December 2021 Lobbyist Report
With the recent passage of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Missouri is in line to receive over $9 billion over the next five years. The money headed to Missouri will be slated for repair and improvement of many of the state’s infrastructure needs. Highlights include $6.5 billion for roads, $484 million for bridges, $866 million for water infrastructure and safety, $246 million for airport development, $100 million for broadband internet expansion, $99 million for electric vehicle charging stations, and $674 million for public transportation needs. The federal money, coupled with the recently enacted increase in Missouri’s fuel tax, will mean a significant investment in the state’s infrastructure over the next several years. Seven of Missouri’s eight U.S. House members voted no on the measure, with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver casting a yes vote. Also voting yes on the legislation was U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, while Senator Josh Hawley voted no.
Missouri Senate Republicans recently held their annual fall caucus meetings at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson. Many political observers considered this to be an opportunity for the caucus to “right the ship” before session begins in January, but it seems that hard feelings are still lingering from last session. The biggest rift seems to be between the members of Conservative Caucus and the remaining Republicans over some core issues. Unless the members can reach a compromise, it looks like the upcoming session may slow going as a handful of unhappy senators throw up roadblocks to stall progress on legislative action.
The fact that several senators are eyeing higher office could also impact the dynamics in the upper chamber as session begins. Senators Mike Moon and Eric Burlison have both announced a run for Missouri’s 7th Congressional District, and Rick Brattin has stated he may jump into the race for the 4th Congressional district. Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden had also hinted at running for Congress in the 4th but has instead opted to serve his remaining time in the Missouri Senate. Rowden will be a top contender for President Pro-Tem of the Senate when Dave Schatz exits after the 2022 session.
Highly respected, kind, and unrivaled integrity were terms used to describe Representative Tom Hannegan (R-St. Charles), as colleagues learned of Hannegan’s passing on October 20. Hannegan was chairman of the House Local Government Committee and was first elected to his seat in 2016. He worked with family-owned Hannegan Real Estate and Construction, and was also the publisher and editor of Street Scape Magazine. Members from both sides of the aisle expressed their affection for Hannegan, as he consistently championed legislation for the betterment of others. The 51-year-old Hannegan suffered a stroke on the morning of October 20 and passed away later that day. In an email to colleagues, House leadership stated, “Tom will forever be remembered for his determination to serve those in need as well as his great love for all people. We extend our thoughts and prayers to the many friends and family who loved Tom. He will be greatly missed.”
Next on the legislative calendar is prefiling of legislation, which began December 1. We will review all bills and keep you updated on any political happenings affecting ASA and the construction industry. Finally, the 2022 legislative session will begin on Wednesday January 5. 2022. Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group.