mid-October, as he fired his chief of staff in an abrupt and unexpected move. In a letter to House members, Plocher noted that the office of chief of staff had been “vacated.” Many in the Capitol were surprised by the abrupt ousting of long-time staffer Kenny Ross.  Ross’s experience and institutional knowledge will be hard to replace as he has been a respected House staffer having served under the previous four House speakers.  However, that institutional knowledge now will head to the Senate.  Less than an hour after the announcement Ross had been let go, Senate President Caleb Rowden announced that he had hired Ross to serve as Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Missouri Senate. Plocher has not issued any additional statements regarding Ross.

    The controversies outlined above could point to strained relationships between House and Senate Republicans for the upcoming legislative session. Another complicating factor is the number of current elected officials running for higher office. In addition to Plocher and Rehder facing off for Lt. Governor, Senators Caleb Rowden, Denny Hoskins, and Representative Adam Schwadron are all vying for Secretary of State, while a handful of Republican House members are running against each other for several Senate positions. Many Capitol observers believe this will be a recipe for excessive grandstanding on the House and Senate floor and very little productive legislative activity.

    In the meantime, we will continue to provide you with political updates from Jefferson City and around the state.  Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group


  • October 2023 Lobbyist Report

    The month of September was a busy month as another veto session is in the books.  Members of the General Assembly gathered in Jefferson City on September 13 for the constitutionally mandated session. Veto session presents House and Senate members the opportunity to attempt overrides of any vetoes issued by the Governor on legislation from the legislative session that ended last May.

    As mentioned previously, Governor Mike Parson issued more than 200 line-item vetoes on budget items, which included many infrastructure, construction, and capital improvement projects around the state, with many located in St. Charles County. Parson had informed members of the General Assembly that the vetoes were necessary in order to maintain a balanced budget throughout the current fiscal year, even though the state is sitting on a record budget surplus. With current tax revenues remaining flat, Parson believes cautious spending is in order to prevent budget shortfalls down the road.

    House members wasted little time once the session began to successfully override 14 of Parson’s vetoes, promptly sending those overrides to the Senate for their consideration. However, when the Senate gaveled in, Appropriations Chairman Lincoln Hough informed his colleagues that he would not take action on any of the Governor’s vetoes, thus ending the 2023 veto session with no veto overrides.

    House Republicans met prior to the start of the veto session to elect their next Speaker of the House. Jonathan Patterson, who is the current Majority Floor leader, was chosen by his peers to lead the chamber beginning with the 2025 legislative session. Patterson, who is a physician from Jackson County, will continue in his role as floor leader during the 2024 session before taking over the role of Speaker in January 2025 as current Speaker Dean Plocher is term limited.

    Governor Mike Parson held a flurry of ceremonial bill signings in his Capitol office and throughout the state throughout the month of September, giving supporters and sponsors of various pieces of legislation the opportunity to speak about their bills alongside the Governor. All legislation passed during the 2023 session became law on August 28 – unless the legislation provided for a later effective date.

    The makeup of the Missouri Supreme Court has changed as Governor Parson recently appointed Kelly C. Broniec to a seat on the high court. Broniec had been serving as chief judge of the Eastern District of Missouri Court of Appeals. She replaces retiring justice George W. Draper III, who was appointed to the spot in 2011 by then-Governor Jay Nixon. Draper stepped down after he had reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. The appointment of Broniec is historic as it marks the first time the majority of judges on the court are female. Judge Patricia Breckenridge will also announce her retirement soon as she will reach retirement age in October. The Missouri Constitution requires judges to retire by age 70, or they automatically forfeit their pensions.

    Next on the Capitol calendar is the Senate Republican caucus in early November, where they will attempt to prioritize their legislative agenda for the next session. Prefiling of bills will begin on December 1. We will continue to keep you updated of any political happenings in Jefferson City and around the state.  Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group.


  • September 2023 Lobbyist Report

    As reported in our last newsletter, Governor Mike Parson issued over 200 line-item vetoes in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, which will affect or eliminate numerous projects around the state. Many legislators have issued public criticism of the governor’s actions, citing the need for the projects, and pointing to a budget surplus of over $8 billion.

    However, Alex Tuttle, the governor’s budget director, paints a different picture in a letter sent recently to lawmakers. While the new fiscal year started off with a more than $8 billion fund balance, the governor’s office stresses that the fund balance does not equal a surplus. In fact, two-thirds of the available balance has already been committed to various programs and projects. Additionally, after huge gains of over 14% in revenue growth last year, tax collections are currently down and are projected to stall out at 0.7% in the future. Tuttle also points out that recent tax cuts passed by the General Assembly based on revenue surplus, could lead to a budget deficit down the road.

    While some legislators have made statements about wanting to override many of the budget vetoes during the upcoming veto session in September, it is highly unlikely any of the overrides will actually occur.

    Members of the House Republican Caucus recently gathered in Branson for their annual slate of summer meetings. The event is an opportunity for members to set their agenda for the next legislative session, interact with other legislators and lobbyists, and raise funds for the caucus as the event is sponsored by numerous business and special interest groups from around the state.

    Governor Mike Parson along with Senate Appropriations Chairman Lincoln Hough traveled the state recently to do ceremonial bill signings of HB4, which is the funding authority for the statewide expansion of Interstate 70. One of the stops was in Foristell, where the governor remarked that Missouri was the birthplace of I-70, and the $2.8 billion expansion project will ensure new opportunities for business along the I-70 corridor. Parson said construction will begin next summer and will take six or seven years to complete.

    Numerous elected officials from around the state attended the Governor’s Ham Breakfast recently at the State Fair in Sedalia. Thebreakfast is a traditional gathering of the Governor, elected officials, and leaders in the agriculture community. The sold-out event featured a full breakfast for $50 per plate, with money raised at the event supporting Missouri’s Youth in Agriculture. Governor Mike Parson told those in attendance that he was proud to host the 70th ham breakfast at the fair. Parson told the crowd of more than 1,200 that agriculture in Missouri remains strong in spite of the ongoing drought and high fuel costs.

    Legislators will return to the Capitol in mid-September for the annual veto session which is slated for September 13. As mentioned above, it seems unlikely that any veto overrides will occur. Also, on tap that week is a full slate of fundraisers in Jefferson City, as lawmakers take the opportunity to raise campaign money.

    We will continue to update you with the latest in political news from Jefferson City and around the state.


  • August 2023 Lobbyist Report

    There has been quite a bit of news since our last newsletter.  On June 30th, Governor Mike Parson has rendered his final decisions on all budget items.  Just before the 4th of July holiday, Governor Parson signed or vetoed all bills containing the policy items that were sent to him by the General Assembly during the past legislative session.

    Of the 41 policy related bills that made it to Parson’s desk, all were signed into law with the exception of SB189, which was a wide-ranging crime and public safety bill. Although the legislation contained priorities of many law enforcement groups, Parson took exception to a provision in the bill which could have allowed certain criminals convicted of sexual offenses to have their records expunged and, in some cases, have their name removed from the sex offender registry. Another section mentioned by the governor was a provision allowing payments from state coffers to persons that were wrongfully convicted. Parson opined that the state should not pay for prosecutorial errors made at the local level.

    On budget related legislation, the Governor took the axe to numerous projects earmarked in the FY24 spending plan sent to him by lawmakers. In total, Parson issued 201 vetoes, cutting $550 million in spending from the $51.8 billion state budget. In issuing the vetoes, Parson stated he was doing so to “ensure the financial stability of Missouri beyond my administration and the current General Assembly.” The Governor’s budget vetoes include $46 million for an allied health building at St. Louis Community College; $10 million for the Brickline Greenway Trail in St. Louis; $2 million for a gospel Music Hall of Fame, Art Museum and Research Center in St. Louis; $7 million for a 911 Dispatch Center in St. Charles County; $10 million for a  911 Dispatch Center in St. Louis; $3 million for a Community Center in Kirkwood; $6 million for improvements to the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District; $5 million for drinking water infrastructure in St. Charles; $5 million for removal of condemned property in St. Louis County; $6.6 million for improvements to Route 370 at Salt River Road; as well as numerous other programs and expenditures in the St. Louis region and around the state. Many lawmakers and local officials took exception to Parson’s vetoes, especially since the state currently has over $8 billion in surplus revenue.

    In other Capitol news, several personnel changes have taken place recently in the Governor’s office. Kelli Jones been named Deputy Chief of Staff, having previously served as Parson’s longtime Communications Director. Other moves include naming Stephanie Whitaker as the new Communications Director and Jonathan Shiflett as Press Secretary. Additionally, Parson has tapped Mike Leara of St. Louis to serve as the next State Supervisor for the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. Leara served as state representative from 2009-2017, and most recently was the chairman of the Missouri Gaming Commission.

    Next on the Capitol calendar is the constitutionally mandated veto session on Wednesday, September 13. Lawmakers will then have an opportunity to override any vetoes of legislation issued by the Governor.  We will keep you apprised of any political events or happenings in Jefferson City and around the state. Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group LLC

  • July 2023 Lobbyist Report

    The halls of the Capitol were quiet in June as legislators have returned to their home districts for the interim where they are busy with constituent meetings, drafting legislation for next session, and raising money for the next campaign cycle.

    In the meantime, members of the General Assembly are waiting for Governor Mike Parson to render decisions on legislation that made its way to his desk with the close of the last legislative session. As of the writing of this article, Gov. Parson has signed eight policy related bills and vetoed a line item in the supplemental budget. The vetoed language was contained in HB15 and amounted to a $25,000 expenditure earmarked for audit costs within MoDOT. In his veto letter, Parson stated funding for the audit was included in MoDOT’s 2024 regular budget, therefore the supplemental funding was not necessary.

    Policy related bills signed by the governor thus far include bills which halt gender affirming procedures in the state for minors, as well as legislation that prohibits transgender girls from participating on girls’ sports teams. Any school that allows transgender girls to participate on girls’ sports teams, would be ineligible from receiving any state aid or any other revenue from the state. Both bills were the subject of much controversy during the legislative session. Other bills signed by Parson include HB131 which allows for biweekly pay for state employees, SB167 which modifies certain requirements for medical certificates for CDL’s, and SB25 which allows state income tax deductions for federal grants to expand broadband access.

    Although Parson had not yet signed the FY24 budget as of the writing of this article, he had signaled his support of the massive $2.8 billion earmark to widen and improve Interstate 70 across the state, as well as funding for the initial stages of improvements to Interstate 44 and U.S. Route 63.

    The deadline for Gov. Parson to sign the budget related bills was June 30.   He has until July 14 to make a determination on policy related bills. Bills that are signed into law will become effective on August 28, unless the bill has an emergency clause or specific date of implementation.  Please note, Gov. Parson does not have to actually sign the policy bills.  If he takes no action (meaning no veto and no signature) the bill will be deemed signed and become effective on August 28.

    In other government news, Maggie Kost, who had led the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED), recently resigned to become the Chief Business Attraction Officer for Greater St. Louis, Inc. Kost oversaw multiple business attraction and expansion projects during her tenure with the state, which generated over 13,000 new jobs. Governor Parson named Michele Hataway as Acting Director following Kost’s departure. Hataway has served in multiple management positions over the last seven years with DED.

    We will continue to keep you updated with political happenings in Jefferson City and around the state as they occur. Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group, LLC