Federal prisons ‘riddled with mismanagement’ probed by U.S. Senate panel

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Reports of abuse of incarcerated people by staff are not uncommon. A lawsuit was filed this year against a county jail sheriff in Indiana by women who said a guard sold their key to male inmates who raped them (Darrin Klimek/Getty Images).

WASHINGTON — Members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in a Thursday hearing grilled the top leader of federal prisons on how the agency would address staffing shortages and reports of abuse of incarcerated people.

“The Bureau (of Prisons) has been riddled with mismanagement and, sadly, with scandal,” said the chair of the committee, Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin.

Durbin said he was concerned about the overuse of solitary confinement and media reports of inmates being abused by staff at prisons and jails. He pressed the new director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Colette S. Peters, about those reports of women and men who were incarcerated and experienced sexual abuse.

Peters, who was sworn into her position in early August after serving as the director of the Oregon Department of Corrections, said BOP has no tolerance for sexual harassment or assault of any kind. She said the agency is working to “ensure that BOP employees remain guided by our core values.”

The top Republican on the committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said he was concerned about BOP staff who came forward after witnessing mismanagement and abuse at certain facilities, but were punished when they spoke up.

“Whistleblowers help keep government honest,” Grassley said. “It’s been widely reported that inmates who complain face punishment, but reports also indicate that whistleblower employees at the bureau face retaliation for their speaking up. This is not how you build accountability or trust.”

Abuse and deaths

Reports of abuse of incarcerated people by staff are not uncommon. A lawsuit was filed this year against a county jail sheriff in Indiana by women who said a guard sold their key to male inmates who raped them.

Additionally, a 10-month bipartisan report by the U.S. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, found that the Department of Justice did not properly count nearly 1,000 deaths of incarcerated people in jails and prisons.

Peters, along with two other witnesses, John E. Wetzel, CEO of Phronema Justice Strategies in Pennsylvania, and Shane Fausey, the president of the Council of Prison Locals in Arkansas, stressed that staffing shortages are a major reason why the agency can’t function properly.

Fausey, who runs the union that represents about 30,000 BOP staffers, said that staffing levels have continued to decline each year.

“The chronic understaffing of this agency has led to an unprecedented exodus, effectively wiping out all the record hiring efforts of mid-2021,” he said in his testimony.

He said there are currently 34,945 BOP employees, compared to 43,369 in January 2016.

2 million incarcerated people

Prisons are facilities under state or federal control where people who have been convicted of a crime serve their sentences. Jails are managed by a city or county and are where most people are incarcerated while waiting for a trial, usually because they cannot afford bail.

However, some people do serve their sentences in the local jails because they have short sentences or the jail is renting that space.

There are about 2 million people incarcerated in the United States, scattered across 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile corrections facilities, 186 immigration detention centers and 82 Indian Country jails. Others are in military prisons, state psychiatric hospitals and U.S. territory prisons, according to data collected by the Prison Policy Institute, a think tank that studies incarceration in the U.S.

“I want you to succeed in fixing what’s broken,” Ossoff said to Peters.

He asked her if she would visit U.S. Penitentiary Atlanta, which was the subject of a 10-month report that found inmates were routinely denied nutrition, clean drinking water, hygiene products and proper medical care, and cells were infested with rats and roaches.

Peters agreed and also said she would work to make sure the agency was responsive to requests by the investigative panel Ossoff chairs.

Ossoff also asked her if BOP would publicly publish “facility-by-facility death data within BOP facilities.”

“I can certainly consult our team of lawyers and see if that’s a possibility,” she said.

Peters oversees 122 Bureau of Prisons facilities, six regional offices, two staff training centers, two contract facilities and 22 residential reentry management offices.

Tennessee problems

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, said that a facility in her state was facing staff shortages as well as infrastructure problems such as mold and mildew. She asked Peters if she would fix the issues at the Federal Correctional Institute in Memphis.

“We have infrastructure issues across the board,” Peters said, adding that the agency has estimated about $2 billion in infrastructure repairs.

Peters said that the agency is having difficulty recruiting in rural areas and is adding hiring bonuses to attract potential employees.

Almost all senators on the committee acknowledged that Peters was only a couple of months into her job and that she had inherited an agency with systemic problems, such as the staffing shortages, COVID-19 and crumbling infrastructure. They did not blame her for the actions of her predecessor, former director Michael Carvajal.

Senators criticized him heavily for his response in trying to contain COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons.

However, Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton spent most of his time railing against Attorney General Merrick Garland, and asking Peters if she believed the 11,000 incarcerated people released under the pandemic-era CARES act were breaking the law.

“Are you certain not a single one of those criminals who are serving their sentence at home are not currently engaging in criminal activity?” he asked.

Peters said she could not make that determination.

The 2020 CARES act directed BOP to transfer about 11,000 low-risk incarcerated people from correctional facilities to home confinement, in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Only 17 of those released committed new crimes.

One of the witnesses, Cecilia Cardenas of Davenport, Iowa, was one of those 11,000 incarcerated people who were released to home confinement early in the pandemic. She said she was not surprised that only 17 inmates recommitted crimes, as “many of us are serving sentences longer than needed to hold us accountable for our mistakes.”

Cardenas was serving a 10-year sentence for selling drugs, primarily cocaine.

She said independent oversight is needed, because many “correctional officers are free to do whatever they please regardless of written policy, and many harass prisoners.”

Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, said he has been concerned about the way women are treated in jails and prisons, and stressed the need for his bill, the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, to be passed.

The bill would make it easier for women to keep in touch with their families, prepare them for the end of their sentences and provide better care for those who have experienced trauma.

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‘I’m the screw-up’: St. Charles man testifies for his life after killing 2 women, 2 children

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“I don’t know what’s happening,” he said when describing the shootings. “I’m there, but I’m not there. It’s like looking through somebody else’s eyes.”

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

'I'm the screw-up': St. Charles man testifies for his life after killing 2 women, 2 children

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“I don’t know what’s happening,” he said when describing the shootings. “I’m there, but I’m not there. It’s like looking through somebody else’s eyes.”

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Statue of Missouri’s Harry S. Truman dedicated at the U.S. Capitol

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President Harry Truman, pictured soon after his re-election victory in 1948. A new Truman statue was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Sept. 29, 2022 (photo courtesy of the Truman Library Institute).

WASHINGTON — The eldest grandson of President Harry S. Truman pulled down a black cloak to unveil a towering bronze statue of his late grandfather during a Thursday ceremony at the U.S. Capitol to dedicate the sculpture honoring the 33rd president.

“My grandfather was a modest man,” Clifton Truman Daniel said. “And, frankly, slightly embarrassed by statues.”

The statue of Truman, known for making some of the most crucial decisions in American history, both abroad and domestically, will reside in the heart of the Capitol, part of the National Statuary Hall Collection of 100 statues. Each state gets two, and Truman will represent his home state of Missouri.

The front inscription of his statue is carved with Truman’s well-known motto: “The Buck Stops Here.”

Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt said he often thinks of the difficult decisions Truman had to make as president, such as ending World War II, facilitating the ratification of the United Nations charter and transitioning the country from a time of war to peace.

“It’s great for us today to see him now in the building he loved, in a democracy that he cherished, in a world that he made so much to design and create and make it what it is today,” Blunt said.

The 7-foot, 1,000-pound bronze statue resides on a 3-foot pedestal in the Rotunda, which is a large, circular room in the center of the Capitol. The statue is nestled between historical paintings of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York.

The Truman statue joins those depicting nine other presidents in the Rotunda. The others are Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ulysses Grant, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, Andrew Jackson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.

The Truman statue replaces one of founding father Alexander Hamilton, which staff relocated to the Hall of Columns.

Years of work

Members of Missouri’s Congressional delegation, past and present, at the congressional dedication ceremony of the new President Harry S. Truman statue in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Sept. 29, 2022 (Ariana Figueroa/States Newsroom).

The Truman Library Institute—the non-profit fundraising arm of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri—and Missouri lawmakers had lobbied for the former president to take his place among various American political icons in the Statuary Hall Collection that is visited by millions of tourists, and frequently passed by congressional staff, lawmakers and journalists.

The institute raised about $400,000 for the transportation and installation and commission by artist Tom Corbin for the Truman statue.

“This statue proves that government can work, and work quickly,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, a Missouri Democrat, said. “This only took us 20 years.”

The crowd of 100 or so chuckled.

Cleaver touted Truman’s civil rights legacy. The president desegregated the military, was the first president to meet with the NAACP, established the President’s Committee on Civil Rights and signed an executive order that prohibits race-based employment discrimination in the federal government.

“President Truman truly helped create the Black middle class that enabled African Americans to advance and participate in the prosperity of this great nation,” Cleaver said.

Before he was president, Truman served in the U.S. Senate representing Missouri. President Franklin D. Roosevelt tapped him as his vice presidential running mate in 1944.

Eighty-two days into his term as vice president, Truman was called to the White House, where he would learn of Roosevelt’s death and be sworn in as president.

During his term, he would shape the country’s foreign policy for decades to come. He formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and facilitated the United Nations charter, and established global alliances to deter the spread of communism.

Domestically, he signed into law the National Security Act of 1947, creating the CIA, Air Force, Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Security Council, and also paved the way for national health care.

Statue collections

Due to overcrowding—and aesthetic preferences—only one statue from each state is placed in Statuary Hall.

The House of Representatives used to convene in Statuary Hall, but lawmakers moved into a bigger chamber, leaving the room empty. Former Rep. Justin S. Morrill, Democrat of Vermont, in April 1864 proposed that each state be allowed a statute in the hall, which Congress then passed into law three months later.

“However, the aesthetic appearance of the Hall began to suffer from overcrowding until, in 1933, the situation became unbearable,” according to the Architect of the Capitol’s website.

In 1933 Congress passed a resolution stating that each state is allowed one statue in the hall. The other 50 statues can be found in various locations such as the Rotunda, the Senate Wing, the Crypt or the Capitol Visitor Center.

Truman will replace Missouri’s statue of Democratic Sen. Thomas Hart Benton, who served from 1821 to 1851.

Benton was somewhat of a hothead. He dueled President Andrew Jackson, leaving Jackson, then a general during the War of 1812, with a bullet in his arm.

Benton was also nearly shot on the Senate floor on the cusp of the Civil War in 1850 during a heated exchange with Mississippi Sen. Henry Foote.

“I have no pistols! Let him fire!,” Benton said, according to Senate archives. “Stand out of the way and let the assassin fire!”

Foote never fired.

Benton advocated for Missouri to become a slave state during its early formation in 1821, believing the issue would divide the nation. His views changed in 1835, not wanting slavery to spread, but also not wanting it to be abolished, according to the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Benton’s statue will be moved to the State Historical Society of Missouri, in Columbia.

The second statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection representing Missouri is of Francis Preston Blair Jr. The state of Missouri gave the statue to the collection in 1899.

Blair was a lawyer from St. Louis who was instrumental in keeping Missouri part of the Union during the Civil War, where he served as a major general.

Known for his anti-slavery views, he served in the Missouri Legislature from 1852 through 1856, where he opposed the extension of slavery and urged the South to gradually abolish slavery.

Blair unsuccessfully ran as a Democratic candidate for vice president in 1868.

He became a U.S. senator in 1870, filling a vacant seat, but lost his reelection bid in 1872.

He died in 1875 and was buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.

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Legislature sends $764 million income tax cut to Missouri governor

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House Budget Chairman Cody Smith, who sponsored a tax cut proposal during special session championed by Gov. Mike Parson (Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications).

The Missouri House on Thursday abandoned its attempt to cut corporate income taxes after Gov. Mike Parson signaled his opposition to the move.

Instead, House Republican leaders put a Senate-passed tax cut plan up for a vote, but not before one Democrat called “shenanigans” because the move blocked plans to offer amendments.

By a 98-32 vote, the House sent the bill to Parson, who praised it as “real relief to taxpaying Missourians.”

Parson also issued a modified special session call to align the agenda with the bill as it passed.

Passage of the tax bill means lawmakers have accomplished one of the two tasks Parson put on their agenda. The Senate next week will take up a House-passed bill providing tax credits and other incentives for economic projects in rural areas.

“We called this special session to pass and extend critical support to our agriculture industry and reduce Missourians’ income tax burden, and that’s exactly what we are accomplishing,” Parson said in a prepared statement. 

When Parson called for the special session in August, he asked lawmakers to cut the top income tax rate to 4.8% from the current 5.3%. 

The bill heading to his desk cuts the top rate to 4.95% immediately and would, if revenue growth meets targets, lower the rate to 4.5% in four additional steps.

We called this special session to pass and extend critical support to our agriculture industry and reduce Missourians’ income tax burden, and that’s exactly what we are accomplishing.

– Gov. Mike Parson

The new special session call indicates the bill would, when fully implemented, reduce general revenue by $764 million a year. The general revenue fund had $12.9 billion in revenue in the fiscal year that ended June 30. The year ended with a surplus of almost $5 billion.

As debate opened Thursday, Democrats had prepared several amendments. They wanted to give a tax credit to teachers, property tax relief to senior citizens and make a tax credit for lower-income families refundable, meaning they would get a check if the credit exceeded their tax liability.

But when Republicans withdrew the version of the bill that the House Budget Committee changed to include a corporate tax cut from consideration, those amendments became moot. Democrats accused Republicans of blocking proposals to help working families because they did not want to be forced to vote against them. 

Though they opposed the corporate tax cut, Democrats complained that withdrawing the bill meant other provisions, including one to eliminate part of the sales tax on tampons and other hygiene products, also died.

“It gets frustrating sometimes when you feel like you are actually delivering results back home, not just to my district but to so many other districts across the state, and then you kind of see the shenanigans of what happened, of just wiping everything clean,” said state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis.

The tax cut will take effect sometime in early 2023. The exact date is unknown because new laws take effect 90 days after a session ends and the House defeated a provision that would have made it effective on Parson’s signature.

Debate on the House floor centered on whether the bill will provide enough relief to Missourians dealing with inflation and higher property tax bills.

The sponsor, House Budget Chairman Cody Smith, said the bill will help.

“This is for the folks who are paying the bills,” Smith said.

Lower taxes will help everyone, he added.

“The people who are advocating for this bill understand that low taxation leads to economic prosperity,” Smith said.

This is the definition of irresponsible.

– Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis

But Democrats, and at least one Republican, said the bill isn’t targeted at the people hit hardest by rising costs.

State Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, said the bill will make it harder for the state to pay for schools, provide state worker pay raises or find people to work in state prisons and mental health hospitals.

“This is the definition of irresponsible,” Merideth said.

In testimony to the House Budget Committee, Jeremy LaFaver of the Missouri Budget Project estimated that the lowest 20% of income earners will save about $3 a year and the top 1%, with incomes averaging $1.5 million, will save more than $15,000 a year.

Republican Rep. Bill Kidd of Buckner asked his colleagues to provide relief to poor Missourians and senior citizens in the 2023 legislative session.

“Please do something that will impact real people,” Kidd said, adding “If you are in the $100,00 to $200,000 range you are going to like this tax cut. But if you are a poor person or a person on a fixed income, this doesn’t do it.”

In a statement issued after the House vote, Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, said he was pleased the House passed the bill he sponsored in the Senate without making any changes.

“In addition to immediately easing the burden of near-record inflation and providing the largest income tax cut in state history, this legislation establishes a fiscally-responsible blueprint that will continue to provide tax relief to hardworking Missourians for years to come,” Hough said.

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Centene agrees to pay Massachusetts $14 million over Medicaid prescription claims

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Centene Corp. headquarters in Clayton (photo from Google Maps)

Massachusetts has become the latest state to settle with health insurance giant Centene Corp. over allegations that it overbilled the state’s Medicaid program for pharmacy services, KHN has learned.

St. Louis-based Centene, the nation’s largest Medicaid managed-care insurer, will pay $14.2 million, according to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. An official announcement is expected later Thursday.

“This settlement is a significant result in our work to protect taxpayer dollars and the integrity of our MassHealth program,” Healey said in a statement. “We are pleased to secure these funds to help control Medicaid costs and ensure that state resources are directed to the best possible uses in our health care system.”

Centene on Wednesday denied wrongdoing in Massachusetts, as it has in previously announced settlements. KHN reported earlier this month that Centene agreed in July to pay Texas nearly $166 million.

“This no-fault agreement reflects the significance we place on addressing their concerns and our ongoing commitment to making the delivery of healthcare local, simple and transparent,” Centene said in a statement emailed to KHN. “Importantly, this allows us to continue our relentless focus on delivering high-quality outcomes to our members.”

Centene provides health insurance to 15.4 million Medicaid enrollees across the country by contracting with states to cover people who have disabilities or are in low-income families. The St. Louis-based insurer earns about two-thirds of its revenue from Medicaid, which is jointly funded by state and federal taxpayers.

In many states, insurance companies such as Centene also administer Medicaid enrollees’ prescription medications through what is called a pharmacy benefit manager. These benefit managers act as middlemen between drugmakers and health insurers and as intermediaries between health plans and pharmacies.

Centene’s CeltiCare subsidiary offered insurance to Massachusetts Medicaid enrollees until the state began to overhaul its program. Centene also administered pharmacy benefits for the state Medicaid program, MassHealth, according to the attorney general’s office.

A review by Healey’s office found “irregularities in the pricing and reporting of pharmacy benefits and services” by Centene’s pharmacy benefits manager, Envolve Pharmacy Solutions, its statement said.

Multiple states have settled with Centene’s pharmacy manager business over allegations that it overbilled their Medicaid programs for prescription drugs and pharmacy services. But the total number of states is not publicly known because many of the settlement negotiations are conducted behind closed doors. Some states, such as California, have been investigating the company, KHN first reported in April.

Before the Massachusetts agreement, Centene had settled with Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, and Washington for a total of $475 million, according to news releases and settlement documents from attorneys general in those states. The Massachusetts settlement, which was signed Sept. 23, brings Centene’s pharmacy services settlement total to at least $489 million. Other states have also settled with Centene, but the settlement amounts — and the states themselves — have not been publicly disclosed.

Centene set aside $1.25 billion in 2021 to resolve the pharmacy benefit manager settlements in “affected states,” according to a July filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that did not specify how many states.

Florida and South Carolina have signed legal agreements with a Mississippi-based firm, Liston & Deas, that has represented other states in their pharmacy benefit inquiries into Centene.

Pharmacy benefit managers in general have drawn increasing scrutiny and criticism. The Federal Trade Commission announced in June that it was launching an investigation into the pharmacy benefit management industry and its impact on consumer access to prescription drugs and medication costs.

This story was produced by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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Gentry County Route B now open after bridge replacement project

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Gentry County Route B now open after bridge replacement project
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 15:40

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The Grantham Creek Bridge, located in northwest Gentry County on Route B, north of Route O, is now open after a bridge replacement project. The Missouri Department of Transportation contracted with Widel, Inc. to complete the project.
Crews closed Route B to all traffic between 257th Street and 245th Street on May 2, 2022, and were able to reopen the roadway this afternoon, Thursday, Sept. 29.
Learn more about the project at modot.org/gentry-county-route-b-grantham-creek-bridge-project.
MoDOT asks drivers to work with us by always buckling up, keeping your phone down, slowing down and moving over in work zones. Know before you go and check what work zones you might encounter at traveler.modot.org.
While at modot.org, sign up online for work zone updates. Information is also available 24/7 at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or via social media.
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram  
Take the Challenge! Buckle Up/Phone Down
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Thu, 09/29/2022 – 10:37

Crews to close ramp from I-70 to 6th St./Broadway Blvd. on Sept. 30

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Crews to close ramp from I-70 to 6th St./Broadway Blvd. on Sept. 30
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 15:25

 
JACKSON COUNTY – Crews with the Buck O’Neil Bridge replacement project will CLOSE the ramp from eastbound Interstate 70 to 6th Street/Broadway Blvd. from approximately 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 30 to move equipment. Motorists will need to seek alternate routes at this time. All work is weather permitting.
The current Buck O’Neil Memorial Bridge is a triple arch bridge carrying U.S. Route 169 over the Missouri River, and serves as a key regional connection between downtown Kansas City and communities north of the river. While safe, the bridge is nearing the end of its projected service life.
 #BuckBridge
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.org/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity/. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for workzone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).
 

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Kansas City

Published On
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 10:21

Extended: Lane closure scheduled for portion of MO Route 7 until Oct. 7

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Extended: Lane closure scheduled for portion of MO Route 7 until Oct. 7
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 15:25

CASS COUNTY – Crews have extended the schedule of pavement repairs that will require the closure of the left lane of both northbound and southbound MO Route 7 from approximately MO Route T to the Cass/Henry county lines. This work is anticipated to be completed by Friday, Oct. 7. Work will be daily starting at 7 a.m. until approximately 7 p.m. Motorists will be diverted into the right lane and the shoulder during this closure. Once work is completed in the left lanes, crews will begin work in the right hand lanes. All work is weather permitting.
For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE. Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636

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Published On
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 10:22

Governor Parson Issues Statement Regarding Income Tax Cut Approved by Missouri General Assembly

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Governor Parson Issues Statement Regarding Income Tax Cut Approved by Missouri General Assembly

johnathan.shiflett

Thu, 09/29/2022 – 14:56

September 29, 2022

Jefferson City

Governor Parson issued the following statement regarding the General Assembly approving income tax cut legislation: 
“We are thrilled that the General Assembly has answered our call to cut Missourians’ taxes and return some of their hard-earned dollars. We called this special session to pass and extend critical support to our agriculture industry and reduce Missourians’ income tax burden, and that’s exactly what we are accomplishing.”
“Today’s action will provide real relief to taxpaying Missourians. Relief that is even more critical now as Missouri families face rising grocery bills, high gas prices, and record inflation. This bill means our administration will have cut Missourians’ income tax rate by almost a full percentage point or a nearly 15 percent decrease. Next week, we look forward to progress being made on the agriculture bill, so we can sign both pieces of legislation into law.”
Earlier today, Governor Parson issued a special message to the legislature that modifies the special session call to include small changes outside the original call but still within the subjects of agriculture and income tax cuts.
To view Governor Parson’s special message to the General Assembly modifying his special session call, see attachment. 
To view Senate Bill 3, the income tax cut legislation approved by the Missouri Legislature, click here. 
Special Message to General Assembly.pdf

MoDOT Launches Environmental Study for US 412 in Dunklin County

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MoDOT Launches Environmental Study for US 412 in Dunklin County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 13:15

SIKESTON – The Missouri Department of Transportation is launching an Environmental Study for U.S. Route 412 in Dunklin County. The Environmental Study is the first step in planning future capacity improvements for the 20-mile section of U.S. 412 from Route AC near the Arkansas border to just east of Route Y near Kennett, Missouri.
“This section of U.S. 412 is the primary east-west corridor in the bootheel of Missouri, and it is critical to roadway users locally and across the country. This study will help us evaluate our options for increasing capacity and carefully consider the impact of those options,” said MoDOT Project Manager David Wyman.
The Environmental Study will begin the process of collecting data and gathering public input. These are the first steps in identifying potential project challenges, assessing needs along the corridor, and gauging public sentiment regarding improvements to Route 412. The goal of this work is to establish the purpose of improving Route 412 and what needs drive potential improvements.
MoDOT will work closely with the Federal Highway Administration on the Environmental Study to make sure it is prepared according to guidelines in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Input from stakeholders and the public will be an important part of the study. MoDOT plans to offer multiple opportunities for public input including a public opinion survey, public meetings, and collaboration with a Citizens Advisory Group of local representatives. All public input opportunities will be posted well in advance through local media and on the project website at modot.org/412.
Public input activities are anticipated to begin in early 2023. Field work and technical analysis will begin this fall.
“We expect the Environmental Study to be complete by the end of 2023,” Wyman explained. “Although funding has not been secured for future construction on this corridor, it has been designated as an unfunded transportation need by the Bootheel Regional Planning Commission, so we are able to begin the planning process.”
The Dunklin County Commission contributed $500,000 toward the completion of the environmental work.
For additional information, contact Wyman (573) 472-9021, MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. To sign-up for the project’s email distribution list, please visit modot.org/412.
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Published On
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 08:11

Route 34 in Wayne County Reduced for Guardrail Upgrades

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Route 34 in Wayne County Reduced for Guardrail Upgrades
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 12:35

SIKESTON―Route 34 in Wayne County will be reduced to one lane as contractor crews perform guardrail upgrades.   
This section of roadway is located from the Route 49 in Piedmont, Missouri to County Road 219 near Silva, Missouri. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Oct. 24 through Saturday, Dec. 31 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.  
The work zones will be marked with signs during this moving operation.  Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact Resident Engineer, Donald Hills at (573)-472-9013 or MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
 
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Southeast

Published On
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 07:32

TRAFFIC ALERT: Lane Reduction, Traffic Delays on Rt 37 in Barry Co. for Pavement Repairs Oct. 5 & 6

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Lane Reduction, Traffic Delays on Rt 37 in Barry Co. for Pavement Repairs Oct. 5 & 6
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 12:30

Where: Lane closures in three locations on Missouri Route 37 north of Washburn
When: 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Wednesday & Thursday, October 5 & 6
What: Contractor crews repairing pavement
Traffic Impacts:
One lane closed during daytime hours where crews are working
All lanes OPEN at night
Flaggers will direct traffic through the work zones
Drivers should expect delays
Crews and large equipment near traffic
No signed detours
Signs and message boards will alert drivers approaching work zone
Drivers urged to consider alternate routes
Check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map for road closings/traffic impacts
Weather and/or scheduling conflicts could alter the work schedule. 
(For more information, call MoDOT in Springfield at 417-895-7600 or visit www.modot.org/southwest)
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(Take the Challenge! Buckle Up/Phone Down)

Districts Involved

Southwest

Published On
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 07:25

Electing better leaders can start with requiring greater financial transparency

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On Nov. 8, vote the way our politicians should behave, and please put integrity above ingrained party loyalty (Getty Images).

Eighteenth-century French diplomat Joseph de Maistre famously articulated, “In a democracy, people get the leaders they deserve.”

In light of The New York Times’ recent coverage and Business Insider’s ongoing “Conflicted Congress” investigation into violations of 2012’s STOCK Act, electing better leaders can start with requiring greater financial transparency to quickly reveal potential conflicts of interest.

We need both better people running for office and more professional journalists to watch over candidates and elected officials.

Members of both parties, including Democratic Senate candidate Trudy Bush Valentine and Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, have called for Members of Congress, their family members, and certain staffers to be banned from trading individual securities. However, any legislation meant to advance the spirit of the STOCK Act should facilitate the timely sharing of financial information for journalists and the public to examine.

Beginning with all federal elected officials and their spouses, mandatory disclosure should include full tax returns (even those under audit) back to when their candidacy was first declared, current credit score and credit report, and real-time reporting of securities held and traded through an automated brokerage feed – a common standard at professional service firms with stringent independence requirements. This level of personal transparency may make officials or potential candidates uncomfortable, but it is not about them. Voters and the public deserve to know to whom their lawmakers owe money and how much.

Any increase in pertinent data must be met with resources for competent independent professionals to synthesize, track, and report on the under-examined web of financial holdings, related party interests, campaign contributions, political activity, legislative action, and support for public funding. The increase in resources could come in the form of a refundable employment tax credit to offset the expense of fairly compensating well-staffed newsrooms.

If we want better candidates for office, then we need lawmakers with the humility to take drastic and intentional steps to ensure they are succeeded by people better than them. We need lawmakers who believe it’s better to work alongside a clean opponent than a corrupt ally. We need meaningful information in the hands of well-resourced journalists whose work can expose and repel those who would use public service to enrich themselves.

On Nov. 8, vote the way our politicians should behave, and please put integrity above ingrained party loyalty.

The post Electing better leaders can start with requiring greater financial transparency appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

House proposal would require licensure of religion-based boarding houses

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Representative Sarah Unsicker (D-Shrewsbury) was joined this morning by Representative Ingrid Burnett (D-Kansas City) and Emily Adams to talk about House Bill 15, which would require that all residential care facilities – such as care homes for children – be licensed by the state, including those run by religious orders. The bill is in response … Continue reading “House proposal would require licensure of religion-based boarding houses”

Putnam County Route YY bridge now open

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Putnam County Route YY bridge now open
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 11:35

Project
Multi-County Bridge Deck Replacement Project – COMPLETE

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – A project to rehabilitate the Sandy Creek Bridge on Putnam County Route YY, north of U.S. Route 136 near Unionville, is now complete. Contractors from Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc., working with the Missouri Department of Transpiration, began the project in early August which brought the bridge deck up to current standards, improved the driving surface and removed the previous load posting which limited vehicles greater than 19 tons. The bridge reopened to all traffic on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.

MoDOT asks drivers to work with us by always buckling up, keeping your phone down, slowing down and moving over in work zones. Know before you go and check what work zones you might encounter at traveler.modot.org.

While at modot.org, sign up online for work zone updates. Information is also available 24/7 at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or via social media.

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Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 06:33

Manchin seeks bipartisan ‘sweet spot’ for a new try at his energy permitting bill

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U.S. senators from both parties say they hope to negotiate an energy permitting bill yet this year, after Sen. Joe Manchin’s bill was removed from a stopgap spending measure (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images).

WASHINGTON — U.S. senators from both parties said Wednesday they hope to negotiate an energy permitting reform bill yet this year, reviving efforts to streamline the process after West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III had to pull back his plan amid broad opposition.

The Manchin proposal was attached to a must-pass government funding bill as part of a deal he struck with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer this summer to advance the inflation reduction law that was a major priority for Democrats. But permitting reform was rejected by GOP senators irked by that deal, and members of his own party.

large group of House Democrats — and a smaller Senate cohort — intensely opposed what they characterized as a fossil-fuel-friendly measure from the start, saying Manchin would weaken environmental protections and make it more difficult for communities to object to new construction. The House opposition was led by progressive Arizona Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva, but included leaders of budget and spending panels as well.

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, refused to endorse the Manchin-Schumer deal that allowed for the passage of Democrats’ sweeping climate, health and taxes bill this summer, even if they agreed in principle that permitting requirements should be updated.

Despite the widespread condemnation of his measure, Manchin said Wednesday he expects to keep working to try to get an agreement before the new year, a goal many of his fellow senators said they share.

Manchin said he plans to talk with fellow West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, when the two are back in their home state next month, noting he’s optimistic the duo can work out a final bill.

“We just have to find the sweet spot, find the middle that kind of appeases the majority,” Manchin said.

The centrist Democrat nodded when asked by a reporter if Schumer had assured him he’d try again with another floor vote.

Mountain Valley Pipeline

Schumer pledged Tuesday evening, after stripping Manchin’s permitting bill from the must-pass government spending package, to “have conversations about the best way to ensure responsible permitting reform is passed before the end of the year.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement Tuesday night, saying President Joe Biden “supports Senator Manchin’s plan because it is necessary for our energy security, and to make more clean energy available to the American people.”

“We will continue to work with him to find a vehicle to bring this bill to the floor and get it passed and to the President’s desk,” she added.

Whether Manchin’s bill would still include the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline running from West Virginia to Virginia was unclear on Wednesday.

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, who was furious Manchin’s permitting reform bill included approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, said he believes there’s a good outlook for a bipartisan permitting reform bill, estimating it could get at least 70 votes in the Senate.

Work on permitting reform so far by the Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Delaware Democratic Sen. Tom Carper, and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Manchin, has already found a good starting point to a bipartisan bill, Kaine said.

“They worked on it very, very carefully,” Kaine said, noting he’s not on either of those panels. “I don’t want to tell them what their timing should be. But they’re down the road and there’s a bipartisan group that want to do it, including me.”

On the Mountain Valley Pipeline, Kaine said he didn’t want to get into “a hypothetical world and what might be acceptable.”

But Kaine, who has said he was not consulted about the inclusion of the pipeline in the Manchin plan, did say the way Manchin handled the pipeline in his bill wasn’t the right way to go.

“It was taking something out of permitting and saying ‘You don’t have to comply,’” Kaine said. “But permitting reforms could make the process better and then Mountain Valley and others could have a better process to go through.”

Republicans want another try

Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines said during a brief interview Wednesday he hopes there’s a way for Democrats and Republicans to draft a bill after the elections and before the next Congress begins that both parties could support.

“It’s an issue that we need to address. And it’s a significant obstacle to continue to allow us to develop our natural resources,” Daines said. “It’s not just about energy. It’s also about forestry. It’s about mining and it takes way too long to get projects approved.”

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy said a permitting reform bill is essential for lawmakers who want to see more fossil fuel extraction as well as those who want “cleaner forms of energy.”

“I hope we can sit down and put together a permitting bill,” Kennedy said. “I mean, no fair-minded person can believe that it should take five, seven, eight years to get a project permitted in America. I don’t care what the project is.”

Kennedy said the rejection of Manchin’s permitting reform bill was about more than just signaling the GOP wanted a more bipartisan bill.

He said it was about members of both parties sending a message to Manchin following months of negotiations on the Democrats’ spending package from this summer that included money for renewable energy, among dozens of other provisions.

“What I saw happen yesterday — how can I explain this — two wrongs rarely make it right, but they do make it even,” Kennedy said. “And what happened yesterday was people who are unhappy with Senator Manchin, on both sides of the aisle, made it even.”

“We now have a fresh start and I hope we can sit down and put together a permitting bill,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said he’d like a final, bipartisan energy permitting reform bill to set firm end dates for studies into energy projects.

“I don’t want to foreclose anybody’s right to study or object, but have some hard and fast rule saying this is the end of the process,” he said. “Two or three years is plenty of time for people to be able to study a project before a decision has to be made.”

Louisiana GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy said more lawmakers than just Schumer and Manchin need to be involved drafting the measure if it’s going to have any chance of becoming law and improving the energy permitting process.

“I’d like to have some sort of shot clock with teeth, so that agencies can’t just sit on an application and do a pocket veto of things that otherwise meet every criteria. This permitting reform did not really have that,” Cassidy said.

He said he doesn’t mind if a bipartisan bill gets attached to an unrelated must-pass bill, saying he’s “never a purist on procedure.”

Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester said he’d like to have more input in negotiating the permitting reform bill.

Tricky path

If senators, and possibly their U.S. House colleagues, work out a bipartisan bill, Schumer would have to decide how to move the legislation through the floor.

Given the amount of time it takes to move stand-alone legislation on the U.S. Senate floor and the short amount of time the chamber will be in Washington, D.C., during the lame duck session following the midterm election, several lawmakers have floated attaching permitting reform to a must-pass bill.

One possible option is the National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon’s annual policy bill, which Schumer has said the chamber will take up during October.

That option might not be especially appealing to members of the panel who have traditionally walled off the bill from policy proposals that aren’t directly related to defense or national security.

Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday she doesn’t want to see a permitting reform bill tacked onto the defense policy bill.

“I don’t know that that’s a good idea. I’ll be honest,” Ernst said. “I’d rather see germane amendments being placed, and we have a lot of amendments that we would like to see come up that are germane. So to have one that’s not germane be placed upon the NDAA would probably create some heartache.”

States Newsroom’s Jacob Fischler contributed to this report.

The post Manchin seeks bipartisan ‘sweet spot’ for a new try at his energy permitting bill appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

WB U.S. Route 60 in Carter County Reduced for Pavement Repairs

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WB U.S. Route 60 in Carter County Reduced for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 10:40

SIKESTON – Westbound U.S. Route 60 in Carter County will be reduced as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs.  
This section of roadway is located from Route M to Route C near Van Buren, Missouri. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Oct. 3 through Thursday, Oct. 6 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.  
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
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Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 05:40

Utility crews to close I-44 near I-270 Sunday morning

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Utility crews to close I-44 near I-270 Sunday morning
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 09:00

ST. LOUIS – Drivers heading along Interstate 44 in south St. Louis County early Sunday, October 2, may want to consider alternate routes.
Utility crews will close all lanes on the interstate between I-270 and the Meramec River to remove overhead cable between 5 and 6:30 a.m.
The ramps between I-270 and westbound I-44 and between eastbound I-44 and I-270 will also be closed.

Districts Involved

St. Louis

Published On
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 03:55

Route 32 in Ste. Genevieve County Reduced for Pavement Repairs

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Route 32 in Ste. Genevieve County Reduced for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 08:20

SIKESTON― Route 32 in Ste. Genevieve County will be reduced to one lane as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs.  
 This section of roadway is located from Route 61 to Route C near Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.  
 Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Oct. 3 through Thursday, Oct. 6 from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.  
The work zone will be marked with signs.  Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
 For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
 
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Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 03:17

2022 MoDOT Call For On-Call Professional Services

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2022 MoDOT Call For On-Call Professional Services
keith.jennings
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 08:11

MoDOT Call For On-Call Professional Services

Dear Consultants:

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission requests the services of consulting firms to perform on-call professional services as described on the following pages. This solicitation is the first step in developing and executing 3-year Master Agreements for on-call services. Master Agreements allow MoDOT districts and divisions to enter into Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with consultants to perform services on contracts that total less than $200,000. Execution of a Master Agreement does not guarantee future work.

Link to the solicitation information

The Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission Requests the services of consulting firms to perform on-call professional services. 

Published On
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 08:12

Cost of tax cut swells as Missouri House committee seeks to eliminate corporate tax

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Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, explains provisions of the Senate-passed tax cut bill Wednesday to the House Budget Committee. (Rudi Keller/Missouri Independent)

The Missouri House will debate a tax cut bill Thursday that goes far beyond the special session agenda set by Gov. Mike Parson after the Budget Committee on Wednesday added an amendment repealing the corporate income tax to a Senate-passed measure.

The committee approved the legislation, which has a total cost approaching $2 billion, on a 19-8 party line vote. The major changes from the Senate bill indicate there is no quick end in sight to the session that Parson called to cut individual income taxes and enact a package of agriculture tax incentives.

Parson put a $700 million price tag on his proposal. The House is scheduled to begin debate on the bill at noon Thursday.

Missouri currently has a top individual income tax rate of 5.3% and a corporate income tax rate of 4%. If the bill passes as it emerged from committee, the top income tax rate will be cut to 4.5% and the corporate tax rate would fall to zero.

The bill includes an immediate reduction in the top tax rate to 4.95% for 2023. The other reductions, including the corporate tax cut, would be phased-in, with triggers based on revenue growth in future years.

Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, told the House Budget Committee that his bill, as approved in the Senate, would reduce state revenues by about $1 billion annually when fully implemented. The corporate income tax produced $711 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30 and revenue from that source has grown 30% so far this year compared to the previous fiscal year.

The immediate tax cut offered by the bill is less than Parson sought but the final cost is far more. Parson wanted to set the top tax individual tax rate at 4.8%. He also asked for an increase in the standard deduction and for lawmakers to eliminate the lowest bracket on the tax table, exempting the first $1,000 of otherwise taxable income.

The Senate left out the increase in the standard deduction, Hough said, because its $250 million price tag added too much to the final cost.

“That got us into a situation where, quite frankly, I have caucus members who were uncomfortable,” Hough said.

Opposition to the bill focused on who would benefit from reduced rates. Jay Hardenbrook, lobbyist for AARP, said tax exemptions for Social Security and pension income means many retirees pay no state income tax. But they pay sales tax and rising home values are pushing up their property tax bills, he said.

“If you are just focused on income taxes, you are not going to reach those folks with tax relief,” Hardenbrook said.

The corporate tax cut was the biggest addition to the bill in committee. The tax rate would be reduced in two steps, to 3% and then 2%, in the years after revenue from the corporate income tax increased over a base period by at least $150 million.

House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, second from right, makes a point during a hearing Wednesday on tax cuts sought by Gov. Mike Parson. (Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications)

The tax would be cut further, by 0.25 percentage points, after each subsequent fiscal year that revenue increased by at least $50 million. The trigger amounts would be adjusted for inflation, meaning it would take at least 10 years before the tax was fully eliminated.

“If the corporate income tax doesn’t increase, then this won’t happen,” said Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage.

Smith said it would attract business and jobs to the state.

State Rep. Peter Merideth, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said the bill uses a temporary surplus to pay for permanent tax cuts. The state support for education and other programs is already too little, he said, even with recent increases.

The state pays too little of the share of public education, Merideth said, and the Children’s Division in the Department of Social Services can’t keep fill the open jobs protecting kids from abuse and neglect.

“I think we are jumping into a decision that is permanent that is very difficult to undo down the road,” Merideth said.

Along with the corporate tax cut, the committee added two other smaller items to the tax bill. The committee voted to make a tax credit for adoption expenses a refundable credit, meaning if the allowed expenses exceed a taxpayer’s liability, the state will issue a check for the difference.

The committee also voted to repeal the state general revenue sales tax on tampons and adult hygiene products.

Smith declared the amendment, sponsored by Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis, defeated on a voice vote, but Aldridge requested a roll call. Several Republicans voted with Democrats on the committee to pass the amendment by a 14-10 vote.

Soon after the Democratic-sponsored amendment prevailed, Smith said he would not allow any other amendments, citing the six hours the committee had been in session. 

Merideth challenged that, saying Smith was exceeding his authority.

“I think it is incredibly disrespectful, not just to the people you and I represent, and not to mention staff, not to let us offer our amendments,” Merideth said.

Smith, however, didn’t budge.

“I am not going to argue this point with you,” he said.

The post Cost of tax cut swells as Missouri House committee seeks to eliminate corporate tax appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Bipartisan group of Missouri lawmakers demand Agape Boarding School be shut down

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Colton Schrag, who spent years at Agape Boarding School in southwest Missouri, where dozens of former students have described experiencing abuse, testifies during a committee hearing on Feb. 10, 2021 (Tim Bommel/House Communications).

A bipartisan chorus of Missouri lawmakers joined together on Twitter Wednesday to call for Agape Boarding School to be shut down.

Using the hashtag #ShutDownAgape, the tweetstorm was kicked off by House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, who has become a vocal proponent of closing the Stockton-based boarding school that faces mounting allegations of staff physically and sexually abusing students. 

“I refuse to turn a blind eye! Let’s call out the corruption that has allowed this organized crime against children to persist,” Vescovo tweeted, along with a video compilation of news clips regarding abuse allegations at Agape.

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, and Rep. Keri Ingle, D-Lee’s Summit, replied to Vescovo’s tweet, saying it is “past time” to shutter the school.

“This isn’t partisan,” Quade said.

Several Republicans weighed in, too. 

Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder, R-Sikeston tweeted: “We have the actual safety of children caught in a bizarre judicial cycle. How many victims must we have before they are protected?” 

Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, thanked Vescovo for “using your platform to stand up for these kids.”

Vescovo couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon. 

Colton Schrag, an Agape student from 2003-2004 and 2006-2010, said in an interview that he has been heartened to see bipartisan support for closing the school.

“It seemed like for so long it was Democrats fighting [alongside] us trying to get it done,” he said. “It kind of gives me a renewed sense that finally we have all sides of the government in Missouri seeing the issue and wanting to fix the issue.”

Although the school has been under scrutiny since 2020, its doors remain open. 

Last year, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt recommended 65 criminal counts against 22 Agape staff members, but Cedar County Prosecutor Ty Gaither only agreed to pursue a fraction of them. 

In recent weeks, the Missouri Department of Social Services and attorney general’s office have sought to shut the school down under a state law passed by the legislature last year. But the case has been drawn out over several hearings and the state has not yet been permitted to introduce its most recent evidence. 

Some lawmakers alluded, in their response to Vescovo, to allegations of local corruption surrounding the Agape case.

Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Republic, tweeted that Agape “has been allowed to continue to operate because of the good ‘ole boys club.”

Vescovo last week sent a letter asking the U.S. attorney’s office to intervene and shut down Agape, alleging “undeniable corruption” and “inaction” by local officials who he argues “could do the right thing and have consistently chosen not to.” 

In Vescovo’s letter, he expressed concern that the judge overseeing the case had “refused to shut the school down despite the overwhelming evidence that abuse has occurred there frequently and continues to occur today.” 

The “inaction” of local officials Vescovo wrote, “has helped perpetuate a culture of abuse at Agape, and contributed to a larger, darker network that has served to traffic children to other schools in Missouri and across state lines.”

The attorney general’s office successfully requested a change of judge earlier this week. The next hearing will take place Oct. 13 and 14, according to the court docket. 

Two Children’s Division workers have 24-hour access to monitor children at the facility. There are currently 44 students at Agape, John Schultz, Agape’s attorney, said Wednesday, down from a peak of around 120.

Schultz referred to Vescovo’s allegations in his letter to the U.S. attorney’s office as false and “slanderous.” 

“He has no understanding of our case,” Schultz said in an interview Wednesday, adding that Vescovo is “smearing the reputation of a 30 year institution.” 

The post Bipartisan group of Missouri lawmakers demand Agape Boarding School be shut down appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Read the Road Crew chat about broken traffic signals or highway construction

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Ask the experts from the Missouri Department of Transportation, St. Louis and St. Charles counties and St. Louis City your questions about highways and roads. The live chat starts at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Ask the Road Crew about broken traffic signals or highway construction, live now

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Ask the experts from the Missouri Department of Transportation, St. Louis and St. Charles counties and St. Louis City your questions about highways and roads. The live chat starts at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Free vaccine clinics offered across St. Louis area ahead of what’s expected to be a severe flu season

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“We can never project with certainty how bad a flu season is going to be, but there are reasons for concern,” said Dr. Steven Lawrence, Washington University infectious disease specialist for Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Various lane closures scheduled for U.S. Route 50 and a portion of Chipman Road Sept. 29 – Oct. 3

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Various lane closures scheduled for U.S. Route 50 and a portion of Chipman Road Sept. 29 – Oct. 3
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 16:00

JACKSON COUNTY – Crews will be completing landscaping work and pavement work along portions of U.S. Route 50 and Chipman Road in Lee’s Summit beginning on Thursday, Sept. 29. Motorists are advised to plan ahead and consider alternate routes if necessary. All work is weather permitting:
Thursday, Sept. 29
Crews will be completing landscaping work that will require a right lane closure in both direction along Chipman Road between Murray Road and Blue Parkway beginning at 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29
Friday, Sept. 30
Crews will close the left two turns lanes of the ramp from eastbound U.S. Route 50 to Chipman Road for pavement resurfacing and striping beginning at 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30. Left turns onto Chipman Road will not be allowed during this time.
Monday, Oct. 3
Crews will close the left two turns lanes of the ramp from eastbound U.S. Route 50 to Chipman Road for pavement resurfacing and striping beginning at 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3. Left turns onto Chipman Road will not be allowed during this time.
Crews recently completed the bridge replacement at U.S. 50 over Chipman Road. This portion of Chipman Road had been closed for several months as part of the replacement of the U.S. Route 50 bridges. Originally anticipated to be completed by February 2023, crews have completed the project nearly five months ahead of schedule. The former structures were built in 1975 and pre-dated many of the residents and businesses that rely on it. In addition to the new bridges, this project also made ADA improvements including the addition of sidewalks along both sides of Chipman Road.
This project is included in Gov. Mike Parson’s $351 million Focus on Bridges Program, which will repair or replace 250 bridges across the state. For full details, visit our project webpage.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 10:59

Road closure at Route AA under I-29 for bridge work

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Road closure at Route AA under I-29 for bridge work
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 15:45

MoDOT Kansas City will be completing bridge work as part of the Interstate 29 bridge replacement project. This will require the CLOSURE of Route AA (NW Waukomis Drive) under I-29 between the northbound and southbound on and off ramps. This closure will be in place from 4 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3 and Friday, Oct. 7. Motorists should seek an alternative route. All work is weather permitting.
For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE. Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 10:41

St. Louis area dominates list of best high schools in state

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Top publics are Ladue Horton Watkins, Clayton and Lafayette. The best privates are John Burroughs, Thomas Jefferson, MICDS, Priory and SLUH.

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

State of Missouri team members compete in 2022 Show Me Challenge competition, winning team presents idea to implement a state workforce employee referral program

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Today, the State of Missouri announced the winners of the sixth cycle of the Show Me Challenge. On Monday, nine finalist teams competed in person before a panel of state government senior leaders to present the best ideas to improve state government.

Signals at Belt Highway and Pear Street malfunctioning

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Signals at Belt Highway and Pear Street malfunctioning
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 14:30

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The signals at U.S. Route 169 (Belt Highway) and Loop 29 (Pear Street) in St. Joseph are not functioning as programed and are now flashing red in every direction. The control box for the signal will need to be replaced and the signal could remain in the flashing red configuration through tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 29, or longer if the part is not available.
Until the signal is repaired and working properly, motorists should treat the intersection as a four-way stop and be especially cautious when making cross-traffic turning movements.
All work is weather-permitting, and schedules are subject to change.
MoDOT asks drivers to work with us by always buckling up, keeping your phone down, slowing down and moving over in work zones. Know before you go and check what work zones you might encounter at traveler.modot.org.
While at modot.org, sign up online for work zone updates. Information is also available 24/7 at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or via social media.
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Take the Challenge! Buckle Up/Phone Down
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Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 09:30

Route 142 in Ripley County Reduced for Bridge Repairs

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Route 142 in Ripley County Reduced for Bridge Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 14:15

SIKESTON― Route 142 in Ripley County will be reduced to one lane with a 10-foot width restriction as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform routine bridge repairs. 
This section of roadway is located between Route P and County Road 160W-17. 
Weather permitting, work will be performed Wednesday, Oct. 5 and Thursday, Oct. 6 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.   
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
 
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Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 09:13

St. Louis Work Zones Sept. 29 – Oct. 5

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St. Louis Work Zones Sept. 29 – Oct. 5
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 12:20

ST. LOUIS – MoDOT crews will close two lanes in each direction of I-44 at Big Bend at 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. All lanes will be closed at midnight. During the closure, interstate traffic will be routed up and over the ramps.  In addition, Big Bend over I-44 will close at midnight for the work.  All lanes will reopen by 6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1.
Crews will permanently close the ramp to eastbound I-270 from West Florissant at 7 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3.  The closure was originally scheduled for Sept. 26. Drivers who need to access eastbound I-270 near West Florissant will need to use the new eastbound I-270 entrance ramp from Pershall Road, between Washington/Elizabeth and West Florissant.  The new configuration and ramp location improves mobility and safety.
For more on roadway closures due to construction, additional work zone information and real-time roadway weather conditions go to http://traveler.modot.org/map. For real-time traffic, visit www.gatewayguide.com. All work is subject to change and may be shifted due to inclement weather.   
Motorists should be aware of the following on-going closures
I-55, St. Louis City, two lanes northbound closed between Carondelet and Arsenal until December 2022.
I-55, St. Louis City, left two southbound lanes closed from Gravois to Loughborough through December 2022.
I-55, St. Louis City, the ramp from Lafayette/Truman ramp and the ramp from Cherokee to southbound I-55 closed through December 2022.
I-55, St. Louis City, the northbound exit ramps to 3200 Broadway and Arsenal will be closed through December 2022.
I-55, St. Louis City, northbound two left lanes closed from Carondelet to Arsenal through December 2022.
I-55, St. Louis City, the ramp from Virginia to southbound will be closed until late September.
I-64, St. Louis City, one lane eastbound and westbound near Jefferson closed through mid-2022.
I-64, St. Louis City, one lane westbound at the entrance ramp east of Jefferson to Forest Park Avenue closed through mid-2022.
I-70, St Louis City, one eastbound lane closed at the Stan Musial Bridge through October.
I-70/44, St. Louis City, express lanes and the ramp from the express lanes to Broadway are closed until spring 2023.
I-70/44, St. Louis City, Biddle on-ramp to 70/44 closed until spring 2023.
I-70, St. Louis City, southbound Broadway bridge over the interstate is closed until spring 2023.
I-44, St. Louis County, one lane eastbound and westbound will be closed at Big Bend in Kirkwood tbhrough October 2022.
I-44, St. Louis County, one lane closed in each direction on the Big Bend bridge over the interstate in Kirkwood through October 2022.
I-44, St. Louis County, Lewis Road ramp to westbound I-44 closed through December 2022.
I-170, St. Louis County, the Midland bridge over the interstate will be closed through October.
I-255, St. Louis County, one lane closed eastbound and westbound over Mississippi River bridge until fall 2022.
I-255, St. Louis County, eastbound Koch Rd. ramp closed until fall 2022.
I-270, St. Louis County, the ramp from eastbound I-270 to West Florissant will be closed through late October.
I-270, St. Louis County, , the ramp from eastbound to New Florissant will be closed through late October.
Route 100, St. Louis County, one lane in each direction in Brentwood near Mary/Dorothy Avenue will be closed through mid-October.
Route 94, St. Charles County, the ramp from westbound Route 364 to eastbound Route 94 closed until mid-October.
Route 94/364, St. Charles County, exit ramp to Jungs Station Road/Heritage Crossing closed through spring 2023.
Route 47, Franklin County, northbound and southbound will be reduced to one lane over Interstate 44 through September. In addition, the ramp to westbound I-44 will be closed, and the ramps from westbound and eastbound I-44 to Route 47 will be closed to left-turning traffic through September.
I-44, Franklin County, the ramp from Route 47 to eastbound will be closed through November.
I-44, Franklin County, the ramp from westbound I-44 to Route 47 is closed.
I-44, Franklin County, the ramp from eastbound I-44 to Route 47 will be closed through late September.
Please see the list of daily road closures, weather permitting:
Thursday, September 29
I-70, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., two westbound lanes closed east of St. Charles Rock Rd.
I-170, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., one northbound lane closed south of Route 180 (St. Charles Rock Road).
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one eastbound lane closed at New Halls Ferry Road.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at New Florissant Road.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., various eastbound and westbound lanes closed between Lindbergh and I-170.
Route 67 (Lindbergh), St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., southbound lanes closed.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound from Tallie Drive/Bopp Road to Woodgate Drive.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound between McKnight and Brentwood.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., westbound ramp to westbound I-70 closed.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between I-170 and Route 67.
Route 340, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound between the north end of Chesterfield Parkway East and Appalachian Trail.
Route 367, St. Louis County, 8p.m. to 5 a.m., one southbound lane at Dunn Rd. closed.
I-70, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one eastbound lane closed at Cave Springs.
I-70, St. Charles County, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed westbound at Zumbehl.
Route 79, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one northbound lane closed at railroad and Peruque Creek.
Route 61, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one northbound and southbound lane closed between Lincoln County line and I-70.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one westbound lane closed between Route 364 and I-64.
Route 47, Route WW/Route FF/Route EE, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., one lane closed in various locations for resurfacing. A flagger or pilot car will direct traffic through the work zone.
Route 50, Franklin County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.., one eastbound and westbound lane closed between Route BB and Route C.
I-55, Jefferson County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one lane closed in both directions between Route Z and Route 67.
I-55, Jefferson County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one northbound and one southbound lane closed from Route Z to Lindbergh.
Route 61/67, Jefferson County, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., one lane closed southbound from Meramec River to Tenbrook.
Route AA, Jefferson County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane closed at the bridge over Muddy Creek. Automated flaggers will direct drivers throught he work zone.

Friday, September 30
I-170, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., one northbound lane closed south of Route 180 (St. Charles Rock Road).
I-44, St. Louis County, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., two lanes closed eastbound and westbound at Big Bend.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one eastbound lane closed at New Halls Ferry Road.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at New Florissant Road.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., up to two lanes closed eastbound between Hanley and West Florissant.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., various eastbound and westbound lanes closed between Lindbergh and I-170.
Route 67 (Lindbergh), St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., southbound lanes closed.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound from Tallie Drive/Bopp Road to Woodgate Drive.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound between McKnight and Brentwood.
Route 367, St. Louis County, 8p.m. to 5 a.m., one southbound lane at Dunn Rd. closed.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between I-170 and Route 67.
Route 340, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound between the north end of Chesterfield Parkway East and Appalachian Trail.
I-70, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one eastbound lane closed at Cave Springs.
I-70, St. Charles County, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed westbound at Zumbehl.
Route 61, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one northbound and southbound lane closed between Lincoln County line and I-70.
Route 47, Route WW/Route FF/Route EE, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., one lane closed in various locations for resurfacing. A flagger or pilot car will direct traffic through the work zone.
Route 50, Franklin County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., one eastbound and westbound lane closed between Route BB and Route C.
I-55, Jefferson County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one northbound and one southbound lane closed from Route Z to Lindbergh.
Route 61/67, Jefferson County, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., one lane closed southbound from Meramec River to Tenbrook.
Route AA, Jefferson County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane closed at the bridge over Muddy Creek. Automated flaggers will direct drivers throught he work zone.
 Saturday, October 1
I-44, St. Louis County, 12 a.m. to 6 a.m., three westbound and eastbound lanes closed at Big Bend.
I-44, St. Louis County, 12 a.m. to 6 a.m., Big Bend Bridge closed.
Route 100, St. Louis City, 5 a.m. to 12 a.m., road closed from Boyle to Hemp for Grovefest.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., up to two lanes closed eastbound between Hanley and West Florissant.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., various eastbound and westbound lanes closed between Lindbergh and I-170.
Route 47, Route WW/Route FF/Route EE, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., one lane closed in various locations for resurfacing. A flagger or pilot car will direct traffic through the work zone.
Sunday, October 2
Route 100, St. Louis City, 5 a.m. to 12 a.m., road closed from Boyle to Hemp for Grovefest.
Monday, October 3
I-44, St. Louis City, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., two westbound lanes closed east of Thurman to west of Vandeventer.
I-64, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one westbound lane closed on the outer road at Route 141.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one eastbound lane closed at New Halls Ferry Road.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at New Florissant Road.
I-270, St. Louis County, starting at 7 a.m., the ramp to eastbound from West Florissant closes permanently. Drivers can use the entrance ramp between Washington Street/Elizabeth Avenue and West Florissant Avenue to access eastbound I-270.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., various eastbound and westbound lanes closed between Lindbergh and I-170.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound from Tallie Drive/Bopp Road to Woodgate Drive.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound between McKnight and Brentwood.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between I-170 and Route 67.
Route 340, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound between the north end of Chesterfield Parkway East and Appalachian Trail.
Route 367, St. Louis County, 4 a.m to 2 p.m., one northbound lane closed at Coldwater Creek.
I-70, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one eastbound lane closed at Cave Springs.
I-70, St. Charles County, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed westbound at Zumbehl.
Route 61, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one northbound and southbound lane closed between Lincoln County line and I-70.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one westbound and one southbound lane closed between Route 364 and I-64.
Route K, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one northbound lane closed at Dardenne Creek.
Route 47, Route WW/Route FF/Route EE, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., one lane closed in various locations for resurfacing. A flagger or pilot car will direct traffic through the work zone.
Route 50, Franklin County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., one eastbound and westbound lane closed between Route BB and Route C.
I-55, Jefferson County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one northbound and one southbound lane closed between Route Z and Route 67.
I-55, Jefferson County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one northbound and one southbound lane closed from Route Z to Lindbergh.
Route 61/67, Jefferson County, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., one lane closed southbound from Meramec River to Tenbrook.
Route AA, Jefferson County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane closed at the bridge over Muddy Creek. Automated flaggers will direct drivers throught he work zone.
Tuesday, October 4
I-44, St. Louis City, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., two westbound lanes closed east of Thurman to west of Vandeventer.
I-55, St. Louis City, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.,one northbound lane closed from S. Broadway to Bates.
I-44, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one westbound lane closed at Route 141.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one eastbound lane closed at New Halls Ferry Road.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at New Florissant Road.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., various eastbound and westbound lanes closed between Lindbergh and I-170.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound from Tallie Drive/Bopp Road to Woodgate Drive.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound between McKnight and Brentwood.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between I-170 and Route 67.
Route 340, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound between the north end of Chesterfield Parkway East and Appalachian Trail.
Route 367, St. Louis County, 4 a.m to 2 p.m., one northbound lane closed at Coldwater Creek.
I-70, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one eastbound lane closed at Cave Springs.
I-70, St. Charles County, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed westbound at Zumbehl.
Route 61, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one northbound and southbound lane closed between Lincoln County line and I-70.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one westbound and one southbound lane closed between Route 364 and I-64.
Route D, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. one lane closed between Route T and Route Z. Flaggers will direct traffic through the work zone.
Route K, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one northbound lane closed at Dardenne Creek.
Route 47, Route WW/Route FF/Route EE, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., one lane closed in various locations for resurfacing. A flagger or pilot car will direct traffic through the work zone.
Route 50, Franklin County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., one eastbound and westbound lane closed between Route BB and Route C.
I-55, Jefferson County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one lane closed in both directions between Route Z and Route 67.
I-55, Jefferson County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one northbound and one southbound lane closed from Route Z to Lindbergh.
Route 61/67, Jefferson County, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., one lane closed southbound from Meramec River to Tenbrook.
Route AA, Jefferson County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane closed at the bridge over Muddy Creek. Automated flaggers will direct drivers throught he work zone.
Wednesday, October 5
I-55 St. Louis City, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., one southbound lane closed from Bates to S. Broadway.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one eastbound lane closed at New Halls Ferry Road.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at New Florissant Road.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., various eastbound and westbound lanes closed between Lindbergh and I-170.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound from Tallie Drive/Bopp Road to Woodgate Drive.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound between McKnight and Brentwood.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between I-170 and Route 67.
Route 340, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound between the north end of Chesterfield Parkway East and Appalachian Trail.
Route 367, St. Louis County, 4 a.m to 2 p.m., one northbound lane closed at Coldwater Creek.
I-70, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed at Route A.
I-70, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one eastbound lane closed at Cave Springs.
I-70, St. Charles County, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed westbound at Zumbehl.
Route 61, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one northbound and southbound lane closed between Lincoln County line and I-70.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one westbound and one southbound lane closed between Route 364 and I-64.
Route D, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. one lane closed between Route T and Route Z. Flaggers will direct traffic through the work zone.
Route K, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one northbound lane closed at Dardenne Creek.
Route 47, Route WW/Route FF/Route EE, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., one lane closed in various locations for resurfacing. A flagger or pilot car will direct traffic through the work zone.
Route 50, Franklin County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane eastbound and westbound lane closed between Route BB and Route C.
I-55, Jefferson County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one lane closed in both directions between Route Z and Route 67.
I-55, Jefferson County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one northbound and one southbound lane closed from Route Z to Lindbergh.
Route 61/67, Jefferson County, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., one lane closed southbound from Meramec River to Tenbrook.
Route 67, Jefferson County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one southbound lane closed at Buck Creek Rd.
Route AA, Jefferson County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane closed at the bridge over Muddy Creek. Automated flaggers will direct drivers throught he work zone.
# # #

Districts Involved

St. Louis

Published On
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 07:16

Longhorned tick that can cause illness to cattle found in northern Missouri

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A researcher from the University of Missouri discovered two longhorned ticks in Linn County, north of Interstate 70. The ticks are known to cause illness in cattle. (Photo courtesy of the University of Missouri)

A species of tick known to cause severe weight loss in cattle has been discovered in northern Missouri, researchers from the University of Missouri reported this week

The longhorned tick was found in southern Missouri last year, according to a press release from the university. But Rosalie Ierardi, an anatomic pathologist at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, discovered two of the ticks in Linn County, near the Iowa border. 

Longhorned ticks can reproduce more easily than other tick species as females can lay eggs without a male.

“Studying the prevalence of invasive ticks in different geographical regions can help veterinarians and farmers take proactive, preventative steps that may ultimately protect the health of livestock, which has huge economic implications,” Ierardi said. 

The university says the threat to humans, cattle and pets in Missouri remains low, but the species has been known to cost millions of dollars in lost agricultural revenue around the world. An infestation of the ticks can cause outbreaks of bovine theileriosis, which kills red blood cells in cows.

There are no confirmed cases of bovine theileriosis in Missouri, according to the university. 

Ram Raghavan, a professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and MU School of Health Professions, has been studying and predicting the spread of various types of ticks and forecast the regions where the longhorned tick would take hold in 2019. The tick was first discovered in the U.S. in 2017. 

Raghavan warned the impacts of climate change could cause a continued increase in tick infestations. 

“Warmer temperatures in the Midwest seem to be creating perfect conditions for ticks and the pathogens they carry to thrive, and this problem may get worse going forward as the planet continues to warm, which is concerning,” Raghavan said. “We must be vigilant and devote resources toward trying to prevent these ticks from spreading diseases that harm the health of cattle, humans and their pets.”

Cattle ranchers whose animals show signs of weakness or jaundice or lose pregnancies should contact their veterinarian and the MU Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, Ierardi said.

Ierardi said the symptoms can be mistaken for anaplasmosis, a different and widely prevalent bovine disease, and ranchers should get their animals tested whenever they are in doubt. 

“Although these longhorned ticks are known to transmit a number of human disease pathogens,” leradi said, “at the moment the threat from them appears to be mostly bovine theileriosis, which impacts cattle.”

The post Longhorned tick that can cause illness to cattle found in northern Missouri appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Key U.S. Senate panel advances bill aimed at preventing another Jan. 6

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A rioter holds a Trump flag inside the US Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images).

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee on Tuesday passed legislation that would update an 1887 elections law and clarify how electoral votes are certified, with the hopes of averting another attempt to overturn a presidential election.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat and Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, put forth the bill, S. 4573, known as the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act. The aim is to deter another Jan. 6 insurrection, in which former President Donald Trump tried to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election by citing the 19th-century law.

“On that day, enemies of our democracy sought to use this antiquated law to thwart the results of a free and fair election,” Klobuchar said in her opening remarks.

The bill passed on nearly a unanimous vote, 14-1. The only senator present to vote against it was Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican.

Cruz called it a “bad bill,” and questioned why Republicans would support it.

“This bill is all about Donald J. Trump,” Cruz said.

Sens. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York were not present, but voted yes by proxy.

The U.S. House passed its version of the bill earlier in September, 229-203, with nine Republicans joining Democrats.

Trump and Pence

Blunt said there was broad support on both sides to update the act after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, in which Trump pressured former Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. The vice president’s role in the certification of electoral votes isn’t exactly clear in the Electoral Count Act.

“We found out last year it’s outdated and needed reform,” Blunt said.

Klobuchar, who leads the committee, said it took months of bipartisan effort from the committee and other Senate colleagues to put the bill together.

Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said the committee did not try to “reinvent the wheel” but took a very careful approach to update the law.

“We did spend a lot of time trying to get it right,” Warner said.

He added that he wanted the committee to also consider protecting elections from future cyberattacks.

Bipartisan backing

The bill has bipartisan support in the Senate.

Sens. Susan Collins, Republican of Maine and Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, worked to gather the support of 11 Republican and 11 Democratic senators to cosponsor the measure, meeting the 60-vote threshold needed to advance past a filibuster.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said he “proudly supports” the overhaul of the Electoral Count Act.

“I strongly support the modest changes that our colleagues in the working group have fleshed out after months of detailed discussions,” McConnell said.

The timing on final passage of the bill is still unclear, though it could come up during the lame-duck session of Congress expected after the election.

“We’ll move into next year with this done,” Blunt said.

Schumer has not announced when he will bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.

“Make no mistake,” Schumer said in a statement. “(A)s our country continues to face the threat of the anti-democracy MAGA Republican movement — propelled by many GOP leaders who either refused to take a stand or actively stoked the flames of division in our country — reforming the Electoral Count Act ought to be the bare minimum of action the Congress takes.”

McConnell, who sits on the committee, attended the meeting and reiterated his support.

“After 150 years, the Electoral Count Act needs some modern updates,” he said.

Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, said the bill is “merely intended to clarify (the) law.”

Senate version

The Senate bill has two provisions, the Electoral Count Reform Act and the Presidential Transition Improvement Act.

The Electoral Count Reform Act states that the vice president’s role in presiding over Congress when certifying electors is ceremonial and that the vice president does not have the power to object, accept or adjudicate disputes over electors.

Most notably, it also raises the threshold for lawmakers to make an objection to electors. Under current law, only one U.S. House representative and one U.S. senator needs to make an objection to an elector or slate of electors. Under the new law, it would take one-fifth of members from both chambers to lodge an objection.

The act also adds several reforms for electors from each state. It identifies each state’s governor as the official responsible for submitting the state’s official document that identifies the state’s appointed electors, and says Congress cannot accept that document from any official besides the governor.

“This reform would address the potential for multiple state officials to send Congress competing slates,” according to the bill’s summary.

This change was initiated because Trump and his campaign tried to replace legitimate slates of electors in several states with fake electors who would cast ballots for Trump, which was also detailed by the Jan. 6 committee that is investigating the attack on the Capitol.

The act also provides an expedited judicial review — including a three-judge panel with a direct appeal to the Supreme Court — of any challenges made.

The bill also removes a provision in the law “that could be used by state legislatures to override the popular vote in their states by declaring a ‘failed election’ — a term that is not defined in the law,” according to the bill’s summary. The bill changes this by specifying a state can move its presidential election day to the following first Monday in November every four years only if needed due to “extraordinary and catastrophic” events.

The Presidential Transition Improvement Act provides “guidelines for when eligible candidates for president and vice president may receive federal resources to support their transition into office,” according to the bill’s summary.

It allows eligible candidates, during the short time period in “which the outcome of a presidential election is reasonably in dispute, to receive transition resources.”

Election Worker Protection Act

Separately, Klobuchar and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, on Tuesday introduced legislation to help ​​protect election workers, who have seen an increase in threats of violence.

The bill would provide grants to states to help recruit and train election workers and ensure their safety.

“Election workers are facing a barrage of threats from those seeking to undermine our democracy,” Klobuchar said in a statement.

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Governor and First Lady Parson to Host Fifth Annual Parson Family Fall Festival and Trick-or-Treating at the People’s House

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Governor and First Lady Parson to Host Fifth Annual Parson Family Fall Festival and Trick-or-Treating at the People’s House

johnathan.shiflett

Wed, 09/28/2022 – 11:21

September 28, 2022

Jefferson City

Today, Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson announced that the fifth annual Parson Family Fall Festival and Trick-or-Treating at the People’s House will be held at the Missouri Governor’s Mansion on Saturday, October 29, 2022, from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. The outdoor event will feature several vendors, children’s activities, and bluegrass musical entertainment.
“We look forward to hosting our fifth annual Parson Family Fall Festival and Trick-or-Treating event at the Governor’s Mansion,” Governor and First Lady Parson said in a joint statement. “This is a fun way to kick-off the fall season by celebrating with your family and friends at the People’s House.”
In addition to over a dozen vendors, activities will include a bounce house, face painting, trick-or-treating, and more. Popular local band the Kay Brothers will perform bluegrass music for everyone to enjoy.
Several vendors are slated to attend including Missouri Grown, Elderwood Kettle Corn, Missouri State Parks, Runge Nature Center, Missouri State Highway Patrol, The Magic House St. Louis, Scholastics, HALs Hoppers, and more. 
Children 12 and under are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes. The event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.
2022 fall-fest.png

Stopgap spending bill advances in U.S. Senate after Manchin pulls his energy plan

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Democrats and Republicans voted 72-23 to advance a stopgap spending bill that would avoid a government shutdown until mid-December (Getty Images).

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate advanced a catchall spending package Tuesday that would provide billions to aid Ukraine’s war effort, help communities throughout the country recover from natural disasters and keep the federal government funded through mid-December.

Democrats and Republicans voted 72-23 to move the measure toward a final vote later this week — a success that was only possible after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer removed from the measure an energy permitting reform bill from West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III.

The Manchin plan had drawn widespread rebuke from most Republicans, a few Senate Democrats and a large group of progressive U.S. House members — all of which could have risked passage of the government funding package before current law expires on Friday at midnight.

Schumer announced he would remove the energy permitting bill from the larger package on the Senate floor late Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Manchin released a statement calling on Schumer to do so.

Schumer said in his floor speech that he’d work with Manchin and others “to have conversations about the best way to ensure responsible permitting reform is passed before the end of the year.”

West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said just after the news broke that she didn’t know Manchin was going to call on Schumer to remove the energy permitting reform bill, which she planned to support.

Capito said negotiations on energy permitting reform will likely continue and noted that it could be attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual policy bill for the Pentagon.

“I think the NDAA is still out there,” she said.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley said in a statement removing Manchin’s permitting reform bill from the government spending package was the “right move” and urged leaders to keep it off “any future ‘must-pass’ legislation.”

“Many would agree that our permitting system could be improved,” Merkley said. “If the Senate is going to take up these questions in the future, it must be with a deliberative committee process and a robust, stand-alone floor debate that gives the American people, and especially those most impacted by this legislation, a full opportunity to weigh in.”

Kaine pipeline objections

Removing Manchin’s permitting reform bill from the must-pass government funding package was weeks in the making and followed more than 70 progressive Democrats releasing a letter that asked party leaders to keep Manchin’s bill out of the funding package that must become law before Oct. 1.

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine earlier Tuesday rebuked the bill, saying Manchin obtaining approval for the Mountain Valley Pipeline as part of his plan “without normal administrative and judicial review” was unacceptable.

“The pipeline runs through Virginia for 100 miles and takes property from landowners, but I was not consulted as a deal was struck to approve it and thus not given an opportunity to share my constituents’ deep concerns,” Kaine said in a statement that announced he’d vote against the package.

Kaine then urged Senate leaders to pass a funding package “free of the unprecedented and dangerous MVP deal.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, also rejected the permitting reform part of the package, saying from the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon before Schumer removed the bill that it was a “poison pill.”

“What our Democratic colleagues have produced is a phony fig leaf that would actually set back the cause of real permitting reform,” McConnell said.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and 17 other Republican attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. Senate leaders Tuesday opposing Manchin’s energy permitting bill, writing the measure “contains sweeping new authority for (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) that could upend the traditional authority between the states and the federal government, and ultimately implement the Clean Power Plan by other means.”

The overall spending package, if approved by the U.S. Senate and U.S. House this week, would fund the government through Dec. 16. The measure must become law before Friday at midnight when current federal spending authority expires to avoid a funding lapse or a partial government shutdown.

That is a scenario Democratic leaders wanted to avoid, especially with just weeks to go before the November midterm elections.

New Mexico aid

The spending package, released just before midnight Monday night, would provide billions in funding to ease home heating and cooling costs for low-income households, community block disaster grants and for ongoing recovery efforts related to the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire that damaged much of New Mexico this spring.

It includes $12 billion in Ukraine aid, the third installment this year, bringing the total U.S. investment in the country’s war effort to about $66 billion.

Congress approved a $13.6 billion relief package in March, just weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine and another $40 billion package in May — both with broad bipartisan support.

The Biden administration requested this tranche of Ukraine assistance funding total $11.7 billion.

U.S. lawmakers also opted to include $35 million “to respond to potential nuclear and radiological incidents in Ukraine, assist Ukrainian partners with security of nuclear and radiological materials, and prevent illicit smuggling of nuclear and radiological material.”

The package does not include $22.4 billion in COVID-19 funding or $4.5 billion for the monkeypox outbreak, both of which were requested by the White House and broadly rejected by Republicans.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said Tuesday he believes leaving out that public health funding is “shortsighted.”

Leahy said he would “revisit” the issue in December when Congress is supposed to have agreement on a full-year funding package.

Avoiding a shutdown

The short-term spending bill, sometimes referred to as a continuing resolution, or CR, is needed to prevent a government shutdown when the current spending law expires at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The stopgap is intended to give lawmakers and the Biden administration more time to reach an agreement on how much the federal government should spend during fiscal 2023, which begins Oct. 1, and where any increases in funding should be directed.

Bipartisan agreement on total discretionary spending levels, $1.512 trillion for the current fiscal year, would then allow the 12 panels in charge of an annual government spending bill to begin drafting legislation to fund dozens of departments and agencies.

President Joe Biden’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year asked Congress to approve $795 billion for defense programs and $915 billion for nondefense programs, which includes spending on the Homeland Security, Justice and Veterans Affairs departments.

Current law provides for $782 billion for defense spending and $730 billion for nondefense funding.

If Congress and the White House cannot reach agreement on the bills before their new December deadline, they can always pass another short-term spending bill that would extend into 2023.

That type of funding strategy is, however, broadly annoying to many federal departments, including the Pentagon.

Since the short-term stopgap spending bills continue current spending levels and policies into the new fiscal year, meaning federal departments typically can’t start new programs or boost spending in areas they targeted for additional funding in the budget request.

Voting against the package Tuesday night were Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Ted Cruz of Texas, Steve Daines of Montana, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Josh Hawley of Missouri, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Mike Lee of Utah, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, James Risch of Idaho, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Rick Scott of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

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Ask the Road Crew about broken traffic signals or highway construction, 1 p.m.

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Ask the experts from the Missouri Department of Transportation, St. Louis and St. Charles counties and St. Louis City your questions about highways and roads. The live chat starts at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Ramp closure scheduled for southbound U.S. Route 169 to southbound Route 9, Oct. 4-10

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Ramp closure scheduled for southbound U.S. Route 169 to southbound Route 9, Oct. 4-10
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 09:50

The Missouri Department of Transportation will close the ramp from southbound U.S. Route 169 to southbound Missouri Route 9 for bridge repairs from approximately 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4 until approximately 7 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 10. Route 9 southbound will remain open but traffic may be shifted. Motorists are advised to find an alternate route. All work is weather permitting.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties.

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Published On
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 04:49

Route AB in Stoddard County Reduced for Pavement Repairs

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Route AB in Stoddard County Reduced for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 09:45

SIKESTON—Route AB in Stoddard County will be reduced to one lane as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs. 
This section of roadway is located from Route 25 to Route N near Bloomfield, Missouri. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Oct. 3 through Thursday, Oct. 6 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.  
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
  
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Districts Involved

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Published On
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 04:40

Route B in Dunklin County Reduced for Pavement Repairs

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Route B in Dunklin County Reduced for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 09:25

SIKESTON-Route B in Dunklin County will be reduced as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs. 
This section of roadway is located from Bailey Street to County Road 314, near Campbell, Missouri. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Oct. 3 through Friday, Oct. 13 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.  
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
  
### 
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Southeast

Published On
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 04:20

Route K in Pemiscot County Closed for Culvert Replacement

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Route K in Pemiscot County Closed for Culvert Replacement
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 09:20

SIKESTON—Route K in Pemiscot County will be closed as Missouri Department of Transportation crews replace a culvert under the roadway.  
This section of roadway is located from Route B to County Road 258 near Hayti, Missouri. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Oct. 3 and Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.  
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
  
### 
 
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Southeast

Published On
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 04:16

Seal Coat Operations to Impact Traffic on Route K in St. Francois County

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Seal Coat Operations to Impact Traffic on Route K in St. Francois County
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 09:10

SIKESTON – Missouri Department of Transportation crews will be making driving surface improvements on Route K in St. Francois County. 
This section of roadway is located from Shady Lane to Saffell Road near Bonne Terre, Missouri. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Thursday, Sept. 29 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  
Seal coats are a pavement repair process that is used by MoDOT on roads with lower traffic volumes to maximize available resources and extend the life of the roadway. Hot emulsion oil is sprayed onto the surface of the road, followed by finely ground rocks which are then compacted to adhere to the roadway.  Excess material is swept off the surface, leaving an improved roadway that will hold up longer against the elements.  
The method costs about one third the amount of a traditional asphalt overlay. The treatment keeps water from penetrating the surface, extends the life of the roadway up to seven years, and provides improved traction.  
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636), or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
### 
 
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Published On
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 04:08

Republicans in Congress say they’d keep federal abortion funding in cases of rape, incest

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Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley said he supports exemptions in the Hyde Amendment for rape, incest or to save the patient’s life (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images).

WASHINGTON — A nearly 50-year-old federal law backed by Republicans allows the use of federal dollars for abortions in cases of rape, incest or to save a patient’s life.

That so-called Hyde Amendment, which is folded into spending bills, is less stringent than new or planned abortion bans in some GOP-led states, where governors and lawmakers want to remove exceptions for rape and incest. In Missouri, for example, abortions are now permitted only in cases of a medical emergency. There are no exceptions for rape or incest under the state law.

But Republicans in Congress interviewed by States Newsroom said if they take control in the midterm elections, they expect to keep the Hyde Amendment intact in bills passed by Congress.

That means Medicaid patients and millions of other Americans who rely on federal health care programs—members of the military, federal employees, federal prisoners, veterans— may be able to continue to terminate pregnancies in cases of rape, incest or the life of the patient, possibly setting up a legal dispute between state criminal laws and federal funding provisions.

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, the top Republican on the funding panel that includes the Hyde Amendment in its bills, said he believes “there’s a broad national consensus about” the three exceptions.

“I think we would be making a mistake to try and be overly aggressive in these areas,” Cole said. “Now, sometimes you put things in bills, knowing you’re gonna pull them out later to make a statement, or render a message. But again, I think on Hyde, status quo is what we should shoot for.”

Arkansas Sen. John Boozman said he thinks the Hyde amendment “should remain as it is.”

Florida Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart said Republican lawmakers should do the “same thing we’ve always done.”

“Remember, Hyde has been bipartisan until very recently. There’s always been an understanding that taxpayers’ funding should not go to fund abortions,” Díaz-Balart said.

Democratic objections

The first version of the Hyde amendment, in fiscal  1977, not long after the landmark Roe v. Wade decision created a constitutional right to abortion, didn’t include exceptions for rape or incest, only for the life of the pregnant person. It was named for Illinois Republican Rep. Henry Hyde, a strong opponent of abortion.

When drafting the fiscal 1979 legislation, U.S. lawmakers added in exemptions for rape or incest if the crime had been “promptly” reported to police or public health services.

The exceptions for rape and incest were removed between fiscal years 1981 and 1993, then added back in to the fiscal 1994 bill, this time without the reporting requirement, according to the Congressional Research Service.

More recently, the amendment has been the subject of tensions since Democrats took over control of Congress and the White House.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, removed Hyde Amendment language from the original batch of spending bills Democrats released in the summer of 2021, calling the policy “discriminatory.”

“I know that this is an issue on which many of us disagree. But regardless of the original intent of Hyde, it has disproportionately impacted women of color and it has ultimately led to more unintended pregnancies, and later, riskier and more costly abortions,” DeLauro said during a committee markup.

“Quite frankly, allowing the Hyde Amendment to remain on the books is a disservice, not only to our constituents but also to the values that we espouse as a nation,” she added.

Senate Democrats removed those elements from their original batch of government funding bills as well, but they were all added back in to the conferenced versions that President Joe Biden signed into law.

The move represented a victory for Republican lawmakers that likely wouldn’t have been possible without the U.S. Senate’s 60-vote legislative filibuster, the same procedural hurdle that would likely block GOP lawmakers from making any changes to the Hyde Amendment if they wanted to.

Keep amendment intact

Republicans interviewed by States Newsroom nearly all said they want to keep the Hyde Amendment and its three exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother as is.

“I don’t think we need to change it. But I think we need to make sure that it’s front and center,” said Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall, who worked as an OB-GYN for more than two decades before being elected to Congress.

Marshall said he doesn’t think lawmakers need to change the language to say “life or health” of the patient because doctors have “plenty of leeway just the way it is.”

“If we expand it to health, I think it’ll be way too controversial, and they’ll use it to bring in other diagnoses,” Marshall said. “Look, every woman is stressed when they’re pregnant with anxiety, and they have nausea, but their life is not being threatened. So I would leave it just like it is.”

Cole didn’t want to comment whether the provision should say “life and health” of the pregnant person because he didn’t “want to be in a discussion at that level of detail right now” and because he hadn’t “thought about it.”

Cole did say that appropriators generally take a different approach to policy changes than their colleagues on other committees, in part, because the panel’s legislation must pass to avoid government shutdowns.

“Appropriations have to be bipartisan, so you can’t just come tell me what’s the best policy, you have to tell me what’s the best policy that can attract the Democrats’ support that I need to pass the bill,” Cole said.

“The president is still the president; he can veto anything. The Senate is still going to have the filibuster. And we’ll have a number of our members that won’t vote for any appropriations bill,” Cole added. “They’ll tell you what they want in them, they’ll yell and scream about what you’re doing, but they’re never going to be there. So in that situation, I have to have Democratic votes.”

Break with states

Republicans’ expectation party leaders won’t try to remove the Hyde Amendment’s exceptions for rape and incest would represent a break with some state lawmakers back home, who are advancing bills and enacting laws that would bar abortion access in those cases.

Some laws passed by conservative Republican state lawmakers, or in the works, muddy the waters around whether doctors can end ectopic pregnancies or treat miscarriages, which often require the same medications or procedures as elective abortions.

Whether women must carry pregnancies to term after a fatal fetal anomaly is diagnosed is also unclear in some Republican-held states following new abortion restrictions.

And doctors in those states have questioned exactly how unwell a pregnant patient must become before state laws will allow pregnancy termination, bluntly asking how much blood a woman must hemorrhage or how far an infection must spread before they could perform an abortion without risking prison time.

Republicans in Congress don’t seem inclined to go down that path with respect to when federal funds should be allowed for abortions.

Rep. Ken Calvert of California predicted that “Hyde’s not going anywhere” and the three exceptions will “probably” stay exactly as they are now, though he does expect the GOP will discuss it broadly if they regain control of the U.S. House.

“I’m sure there will be conversations, but I think it will stay in it,” he said, giving a firm “no” when asked if there’s any possibility the exceptions for rape and incest are removed.

Maryland Rep. Andy Harris became somewhat agitated when asked whether there’s a possibility the GOP would remove those two exemptions, saying he had no comment before commenting, “That’s ridiculous.”

“The premise is a completely unfounded premise,” Harris added.

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said if Republicans are back in control of the Senate next Congress, the GOP should “keep the Hyde Amendment.”

When asked if it should remain exactly as it is now, she added, “no taxpayer dollars should be going towards abortion.”

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley said he was “for the Hyde amendment” and said he backs the three exemptions staying as they are now.

“I support those exemptions in abortion laws generally, so that’s my own personal position. So yes, I’m comfortable with them.,” Hawley said.

Louisiana Rep. Julia Letlow said in a statement, she is “100% committed to fighting on the Appropriations Committee to ensure that longstanding pro-life protections such as the Hyde Amendment remain in place.”

Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson said in a statement, she’s “proud to have helped lead the charge on the House Appropriations Committee to protect the longstanding, bipartisan Hyde Amendment.”

“It’s wrong to force taxpayers to fund abortions against their will, and next Congress, I’ll continue working to ensure that taxpayer dollars don’t go toward abortions,” Hinson said.

Less certainty

There are, however, some Republicans on Capitol Hill who aren’t entirely sure about their stance on the future of the Hyde Amendment.

Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty said he expects the Hyde Amendment will be retained, though he was less certain about his thoughts on removing exemptions for rape or incest.

“You know, I have not had an opportunity to talk with my colleagues about that at this point, so I don’t have any further light to shed on that,” he said. “We haven’t spoken as a conference about modifying the Hyde Amendment at this point.”

Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers, former chair of the House spending panel and the dean of the chamber, said he didn’t know if a GOP-controlled Congress would move to remove the rape and incest exemptions.

“Well, we’ll see,” Rogers said.

Indiana Sen. Todd Young didn’t have an opinion on keeping the amendment as is or removing the exemptions for rape and incest, saying he hasn’t “given a lot of thought to it.”

“I’m thinking about the cost of living. That’s what most of my constituents are concerned about,” Young said.

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran had similar sentiments, saying, “I have not even thought about it.”

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Billions for natural disasters, home energy included in stopgap spending bill in Congress

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The U.S. Capitol dome, photographed June 17, 2019 (Kathie Obradovich/Iowa Capital Dispatch).

WASHINGTON — Congress is on track to approve billions in funding this week to help offset rising home heating and cooling costs as well as boost aid for communities recovering from natural disasters.

The package, unveiled overnight, would provide $2.5 billion in assistance for the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire that scorched much of New Mexico earlier this year, $2 billion in Community Development Block Grant disaster relief funding for dozens of states hit by natural disasters during 2021 and 2022, and $1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

“No family should have to choose between ‘heat or eat’ in Vermont or in any community across the country,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said in a statement announcing the agreement.

“The third hottest summer on record had already put a strain on LIHEAP funding, so I am glad that we were able to secure these new resources before the cold of winter sets in,” he added.

U.S. lawmakers added the funding to a short-term spending bill that must pass before the current law lapses Friday at midnight.

The legislation, if approved, would keep the federal government up and running through Dec. 16 while congressional leaders and the White House attempt to work out a full-year spending agreement.

The $2.5 billion for the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance account would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send the congressional spending committees a report on how the agency is spending the money within 90 days of the bill becoming law.

FEMA would then be required to send those two panels a report detailing its spending every 90 days until all the money is spent.

The package would also create an Office of Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Claims within FEMA “to compensate victims of the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, for injuries resulting from the fire” and “to provide for the expeditious consideration and settlement of claims for those injuries.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted during a visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Monday that the spending package, unreleased at the time, would include aid for people and business owners who lost property, or suffered injuries, during the fire.

“This is an extraordinary assault on the environment that is the clear responsibility of the government,” Pelosi told members of a roundtable Monday, according to Source New Mexico. “When something happens like a natural disaster, there is a compact between the people and the government that we will be there. But we have to be there in a timely fashion, in a way that facilitates benefits coming forward.”

New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Luján tweeted Tuesday morning that he was “encouraged” to see the legislation that he and other lawmakers from the state sponsored included in the funding package.

“This wildfire was caused by the federal government,” he wrote. “It’s the government’s moral obligation to make sure our communities are made whole and to take all precautions to prevent something like this from happening again.”

The entire spending package, which includes more than $12 billion for Ukraine’s war effort against Russia, is expected to clear Congress this week, though it will likely experience a small delay Tuesday evening over objections to permitting reform legislation from West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III.

The U.S. Senate likely doesn’t have the 60 votes needed to move past a procedural vote, after both Republicans and Democrats expressed frustration with the bill.

If the vote fails, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, could move to strip out Manchin’s permitting reform bill and hold another vote.

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Trial on Missouri’s restricted Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood pushed back

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In March, Planned Parenthood affiliates were notified by the Department of Social Services that any claims for reimbursement through the state’s Medicaid program would be suspended (Photo by Tessa Weinberg/Missouri Independent).

A trial on the state’s restricted Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood will be delayed until December, after the reproductive health care provider was given permission Tuesday to drop five counts in its lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Social Services.

Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem Tuesday granted Planned Parenthood’s motion to amend its lawsuit, and as a result pushed a trial originally scheduled for late October to Dec. 7.

In March, Planned Parenthood affiliates were notified by the Department of Social Services that any claims for reimbursement through the state’s Medicaid program would be suspended. The department lacked appropriation authority, it argued, because of a supplemental budget approved by lawmakers that included language zeroing out funds to abortion providers and their affiliates.

Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains and Planned Parenthood Great Plains sued, and argued the budget bill is unconstitutional and violated Medicaid law by suspending Planned Parenthood from the state’s program.

Deputy Solicitor General Maria Lanahan, who argued on behalf of the Department of Social Services, said Tuesday that the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) could have addressed at least five of the counts Planned Parenthood raised in its lawsuit, and that as a result the Planned Parenthood affiliates have failed to exhaust their administrative remedies.

“…Any claims that can be heard by the AHC, those have to be first determined by the AHC before you can bring them to circuit court,” Lanahan said, “and the constitutional claims that the AHC can’t decide, get decided in circuit court.”

In its lawsuit, the Planned Parenthood providers said they did not appeal with the AHC, because doing so would have been futile since the commission cannot address the constitutionality of state statutes or issue a declaratory judgment.

Chuck Hatfield, an attorney representing the Planned Parenthood providers, said Tuesday they would like to drop five of the counts and only go forward with two constitutional claims, one that argues that lawmakers can’t legislate through a budget bill and the other regarding equal opportunity under the Missouri Constitution.

“Every other provider out there is eligible for family planning funds,” Hatfield said in an interview after Tuesday’s hearing. “And so we think it’s unconstitutional to deny that to Planned Parenthood.”

Every other provider out there is eligible for family planning funds. And so we think it’s unconstitutional to deny that to Planned Parenthood.

– Chuck Hatfield, Planned Parenthood’s attorney

The state had also moved for the case to be dismissed, and Lanahan said even with the amended lawsuit the state would still like to see the case go to trial. Hatfield noted that a decision in circuit court likely won’t be the end of the road.

“This case is going back to the Missouri Supreme Court,” Hatfield said. “No doubt about it.”

The supplemental budget, signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson in February, included a “$0” line item for abortion providers and their affiliates. Planned Parenthood affiliates vowed to continue to serve Medicaid patients at no cost despite the restricted reimbursements.

Anti-abortion advocates hoped the new tactic would survive court challenges, and similar language was also later included by lawmakers in fiscal year 2023 budget bills as well.

In 2020, the Missouri Supreme Court struck down language in a 2018 budget bill that excluded abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving Medicaid reimbursements, calling it a “naked attempt” to legislate through a budget bill.

When the budget bills were passed this spring, abortions were still permitted in Missouri, albeit with various restrictions. Now, nearly all abortions in Missouri are illegal after the state’s trigger law went into effect the day Roe v. Wade was overturned in June.

Abortions are prohibited from being paid for through the state’s Medicaid program, except in the instances of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life. Republican lawmakers have argued “defunding” Planned Parenthood is necessary to ensure state dollars aren’t subsidizing abortion providers.

…the urgency to separate tax dollars from organizations that perform abortions is as needed now as ever before.

– Sam Lee, lobbyist for Campaign Life Missouri

Even with the state’s previously last remaining abortion clinic, a Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, ceasing abortion services following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, Sam Lee, a longtime lobbyist for Campaign Life Missouri, said it’s still necessary to ensure public funds aren’t supporting abortion providers. He pointed to Planned Parenthood’s logistics center and abortion clinic it operates in Illinois, just across the Missouri border.

“I don’t think it makes any difference,” Lee said. “I mean they’re doing as many, if not more, abortions now than they did before. So yes, the urgency to separate tax dollars from organizations that perform abortions is as needed now as ever before.”

Reproductive rights advocates have argued lawmakers’ attempts to restrict Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood are attempts to restrict access to reproductive health care as a whole — and not just abortions.

“Planned Parenthood is complying with the law, which means they’re not performing abortions in the state of Missouri anymore,” Hatfield said. “So, I don’t see the point.”

Lee said this upcoming session, lawmakers will likely renew their efforts to pass language through state statute barring public funds from going toward Planned Parenthood providers — which became a point of contention between Republican lawmakers last year.

“We think that the court should distinguish this from the previous case and should uphold what the legislature did,” Lee said. “Regardless of the outcome of this case, I know that lawmakers will be asked to put a statute in place specifically defunding Planned Parenthood, and not only rely on adding language to the budget.”

The post Trial on Missouri’s restricted Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood pushed back appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Missouri governor’s symbolic action on hunger lights up Democrats

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The Missouri Governor’s Mansion lit in orange to celebrate Hunger Action Month in September 2022 (photo courtesy of Missouri Governor’s Office).

Hoping to bring awareness to the need to combat hunger, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson officially declared September “Hunger Action Month” — lighting the state Capitol and governor’s mansion in orange to encourage involvement in efforts to end hunger in local communities.

“When people think of hunger and food insecurity, they may often think of people in other cities, other states, or other nations,” Parson said in his announcement, “but the reality is these issues exist right here in our local communities”

The lighting coincided with a food drive Monday on the mansion lawn.

Democratic lawmakers weren’t so sanguine about the governor’s pronouncement. 

They pointed to the fact that Missouri is the only state that chose not to participate in a federal program allowing parents and kids in low-income areas to pick up free meals and take them home — a pandemic-era benefit that was hailed by supporters as greatly expanding access for children facing food insecurity.

Instead, children were required to eat the meals on site at set times. 

According to NBC News, which first reported on the state’s decision last month, the result was a dramatic drop in the number of meals distributed to low-income children. 

“Changing lightbulbs does nothing to solve hunger,” said state Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City. “Feeding children does, and when given the opportunity to help Missouri kids, this administration chose cruelty for the purpose of making a foolish political statement.”

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, called the state’s decision “shameful.” 

“Light shows are great,” she said, “but taking care of our kids is more important.”

Parson, who did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning, previously defended his administration’s decision in a series of tweets arguing that children should be required to eat free meals on site in order to ensure they are the only ones getting access to the food. 

“By requiring kids to eat meals on-site,” the governor tweeted, “we can be confident that the kids who need the meals are getting the meals.”

Prior to the pandemic, the Summer Food Service Program allowed for meal sites in areas where 50% or more of children qualified for free or reduced lunch. It also required meals be eaten at the meal sites. 

A waiver was issued in March 2020 by the USDA permitting food to be taken home, allowing families to pick up multiple days worth of food at one time. The waiver was set to expire in June before Congress passed legislation giving states the option of extending it.

According to NBC News, Missouri was the only state not to take advantage of the waiver. 

Parson argued that because the state moved away from emergency COVID response and to an endemic recovery phase, “Missouri decided not to opt in to the grab-and-go option because our state was returning to normal operations.”

The post Missouri governor’s symbolic action on hunger lights up Democrats appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Lane closure scheduled for Chipman Road between Murray Road and Blue Parkway on Sept. 28

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Lane closure scheduled for Chipman Road between Murray Road and Blue Parkway on Sept. 28
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 15:25

JACKSON COUNTY – Crews will close the right lane of both eastbound and westbound Chipman Road between Murray Road and Blue Parkway beginning at 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28 for landscaping work in the area. Motorists are advised to plan ahead or seek an alternate route if necessary.
Crews recently completed the bridge replacement at U.S. 50 over Chipman Road. This portion of Chipman Road had been closed for several months as part of the replacement of the U.S. Route 50 bridges. Originally anticipated to be completed by February 2023, crews have completed the project nearly five months ahead of schedule. The former structures were built in 1975 and pre-dated many of the residents and businesses that rely on it. In addition to the new bridges, this project also made ADA improvements including the addition of sidewalks along both sides of Chipman Road.
This project is included in Gov. Mike Parson’s $351 million Focus on Bridges Program, which will repair or replace 250 bridges across the state. For full details, visit our project webpage.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 10:21

MoDOT to resurface Route 94 between I-64 and the Warren County line starting the week of October 3

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MoDOT to resurface Route 94 between I-64 and the Warren County line starting the week of October 3
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 15:05

ST. CHARLES COUNTY – Drivers are advised to slow down and use caution as they travel on Route 94 between the Warren County line to Interstate 64. Crews will begin resurfacing work the week of October 3, 2022.
Weather permitting, most of the pavement work occurs nightly Monday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Some daytime work will also occur Monday through Thursday from
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., mainly for shoulder work. Flaggers will direct traffic and use a pilot car for motorists to follow safely through the work zone. 
Crews will begin the resurfacing work on the western side of Route 94, near Dutzow. The 20-mile section of Route 94 resurfacing work is expected to be completed by winter 2022.
 
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Districts Involved

St. Louis

Published On
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 10:01

RESCHEDULED: Lane Closure Scheduled for Northbound I-35 at Mile Marker 25

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RESCHEDULED: Lane Closure Scheduled for Northbound I-35 at Mile Marker 25
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 15:05

MoDOT plans to close the left lane of northbound Interstate 35, at mile marker 25, for bridge construction from approximately 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4. This work was originally scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 28. All work is weather permitting.
This work is part a larger project, which is in partnership with the City of Kearney, MoDOT will construct a new interchange on I-35 at 19th Street (144th Street) approximately 1 mile south of Route 92.  The new interchange will cross over I-35 and will include ramps to/from I-35. The improvements will also include bike lanes and accommodate pedestrians with trail and sidewalk. 
For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE. Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 10:03

State of Missouri's Information Technology Services Division to hold hiring event Friday, September 30 in Jefferson City

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The State of Missouri’s Information Technology Services Division (ITSD) within the Office of Administration (OA) will hold a hiring event from 1 – 4 p.m. on September 30 at the Harry S. Truman State Office Building, Room 490, 301 W High Street, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

Sept. 27, 2022 | Upcoming COVID Vaccination Events

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St. Charles County offers free and convenient vaccinations to eligible individuals for all authorized COVID-19 vaccines. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome in some cases. Call 636-949-1899 to schedule appointments or for more info.

For the complete story from St. Charles County click on the title at the top or click on the post link above

Resurfacing Scheduled for I-70 Outer Road in Montgomery and Warren Counties

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Resurfacing Scheduled for I-70 Outer Road in Montgomery and Warren Counties
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 13:50

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, the week of October 3, contractor crews and the Missouri Department of Transportation will start work on resurfacing Interstate 70 Outer Road in Montgomery and Warren counties from Route Y in Jonesburg to 0.15 mile west of West Warrenton Blvd. in Warrenton, with plans for completion by early November.  The length of improvement is 7.5 miles.
“Traffic will be reduced to one lane where crews are actively working, and motorists will be directed through the work zone with the use of flaggers and a pilot car.  Work will occur during daytime hours beginning at West Warrenton Blvd in Warrenton and progress west,” explained Missouri Department of Transportation Area Engineer Jeff Niemeyer.  “This route carries a considerable volume of local traffic.  We ask that motorists please be attentive in work zones for their safety and the safety of highway workers,” he added.  All work is weather dependent and signs and message boards will be in place to alert motorists, as schedule changes occur.   This contract was awarded last fall to Pace Construction Company of St. Louis, Missouri in the amount of $934,777.
With an increased number of highway work zones in Missouri, it is important all drivers pay attention every second while driving, especially through work zones.  Know before you go and stay informed of traffic impacts on your route by checking the MoDOT Traveler Information Map.  You can also subscribe to counties, various routes or even projects online at Customer Service Signon (mo.gov).  Be sure you and all your passengers are buckled up, and please put the phone down while driving.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 08:47

MoDOT reschedules closure of EB I-270 entrance ramp at West Florissant Avenue for Monday, October 3

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MoDOT reschedules closure of EB I-270 entrance ramp at West Florissant Avenue for Monday, October 3
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 13:50

ST. LOUIS – Drivers who regularly use the entrance ramp from West Florissant Avenue to eastbound I-270, should be aware that the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has rescheduled closure of the entrance ramp to 7 a.m. Monday, October 3, 2022, weather permitting. The closure was originally scheduled for September 26, 2022.
Drivers who wish to access eastbound I-270 in this area, can use the new eastbound I-270 entrance ramp from Pershall Road, between Washington Street/Elizabeth Avenue and West Florissant Avenue. Drivers can also gain access to eastbound I-270 at Old Halls Ferry Road. The new configuration and ramp location will improve mobility and safety.
The closure and construction work are part of the $278 million I-270 North Project infrastructure upgrades. To stay current on the status of this closure and to view a project overview and graphic displays of planned construction, please visit the I-270 North Project website at: www.i270north.org. Travelers can also contact MoDOT’s customer service center at: 314-275-1500 or the I-270 North Project Team at: I270North@modot.mo.gov.
#
 
 
 
 

Districts Involved

St. Louis

Published On
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 08:48

Missouri Route 19 Bridge Replacement Over Interstate 70 in Montgomery County Begins

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Missouri Route 19 Bridge Replacement Over Interstate 70 in Montgomery County Begins
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 13:45

Interchange Improvements Included to Increase Traffic Flow

Weather permitting, work is scheduled to begin as early as next week on the bridge replacement and interchange improvement project located on Missouri Route 19 over Interstate 70 in Montgomery County at mile marker 175, Hermann exit. 
This project will replace the bridge over I70 and include interchange improvements with two new roundabouts, enhancing traffic flow at this location to accommodate current and future area needs.  The new bridge will be constructed just west and adjacent to the existing bridge.  Input was received from area residents and stakeholders during a public meeting and comment period, held in February of 2020.  “Based on feedback from the public meeting, the design for the new interchange will be different from the existing interchange and will include two roundabouts one on each side of the bridge to decrease congestion and increase traffic flow.  These roundabouts are larger in comparison to other local roundabouts and specifically designed to accommodate large trucks and farm machinery that utilize this interchange.” explained Missouri Department of Transportation Area Engineer Jeff Niemeyer. 
During the course of construction, each roundabout will be built one half at a time to minimize traffic impacts.  No significant closures are scheduled until the Spring/Summer of 2023, however, drivers may experience minor detours to access area businesses at the interchange.  Overall construction will include six stages with completion anticipated in the Winter of 2023.  Within the initial phase of the project, work will begin on the substructure of the new bridge in addition to grading, tree removals, and installation of temporary pavement at various locations needed for managing traffic in later stages of construction.   There will be no substantial traffic impacts on Missouri Route 19, I-70 or the I-70 ramps during this stage of work.
“The entire area of the interchange will be an active work zone over the next year.  We would like to remind drivers to please slow down, obey all signs and eliminate distractions while driving.  The safety of the traveling public and our workers is our top priority,” stated Niemeyer. Signs and message boards will be in place to alert motorists, as schedule changes occur.  MoDOT will alert the public about the project through signs, news releases and social media. For additional information, including images and videos covering project overview, construction staging details and traffic movements, please visit the project website at www.modot.org/missouri-route-19-bridge-replacement-and-interchange-improvement-over-i-70.
With an increased number of highway work zones in Missouri, it is important all drivers pay attention every second while driving, especially through work zones.  Know before you go and stay informed of traffic impacts on your route by checking the MoDOT Traveler Information Map.  You can also subscribe to counties, various routes or even projects online at Customer Service Signon (mo.gov).  Be sure you and all your passengers are buckled up, and please put the phone down while driving.
 

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 08:41

Crews to open various roads on Sept. 29 part of Buck O'Neil bridge replacement project

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Crews to open various roads on Sept. 29 part of Buck O’Neil bridge replacement project
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 11:20

 
JACKSON COUNTY – Crews with the Buck O’Neil Bridge replacement project will be re-opening the following routes beginning on Thursday, Sept. 29. These roads were previously closed as part of the construction for the Buck O’Neil bridge. There will no lane closures for this work and crews anticipate that the roadways will be re-opened by 3 p.m. All work is weather permitting.
Crews will make the following traffic pattern changes:
Washington Street from 5th Street to 4th Street will return to two way traffic.
4th Street from Broadway Blvd. to Beardsley Road will return to two way traffic.
Broadway Blvd. will re-open between 4th Street and Woodswether Road.
The current Buck O’Neil Memorial Bridge is a triple arch bridge carrying U.S. Route 169 over the Missouri River, and serves as a key regional connection between downtown Kansas City and communities north of the river. While safe, the bridge is nearing the end of its projected service life.
 #BuckBridge
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.org/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity/. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for workzone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 06:19

FHWA CM Training

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FHWA CM Training
keith.jennings
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 11:10

In partnership with FHWA, a 3-day in-person “Critical Thinking Skills for Managing Contract Changes” workshop and a 1-day in-person “Critical Thinking Skills for Managing Contract Changes in the Design Phase” workshop is being offered.  The two workshops are being held on consecutive days and are registered for independently.  The set of workshops are being offered in two locations (Jefferson City and Lee’s Summit) during two different weeks, details are as follows:

October 11-13, 2022, Critical Thinking Skills for Managing Contract Changes workshop

MoDOT Central Office Lab, 1617 Missouri Blvd, Jefferson City, MO 65109
Room:  201 East and West
8:00am to 4:00pm each day

October 14, 2022, Critical Thinking Skills for Managing Contract Changes in the Design Phase workshop
MoDOT Central Office Lab, 1617 Missouri Blvd, Jefferson City, MO 65109
Room:  201 East and West
8:00am to 4:00pm

 

October 17-19, 2022, Critical Thinking Skills for Managing Contract Changes workshop

MoDOT Kansas City District Office, 600 NE Colbern Road, Lee’s Summit, MO 64086
Room:  136
8:00am to 4:00pm each day

October 20, 2022, Critical Thinking Skills for Managing Contract Changes in the Design Phase workshop
MoDOT Kansas City District Office, 600 NE Colbern Road, Lee’s Summit, MO 64086
Room:  136
8:00am to 4:00pm

Registration is at no cost.  To register for one of the workshops, please CLICK the respective link(s) above.  PLEASE NOTE, MAX ATTENDANCE IS LIMITED TO 40 REGISTRANTS AND IS LIMITED TO 2 INDIVIDUALS PER AGENCY/LOCATION.

 

Information regarding each workshop can be found here: 

Critical Thinking Skills for Managing Contract Changes

Critical Thinking Skills for Managing Contract Changes in the Design Phase

Published On
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 11:16

Foreign investors are snapping up U.S. land. But exactly how much, who knows?

This post was originally published on this site

China’s WH Group purchased Smithfield Foods – the largest producer of U.S. pork – in 2013 for $4.7 billion (Scott Olson/Getty Images).

This commentary was originally published by Investigate Midwest.

Anybody who has kept an eye on agricultural doings knows that consolidation is occurring at an alarming rate. In the past couple of decades, competition between agricultural giants has become a fading memory. Even this short list is staggering:

What do all these splashy headline acquisitions have in common? All are foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies. All well reported and documented.

It isn’t just U.S. corporations that foreign companies are snapping up like Kmart Blue Light specials. Foreign acquisition of U.S. farmland has become big business. And the federal government’s tally likely suffers from a huge undercount due to a joke of a law.

The Agriculture Foreign Investment Disclosure Act was passed in 1978 to keep track of foreign land acquisition of U.S. farmland. AFIDA requires:

  • Foreign persons who acquire, transfer, or hold interests in agricultural land to report the transactions and holdings to the Secretary of Agriculture.
  • USDA’s Farm Service Agency to maintain for public inspection all reporting forms and related correspondence.
  • Penalties to be assessed against foreign persons who fail to accurately and timely report.

Foreign entities acquiring at least a 10% interest in U.S. agricultural land (defined as a minimum of 10 acres or land capable of producing annual revenue of $1,000 or more from farming) are required to file with USDA a FSA-153 form, which lists among other things the type of owners, total acreage, value of the land, and its geographical location.

Due to either neglect or intentional misdirection of filers, many records are inaccurate or incomplete.

USDA has no interest or desire to monitor what’s going on. Back in 2017, AFIDA program manager Lesa Johnson made the stunning admission that USDA does not review FSA-153s for completeness or accuracy.  Not much has changed since then.

In its latest 2020 report, FSA says foreign interests held an interest in 2.9% of all privately held U.S. agricultural land. That’s 37.6 million acres, more than all the acres in the state of Iowa.  Since 2015, foreign holdings have increased annually by an average of nearly 2.2 million acres.

And remember, the true numbers are likely higher – perhaps much higher.

Why should the public care about this?

The 2017 Census of Agriculture reported the average age of U.S. farmers was 57.5.  That’s almost 10 years older than reported in the 1945 Census. Meanwhile, it’s become cost-prohibitive for many young people interested in farming to enter the industry. Not to mention that U.S. agricultural land slowly has been dwindling due in large part to industrialization and urbanization – from more than 1.15 billion acres in 1950 to 895 million acres in 2021.

So you have an aging farmer population that one day in the not-too-distant future will exit farming in droves and younger want-to-be-farmers unable to come up with the capital to buy farmland. The National Young Farmers Coalition is predicting two-thirds of all U.S. farmland will be on the auction block over the next decade.

Foreign entities are all too happy to take advantage of the opportunity … all under the less than watchful eye of USDA.

Admittedly, on a macro scale foreign U.S. land acquisitions do not currently threaten food security, which among our nation’s families is primarily driven by poverty.

But what happens in the future if foreign investors continue to buy more farmland? Not to mention a bunch of other interests including U.S. corporation funds, pension funds, land development companies, and wealthy investors also wanting to own farmland.

The feds need to consider all these threats to long-term food security. And that starts with a full understanding of the scope of the problem including foreign land acquisition.

Efforts in the past to strengthen or rewrite AFIDA have gone nowhere in Congress.

Last month, Wisconsin Democrat Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley introduced the Farmland Security Act. The act would require USDA to report to Congress foreign investments of farm land, including analysis of the impact on food supply, rural communities and family farms. USDA also would be required to establish a real-time database as foreign farmland acquisitions are filed. While the bill is not perfect, passage would be a step in the right direction.

Investigate Midwest is an independent, nonprofit newsroom. Our mission is to serve the public interest by exposing dangerous and costly practices of influential agricultural corporations and institutions through in-depth and data-driven investigative journalism.Visit us online at www.investigatemidwest.org

The post Foreign investors are snapping up U.S. land. But exactly how much, who knows? appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Sealing project planned next week for U.S. Route 159 in Holt County

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Sealing project planned next week for U.S. Route 159 in Holt County
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 08:55

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – A sealing project on U.S. Route 159 in Holt County is scheduled to begin next week. On Wednesday, Oct. 5, contractors from Phillips Hardy, Inc., working with the Missouri Department of Transportation, will begin sealing U.S. Route 159 between the Little Tarkio River west of Fortescue, and Route 111 north of Forest City.
Crews plan to complete the project by Friday, Oct. 7. Flaggers and a pilot car will direct motorists through the work zone and a 12-foot width restriction will be in place.
All work is weather permitting and could be rescheduled.
MoDOT asks drivers to work with us by always buckling up, keeping your phone down, slowing down and moving over in work zones. Know before you go and check what work zones you might encounter at traveler.modot.org.
While at modot.org, sign up online for work zone updates. Information is also available 24/7 at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or via social media.
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram  
Take the Challenge! Buckle Up/Phone Down
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Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 03:52

Missouri personal property tax bills likely to rise as used-car demand drives up values

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“It’s truly a windfall and unexpected,” St. Charles County Assessor Scott Shipman said.

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

A conspiracy-fueled push to count ballots by hand gains traction

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An election worker opens envelopes and removes ballots so they can be counted at the election office on Oct. 26, 2020 in Provo, Utah (George Frey/Getty Images).

Nye County, a rural enclave in Nevada, has positioned itself as the epicenter of a Donald Trump-fueled conspiracy about the security of electronic vote tabulators.

The Nye County Commission voted in March to make the county one of the first to act on the false narratives that machines that count votes are rigged. County Clerk Mark Kampf, who has falsely claimed that Trump won the 2020 election, has said that volunteer voters there will hand count the roughly 30,000 ballots expected in the November election.

Across the country, Republicans aligned with Trump have directed ire at electronic voting machines, with Republicans in at least six states introducing legislation this year to ban the use of ballot tabulators (Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, New Hampshire, Washington and West Virginia). Over 90% of U.S. election jurisdictions currently use electronic tabulators, with only the smallest counties opting to count votes by hand.

Many of the conspiracies around voting machines after the 2020 election centered on technology from Dominion Voting Systems. Lawyers for Trump claimed with no basis that Dominion employees worked with outside groups, liberal donor George Soros, and Venezuela to steal the presidential contest from Trump. Dominion has filed several defamation lawsuits against those who peddled the conspiracies.

Voting experts say that using hand counting as the default method to count ballots, which requires that all voters cast paper ballots, is incredibly expensive, burdensome, and time-consuming.

“This is totally unnecessary,”  said Jonathan Diaz, senior legal counsel with the Campaign Legal Center. “There is no evidence or reason to suggest that ballot tabulators don’t work.”

In fact, research shows that vote tabulators are more accurate than hand counts, which allow for a vast amount of human error, especially when the people counting ballots are overworked and tired around an election.

Tabulators are typically certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and jurisdictions almost always test them before an election to ensure their functionality and accuracy. Jurisdictions often hand count smaller groups of ballots after a tabulator is used to verify the accuracy of results.

Tabulators also allow for accessibility features to assist voters with disabilities who cannot hand mark a paper ballot.

The Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank that uses ideas from both parties, recommends pairing machine tabulators with an audit of paper ballots. “This balance minimizes the potential for human error during vote counting while maintaining a strong system of manual error-checking to unearth discrepancies that may arise during tabulation,” they write in an explainer.

Diaz said he suspects that those pushing for hand counting aren’t actually concerned with the security of tabulators.

“I don’t think that the push for hand counting paper ballots is really motivated by concerns about accuracy or technology,” he said. “I think it’s actually just an attempt to slow down the process and inject more confusion and make things more difficult for election workers.”

Nye County

To hand count all of its ballots, Nye County plans to have teams of three people look at batches of 50 ballots. Kampf said he has already enlisted 57 volunteers to help with the process, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Kampf did not respond to a request for an interview.

While Nye County will hand count its ballots this year, it’ll also tabulate its votes with electronic machines. Officials have said the goal is to eliminate the use of machines for future elections, but using both methods this year allows the county to avoid new state regulations for counties that only conduct hand counts.

In late August, Nevada’s secretary of state’s office announced temporary regulations to take effect Oct. 1 for the general election, including a requirement for bipartisan counters. Nevada law doesn’t outlaw hand counting and the office wanted to be prepared if more counties decide to switch.

Voting experts said hand counting shouldn’t be permitted, and therefore does not need to be regulated. In testimony submitted to Mark Wlaschin, deputy secretary for elections, the Campaign Legal Center explained why hand counting ballots would help neither accuracy nor speed.

“A hand counting requirement would not only delay the reporting of results, but would also be severely disruptive to county officials’ ability to fulfill their critical responsibility to conduct the election securely and accurately,” attorney Julie Hochsztein wrote.

The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada filed a lawsuit against the state after the regulations were announced, alleging that they deprive Nevadans of their rights to a uniform, statewide standard for counting votes. The group declined to comment on the pending litigation.

“The temporary regulation threatens to unleash electoral chaos,” the complaint says, noting that “votes cast in different counties, different precincts, or different contests may be counted very differently.”

Current Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske is term-limited. Jim Marchant, an election denier who is the Republican nominee to replace her, has been one of the most vocal forces behind the state’s push to institute hand counting. He has said that if elected, he would ditch electronic vote machines.

Democrat Cisco Aguilar, who is facing Marchant in November, told States Newsroom that he worries about the future of elections in Nevada if Marchant wins.

“What he’s doing is irresponsible and dangerous,” Aguilar said. “He’s not a serious leader but the threat he represents is extremely serious.”

Esmeralda County in Nevada has also switched to hand counting, but the county is the least populous in the state with just 1,030 residents in 2020, according to U.S. Census data. Still, it took the county more than seven hours in the June primary to count 317 ballots.

At that rate, it would have taken Clark County, Nevada’s most populous county, 6,375 hours, or more than 265 days, to hand count the 288,683 ballots cast in its June primary. Larger counties could no doubt devote more staff, volunteers, and resources to counting, but the process would undoubtedly require the county to miss the vote certification deadline.

The longer the public has to wait for election results, the more time candidates have to sow distrust in the results and for false theories and information to spread.

Outside Nevada

In Arizona, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, both of whom have said that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, filed a lawsuit with unfounded allegations about the security of electronic vote tabulators and seeking the hand counting of ballots.

They claimed that the lawsuit wasn’t aimed at invalidating the 2020 election results—Cyber Ninjas, which conducted an audit of the vote in Maricopa County, conducted a hand count and found that Joe Biden actually won by more votes than the official margin—but instead about future elections.

In response to the lawsuit, election administrators testified that hand counting would be extremely expensive and require immense manpower. They also said that electronic voting machines aren’t connected to the internet, and can’t be hacked. A judge dismissed the suit in August, and Lake and Finchem have appealed that ruling.

If Lake and Finchem win in November, they’ll be in a position to change how the state counts its ballots. Arizona law does not require the use of electronic vote counting machines. The secretary of state also has the power to decertify machines, so Finchem could do that and refuse to certify new ones.

In New Hampshire, groups opposed to electronic tabulators figured out a way to force election officials in large counties to hand count some ballots in Sept. 13’s primary, despite the widespread use of AccuVote optical scan machines in the state which are not connected to the internet and cannot be hacked.

Conservative-leaning groups shared posts online urging voters to write in candidate names, even if the candidate was already printed on the ballot. Ballots with write-in candidates are separated for hand counting.

Secretary of State David Scanlan said the effort slowed down the release of results by hours in some counties.

“It really stresses the system when you have poll workers who have been at it for 12 to 16 hours now having to count all these ballots at the end of the night,” Scanlan told a local reporter with the Keene Sentinel. “It probably increases the chances for errors.”

The post A conspiracy-fueled push to count ballots by hand gains traction appeared first on Missouri Independent.

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MoDOT will close eastbound lanes along I-70 on Tuesday, Sept. 27 for guard cable repairs

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MoDOT will close eastbound lanes along I-70 on Tuesday, Sept. 27 for guard cable repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 16:15

LAFAYETTE AND SALINE COUNTIES – MoDOT will close lanes of eastbound Interstate 70 on Monday, Sept. 12 at the following locations:
From 7 to 10 a.m. the far-left lane of eastbound I-70 at mile marker 48 will be closed.
From 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the far left lane of eastbound I-70 at mile marker 65 will be closed.
From 12:30 to 2 p.m. the far left lane of eastbound I-70 at mile marker 69.2 will be closed.
From 2 to 5 p.m. the far right lane of eastbound I-70 at mile marker 75.9.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for workzone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

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Mon, 09/26/2022 – 11:10

Lane Closures Scheduled for Route 210 over Brighton Avenue and Searcy Creek Parkway, Sept. 29-30

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Lane Closures Scheduled for Route 210 over Brighton Avenue and Searcy Creek Parkway, Sept. 29-30
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 15:45

Crews will complete bridge wall work on the eastbound and westbound lanes of Missouri Route 210 over Brighton Avenue and Searcy Creek Parkway. This work will require the following lane closures:
The eastbound lane of Route 210 will close from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sept. 29-30.
The westbound lane of Route 210 will close from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sept. 29-30.
One lane of traffic will remain open, but motorists will experience delays in the area. All work is weather permitting.
For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE. Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

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Kansas City

Published On
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 10:40

Two Months after Historic Flooding, over $85 Million in Assistance has been Approved for St. Louis Area Residents

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Two Months after Historic Flooding, over $85 Million in Assistance has been Approved for St. Louis Area Residents

johnathan.shiflett

Mon, 09/26/2022 – 15:22

September 26, 2022

Jefferson City

Governor Mike Parson today announced that two months after historic flooding impacted the St. Louis area, more than $85 million in assistance has been approved to help area residents and businesses recover. The assistance includes over $35 million in direct grants to more than 11,300 renters and homeowners.
“From July 25 to 28, the St. Louis region was hit with record rainfall of up to 10 or more inches that flooded homes, vehicles, and businesses, often in areas that had never experienced such flooding in the past,” Governor Parson said. “Even as the flooding was still ongoing, neighbors, faith-based organizations, and community partners started pulling together to assist people in need. We are glad this vitally important federal and state assistance is getting to residents and businesses, so they can recover, rebuild, and move forward. We urge residents affected by the flooding in St. Louis, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County to apply for assistance from FEMA before the October 7 deadline.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved $35.6 million in Individual Assistance grants for renters and homeowners for emergency home repairs, repair or replacement of essential personal property, rental assistance, and other serious needs not covered by insurance.
The National Flood Insurance Program has paid $27.9 million in claims for flood insurance policyholders.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved over $21.7 million in disaster loans for 663 homeowners, renters, and businesses.
Forty-six eligible local government agencies and nonprofit organizations from the City of St. Louis and St. Louis, St. Charles, and Montgomery counties have submitted requests for FEMA Public Assistance to obtain reimbursement for emergency response costs and to rebuild and replace roads, bridges, and other infrastructure damaged or destroyed in the flooding.
Before federal assistance was approved, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and voluntary and community organizations active in disasters, including the Red Cross, organized Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs) that took place over eight days and provided one-stop-shop assistance for those impacted by the flooding. A total of more than 7,450 people were helped by the MARCs with emergency financial assistance, food stamp replacement, insurance information, and other assistance. 
Missouri has also received a $435,000 federal Crisis Counseling Program (CCP) to assist peopled emotionally impacted by the flooding through mental health counseling. The grant was received by the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH). DMH is in the process of applying for an additional CCP grant that would continue the counseling services for an additional nine months.
Governor Parson’s request for a federal major disaster declaration was approved by President Joe Biden on August 8. The federal major disaster declaration also makes available federal mitigation grants to improve infrastructure to prevent damage from future severe storms. Prior to the federal disaster declaration, Governor Parson declared a state of emergency in Missouri and activated the State Emergency Operations Plan, allowing state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.  
People affected by the disaster in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County have three ways to apply and stay in touch with FEMA:
Call: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
Go Online: DisasterAssistance.gov
Visit any Disaster Recovery Center

Lane closure scheduled for Chipman Road between Murray Road and Blue Parkway on Sept. 27

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Lane closure scheduled for Chipman Road between Murray Road and Blue Parkway on Sept. 27
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 15:10

JACKSON COUNTY – Crews will close the right lane of both eastbound and westbound Chipman Road between Murray Road and Blue Parkway beginning at 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27 for landscaping work in the area. Motorists are advised to plan ahead or seek an alternate route if necessary.
Crews recently completed the bridge replacement at U.S. 50 over Chipman Road. This portion of Chipman Road had been closed for several months as part of the replacement of the U.S. Route 50 bridges. Originally anticipated to be completed by February 2023, crews have completed the project nearly five months ahead of schedule. The former structures were built in 1975 and pre-dated many of the residents and businesses that rely on it. In addition to the new bridges, this project also made ADA improvements including the addition of sidewalks along both sides of Chipman Road.
This project is included in Gov. Mike Parson’s $351 million Focus on Bridges Program, which will repair or replace 250 bridges across the state. For full details, visit our project webpage.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).
 

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Published On
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 10:09

Missouri House leaders scramble to save the governor’s agriculture incentives bill

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Rep. Pollitt, R-Sedalia, discusses a package of tax incentives for rural projects he was sponsoring during floor action Wednesday during the special legislative session (Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications).

Passing a package of tax credits for rural economic projects should have been the easy part of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s special session agenda.

A bill with everything he requested passed with big bipartisan majorities during the regular session, the only opposition coming from conservative Republicans who dislike tax credits generally.

But when the bill came up Wednesday in the Missouri House, it received just one vote more than constitutionally required to pass. And just to get it to that vote, House Speaker Rob Vescovo had to add three new supporters at the last minute, including the bill’s sponsor, to a crucial committee.

The special session is about half way through its work. The House will work on tax cut bills this week and the Senate will resume action next Monday.

With the November election only six weeks away, Republicans need to pass both bills to show core constituencies they can deliver. The close margin on the rural incentives bill shows how tactical missteps and factional fighting could upset those plans.

Trouble for the rural incentives bill began when the House GOP leadership shut off debate Wednesday morning as several Democratic members stood waiting to offer amendments. 

In response, 25 Democrats voted “present” on the ensuing vote. That signaled that the bipartisan support the bill once enjoyed was evaporating. The final vote would be tight, leadership realized, because of the GOP members opposed to all tax credits.

And it meant that before that final vote in the afternoon, there was potential trouble in the House Fiscal Review Committee, which had to approve its $40 million price tag . Democratic opposition and two absent Republicans meant it could be defeated, Republican Rep.Doug Richey, the committee’s vice chairman, said in an interview.

“Looking at the head count there and the way the votes were calculated, I would say probably so,” Richey, R-Excelsior Springs, when asked if the bill would have failed without intervention by Vescovo. “(Committee Chairman) Travis (Fitzwater) and I would have been the only yes votes, and there would have been three no votes, with those who were present.”

Republican state Rep. Sara Walsh of Ashland voted against the bill in the morning session and was expected to oppose it in the fiscal review committee as well. The two Democrats, Reps. Donna Baringer of St. Louis and Betsy Fogle of Springfield, voted for the bill in the morning session but weren’t ready to back it in the committee hearing.

State Rep. Betsy Fogle, D-Springfield, speaks during the April 5 debate on the fiscal 2023 state budget (Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications).

“There was a lot of frustration and a lot of surprise, and disappointment that the process rolled out the way that it did,” Fogle said of debate being cut off before Democrats could offer their amendments.

Fogle was talking to Fitzwater about the upcoming vote when state Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, arrived and told them he had just been added to the committee. 

Fitzwater “was unaware of it and left the conversation to figure out what was going on,” Fogle said.

Fitzwater could not be reached for comment.

Vescovo replaced state Rep. Jason Chipman, who was absent, and increased the size of the committee by two Republicans, which meant Democrats had another seat and that was Merideth.

The Republicans added to the committee were Rep. Brad Pollitt, sponsor of the bill, along with Reps. Don Rone and Rick Francis, chairman and vice-chairman of the House Agriculture Policy Committee.

Pollitt said he wasn’t aware the bill faced defeat in the committee when he was told to report to the meeting.

“There were people absent that were on fiscal review, and someone from the speaker’s office came and said ‘go to fiscal review,’” Pollitt said.

Rone said he was asked to sit in place of an absent member and he agreed.

“There is one boss up there and that’s the speaker,” Rone said.

When the committee vote finally came, it was 5-2-2, with Merideth and Walsh opposed. Fogle and Baringer voted present.

“What you saw right before fiscal review was called to order was the speaker expanding fiscal review to add members who he knew would support it,” Fogle said. “It is in the rules, but not something I have seen done.”

Richey opposed the bill during the morning floor vote but said the fiscal review committee was not the place for one of two bills being considered in the special session to be defeated.

“Obviously, in the special, you are not going to have a bill that is that significant die,” Richey said, noting he became aware of the expanded committee when the meeting began. “I wasn’t in those conversations.”

Bipartisan breakdown

Parson asked lawmakers for a simple fix to a bill he vetoed. Instead of a two-year sunset on the tax credits and other incentives, Parson wanted the programs in place for six years.

In the regular session, that’s how the bill started. All the elements in the special session bill were in the regular session version, along with a six-year sunset, when the House passed it 120-30 on Jan. 27. Every Democrat present that day supported it.

It had bipartisan support because the bill included Democratic-sponsored ideas, including incentives for urban farming and specialty crops, as well as tax credits to promote biofuels and small producers.

One provision expands a program to give bankers tax credits for waiving interest on the first year of farm loans to producers who have less than $500,000 in market sales. The current program is capped at $250,000 in sales.

Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, at microphone, answers a question from Rep. Mike Haffner, R-Pleasant Hill, during debate on a package of tax incentives for rural projects (Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications).

Large commodity producers, growing corn, soybeans, cotton or rice, are likely to have more in sales than that cap. A farmer with 1,000 acres can receive more than $1 million at current prices and predicted yields for corn and cotton, and almost $700,000 for soybeans.

“This is designed for the young people that are wanting to get started farming, 250 to 300 acres, and they need the help getting started,” said Rone, of Portageville. “All the farmers around here are getting older.”

In the run-up to the special session, attention focused on Parson’s push for an income tax cut.

Legislative leaders worked out a plan to pass the tax cut bill first in the Missouri Senate, where members have the greatest opportunity to delay bills and where the now-defunct conservative caucus had used the rules for that purpose repeatedly in the regular session.

The Senate tax debate, however, went smoothly, though not without the use of some parliamentary maneuvering to limit amendments. And the Senate voted on a bill with the rural incentives, passing it with a bipartisan majority of 26-4.

And the House debate on rural incentives seemed to be a model for bipartisanship as well — until debate was shut off. 

Rone and Pollitt discussed the bill at length with Democratic members to highlight the provisions that both parties had supported in the past.

Last week’s debate “was the sixth time we have talked about this ag bll in the last year,” Pollitt said.

The two amendments Democrats had prepared were intended to inject the issue of foreign ownership of Missouri farmland into the debate and to prohibit state elected officials from benefiting from the tax credits.

The political amendments were unlikely to pass, and their immediate targets were Attorney General Eric Schmitt, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, and Parson.

In the GOP primary, opponents attacked Schmitt’s 2013 votes as a state senator to lift the ban on foreign ownership of farmland. The bill legalized the sale of Smithfield Food’s Premium Standard Farm hog operation in north Missouri to a Chinese conglomerate.

Democratic Senate candidate Trudy Busch Valentine has kept up the criticism as she campaigns against Schmitt.

Parson raises cattle on 47 acres in Polk County.

Democrats had identified three areas of the bill where Parson could potentially benefit, Meredith said. He could be eligible for interest waivers on loans for his farm from two programs and the bill has a sales tax exemption for the purchase of utility vehicles used for farming purposes.

Meredith’s amendment would have prohibited state elected officials “eligible to receive a pension” from benefit from the programs.

Pollitt said it was “absurd” that any portion of the bill was designed for Parson’s benefit.

“I did not have one individual entity talk to me about tax credits for their personal gain,” Pollitt said.

The amendment about foreign ownership would have barred any entity owned by foreign interests from participating in the incentive programs.

Rone, who is term-limited, said he agrees with efforts to limit foreign ownership of farmland but hasn’t been able to get a bill moving because of lobbying opposition. One idea he had was to apply the 1% limit to each county, which would force the sale of Premium Standard Farms.

“Somebody needs to start the process and get that done,” Rone said.

It was the act of shutting off debate that angered Democrats, Fogle said. They knew they were unlikely to get their amendments passed.

“We were up there for the singular reason for producing an ag bill and we were given zero opportunity to discuss this bill,” she said. “A process was not followed in a way that was fair to the minority party.”

On the morning vote, where a simple majority was needed to move the bill ahead, 13 Democrats voted for the bill. Only 27 members voted no, so the result was not in doubt.

But when the afternoon vote came, which required 82 votes under the constitution, the bill needed help. Only five Democrats voted for it, six Republicans who voted against it in the morning changed their votes and it received 83 votes.

“You saw yesterday that people hit their limit on how much they are willing to take before people stand up and do something about it,” Fogle said. “At some point we have to stand up and say ‘you have gone too far, we deserve our amendments to be heard.’”

Richey was one of the members who changed his vote. He had never voted in favor of tax credits for economic incentives, he said.

Credits that help agriculture are less onerous than some others, Richey said. 

“To unravel that tangled web, you are not going to do it on that bill,” he said. “I decided I would make sure it didn’t die.”

The post Missouri House leaders scramble to save the governor’s agriculture incentives bill appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Route 67 in St. Francois County Reduced for Bridge Maintenance

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Route 67 in St. Francois County Reduced for Bridge Maintenance
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 13:05

SIKESTON—Route 67 in St. Francois County will be reduced to one lane as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform bridge maintenance.  
This section of roadway is located from Parkway Drive to Route 8 in Park Hills, Missouri.    
Weather permitting, work will take place Tuesday, Sept. 27 and Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.   
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
### 
 
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Published On
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 08:04

Route K in St. Francois County Reduced for Bridge Maintenance

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Route K in St. Francois County Reduced for Bridge Maintenance
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 12:55

SIKESTON—Route K in St. Francois County will be reduced to one lane  as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform bridge maintenance.  
This section of roadway is located from Stormy Lane to Saffell Road in Bonne Terre, Missouri.    
Weather permitting, work will take place Tuesday, Sept. 27 from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.   
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
### 
 
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Published On
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 07:51

MEDIA ADVISORY: Experts, Advocates Gather for Highway Safety Progress

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Experts, Advocates Gather for Highway Safety Progress
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 12:05

MEDIA ADVISORY
 
Experts, Advocates Gather for Highway Safety Progress
 
COLUMBIA – The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is hosting Missouri’s 2022 Highway Safety and Traffic Conference Sept. 27-29, where local and national safety experts and advocates will meet to share practices, ideas and discussions supporting Missouri’s strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero. The conference will be hosted in-person at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia.
 
View the full agenda here: Home – Missouri’s 2022 Highway Safety and Traffic Conference
 
Who:               Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe
                        Ed Hassinger, MoDOT Deputy Director & Chief Engineer
                       Cpt John Hotz, Missouri State Highway Patrol
                       Representatives from:
                               Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety
                               AAA
                               Federal Highway Administration
                               National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
                               Local law enforcement agencies, and more
What:              Missouri’s 2022 Highway Safety and Traffic Conference
When:              Sept. 27-29, beginning at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 27
Where:            Holiday Inn Executive Center
                       2200 Interstate 70 Drive SW
                       Columbia, MO 65203
Why:               To share practices, ideas and discussions supporting Missouri’s strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero
 
For more information on Show-Me Zero, visit www.savemolives.com.
 
#  #  #
 
 

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Mon, 09/26/2022 – 07:00

Governor and First Lady Parson Announce Capitol Dome and Governor's Mansion to be Lighted Orange in Recognition of Hunger Action Month

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Governor and First Lady Parson Announce Capitol Dome and Governor’s Mansion to be Lighted Orange in Recognition of Hunger Action Month

johnathan.shiflett

Mon, 09/26/2022 – 11:49

September 26, 2022

First Lady Teresa Parson to Host Food Drive on Mansion Lawn

Jefferson City

Today, Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson announced that the Missouri State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion will be lighted orange beginning at sunset tonight, September 26, 2022, until sunrise tomorrow, September 27, 2022.
“When people think of hunger and food insecurity, they may often think of people in other cities, other states, or other nations, but the reality is these issues exist right here in our local communities,” Governor and First Lady Parson said. “Extending a helping hand to those in need is one of the most important acts of service we are called to do, and we encourage all Missourians to do their part. By donating a non-perishable food item, volunteering at a food bank, or making a financial contribution, we can help do our part to ensure food is not an impossible choice. Together, we can make a difference.”
Governor Parson proclaimed September 2022 as Hunger Action Month to bring awareness to the need to combat hunger in Missouri and encourage involvement in efforts to end hunger in local communities. View the proclamation here. 
The lighting of the Capitol Dome and Governor’s Mansion will coincide with First Lady Parson’s food drive on the Mansion lawn. The First Lady will host the tailgate style event tonight, September 26 from 5 – 7 p.m. and be joined by the Lincoln University football team and representatives from The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri. 
All individuals and families are encouraged to attend. The First Lady invites attendees to bring a non-perishable food item to donate or to make a financial contribution at http://weblink.donorperfect.com/Heart2022.

MO 162 in New Madrid County Closed for Bridge Repairs

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MO 162 in New Madrid County Closed for Bridge Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 11:05

SIKESTON—Route 162 in New Madrid County will be closed as contractor crews replace the bridge over drainage ditch 62. 
This section of roadway is located between Route B and County Road 361 near Portageville, Missouri. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Aug. 8 with completion anticipated Friday, Sept. 30.  
This bridge is included in Gov. Mike Parson’s $351 million Focus on Bridges program, which will repair or replace 250 bridges across the state. 
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact Resident Engineer Kevin Plott, at 573-472-9034, MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
  
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Published On
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 06:01

Top Missouri lawmaker urges federal prosecutors to intervene in Agape abuse case

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Missouri House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, is asking federal prosecutors to get involved in the investigation of Agape Boarding School (Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications).

Missouri’s highest ranking legislator is asking federal prosecutors to intervene and shut down Agape Boarding School, alleging “undeniable corruption” and “inaction” by local officials who he says “could do the right thing and have consistently chosen not to.”

House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, made his request last Wednesday in a letter to Teresa Moore, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. 

The Independent obtained the letter through a request under Missouri’s open records laws. 

Stockton-based Agape is a Christian reform school which has faced mounting allegations of physical and sexual abuse by former students. 

In recent weeks, the state Department of Social Services and the attorney general’s office have sought to have the school shut down, claiming a systemic pattern of abuse at the school, which they allege poses immediate health or safety concerns to current students. The case has drawn out over weeks and is currently on pause after the state won a motion to stay the proceedings Friday, arguing they received new information that could change their claims and proposed remedies in the case.

As evidence the federal government should intervene, Vescovo pointed to recent reports of a minor being forcibly taken across state lines to the school by a transport company “that employs Cedar County Sheriff’s Deputies,” and referred to a broader pattern of children being transported to the school and then subject to abuse.

“It is appropriate for federal investigation and prosecution to take the next important steps to put an end to what amounts to child trafficking,” Vescovo wrote.

The legislature has gone to “exhaustive lengths,” Vescovo wrote, to address abuse allegations against Agape, but nonetheless, “putting a stop to the heinous acts that continue to take place at Agape has remained an unobtainable goal.”

For one, Vescovo wrote, progress was stymied by the “inaction” of the local prosecutor. 

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Last year, Cedar County Prosecuting Attorney Ty Gaither pursued only a fraction of the 65 criminal counts recommended by Attorney General Eric Schmitt against 22 Agape staff members. The Kansas City Star has investigated ties between Agape and Cedar County law enforcement, including sheriff’s deputies who worked at Agape.

Gaither’s inaction, Vescovo wrote to the U.S. attorney, “raises serious concerns about the undeniable corruption that is taking place at the local level.” 

“The prosecutor is just one more in a long line of local officials who have either turned a blind eye to, or helped to cover up, the criminal actions of the staff at Agape,” Vescovo added.

Gaither declined to comment, saying he hadn’t seen Vescovo’s letter.

A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment and said the Department of Justice cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation until charges are publicly filed.

Vescovo also called out Cedar County Circuit Judge David Munton, who is currently presiding over the state’s case against Agape. Vescovo alleges Munton has “refused to shut the school down despite the overwhelming evidence that abuse has occurred there frequently and continues to occur today.”

Munton could not be reached Friday for comment.

The “inaction” of local officials Vescovo wrote, “has helped perpetuate a culture of abuse at Agape, and contributed to a larger, darker network that has served to traffic children to other schools in Missouri and across state lines.”

Agape’s attorney, John Schultz, said the allegations in Vescovo’s letter against Agape are false.

“Those boys are watched 24/7 by multiple adults,” Schultz said. “For some lawmaker to make those claims, that borders on slanderous. Those are outrageous comments that have no basis in fact or truth.”

A spokesperson for the attorney general, reached Friday, declined to comment on Vescovo’s letter.

Vescovo wrote that “despite the state’s best efforts…federal assistance is necessary to protect the health and well-being of the many children who still attend the school, and to seek justice for the many more who have suffered unspeakable abuse there.”

“For too long this school has found a way to remain open by exploiting loopholes at the state level and cultivating relationships at the local level,” he added.

A law passed by the legislature that went into effect last year granted the attorney general’s office and Department of Social Services, as well as county prosecuting or circuit attorneys, the authority to seek injunctive relief to cease the operation of a residential care facility, and provide for appropriate removal of children in certain instances. In one provision, the state can act in the instance of “immediate health or safety concern” for the children there.

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Earlier this month, the state filed for injunction at Agape. Munton originally ordered the school shut down but shortly thereafter put his order on pause and decided to hold a hearing because the staff member the state alleged of abuse had already been terminated. 

Since the initial delay, the state has attempted to file two additional amended petitions alleging more widespread abuse, including from current students.

The next hearing was originally scheduled for Monday morning but was delayed indefinitely on Friday. The attorney general’s office requested that the hearing be put on hold to review new information it has received.

That information included updated census details on Agape’s student body and staff, including that at least 12 staff members listed on the previous census would no longer be working there by Monday and that the school’s format will transition to “five group homes” Tuesday, “away from a boarding school type-facility.”  The information was allegedly related from Agape’s director to a Department of Social Services staff member.

Separately, the state learned that “two individuals currently listed on the Agapé employee list” had incorporated a new license-exempt residential facility, called Stone of Help, described as a “Home for Troubled Youth” with an address “on the Agapé property and adjacent to the current Agapé Boarding School,” the motion states.

“The state will not allow Agapé to escape accountability or continue to present an immediate health and safety concern to children through corporate shell games while employing the same people and methods that originally led the State to bring this action to protect children,” the state wrote.

Schultz told the state, about Stone of Help, that it was the “first [he] heard of it,” according to the motion, and he provided no further information specific to that development in an interview Friday. 

The state continues to make reckless statements to the press but when it comes to proving their case in court they cannot do it,” he said.

Schultz speculated that the reason the state stayed their order was because they were “not ready to prevail on Monday on the first amended petition.” 

Missouri Children’s Division staff will continue to have 24/7 access to the facility, a spokesperson for the Attorney General confirmed Friday.

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Fixing Missouri child welfare: Darrell Missey has it backwards

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The rotunda in the Missouri Capitol (Jason Hancock/Missouri Independent).

In his masterful biography The Power Broker, Robert Caro describes how New York City’s “master builder” Robert Moses, became a master destroyer of communities because of a fundamental misunderstanding.

Moses thought that if he just blasted enough highways through enough neighborhoods it would end the city’s chronic traffic congestion.  But each time he opened a new highway, in just a few years, traffic would be as bad – or worse. Moses didn’t understand that each new highway was luring more people into cars and out of mass transit. And all that highway spending caused alternatives to atrophy, compounding the problem and making the cycle ever worse.

Today, the director of the Missouri Children’s Division, Darrell Missey, is making the same sort of mistake.

In a state that tears apart families at a rate 50% above the national average, Missey says he’d really, truly like to do something about that – but he can’t until he can hire a whole lot of additional caseworkers and take other steps to reduce turnover.

Missey has it backwards.  In a state where, for decades, the knee-jerk response to family problems has been “take the child and run,” another caseworker hiring binge will simply further widen the net of coercive intervention into families. More children will be taken, and you’ll soon be back where you started: the same lousy system only bigger.

Missey’s approach also is probably illegal.

Although it’s never seriously enforced, federal law requires that states make “reasonable efforts” to keep families together. That’s because of the enormous emotional trauma inflicted on children when they are torn from their families, and the high rate of abuse in foster care itself.  It is a huge mistake to equate child removal with child safety. Missey effectively admits Missouri isn’t making “reasonable efforts” and isn’t going to until after his caseworker hiring spree.

You can’t bolster prevention by waiting until you’ve hired enough caseworkers to ease the turnover problem. But you can ease the turnover problem by embracing safe, proven alternatives to foster care immediately.

Yes, even overloaded workers can do it – with just a little help.  That’s because, contrary to the common stereotype, most parents who lose their children to foster care are neither brutally abusive nor hopelessly addicted. Far more common are cases in which family poverty is confused with “neglect.”

When the problem is poverty the solution doesn’t require hours of intensive casework. When the problem is poverty, the solution is money.  And not a lot of money. Study after study shows that small amounts are enough.

For example, nationwide, at least 30% of America’s foster children could be home right now if their parents just had decent housing. For such families, all that’s needed is enough cash for first and last month’s rent and a security deposit, or perhaps enough for home repairs. Or maybe the children were taken because of a “lack of supervision” charge because a parent couldn’t afford childcare.  So provide the cash for childcare.

Sgt. A.J. Henry of the Kansas City police understood that, when he encountered a homeless family sleeping in a parking lot stairway.  Instead of calling the Children’s Division he called an assortment of charities to provide food and supplies – and fellow officers who pooled their own money to get the family a hotel room.

Give the caseworkers still on the job a flexible pool of basic goods, services – and cash – and they can do, over and over, what Sgt. Henry did in that one case, in very little time.  As children in these kinds of cases stop coming into foster care, workers will have more time to turn to more complex cases.  Their caseloads will decline, their job satisfaction will increase and the turnover problem will ease. (It will ease further if they were given raises, so no caseworker has to sell plasma to make ends meet).

Missouri has proven it knows how to improve child welfare.  Nearly two decades ago, after Dominic James was taken needlessly from his father, largely because of housing issues, only to die in foster care, the Springfield News-Leader did a series of in-depth stories on better ways to do child welfare. They even sent a team to examine how they do it in the state that was then the national leader in child welfare – Alabama (Alabama still takes away children at less than half the rate of Missouri).

Missouri learned from that reporting. The state made changes. Needless removal of children declined significantly.  But memories are short, and after a few years it was back to business as usual.

Now Missouri has another chance to get it right.  Whether it will or not depends on which example Darrell Missey is prepared to follow: Robert Moses or A.J. Henry.

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Road to Close for Culvert Replacements on Route C in Monroe County

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Road to Close for Culvert Replacements on Route C in Monroe County
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 09:25

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, October 4, MoDOT crews will be performing culvert replacements on Route C in Monroe County. The road will be closed at Route AA to County Road 938 between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. Signs and message boards will be in place to alert motorists, as all work is weather dependent, and schedules are subject to change. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
With an increased number of highway work zones in Missouri, it is super important all drivers pay attention every second while driving, especially through a work zone.  Be informed of your route by checking the MoDOT Traveler Information Map before you leave to see if you will encounter any work zones.  You can also subscribe to counties, various routes or even projects online at Customer Service Signon (mo.gov).  Be sure you and all your passengers are buckled up, and please put the phone down while driving.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 04:22

U.S. Route 65 to be reduced to one lane in Trenton

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U.S. Route 65 to be reduced to one lane in Trenton
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 09:20

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – A bridge rehabilitation project will narrow U.S. Route 65 over Route 6 in Trenton beginning Oct. 10. Contractors from Capital Paving & Construction, LLC, working with the Missouri Department of Transportation, will complete the rehabilitation project which is expected to continue through late December 2022.
Temporary traffic signals will be in place to direct motorists through the work zone and a 17-foot width restriction will be in place for the duration of the project.
All work is weather-permitting, and schedules are subject to change.
This bridge is included in Gov. Mike Parson’s $351 million Focus on Bridges program, which will repair or replace 250 bridges across the state.
MoDOT asks drivers to work with us by always buckling up, keeping your phone down, slowing down and moving over in work zones. Know before you go and check what work zones you might encounter at traveler.modot.org.
While at modot.org, sign up online for work zone updates. Information is also available 24/7 at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or via social media.
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Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 04:17

MoDOT TRAFFIC ALERT: Intersection Work at U.S. Route 65 and Christian County Routes A/BB

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MoDOT TRAFFIC ALERT: Intersection Work at U.S. Route 65 and Christian County Routes A/BB
regan.mitchell
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 08:25

in Saddlebrooke Beginning Week of September 26

Where: U.S. Route 65 and Christian County Routes A/BB in Saddlebrooke

When: Monday, September 26 up to 60 days

What: Contractor crews to move dirt and rock to install offset right turn lanes and extended left turn lane on Route 65 at Christian County Routes A & BB. Work is part of the U.S. Route 65 Resurfacing and Safety Improvements in Christian and Taney County.

Traffic Impacts:

Flashing signals and overhead lighting will be turned off and dark at U.S. Route 65 and Christian County Routes A/BB intersection in Saddlebrooke
Shoulder and lane drops in both north and southbound lanes of U.S. Route 65 at Christian County Routes A/BB
Southbound Route 65 right driving lane and right shoulder CLOSED at Brookside Drive near Saddlebrooke
Drivers may encounter flaggers directing traffic through the work zone where crews are working
Crews and equipment close to traffic in areas
Electronic message boards located near the planned road work will alert drivers to any changes in the work schedule
Check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map for road closings/traffic impacts
(Weather and/or construction delays will alter the work schedule)

END 
(For more information, call MoDOT in Springfield at 417-895-7600 or visit www.modot.org/southwest) 
(Follow MoDOT’s Southwest District: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |YouTube)

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Districts Involved

Southwest

Published On
Mon, 09/26/2022 – 03:20

Want to experience fall colors? Head north on Missouri Highway 79

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Missouri is laced with interesting drives and many become technicolor tunnels in fall, so there are plenty to choose from for a scenic road trip

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Police arrest suspect in fatal shooting near Ameristar Casino in St. Charles

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The suspect, a 29-year-old man who left the apartment in a red Ford Fusion, turned himself in to police in the City of St. Louis, St. Charles Police said.

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Want to experience fall colors? Head north on Highway 79

This post was originally published on this site

Missouri is laced with interesting drives and many become technicolor tunnels in fall, so there are plenty to choose from for a scenic road trip

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Memorial service celebrates Archer Alexander Freedom Day

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On Sept. 24, about 12 descendants of Archer Alexander, a St. Charles County slave who escaped after alerting Union troops to a sabotaged bridge, will hold a memorial service at a St. Peter’s Cemetery in Normandy where he was buried…

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Suburban school districts in St. Louis area more likely to ban books under new law

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Librarians have scoured books for any applicable content at the direction of lawyers. Ten districts in St. Louis and inner suburbs are ignoring the law.

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

How a suburban St. Louis detective broke a 30-year-old serial killer case wide open

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Jodi Weber took the Post-Dispatch inside the investigation that led to charges filed against Gary Muehlberg in the 1990 serial murders of four St. Louis women.

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Kansas and Missouri women politicians celebrate history ahead of tough election

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Women politicians from Kansas and Missouri celebrated the anniversary of the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus on Thursday.(Allison Kite/Missouri Independent).

Sipping “pink pussyhat punch” and “empowerment” cocktails, women leaders from Kansas and Missouri gathered Thursday in downtown Kansas City vowing to “smash the patriarchy” by encouraging more women to run for office.

Hundreds of politicians and activists turned out for the 50th anniversary of the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus, where a parade of candidates for office promised to champion reproductive rights and lauded Kansas’ recent vote to keep abortion protected under the state’s constitution.

“I’m the woman,” Trudy Busch Valentine, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri said, pausing for emphasis, “who’s going to stop Eric Schmitt.”

The crowd — mostly women and overwhelmingly Democrat — erupted in cheers.

Valentine spoke alongside Kansas’ Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, who is up for reelection. When Kelly was introduced, the crowd burst into chants of “four more years.”

All night, girl power feminism was front and center. Even the front of the venue was painted with a stylized diagram of the female reproductive system emblazoned with the words “our body our choice.”

But Valentine and Kelly were speaking to a room of overwhelmingly like-minded, politically engaged individuals, where their promises to protect abortion access were uncontroversial. The caucus describes itself as bipartisan, but pro-abortion rights.

While heavy on symbols of feminism, including art of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the event was light on any discussion of how to capitalize on the surge of political engagement among women or the droves of Republicans in Kansas who voted to protect abortion rights.

Last month, Kansas became the first state where voters got to decide the fate of abortion rights after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that found the U.S. Constitution contained a right to abortion. What was expected to be a close race turned out to be a resounding 59-41 victory for abortion rights.

In rural areas of Kansas, where former President Donald Trump twice won counties by 30 or 40 percentage points, the abortion race was close. And the more than 900,000 votes cast looked more like presidential election turnout than a primary.

Kelly lauded the Kansas vote and joked that Kansas would annex Kansas City, Missouri, if Mayor Quinton Lucas asked.

“I’m proud to lead a state with a storied history in women’s rights,” Kelly said, noting the state elected the first female mayor in the U.S., was among the first states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and was the first to hold a referendum on suffrage, which failed.

She called the defeat of the anti-abortion amendment in Kansas “one of our biggest victories yet.”

“This result would not have happened without tireless organizing from women and the men that support them,” Kelly said.

She noted that in the week after Roe v. Wade was overturned in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, women made up 70% of newly registered voters.

“But there are no final victories or defeats in politics,” she said. “There is still so much on the line this November.

“Like a balanced budget in Kansas.”

In November’s gubernatorial election, Kelly faces Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who was long considered a moderate and is now running a conservative campaign with an endorsement from Trump. A poll released this week showed Kelly with a 2-percentage-point lead over Schmidt, which is inside the margin of error.

Kelly then moved onto other topics, including fully funding public schools, expanding Medicaid and legalizing medical marijuana, quickly acknowledging the fight over abortion rights isn’t over.

And she called on women in the room to organize and show up. After her remarks, she said she hoped that was the message members of the crowd remembered.

“By virtue of making your voices heard so loudly, some people are starting to question the positions they’ve taken on some of these issues,” she said in an interview. “I think that happens when politicians recognize there’s a force to be reckoned with and their vote is being watched.”

Valentine called on the crowd to do all they can to protect democracy.

“As we’ve seen all across the country and this state, we know it’s women who are leading that charge,” Valentine said.

Valentine, a first-time candidate and heiress to the Anheuser-Busch beer fortune, is facing off with Schmitt, Missouri’s Republican attorney general, in a race most consider a major uphill battle for Democrats.

Following Thursday’s event, Valentine said women would be important in the November election.

“Women are going to be able to figure out if they feel that women have the ability to get abortion care and that you can’t make it a mandate. We have to reverse (Dobbs),” Valentine said. “We can’t take women back 50 years. We have to have women that have more autonomy and more equality.”

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U.S. House GOP outlines agenda in bid for control in the midterms

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The U.S. Capitol (photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images).

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Republicans gathered inside a warehouse in Southwestern Pennsylvania on Friday to outline the legislation they’d try to enact if voters give them back control of that chamber following the November midterm elections.

Speaking from an HVAC factory in Monongahela, about an hour south of Pittsburgh, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said the first bill he’d bring to the floor if elected speaker would repeal part of a Democratic law that boosted funding for the Internal Revenue Service.

“On that very first day that we’re sworn in, you’ll see that it all changes, because on our very first bill we’re going to repeal 87,000 IRS agents,” McCarthy said, using a number Democrats have repeatedly said isn’t an accurate representation of what the funding boost would do. “Our job is to work for you, not go after you.”

None of the proposals that were sketched out came with a price tag showing how much a Republican House would change spending compared to current levels. Republicans also said they’d “protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers” but did not detail exactly what nationwide abortion restrictions they’d bring to the floor, or how they’d address maternal mortality rates.

Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, who would likely move from whip to majority leader if his party regains control, said Republicans would put forward bills to reduce inflation and bring down energy costs.

“We wanted to lay out a bold, conservative vision to show the country there’s hope again,” Scalise said. “The commitment to America is going to show the country, if you give us a Republican majority in the House, these are the things we will do.”

Democrats broadly panned the Republicans’ rollout of their plan.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said during a speech in Pittsburgh that the House GOP’s “new platform, which isn’t new at all, is long on slogans and short on details.”

Campaigns underway

Democrats narrowly hold the House, maintaining 221 seats to Republicans’ 212 members, with two vacancies.

Both parties are pouring millions of dollars into swing districts throughout the country, hoping to convince voters that their vision for the country’s future is the best path forward following a tumultuous few years that included a pandemic, a Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection by Donald Trump supporters hoping to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and record inflation.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer, ending half a century of abortion as a constitutionally protected right, is also playing out on the campaign trail.

Democrats have repeatedly urged voters to reject GOP abortion policies by keeping them in control of both chambers of Congress, while Republicans have tried to sidestep the issue in some more contentious races.

Pennsylvania Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate John Fetterman has been highlighting Republican candidate Mehmet Oz’s relative silence  on a new bill from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham that would cap most abortions at 15 weeks nationwide.

“Oz is a fraud who does not even have the guts to give a yes or no answer when it comes to how we would vote on the abortion ban bill that has been introduced in the U.S. Senate,” Fetterman said in a statement Friday. “He’s dodging this very real question and thinks Pennsylvanians won’t notice.”

That close race in the Keystone State and others likely drew both the Republicans and Hoyer to its southwest corner on Friday.

Four planks

The Republicans’ Commitment to America has four broad planks. Three focus on economic issues; national security and crime; and government transparency. The fourth includes health care, technology and education policy.

The economic category proposes a Republican-held U.S. House would reduce government spending, though it declines to say where lawmakers would cut federal funding; boost domestic energy production; and expand U.S. manufacturing.

To address national security issues, the House GOP plans to “fully fund effective border enforcement strategies,” support 200,000 additional police officers through bonuses and “invest in an efficient, effective military.”

House Republicans say if voters give them back control of that chamber, they’d create a “future that’s built on freedom,” in part by preventing transgender women from competing in women’s sports and lowering health care prices by boosting competition.

The proposal also calls for the GOP to “save and strengthen” Social Security and Medicare, though it doesn’t provide any details about how they’d change the longstanding popular social programs that primarily serve the elderly.

Those two entitlement programs along with Medicaid are categorized as mandatory government spending, meaning they run mostly on autopilot and represent the fastest growing section of federal spending.

Abortion bills

Under the section on government accountability, Republicans tackle abortion without specifics, though during this session of Congress, House Republicans have introduced more than 100 bills addressing abortion in some way.

One bill, from Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly, would bar abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically about six weeks into a pregnancy and sometimes before a woman knows she’s pregnant.

The measure, which has 123 co-sponsors, has an exemption for abortions that are essential to save the life of the pregnant patient, but not for rape or incest.

Legislation from West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney, backed by 166 co-sponsors, would “implement equal protection for the right to life” at the moment of fertilization.

The legislation doesn’t detail if or when women would be able to access abortions, including in cases of ectopic pregnancies, which are never viable, or miscarriages that sometime require the same medications or procedures as elective abortions.

A 20-week abortion ban, sponsored by New Jersey Rep. Christopher Smith, has the backing of 173 House Republicans. The proposal includes exceptions after 20 weeks of pregnancy if it’s the result of rape or incest, but only if the patient “has obtained counseling for the rape” or “has obtained medical treatment for the rape or an injury related to the rape.”

A child whose pregnancy is the result of rape or incest would be allowed an abortion after 20 weeks if the minor has reported the crime to a “government agency legally authorized to act on reports of child abuse”, or law enforcement, under Smith’s legislation.

Abortions after 20 weeks would also be legal if the pregnancy would endanger the patient’s life because of a physical illness or injury, but not “psychological or emotional conditions.”

Investigations promised

U.S. House Republicans at the rollout celebration Friday didn’t mention their abortion proposals, but did detail many other aspects of their plan for a GOP majority, including investigations.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan pledged that various committees would hold investigations into the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the origins of COVID-19 and various actions by the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We are committed to doing the investigations that need to be done,” Jordan said. “After all, that is part of our constitutional duty, to do the oversight and make sure you, the country, we, the people, have the facts and the truth.”

On education policy, Louisiana Rep. Julia Letlow said Republicans would bring up her so-called Parents Bill of Rights, which would impose new national regulations on state and local education bodies.

The legislation would require local education agencies to post the curriculum for elementary and secondary schools on a public website, or widely disseminate it to the community if they don’t have a website.

Local education agencies would need to create annual report cards detailing all revenues and expenditures for the entire school system as well as each school.

“This is common sense legislation. It’s just about providing transparency for us,” Letlow said. “And so you, as a parent, should always—the first and foremost thing, be able to view your child’s curriculum.”

“And then secondly, if you don’t like what you find, if you don’t like what you see, you should be able to go to your school board and lawfully tell them this needs to change. You should have that right as a parent,” she added.

Parents would also be granted the right to know if states change their academic standards, to meet at least twice a year with their child’s teacher, to review the books and reading material in the school library, and to information about violence within the school.

Democrats push back 

Hoyer, in Pittsburgh, said there were few specifics from Republicans “because the true details of Republicans’ agenda are too frightening for most American voters. Details matter, however.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Republicans’ policy goals threaten “to criminalize women’s health care, slash seniors’ Medicare and raise prescription drug prices, and attack our free and fair elections.”

“These appalling proposals have long been advanced by right-wing politicians and are widely supported by the dark money special interests who call the shots in the GOP,” the California Democrat said.

“But this extreme MAGA agenda is way out of step with Americans’ priorities, who align with Democrats’ vision of putting People Over Politics: with lower costs, better-paying jobs and safer communities.”

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Lane Closure Scheduled for Northbound I-35 at Mile Marker 25, Sept. 27-28

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Lane Closure Scheduled for Northbound I-35 at Mile Marker 25, Sept. 27-28
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 16:55

MoDOT plans to close the left lane of northbound Interstate 35, at mile marker 25, for bridge construction from approximately 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28. All work is weather permitting.
This work is part a larger project, which is in partnership with the City of Kearney, MoDOT will construct a new interchange on I-35 at 19th Street (144th Street) approximately 1 mile south of Route 92.  The new interchange will cross over I-35 and will include ramps to/from I-35. The improvements will also include bike lanes and accommodate pedestrians with trail and sidewalk. 
For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE. Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 11:50

Lane closures scheduled for MO 152, Sept. 26-29

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Lane closures scheduled for MO 152, Sept. 26-29
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 16:00

Crews will complete paving repair work on Missouri Route 152, Sept. 26-29. Work will take place in both the eastbound and westbound lanes between the following locations on 152:
Flintlock Road to Booth Road, from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m., Sept. 26-27
Booth Road to North Brighton Road, from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m., Sept. 27-29
One lane, eastbound and westbound, will remain open at all times. All work is weather permitting.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties.

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 10:59

NE Coalition for Roadway Safety Quarterly Meeting September 29

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NE Coalition for Roadway Safety Quarterly Meeting September 29
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 15:45

Partners are gearing up for BUPD Day, Friday, October 21st

HANNIBAL – The NE Coalition for Roadway Safety will hold its quarterly meeting on Thursday, September 29, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. virtually.  The executive committee of the Coalition will provide updates on specific areas, and anyone interested in helping to reduce fatalities on Missouri roads is encouraged to attend.

“Now that schools are back in session and in-person events have opened up, we have a lot of opportunities to interact not only with young drivers, but also with businesses, enforcement and health care agencies as we gear up for BUPD Day on Friday, October 21st,” explained NE Coalition Facilitator Marisa Ellison.  BUPD is an acronym for buckle up phone down, a MoDOT campaign that supports safe driving.  “We have several partners in law enforcement, emergency management services, schools and health care who work together to continue efforts to promote safe driving, yet we still have a very tragic statistic in that 90% of those killed on roads in northeast Missouri were not wearing a seat belt, compared to 60% statewide,” she continued.

The Coalition will review Missouri’s highway safety strategic plan titled “Show-Me Zero,” and evaluate their plan for northeast Missouri drivers and residents, as well as finalize the BUPD Day plan for the region.  Questions about the meeting can be directed to Ellison at marisa.ellison@modot.mo.gov.

Information about the Coalition for Roadway Safety can be found at savemolives.com. Those interested in attending can connect using the following:

Microsoft Teams meeting

Join on your computer, mobile app or room device

Click here to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 229 812 275 145
Passcode: 3TJC6v

Download Teams | Join on the web

Or call in (audio only)

+1 773-917-7763,,976697811#   United States, Chicago

Phone Conference ID: 976 697 811#

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Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 10:41

August calls from Missouri to new 988 crisis hotline up 34% from last year

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At Burrell Behavioral Health, calls in the hotline’s first week increased 50%, with 198 calls from July 16-26 (Photo courtesy of Burrell Behavioral Health).

A revamped national hotline that aims to aid people in a mental health crisis saw a 34% increase in calls from Missouri in August from a year prior.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline transitioned nationwide July 16 to the new three-digit 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which aims to assist callers in moments of crisis and connect them with mental health resources at a time when mental health issues have been on the rise, especially among young adults.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.

In August, the 988 hotline received 3,770 calls from Missouri, with 3,461 of those calls, or 92%, answered in-state, according to figures provided by the Department of Mental Health. That month, which contains the first full month of data since the three-digit number was launched, there were also 756 texts and 807 chats from Missouri.

Missouri’s 988 hotline is operated by seven providers who previously reported an immediate increase in calls in the hotline’s first weeks of transition. When those centers’ lines are busy, calls are routed to the national call center, said Debra Walker, a spokeswoman for the department.

The hotline does not yet have geolocation services, which would route a caller to the nearest call center based on their location, like 911 does. Calls are currently sent to the nearest call center based on a caller’s area code.

The increase in calls is evidence that Missouri should continue to allocate funding for the hotline long-term, said Rep. Patty Lewis, a Kansas City Democrat who serves on the House Health and Mental Health Policy Committee and has passed legislation on mental health care.

“We see in every single corner — rural, urban, Democrat, Republican — there’s a mental health crisis in our state,” Lewis said, later adding: “We need to continue to support this.”

While over $30 million in state and federal funds has been allocated to the hotline’s implementation in Missouri, the state has yet to pass legislation authorized by Congress to add a monthly fee to phone bills to help permanently fund the hotline and crisis services — similar to how 911 call centers are funded.

So far, at least four states have enacted such fees, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, with the highest set to go into effect next year at $0.40 per line in Washington.

It remains to be seen if Missouri lawmakers will pursue that option come January when the annual legislative begins.

Sen. Lincoln Hough, a Springfield Republican who sponsored a bill to print the 988 hotline number on student ID cards, said he ultimately wants to ensure the resources will be there when callers reach out needing help.

“I’d like to see what it’s really going to cost on the back end to make sure those services are there,” said Hough, who is anticipated to be the chairman of the Senate ​​Appropriations Committee next year, “and then come up with the funding mechanism.”

The increase in calls in Missouri echoes the gains seen nationally, with 152,000 more contacts to the hotline, or a 45% increase in overall volume in August 2022 compared to August 2021, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month. Altogether, the hotline saw 361,140 calls, chats and texts in August.

While calls have increased, the average wait time and abandonment rate in Missouri has declined, Walker said.

The average speed to answer a call in Missouri after the hotline’s automated greeting is 33 seconds faster than it was a year ago — down to 30 seconds from 1 minute and 3 seconds in 2021, according to state figures.

“Missouri has significantly improved how quickly calls were answered,” Walker said.

The rate at which calls are abandoned in Missouri before a counselor can answer decreased by 10%, going from 18% in 2021 to 8% in 2022, according to state figures. In August of last year, Missouri’s call centers saw 543 abandoned calls compared to 290 in August of this year.

Calls may be disconnected for a variety of reasons, such as if a person decides to end the call or if the call is dropped due to technical issues.

Nationwide, the average speed to answer across calls, chats and texts also decreased from 2 minutes and 30 seconds last year to 42 seconds, according to HHS, with 43,092, or 12%, of all contacts abandoned in August.

A New York Times analysis previously found that about 18% of the 1 million phone calls to the hotline in the first half of the year were abandoned.

The post August calls from Missouri to new 988 crisis hotline up 34% from last year appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Project Completed: Crews re-open Chipman Road below U.S. Route 50 bridges ahead of schedule

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Project Completed: Crews re-open Chipman Road below U.S. Route 50 bridges ahead of schedule
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 13:45

JACKSON COUNTY – Crews have re-opened Chipman Road between Murray Road and Blue Pkwy. in Lee’s Summit as of Friday, Sept. 23. This portion of Chipman Road had been closed for several months as part of the replacement of the U.S. Route 50 bridges. Originally anticipated to be completed by February 2023, crews have completed the project nearly five months ahead of schedule. The former structures were built in 1975 and pre-dated many of the residents and businesses that rely on it. In addition to the new bridges, this project also made ADA improvements including the addition of sidewalks along both sides of Chipman Road. This project is included in Gov. Mike Parson’s $351 million Focus on Bridges Program, which will repair or replace 250 bridges across the state. For full details, visit our project webpage.
Motorists should note that there is the potential of future lane closures for landscaping work. All work is weather permitting.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 08:42

Planned Roadwork for Northwest Missouri, September 26-October 2

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Planned Roadwork for Northwest Missouri, September 26-October 2
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 13:20

St. Joseph, Mo. – The following is a list of general highway maintenance and construction work the Missouri Department of Transportation has planned in the Northwest Missouri region for the week of Sept. 26 – Oct. 2.
All road closures and planned roadwork may be viewed on the Traveler Information Map at http://traveler.modot.org/map/.
Inclement weather may cause schedule changes in some of the planned work. There may also be moving operations throughout the region, in addition to the work mentioned below.
Atchison County
Interstate-29 – Bridge replacement project over the Nishnabotna River (mile marker 122 – 124) through November. Traffic is head-to-head in the northbound lanes. (Contractor: Phillips Hardy, Inc.) More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-county-interstate-29-nishnabotna-river-bridge-rehabilitation *
I-29 – Patching and resurfacing project from Route 111 near Exit 107 to Exit 99 near Corning, through October. The road may be narrowed to one lane each direction in 2-mile increments. (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc.)
U.S. Route 136 – Resurfacing project from the Missouri River to I-29 through November 2023. (Contractor: Phillips Hardy, Inc.)
U.S. Route 136 – Pothole patching from Rock Port to Tarkio, Sept. 26 – 30
Buchanan County
U.S. Route 36 – Bridge rehabilitation project over the Missouri River through December. One lane is closed each direction with a 12-foot width restriction. (Contractor: Comanche Construction, Inc.)
U.S. Route 36 – RAMPS CLOSED as part of a bridge rehabilitation project. The westbound on/off ramps at Route 759 (Stockyards Expressway) are closed through early December. (Contractor: Comanche Construction, Inc.)
Route V – CLOSED for pavement repair from Sparta Road to Brownell Road, Sept. 26, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Route A – CLOSED for pavement repair from Seymour Road to McQueen Road, Sept. 26, noon to 3 p.m.
Caldwell County
I-35 – Resurfacing project from just north of Exit 52 in Cameron (Clinton County) to U.S. Route 69 (Exit 68, Daviess County), through October. The road will be narrowed to one lane around the repair sites and paving operations, including some single-lane, around-the-clock closures. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. (Contractor: Herzog Contracting Corp.)
Route 13 – Resurfacing project from Route HH in Kingston to the Ray County line through early October. (Contractor: Herzog Contracting Corp.)
Route 13 – CLOSED for J.C. Penny Day from Berry Street to McGaughy Street, Sept. 24, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Carroll County
U.S. Route 24 – Resurfacing project from U.S. Route 65 in Carrollton to east of Route 41, near DeWitt, through mid-October. (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc.)
U.S. Route 24/65 – Bridge rehabilitation project at the bridge over Route 10, Outer Road U.S. Route 24 and Norfolk Southern Railroad, south of Carrollton, through mid-December. The road is narrowed to one lane at the bridge. Temporary traffic signals are in place to direct morotists through the workzone. (Contractor: Capital Paving and Construction, LLC)
Route 10 – RAMP CLOSED for a bridge rehabilitation project. The ramp from Route 10 to northbound U.S. Route 24/65, south of Carrollton, is closed through mid-December. (Contractor: Capital Paving and Construction, LLC)
U.S. Route 24 – Bridge rehabilitation project at the Moss Creek Bridge, south of Carrollton, through December. The bridge is narrowed to one lane with temporary traffic signals guiding motorists through the workzone. An 18-foot width restriction is in place. (Contractor: Capital Paving and Construction, LLC)
Route UU – CLOSED for a bridge deck replacement project over Turkey Creek and Big Creek, through December. (Contractor: Capital Paving & Construction, LLC)
Route C – Resurfacing project from Route D to Route Z, through Sept. 28 (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons Inc.)**
Route B – Pothole patching from County Road 249 to U.S. Route 65, Sept. 28 – 30
Chariton County
U.S. Route 24 – Bridge deck replacement project at the Palmer Creek Bridge, west of Route MM near Brunswick, through December. An 11-foot width restriction is in place. (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc.)
Route 129 – CLOSED for a bridge deck replacement project over the Chariton River, near Salisbury, through late November. (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons Inc.)
Route TT – CLOSED for a bridge deck replacement project at the Turkey Creek Bridge, 1 mile east of Route 139, through late November. (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons Inc.)
Clinton County
I-35 – Resurfacing project from just north of Exit 52 in Cameron to U.S. Route 69 (Exit 68, Daviess County), through October. The road will be narrowed to one lane around the repair sites and paving operations, including some single-lane, around-the-clock closures. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. (Contractor: Herzog Contracting Corp.)
Route H – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Route A to Witt Road, Sept. 27 – 28, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Daviess County
I-35 – Resurfacing project from U.S. Route 69 (Exit 68) to just north of Exit 52 in Cameron (Clinton County), through October. The road will be narrowed to one lane around the repair sites and paving operations, including some single-lane, around-the-clock closures. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. (Contractor: Herzog Contracting Corp.)
DeKalb County
I-35 – Resurfacing project from U.S. Route 69 (Exit 68, Daviess County) to just north of Exit 52 in Cameron (Clinton County), through October. The road will be narrowed to one lane around the repair sites and paving operations, including some single-lane, around-the-clock closures. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. (Contractor: Herzog Contracting Corp.)
Route D – Pothole patching, Sept. 26 – 29
Gentry County
Route B – CLOSED for a bridge replacement project from 257th Street to 245th Street at the Grantham Creek Bridge through September. More info: modot.org/gentry-county-route-b-grantham-creek-bridge-project (Contractor: Widel, Inc.)
Grundy County
Route K – Pothole patching from U.S. Route 65 (Livingston County) to Route E, Sept. 27 – 30
Harrison County
I-35 – Bridge rehabilitation project at the Pole Cat Creek Bridge at mile marker 90, south of Bethany, through November. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. More info: https://modot.org/harrison-county-interstate-35-pole-cat-creek-bridge-project  (Contractor: Widel, Inc.)*
Route F – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Route EE to 125th Lane, Sept. 27, 7 a.m to 4 p.m.
Holt County
U.S. Route 159 – Pavement improvement and flood remediation project from the Missouri River to the Little Tarkio Creek near Fortescue, and from Route 111 north of Forest City to the Little Tarkio River, through December. (Contractor: Phillips Hardy, Inc.)
Linn County
U.S. Route 36 – Concrete replacement westbound from Route 11 in Brookfield to the Macon County line, Sept. 26 – 29. The road will be narrowed to one lane around-the-clock with a 12-foot width restriction.
Livingston County
U.S. Route 36 – Resurfacing project eastbound from Route C to Parson’s Creek, and westbound from Parson’s Creek to Coon Creek, through October. One lane may be closed around-the-clock in either direction. (Contractor: Herzog Contracting Corp.)
Route C – CLOSED until further notice at the Shoal Creek Bridge due to deterioration. A bridge replacement project is currently scheduled to be part of MoDOT’s November 2022 letting.
Route Z – Pothole patching from U.S. Route 65 to the Carroll County line, Sept. 26 – 30
Route K – Pothole patching from U.S. Route 65 to Route E (Grundy County), Sept. 27 – 30
Nodaway County
Route NN – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Route 148 to Katy Road, Sept. 26, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Route KK – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Katy Road to Kite Road, Sept. 27 – 29, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily
Route KK – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Kite Road to Route EE, Sept. 30, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Putnam County
Route YY – CLOSED for a bridge rehabilitation project over Sandy Creek through early October. (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc)
 

* Indicates this bridge is included in Gov. Mike Parson’s $351 million Focus on Bridges program, which will repair or replace 250 bridges across the state.
** This project is part of Gov. Parson’s Rural Road program. The state’s approved Fiscal Year 2023 budget provided an additional $100 million in General Revenue for work on Missouri’s low volume rural roads. Using asset management data, MoDOT has identified approximately 1700 lane miles of low volume roads ranked in Poor Condition.  By next summer, these 113 locations will receive resurfacing treatments of hot mix asphalt to improve the road conditions.
 
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Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 08:17

SB I-57 in Mississippi County Reduced for Pavement Repairs

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SB I-57 in Mississippi County Reduced for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 12:55

SIKESTON—Southbound Interstate 57 in Mississippi County will be reduced to one lane with a 12-foot width restriction as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs.  
This section of roadway is located from mile marker 14 to mile marker 12.6 near Charleston, Missouri. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Oct. 10 through Friday, Oct. 21 from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
                                                                                                              
### 
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Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 07:53

Governor Parson Makes 100th Judicial Appointment with Appointment of Judge Renee Hardin-Tammons to Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District

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Governor Parson Makes 100th Judicial Appointment with Appointment of Judge Renee Hardin-Tammons to Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District

johnathan.shiflett

Fri, 09/23/2022 – 12:37

September 23, 2022

Jefferson City

Today, Governor Mike Parson marked the 100th judicial appointment of his administration with the appointment of Judge Renee Hardin-Tammons to the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District. 
Judge Renee Hardin-Tammons, of Olivette, currently serves as a Circuit Court Judge in the 21st Judicial Circuit. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in the administration of justice from the University of Missouri–St. Louis and a Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Law.
“Judge Hardin-Tammons brings a wealth of experience from her legal career and tenure on the circuit bench to the Court of Appeals,” Governor Parson said. “She represents the values that are important for the judiciary, including a faithful interpretation of the law, a drive for excellence, and a tireless work ethic.”
Judge Hardin-Tammons was appointed to the Circuit bench by Governor Parson in 2019. She will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Colleen Dolan.
The Appellate Judicial Commission nominated Judge Hardin-Tammons along with two other highly qualified individuals on September 8, 2022. Under the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan, the Governor has 60 days to make his selection from the three individuals nominated by the Commission. The Governor’s legal team works to assist with judicial evaluations of candidates for both partisan and non-partisan judicial appointments.
According to the Supreme Court of Missouri, there are seven Supreme Court judges, 32 appellate court judges, 147 circuit court judges, and 204 associate circuit court judges in Missouri. According to records maintained at the state archive, during their respective tenures, Governor John Ashcroft made 132 judicial appointments, Governor Mel Carnahan made 117 judicial appointments, and Governor Jay Nixon made 125. Each having made judicial appointments over an eight year-span.
“Our administration has worked diligently to select judges who represent the values of the people of Missouri, who are fair, and who will work hard as public servants,” Governor Parson said. “The rule of law and our system of government rely on a strong and enduring judiciary. We are proud to have now made 100 judicial appointments since taking office – helping to further a legacy of talented legal minds and capable leadership in the state’s judiciary.” 

The fight for a living wage in Kansas City no longer stops at $15 an hour

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Members of Stand Up KC, an organization of fast-food and retail workers advocating for their rights, supported the employee walkout at the Taco Bell on Wornall Road on Sept. 1. The organization has been fighting to increase the minimum wage (Dominick Williams/ The Beacon).

This story was originally published by the Kansas City Beacon.

For years, Kansas City workers and organizers have fought to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. The demand was front and center recently when workers at the Taco Bell fast-food restaurant on Wornall Road in Kansas City’s Waldo neighborhood held a walkout over claims of poor working conditions and low wages.

“We have to drive cars that are constantly on the verge of breaking down or take the bus or Ubers while we are making other people enough to drive Ferraris and Porsches,” said Fran Marion, one of the workers who spoke at a rally in front of the restaurant.

“Some of the workers up here are even working two jobs just to be able to make ends meet,” said Marion, who is affiliated with the group Stand Up KC, which advocates for higher wages and workers’ right to unionize.

The current minimum wage in Missouri is $11.15 an hour. However, the living wage  —  the income a single worker requires to meet basic needs for a family of up to three children  —  is $17.19 in Jackson County, according to a living wage calculator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Local elections have shown that majorities of voters in Kansas City and Missouri support increasing the minimum wage. But state lawmakers have balked at doing so, contending the increases would burden businesses. Republican legislators have rolled back minimum-wage increases in St. Louis and Kansas City and threatened to overturn the will of voters at the state level.

Wages don’t match the cost of living

Over the decades, real wages  —  meaning wages accounting for inflation  —  have not increased significantly in comparison to the cost of living. The current value of the federally mandated minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, is at its lowest real-dollar level since the 1950s, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Another group, the Center For Economic Policy Research, has calculated that if the federal minimum wage had increased in line with inflation, it would now be $21.50 an hour.

The cost of living is increasing significantly. This summer saw a hike in gas prices, as well as shortages in affordable housing. In a sign of soaring living expenses, the Kansas City Council recently passed an ordinance defining affordability for a one-bedroom at nearly $1,200, while getting rid of the requirement to make 10% of apartments extremely affordable for households earning 30% of the area median income.

“Workers are being squeezed in both directions,” said Sirisha Naidu, associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“Wages were not sufficient even before to cover basic expenses,” Naidu said. “But now with rents increasing, this unaffordability of living in a city like Kansas City is becoming worse.”

Fran Marion, who makes $16 an hour as an opening shift manager at Taco Bell, still finds herself living paycheck to paycheck.

“Just recently I was out of town and I got a notice that I owe the landlord $65.22  and that if we didn’t pay, we would have to be out in three days,” she said.

“For some people $65 may seem like nothing. But for me, five hours of work —  that’s the difference between keeping a roof over my family’s head or being out in the street.”

Missouri lawmakers oppose KC increase

The recent history of attempts to raise the minimum wage in Missouri is a story of some small steps forward and some large steps backward.

In 2018, Missouri voters approved Proposition B, increasing the state’s minimum wage by 85 cents a year until it reaches $12 in 2023.

In Kansas City, however, voters have pushed to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The City Council in 2015 passed an ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $13 an hour. The ordinance sat in court for two years, with the city’s minimum wage finally being increased to $10 an hour in 2017.

That same year, the Missouri legislature passed a preemption law, which dictates that state laws supersede laws and ordinances passed by local governments. The 2017 law specifically banned the approval of a minimum wage higher than the state’s  — thereby nullifying higher increases passed in Kansas City and St. Louis.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has pushed for a $15-an-hour minimum wage for state workers, but even that proposal was blocked by Republicans in the state Senate.

Lawmakers and others worry that even modest minimum-wage increases will increase the cost of business and production. But Naidu said studies show that livable wages can boost  the economy.

“In fact, increasing the minimum wage and allowing workers to have a decent living is beneficial to the city, and perhaps the state,” she said.

Better wages allow workers to spend money in the local economy, Naidu pointed out.

“As much as it might be a cost for businesses, it’s also potential purchasing power,” she said. “So you might pay someone higher, and they might come back to your business and spend much more than they used to, if they had lower wages.”

Raising the minimum wage would likely result in a more productive, healthier workforce, Naidu added.

“It also comes down to what kind of society we want,” she said.

A fight for dignity 

At the Taco Bell rally, workers in Kansas City supported the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act, which recently was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom of California. The law creates a statewide council, including workers, that will help set wages up to $22 an hour and improve conditions for fast-food workers in the state.

The law was opposed by the National Restaurant Association and other groups, which warn it could be replicated by other states and harm businesses.

The chances of a California-style law or a $22-an-hour minimum wage goal clearing the Missouri legislature seem remote. But workers and groups like Stand Up KC said they would continue the fight to get rid of preemption laws and increase wages in Kansas City.

“Wages represent sort of an economic element, but I think it also goes to this issue of dignity,” Naidu said. “You are saying something about what that person is worth, you’re saying that you are not worth a decent living. What people are trying to fight for is a better life and dignity.”

This story was originally published by The Kansas City Beacon, an online news outlet focused on local, in-depth journalism in the public interest.

The post The fight for a living wage in Kansas City no longer stops at $15 an hour appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Route EE in Pemiscot County to Close for Bridge Replacements

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Route EE in Pemiscot County to Close for Bridge Replacements
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 11:10

Bootheel Bridge Bundle Construction Continues
SIKESTON-Construction of five bridges on Route EE in Pemiscot County will continue. The bridges are located over Drainage Ditches 1, 251, 258, 259 and 65 near Peach Orchard, Missouri.
During the first phase of construction, Route EE remained open, and traffic continued to utilize the existing structures over Drainage Ditches 1, 251, 258 and 259. Beginning Thursday, Oct. 6, Route EE will be closed from Route A to County Road 229.
This closure is necessary as the new bridges are tied-into the existing pavement and the final bridge over Drainage Ditch 65 is constructed. Completion is anticipated Saturday, Dec. 31.
The bridges are part of the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Bootheel Bridge Bundle design-build project, which will improve 17 bridges throughout Southeast Missouri. Completion of the Bootheel Bridge Bundle design-build project is anticipated on or before Dec. 31, 2023. The design-build project website is available at https://www.modot.org/bootheel-bridge-bundle.
Four of the bridges are also included in Gov. Mike Parson’s $351 million Focus on Bridges program, which will repair or replace 250 bridges across the state. A total of 13 Focus bridges will be addressed through the Bootheel Bridge Bundle.
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, please contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or Travis Slayton, project manager for the Robertson Contractors Team, at (573) 785-0880.

Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 06:06

Road to Close for Culvert Replacements on Missouri Route 156 in Knox County

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Road to Close for Culvert Replacements on Missouri Route 156 in Knox County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 10:20

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, September 27, MoDOT crews will be performing culvert replacements on Missouri Route 156 in Knox County. The road will be closed at Missouri Route 15 to Route TT between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. Signs and message boards will be in place to alert motorists, as all work is weather dependent, and schedules are subject to change. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
With an increased number of highway work zones in Missouri, it is super important all drivers pay attention every second while driving, especially through a work zone.  Be informed of your route by checking the MoDOT Traveler Information Map before you leave to see if you will encounter any work zones.  You can also subscribe to counties, various routes or even projects online at Customer Service Signon (mo.gov).  Be sure you and all your passengers are buckled up, and please put the phone down while driving.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 05:19

Routes in Ralls County to Close for Pavement Work

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Routes in Ralls County to Close for Pavement Work
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 10:15

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing pavement work on Routes in Ralls County. See below for locations and additional information:
Route H- September 26-28, the road will be closed at U.S. Route 36 to Rensselaer Lane between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Route V- September 27, the road will be closed at Carver Drive to Flint Hill Road between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. Signs and message boards will be in place to alert motorists, as all work is weather dependent, and schedules are subject to change. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
With an increased number of highway work zones in Missouri, it is super important all drivers pay attention every second while driving, especially through a work zone.  Be informed of your route by checking the MoDOT Traveler Information Map before you leave to see if you will encounter any work zones.  You can also subscribe to counties, various routes or even projects online at Customer Service Signon (mo.gov).  Be sure you and all your passengers are buckled up, and please put the phone down while driving.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 05:12

Routes in Audrain County to Close for Culvert Replacements

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Routes in Audrain County to Close for Culvert Replacements
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 10:05

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing culvert replacements on Routes in Audrain County. See below for locations and additional information:
Route WW- September 27, the road will be closed at County Road 581 to County Road 540 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route BB- September 28, the road will be closed at County Road 757 to County Road 777 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route E- September 29, the road will be closed at County Road 224 to County Road 214 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. Signs and message boards will be in place to alert motorists, as all work is weather dependent, and schedules are subject to change. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
With an increased number of highway work zones in Missouri, it is super important all drivers pay attention every second while driving, especially through a work zone.  Be informed of your route by checking the MoDOT Traveler Information Map before you leave to see if you will encounter any work zones.  You can also subscribe to counties, various routes or even projects online at Customer Service Signon (mo.gov).  Be sure you and all your passengers are buckled up, and please put the phone down while driving.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 05:03

MoDOT to close Interstate 44 at Big Bend overnight September 30

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MoDOT to close Interstate 44 at Big Bend overnight September 30
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 09:55

Project
Big Bend over I-44 bridge replacement

ST. LOUIS – Drivers heading along Interstate 44 in south St. Louis County next Friday, September 30, night may want to consider alternate routes as the Missouri Department of Transportation will close all lanes on the interstate near the Big Bend Bridge.

During the closure, crews will be removing the overhang that allowed them to construct the bridge over I-44 in Kirkwood/Crestwood.

Crews will start closing lanes on eastbound I-44 at 8 p.m. with all eastbound lanes closed by 9 p.m.  Crews will start closing lanes on westbound I-44 about midnight, with all westbound lanes closed by 1 a.m. Saturday, July 30. 

Traffic will be routed up and over the ramps, but drivers can expect much slower travel times through the closure. Drivers on Big Bend are highly encouraged to use alternate routes to get to I-44 during the closure to reduce the impact to through interstate traffic.

Three lanes in each direction of the interstate should reopen by 6 a.m. Saturday.

Districts Involved

St. Louis

Published On
Fri, 09/23/2022 – 04:54

Governor Parson Appoints James Kjar as Associate Circuit Judge for the 27th Judicial Circuit

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Governor Parson Appoints James Kjar as Associate Circuit Judge for the 27th Judicial Circuit

johnathan.shiflett

Fri, 09/23/2022 – 08:53

September 23, 2022

Jefferson City

Today, Governor Mike Parson appointed James Kjar as Associate Circuit Judge for Benton County in the 27th Judicial Circuit. He will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Mark B. Pilley.
Mr. Kjar, of Warsaw, is currently principal of Kjar Law Office. He received a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Central Methodist University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri–Columbia.

Faith leaders urge minimum wage hike, expanded child tax credit as Congress nears recess

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The Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, speaks at a briefing on Capitol Hill on Sept. 22, 2022 (Ariana Figueroa/States Newsroom).

WASHINGTON — Faith leaders pressed Congress to pass voting rights legislation, a $15 minimum wage and a permanent expansion of the child tax credit during a Thursday briefing on Capitol Hill.

“Poverty is a policy choice,” Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, said to lawmakers.

Barber, who is the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, told several Democratic representatives in attendance that there are nearly 40 million people living in poverty in the United States. He said that because an expanded child tax credit intended to provide relief during the pandemic ended, millions of children fell back into poverty.

Columbia University Center on Poverty and Social Policy found that 3.7 million children slipped back into poverty after funds for the child tax credit ended earlier this year.

The expanded child tax credit enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan through 2021 provided $250 to $300 per child every month to families. It failed to get extended in the Senate.

Those Democratic lawmakers who attended the briefing included Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna of California, Bobby Scott of Virginia, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Kathy Manning of North Carolina and Troy Carter of Louisiana.

More than 50 faith leaders also joined Barber in pressing for those three actions from Congress.

Police funding

Barber expressed his frustration that the House was voting Thursday on four police funding bills and not on legislation that would help lift low-income people out of poverty. Democrats have tried to pass the bills to help vulnerable Democrats as well as push back against Republican rhetoric that the Democratic Party wants to “defund the police.”

The bills under consideration in the House would give grants to local agencies to hire personnel to investigate unsolved homicides, address mental health interventions, increase funding for local and small police departments, and fund violence intervention programs.

The House is set to be in recess after Thursday and will be back next week for a few days before members head for the campaign trail.

Barber also stressed that while he understands it’s important for Congress to continue with its investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Capitol last year, that is not an issue that voters, particularly low-income voters, care about.

“The No. 1 reason poor folks don’t vote is cause no one talks to them,” he said.

He said poverty was the main issue that voters care about, and that Democrats are ignoring a large voting bloc because they are not reaching out to low-income voters.

“There’s nowhere in the nation where a full-time job earning the federal minimum wage can support an average two-bedroom apartment,” Barber said.

He added that while the Poor People’s Campaign, an anti-poverty organization, is advocating for a raise to $15 an hour for the federal minimum wage, it’s not high enough.

A 40-hour work week with a minimum wage of $15 an hour comes out to an annual salary of about $31,000, which would be just above the federal poverty line for a family of four, which is $27,750 a year.

The current minimum wage is $7.25, and has not increased since 2009. In order for someone to afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment in the U.S., a worker would need to earn a minimum wage of $25.82 an hour.

Food insecurity

Pastor Neil Tellier of Grovetown, Georgia, said a federally funded program that helped provide free lunch to kids in his state has ended, and he’s seeing the effects of that already. He said in Georgia, nearly 600,000 kids live with food insecurity.

Rabbi Michael Pollack of Philadelphia, who is the executive director of March on Harrisburg, said that Congress has focused on the wealthy and has left behind vulnerable communities. March on Harrisburg is a grassroots organization that works to register voters, and advocates for democracy.

“We need Congress to legislate like it loves the people,” he told lawmakers.

Pollack said Congress needs to pass voting rights legislation. For years, the Poor People’s Campaign has pressured lawmakers to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, in memory of the Georgia lawmaker and civil rights icon who championed the right to vote. The bill passed the House, but died in the Senate after being blocked several times by Republican lawmakers.

Manning said that her faith has taught her that justice is important, and everyone is deserving of it.

“My faith tradition also teaches me that every individual is made in the image of God,” she said. “Therefore, every individual should have the right to a job that pays a living wage.”

Rev. Ari Douglas of Janesville, Wisconsin, shared a story about two of his congregants who are single mothers who work full time and still do not have enough money to provide for themselves and their children.

“The church helps as much as we can,” he said. “But we’re a low-income church, and besides that, it should not be the responsibility of churches, to make sure that people get the money that they need to live.”

He stressed the need for Congress to pass an expansion of the child tax credit.

Scott, the chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, said that his committee is working to increase Pell Grants to make higher education more affordable for people.

Hearts and minds

Tlaib said the stories of people struggling with poverty are important to tell, because “I feel like sometimes that can move the hearts and minds of many of my colleagues.”

“I think we all assume that folks understand what’s going on,” Tlaib said, referring to her colleagues. “Many of you are in the front line of hearing the human tragedies and the human impact.”

Carter said that Congress needs to do better.

“We should not have poor people in this country,” he said.

The post Faith leaders urge minimum wage hike, expanded child tax credit as Congress nears recess appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Clinton County U.S. Route 69 south now open

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Clinton County U.S. Route 69 south now open
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 17:20

Route 116 and U.S. Route 69 intersection improvement project

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Clinton County U.S. Route 69 south at the new Route 116 round about intersection is now open. Crew from Amino Brothers Co. Inc. of Kansas City, working with the Missouri Department of Transportation, were able to reopen U.S. Route 69 south of the intersection from just north of 251st Street to Route 116 this afternoon.
Crews are working to complete off-roadway tasks before wrapping up Phase 3 of construction.
To learn more about the project’s history, visit the webpage at https://www.modot.org/clinton-county-us-route-69-and-route-116-intersection-improvement-project.
MoDOT asks drivers to work with us by always buckling up, keeping your phone down, slowing down and moving over in work zones. Know before you go and check what work zones you might encounter at traveler.modot.org.
For more information about this and other MoDOT projects in your area, sign up online for work zone updates, visit modot.org/mo-go to view the online Traveler Information Map, or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636). In addition, MoDOT provides updated information via social media.
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram  
###
 
Project Webpage
https://www.modot.org/clinton-county-us-route-69-and-route-116-intersection-improvement-project

Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 12:18

Cairo Sidewalk Improvement Project Begins in Randolph County

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Cairo Sidewalk Improvement Project Begins in Randolph County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 14:25

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, the week of September 26, contractor crews will begin work on another sidewalk improvement project in Randolph County located on Route Z from east of Rose Drive to just west of U.S. Route 63 in Cairo.
Sidewalks will remain closed at the location where the contractor is actively working, and traffic will be reduced to one lane during working hours.  This work is being completed as part of MoDOT’s initiative for compliance with the current standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Additional sidewalk improvement projects, located on Route EE, from Bus. 63 to Gratz-Brown Street in Moberly and on Route C, from just north of Hayden Street to Clay Street in Huntsville, are currently ongoing.
We ask that motorists please be attentive in work zones for their safety and the safety of highway workers.  Signs and message boards will be in place to alert motorists, as schedule changes occur.
The contracts for these projects were awarded earlier this year to S&A Equipment & Builders, LLC of Fulton, Missouri in the amount of $685,846 (Routes C and  Z) and  $746,312 (Route EE).
With an increased number of highway work zones in Missouri, it is important all drivers pay attention every second while driving, especially through work zones.  Know before you go and stay informed of traffic impacts on your route by checking the MoDOT Traveler Information Map.  You can also subscribe to counties, various routes or even projects online at Customer Service Signon (mo.gov).  Be sure you and all your passengers are buckled up, and please put the phone down while driving.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 09:20

Temporary Closure Scheduled for West Brewington Avenue in Kirksville

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Temporary Closure Scheduled for West Brewington Avenue in Kirksville
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 14:25

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, September 26,  West Brewington Ave. in Kirksville is scheduled to close temporarily at the old railroad tracks located between Industrial Drive and Baltimore Street for removals and pavement work.  Although the street will be closed to through traffic, all area businesses and entrances on West Brewington Ave. will remain accessible from the respective side of the closure.  The road will remain closed until the new pavement surface has obtained sufficient strength, which is anticipated to occur by the evening of Wednesday, September 28.
S&A Equipment & Builders, LLC. was awarded the contract by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission last winter for $2,035,102.  This project is a being completed under the Governor’s Cost Share Program with the City of Kirksville.  The project is expected to be completed by mid-November.
Schedule changes could occur due to weather or material availability.  We ask motorists to please be attentive in work zones for their safety and the safety of highway workers.  Please obey all traffic signs and personnel and eliminate distractions. 
MoDOT will alert the public about the project through signs, news releases and social media.  For more information, call MoDOT at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or the City of Kirksville at 660-627-1224. 
Be informed of your route by checking the MoDOT Traveler Information Map before you leave to see if you will encounter any work zones.  You can also subscribe to counties, various routes or even projects online at Customer Service Signon (mo.gov).  Be sure you and all your passengers are buckled up, and please put the phone down while driving.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 09:24

Closure Scheduled on Route 1 between Route 210 and Taney Street, Sept. 28-29

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Closure Scheduled on Route 1 between Route 210 and Taney Street, Sept. 28-29
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 13:05

Crews will CLOSE Route 1 between Route 210 and Taney Street for concrete road repair from approximately 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 until 4 a.m. on Sept. 29. This will be a complete closure of Route 1. All work is weather permitting.
This work is part of the Route 1 resurfacing project, which will improve roadway safety on Route 1 from Route 210 to south of I-35. The work area is approximately 2 miles in length. Additional notifications about closures and traffic impacts will be sent by MoDOT as they become available. All work is weather permitting.
For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE. Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 08:01

Closure scheduled for the intersection of MO 33 and MO 92, Sept. 26

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Closure scheduled for the intersection of MO 33 and MO 92, Sept. 26
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 12:40

Crews will replace the crosswalks at the intersection of Missouri Route 33 and Missouri Route 92. This work will require a complete closure of the intersection from approximately 1-4:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 26. All work is weather permitting.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties.

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 07:37

Legal fight over civilian oversight of St. Louis police could have statewide implications

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A St. Louis police officer orders protesters to disperse in November 2014 outside City Hall (Rebecca Rivas/Missouri Independent).

A St. Louis ordinance aimed at transforming the way the city investigates allegations of police misconduct went into effect on Sept. 2. 

A week later, three police organizations successfully got a preliminary injunction, putting a pause on the city’s expansion of civilian oversight of police work. 

In a decision with statewide implications, St. Louis Circuit Judge Jason Sengheiser blocked the ordinance citing a state law passed last year establishing a “Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights,” which bolstered protections for officers under investigation for misconduct. 

The judge ordered the city had to stop implementing its new Division of Civilian Oversight — a civilian-led independent agency that’s paid for by the city and that was set to build a team of 10 investigators to take over all internal police investigations that have to do with misconduct and use of force.

On Tuesday, the city filed a motion stating that the judge’s order granting the preliminary injunction will have “serious consequences” that the court didn’t intend. And that includes halting a piece of its current police-accountability process that the judge agreed isn’t in legal question, the city argued.

If the police organizations — the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, the Ethical Society of Police and the St. Louis Police Leadership Organization  — are successful in the lawsuit it could block cities across Missouri from enacting police accountability measures, said Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis.

“Even in some rural areas, a situation may occur where there needs to be an independent body, just to look outside of the police,” Aldridge said. 

But the bill of rights creates an “extra class system” for law enforcement, he said.

“We don’t have a homeless bill of rights or a low-wage worker bill of rights,” Aldridge said. “More transparency in the community would be held up because of this extra class system or protocols that our officers now have.” 

The ordinance and the order

Mayor Tishaura Jones signed a bill into law on Aug. 3, 2022, to create an independent civilian-led agency that will investigate police misconduct and use-of-force cases (Photo courtesy of Mayor Tishaura Jones’ Office).

The ordinance, approved by the St. Louis Board of Alderman in July and signed soon after by Mayor Tishaura Jones, created a Division of Civilian Oversight — the first of its kind in the state and among the first in the country as well. 

While several Missouri cities have civilian oversight boards that review the internal investigations that police complete themselves, the division would actually conduct and oversee investigations into police misconduct.

“More and more civilian oversight [boards nationwide] are doing reviews,” said Matthew Brummund, who will lead the division when it’s up and running, “but I’m not aware of many that are doing the actual investigations.”

In his Sept. 9 order, Sengheiser pointed to several provisions in the new state law — which consists of a list of more than 15 new requirements that includes giving officers 24-hour written notice of the allegation before an investigation begins.

The portion of St. Louis’ ordinance, he said, that could be considered a conflict reads: “City employees involved in or witness to police correctional incidents or misconduct shall provide a statement to civilian oversight investigators immediately upon request.” 

The city argues that the ordinance was not intended to apply to an officer who is the subject of an investigation but rather to other city employees, Sengheiser wrote in his order. 

“However, defendants admitted that SLMPD officers are city employees,” he states. 

Sengheiser said he weighed the harm the injunction could cause to both the city’s functions and police officers, specifically pointing to how the ordinance could impact officers’ “morale.”

While the issue of police accountability is “critical” to public safety, Sengheiser said, “the structures currently in place to provide that accountability will remain in place and functioning while the City of St. Louis attempts to create a new accountability structure that it believes will better balance the issues of police accountability and public safety.”

However, the city argued Tuesday that the injunction would not allow the current structure to function, as the judge intended.

In 2015, the city passed a law that established the city’s civilian oversight board. It’s made up of seven volunteer residents who, for the past six years, have been reviewing the investigations conducted by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department into officers accused of excessive force, abuse of authority and discrimination. 

The judge stated that the board abides by the state law governing civilian oversight boards, and the new city ordinance wouldn’t change that.  

However, the Board of Aldermen repealed the 2015 law governing the board and folded it into the new ordinance. So now the board’s work has been put on pause as well, the city argues.

“The [Civilian Oversight Board] is an important part of the city’s lawfully enacted structures to foster police accountability,” the city states in the Tuesday motion and requested that the judge narrow the focus of his order. 

Officers’ ‘bill of rights’

In December, the City of St. Louis filed a lawsuit in an attempt to get the state law establishing the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights struck down. The case is still pending.

The bill’s sponsor Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, touted it as a series of changes “that seek to strengthen (officers’) due process rights when they’ve been accused of misconduct in an internal investigation.” 

Gov. Mike Parson signed the legislation into law last year. 

The city’s lawsuit, filed in Cole County Court, alleges the new law is unconstitutional because it creates an unfunded mandate for the city and creates two classes of public-safety employees — the police and every other public-safety employee.

It also conflicts with how the city charter outlines discipline and legal representation for police officers, the lawsuit says. 

The law “is an unfunded mandate that subverts equal protection guaranteed under the law,” the mayor’s spokesman Nick Dunne told The Independent in December soon after the lawsuit was filed.

Former St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden opposed the bill in a Feb. 1, 2021 letter to legislators, stating that giving officers advanced notice could jeopardize an investigation. It also requires that law enforcement agencies give officers notice of who will be conducting the investigation. Some of the requirements could also have a “chilling effect” for witnesses who want to come forward, Hayden wrote at the time.

It also puts a 90-day limit on misconduct investigations.

The law “significantly interferes with our ability to meet the expectations of Missouri residents with respect to holding officers accountable for sustained allegations of misconduct,” Hayden stated.

The law also included a provision penalizing cities that cut police budgets, which is a way to counter the call to “defund the police,” Eigel said during a 2021 Senate floor debate. 

“Defund the police” is an umbrella term that includes initiatives like allocating police funds to hire social workers to handle certain 911 calls, which the city’s public safety director supports.

Numerous times over the years, the Missouri Supreme Court has thrown out wide-ranging bills that violate the state constitution’s prohibition against multiple subjects in a bill.

The bill of rights was tacked on to a wide-ranging bill. St. Louis argues the entire bill should be deemed unconstitutional because it wouldn’t have passed “if the circuit attorney payments, lotteries, pesticide regulations and taxation provisions had not been injected.”

The post Legal fight over civilian oversight of St. Louis police could have statewide implications appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

After Platinum Health took control, all workers at two Missouri hospitals were fired

This post was originally published on this site

Audrain Community Hospital in Mexico, Missouri (Matt Kile for KHN).

The news, under Noble Health letterhead, arrived at 5:05 p.m. on a Friday, with the subject line: “Urgent Notice.”

Audrain Community Hospital, Paul Huemann’s workplace of 32 years, was letting workers go.

Word travels fast in a small town. Huemann’s wife, Kym, first heard the bad news in the car when a friend who’d gotten the letter, too, texted.

“Your termination was not foreseeable,” said the letter, dated Sept. 8 and signed Platinum Health Systems, adding that the firing was permanent “with no recourse” and that the “medical facility will be shuttered.”

“I don’t know what my next steps are,” said 52-year-old Huemann, who supervised the laboratory at the Audrain hospital.

The future for the Huemanns, hundreds of other workers, and thousands of patients in two small Missouri towns began to unravel long before that afternoon. The drama playing out in Paul Huemann’s hometown is familiar to many who live in rural America: Communities are so desperate to keep their hospital open that they’re willing to gamble on any buyer, including those backed by private equity.

Sometimes they lose.

Noble Health, a three-year-old private equity-backed startup, had acquired Audrain and nearby Callaway Community Hospital during the pandemic. In March, it suspended all hospital services and later furloughed 181 employees, state records show.

Noble — facing staggering debt, more than a dozen lawsuits, and at least two federal investigations — struck a deal to sell the hospitals in April to Platinum Neighbors, which is affiliated with Texas-based Platinum Team Management and Platinum Health Systems. In late June, Platinum asked Missouri officials to extend until Sept. 21 a deadline to reopen the hospitals. On Tuesday, Platinum officials told KHN that, “on behalf of Noble,” they asked Missouri regulators for an additional 30-day extension “in an attempt to explore all alternatives for reopening these facilities,” Ryann Gordon, Platinum’s director of marketing, said. “The backpay and health benefits of the employees is of utmost importance.”

Hours before the licensing deadline Wednesday, Platinum submitted a request for a 90-day variance. Missouri regulations do not allow another extension within a year, said Lisa Cox, a spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. So the state “worked with them” and granted the request, she said.

Platinum said the hospitals need time to complete construction projects. Audrain’s “emergency room area” has broken windows, and Callaway’s hospital needs “critical repair to the plumbing,” according to the state approval letter. The hospitals can change ownership during the 90 days, Cox said.

Cory Countryman, president of Platinum Health Systems, confirmed the termination of the remaining hospital staff. “We are working with multiple partners to reopen the hospitals,” he said.

That could involve a new owner. One prospect is Owen Shuler, a Georgia-based entrepreneur, who said he is thinking about buying them. Shuler, who was reached by phone after he’d visited the rural communities, said, “I love what I see.”

“It’s heartbreaking as to what has occurred,” said Shuler, whose companies include Bankers Realty Corp. and Shuler Capital Corp. If he bought the hospitals, he said, he would do so as managing director of his new venture, CareONE Global. “In terms of the due diligence, I do not like what I’m seeing and learning,” he said. What he concluded from his review is that “private equity and venture capital need to be kept the heck out of health care.”

On his LinkedIn profile, Shuler said he “brings a lifelong perspective from a family owned skilled care business” as well as expertise in “telemedicine and healthcare services.”

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Shuler, who confirmed the hospitals were saddled with substantial debt — “in the ballpark” of $45 million to $50 million — said, “I am not prepared to go on the record about business strategy quite yet.” He said his approach would be “holistic” and include telehealth. Many industry leaders have argued telehealth is a way to bring high-quality medicine to rural communities that can’t afford, and don’t need, a full platoon of specialists on-site.

“Our target is acquiring hospitals in rural and disadvantaged areas and introducing our capabilities to them,” Shuler said, adding that fixing the two “basically broken” Missouri hospitals from the bottom up would be “much easier than trying to go into a healthy system.”

Still, it’s unclear whether Shuler or another buyer will come through and what it would take to reopen them after years of ownership instability and financial trouble.

Venture capital and private equity firm Nueterra Capital launched Noble in December 2019 with executives who had never run a hospital, including Donald R. Peterson, a co-founder who prior to joining Noble had been accused of Medicare fraud. Peterson settled that case without admitting wrongdoing and in August 2019 agreed to be excluded for five years from Medicare, Medicaid, and all other federal health programs, according to the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

Federal regulators did not block the acquisition in which Peterson was involved. “All ownership and managing control information is self-reported,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spokesperson Kristen Clemens.

It didn’t take long for problems to surface under Noble Health’s stewardship. Noble has accepted nearly $20 million in federal covid-19 relief funds, including $4.8 million from paycheck protection programs, according to public records.

Yet doctors, nurses, and patients saw evidence that the new owners were skimping on services — failing to pay for and stock surgical supplies and drugs. In Callaway, state inspectors determined that conditions in the hospital endangered patients. Former workers provided KHN bills and pay stubs they said showed Noble had also stopped paying for employee health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits.

After employees filed complaints about surprise medical bills, the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration launched an investigation in early March, according to a letter sent to the company and obtained by KHN. The department confirmed a second investigation by another one of its divisions, Wage and Hour, into Noble’s management of its Audrain hospital and clinic.

In April, Noble struck a deal to sell both hospitals for $2 and a stock transfer to Platinum, which assumed all liabilities, according to the agreement. In a June 22 letter to state regulators about the hospitals’ operating licenses, Platinum said, “We are requesting this continuance as Noble Health stock has been transferred to Platinum Medical Management.”

While visiting the hospitals in April, Countryman told employees it was a “priority” to pay the back wages Noble owed them.

Neither Noble nor Platinum made good on that in the months since, employees contend. In addition to the federal investigations, nine wage claims — the largest for $355,000 — have been filed against Noble in Kansas, according to data provided through a Kansas Open Records Act request.

By early August, others were recognizing the employee complaints. Principal, which provided dental and vision care coverage, sent letters to workers saying it would not demand that any worker repay benefits the insurer covered after Noble stopped sending premiums for employee coverage. “This situation is not typical,” wrote Principal spokesperson Ashley Miller in an email.

Huemann, as laboratory supervisor, was among the workers who weren’t furloughed in the spring. They reported for work every day in the hopes that the Audrain hospital would reopen. Huemann checked reagents and kept machines operational even as money for supplies was tight.

“We couldn’t get anything,” Huemann said, “so we were living with what we had.”

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Huemann, who provided pay stubs to KHN, said he received a paycheck from Noble in late March. He said he did not receive another paycheck until late May. He received regular paychecks in June and early July. But his second July check, under Platinum, was a week late. His final paycheck arrived Aug. 8 and was also late.

His last seven checks came from three companies. They were all on Platinum’s watch: Initially Platinum Neighbors issued the checks, then Callaway County Community Hospital, and finally Noble Health Audrain Inc.

“Everyone cashed their check as soon as they got it,” Huemann said. “There are so many red flags. But you know, we’re at their mercy, we have no control, and we’re still thankful they are saving us.”

The check stubs also show the hospital’s operators deducted $1,385 in total from Huemann’s pay for insurance. The medical insurance was supposed to be with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, but Huemann said he never received a card and could not confirm coverage.

“I called four or five times on different days,” he said. “They could never find me no matter how they looked me up, with Social Security or date of birth, or anything.”

Countryman referred all financial questions to Platinum’s corporate offices. Ryan Cole, chief executive of Platinum Team, did not directly respond to calls and emails seeking comment.

Some doctors left town as the upheaval swallowed the hospitals.

Others, such as family medicine doctor Diane Jacobi and her nurse practitioner, Regina Hill, joined MU Health Care, affiliated with the University of Missouri, in Mexico, Missouri, the 11,000-person town where Audrain Community Hospital is located.

Jacobi said her patients want local care. “I don’t know if you’re a mama, but if you’re in labor, the idea that you have to spend 45 minutes in a car on the way to the hospital is nerve-wracking,” she said. “It’s safer if you have care.”

Lou Leonatti, an attorney who lives in Mexico, said he feels so strongly that the community needs a hospital and emergency care that he provided loans last year to Noble so the company could meet payroll. Leonatti’s personal $60,000 loan, with an interest rate of about 3%, was due in January but, he said, remains unpaid.

Leonatti helped start Project Sunrise, a local economic development group. If a new agreement is not reached, he said, “we would like to have a Plan B available.”

Peterson, who helped launch Noble’s failed effort to turn around the two Missouri hospitals, seems to have found his Plan B in Dubai. “I’m sitting in the Emirates Air lounge in Dubai marveling at the experience being afforded me at the tender age of 68,” he wrote on LinkedIn. “I’ll be in Riyadh for the next week finishing up due diligence on launching a new business there.”

The post made Tonya Linthacum, a nurse practitioner who worked at Audrain’s cancer screening center for more than two decades, furious. She said that he “destroyed a lot of people’s lives and livelihoods,” adding that “to have someone dupe you like that” and “going on with no consequences. It’s just not the way the world is supposed to be.”

Peterson declined to comment.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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USDA to spend $500 million extending high-speed internet to rural America

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture will send more than $500 million to bring high-speed internet to rural areas. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will send more than $500 million in loans and grants to telecommunications providers to bring high-speed internet to rural areas across 20 states, Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday.

The department will spend $360 million in grants and $141 million in loans through its ReConnect Program to benefit sparsely populated communities, including in Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee.

In Missouri, Net Vision Communications LLC will receive a $12.4 million loan to connect 4,587 people, 300 businesses, nine farms and 15 public schools to high-speed internet in Barton County. Chariton Valley Telephone Corp. will receive a $2.2 million grant to connect 642 people, eight businesses and 94 farms to high-speed internet in Monroe and Randolph counties. The company will also make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs.

The funding, the third round from the department’s ReConnect program, combined with additional money from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law enacted last year, would make a major difference in connecting rural populations and businesses, Vilsack said.

“We now have for the first time a genuine opportunity to literally cover all of America,” Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, told reporters on a Wednesday press call. “With the ReConnect program round three and the resources available under the infrastructure law, I think we’ve come a long way to improving and increasing the level of service.”

The department will also provide more funding to rural internet programs through the bipartisan infrastructure law “in the coming months,” according to a department news release. More ReConnect awards would also be announced in coming weeks, the department said.

The current funding stream was targeted to upgrade existing infrastructure, Vilsack told reporters Wednesday.

“The beauty of this process is USDA has a very specific role,” he said. “That goal is to essentially increase the capacity of existing facilities.”

The two largest allotments were both grants for Alaska communities.

The Alaska Telephone Company will receive $33 million to deploy a fiber network to connect 211 people and five business in Haines Borough, the Hoonah-Angoon Census Area and the Scagway Municipality.

USDA will provide Arctic Slope Telephone with $31 million for a similar network to connect 476 people, 15 businesses and a public school in the North Slope Borough.

The full list is available here.

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U.S. House passes bill reforming Electoral Count Act to stop Jan. 6 repeat

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Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. A pro-Trump mob later stormed the Capitol, breaking windows and clashing with police officers. Five people died as a result (Brent Stirton/Getty Images).

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House passed on Wednesday a bill updating a 19th-century law in an attempt to prevent the subversion of future presidential elections.

The Presidential Election Reform Act, which passed 229-203, is meant to deter a repeat of the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, in which the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a mob of pro-Trump supporters trying to stop Congress from certifying the presidential electoral votes.

Nine House Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the measure, H.R. 8873, which would revamp the Electoral Count Act.

“If your aim is to prevent future efforts to steal elections, I would respectfully suggest that conservatives should support this bill,” Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, said on the House floor.

“If instead your aim is to leave open the door for elections to be stolen in the future, you might decide not to support this or any other bill to address the electoral count.”

Cheney, along with Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on Sunday that the bill “is intended to preserve the rule of law for all future presidential elections by ensuring that self-interested politicians cannot steal from the people the guarantee that our government derives its power from the consent of the governed.”

“This bill will make it harder to convince people that they have the right to overthrow the election,” Lofgren said on the House floor.

Those two lawmakers are also part of the House special committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The bill raises the threshold for an objection made by any U.S. senator and representative to a state’s electoral vote from one member of each chamber to one-third of each chamber, a big increase.

The bill also makes it clear that the vice president’s role is purely ceremonial in certifying electoral votes.

GOP objections

A majority of Republicans pushed back against the bill, with Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois labeling it partisan and Rep. Bryan Steil of Wisconsin calling the process rushed.

Davis said that Democrats were perpetuating a false narrative that Republicans are election deniers and want to overturn elections.

Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, a New Mexico Democrat, said Congress needed to pass the bill in order to prevent another Jan. 6.

“We cannot let violence undermine over 200 years of a peaceful transfer of power in this country,” she said.

Steil said that Americans have lost faith in their election system, and the bill does not do anything to quell those fears.

“Will the bill before us boost people’s confidence in our elections process?” he asked. “The bill fails the test.”

The House Rules Committee held a Tuesday hearing and voted 9-3 to send the legislation to the House floor.

All Democrats in that committee voted for the bill, and all the Republicans who voted opposed it.

The top Republican on the Rules panel, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, voted against the bill along with Michael Burgess of Texas and Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania. Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota did not vote.

​​Trump actions

The push to clarify the election certification process comes after former President Donald Trump tried to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

The Jan. 6 insurrection, spurred by Trump, shortly followed. Four people who were part of the mob died, and five police officers responding to the insurrection also died in the days and weeks following.

Current law allows a congressional representative paired with a senator to object to a state’s electoral votes, which Republicans did. But they were interrupted from their objections when the mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.

Because the vice president’s role in the certification of electoral votes isn’t exactly clear, Trump tried to pressure Pence to not certify the election.

Trump was impeached by the House for a second time for his role in the insurrection.

Senate version

The future of the House measure is unclear because the Senate is working on its own legislation.

The Senate held an August hearing where Sens. Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat, argued for the need to update the 1887 electoral law.

The senators said the current law is archaic and ambiguous, and that their bill had several reforms, including a clarification on the role of the vice president when certifying electoral votes.

Collins announced on Wednesday she had 10 Democratic and 10 Republican co-sponsors for the bill, meaning its passage could reach the 60-vote threshold needed to advance past a filibuster in the Senate.

“Our bill is backed by election law experts and organizations across the ideological spectrum,” Collins said in a statement. “We will keep working to increase bipartisan support for our legislation that would correct the flaws in this archaic and ambiguous law.”

Those 10 Senate Democrats include Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Warner of Virginia, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Chris Coons of Delaware, John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet of Colorado and Alex Padilla of California.

The 10 Senate Republicans include Collins, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Todd Young of Indiana, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

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MoDOT to shift lanes on Cave Springs interchange over Interstate 70 starting September 26

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MoDOT to shift lanes on Cave Springs interchange over Interstate 70 starting September 26
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 10:50

ST. CHARLES COUNTY – Drivers traveling on the Cave Springs interchange over Interstate 70 will notice lane shifts starting the week of September 26. Crews will begin preparations for the lane conversion Monday, September 26 from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., weather permitting.

Lanes on northbound and southbound Cave Springs will be narrowed and shifted to the east starting Tuesday night, September 27. A barrier wall will separate traffic from the active work zone. All lanes of Cave Springs will remain open.

In addition to the lane shift, one of the two left turn lanes from eastbound I-70 to northbound Cave Springs will be closed. Motorists will still be able to make a left turn from the remaining open turn lane.

Both the lane shift and the exit lane closure will remain in place until spring 2023. This work is part of construction of the new structure that will take Veterans Memorial Parkway underneath Cave Springs.

The Cave Springs and Zumbehl interchanges are being converted into single point urban interchanges (SPUI) for the I-70 Cave Springs to Fairgrounds Design-Build Project. As construction on this project progresses, both interchanges will remain open to drivers.

For more information, visit www.i70csfg.com for project updates.

 

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Cave Springs Lane Shift Map

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St. Louis

Published On
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 05:45

Carl’s Drive-In spinoff, go-kart track part of proposed O’Fallon, Mo., complex

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A family entertainment complex proposed along Highway 40 (Interstate 64) in O’Fallon, Mo., would include an offshoot of the famed Brentwood diner, a go-kart track, a 40-foot-high slide and more rides.

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I-55/57/U.S. 60 Interchange Ramps Closed Overnight for Pavement Treatment in Scott County

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I-55/57/U.S. 60 Interchange Ramps Closed Overnight for Pavement Treatment in Scott County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 10:05

SIKESTON – Motorists should anticipate ramp closures at the Interstate 55/57/U.S. Route 60 cloverleaf interchange in Sikeston, Missouri the evening of Monday, Sept. 26. The interchange is located at mile marker 66 in Scott County.
This will conclude the work to apply a high friction surface treatment to the pavement of the interchange. Applying a high friction surface treatment helps motorists maintain better control and makes the overlay much more resistant to wear and polishing.
Work will take place overnight from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. to avoid impacts during peak traffic. Weather permitting, work will begin at 7 p.m. Monday Sept. 26, with completion anticipated at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Signed detours will be in place, and the work zones will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact Resident Engineer Kevin Plott at (573) 243-0899 or MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast.
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Southeast

Published On
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 05:03

Reminder: Overnight ramp closure scheduled for southbound U.S. 71 to 22nd Street on Sept. 22 and 23

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Reminder: Overnight ramp closure scheduled for southbound U.S. 71 to 22nd Street on Sept. 22 and 23
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 09:30

 
JACKSON COUNTY – MoDOT will be making pavement repairs that will require the closure of the right turn lane of the southbound U.S. 71 off ramp to 22nd Street beginning at 7:30 p.m. each evening until 5 a.m. the following mornings on both Thursday, Sept. 22, and Friday, Sept. 23. This closure will cut off access to 22nd Street from U.S. 71. Motorists will need to seek alternate routes during this time. All work is weather permitting.
For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE. Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

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Kansas City

Published On
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 04:25

Seal Coat Operations to Impact Traffic on Route HH in Madison County

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Seal Coat Operations to Impact Traffic on Route HH in Madison County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 09:30

SIKESTON – Missouri Department of Transportation crews will be making driving surface improvements on Route HH in Madison County.  
This section of roadway is located from Route N to County Road 416. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Tuesday, Sept. 27 and Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to local traffic only.  
Seal coats are a pavement repair process that is used by MoDOT on roads with lower traffic volumes to maximize available resources and extend the life of the roadway. Hot emulsion oil is sprayed onto the surface of the road, followed by finely ground rocks which are then compacted to adhere to the roadway.  Excess material is swept off the surface, leaving an improved roadway that will hold up longer against the elements.  
The method costs about one third the amount of a traditional asphalt overlay. The treatment keeps water from penetrating the surface, extends the life of the roadway up to seven years, and provides improved traction.  
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636), or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
 
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facebook.com/MoDOTSoutheast 
twitter.com/MoDOTSoutheast 
youtube.com/MoDOTSoutheast Seal Coat Operations to Impact Traffic on Route HH in Madison County 

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Southeast

Published On
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 04:26

Seal Coat Operations to Impact Traffic on Route N in Madison County

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Seal Coat Operations to Impact Traffic on Route N in Madison County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 09:25

SIKESTON – Missouri Department of Transportation crews will be making driving surface improvements on Route N in Madison County.  
This section of roadway is located from Route C to U.S. Route 67. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Tuesday, Sept. 27 and Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to local traffic only.  
Seal coats are a pavement repair process that is used by MoDOT on roads with lower traffic volumes to maximize available resources and extend the life of the roadway. Hot emulsion oil is sprayed onto the surface of the road, followed by finely ground rocks which are then compacted to adhere to the roadway.  Excess material is swept off the surface, leaving an improved roadway that will hold up longer against the elements.  
The method costs about one third the amount of a traditional asphalt overlay. The treatment keeps water from penetrating the surface, extends the life of the roadway up to seven years, and provides improved traction.  
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. 
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636), or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
 
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facebook.com/MoDOTSoutheast 
twitter.com/MoDOTSoutheast 
youtube.com/MoDOTSoutheast 
 

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Southeast

Published On
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 04:20

This bridge will be replaced next year and will require two closures

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This bridge will be replaced next year and will require two closures
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 08:45

HANNIBAL, MO – Individuals are invited to a public informational meeting that will share information about a future bridge replacement project on Missouri Route 6 in Adair County.  The bridge over the Chariton River, approximately one mile east of Missouri Route 149 near Novinger, will be replaced next year, and the road will have to be closed at the bridge two separate times during the project. The meeting is planned for Thursday, October 6th, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the Novinger Fire Station, located at 100 Front St, in Novinger. Details about the project, including a schedule and the closures, will be shared at the meeting through displays and discussions with Missouri Department of Transportation engineers.  The meeting is open-house style, so there is no formal presentation; attendees can come anytime between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Included in this project is the removal of the railroad bridge over the abandoned Norfolk Southern Railway on Missouri Route 136, 1.2 miles west of Route 63 in Schuyler County.   Information will be available at the public meeting about this project, as well.
“We encourage individuals to come and learn what will be taking place and ask questions,” said MoDOT Area Engineer Amy Crawford.  She said the new bridge will be 34 feet wide which is 8 feet wider than the existing bridge.
All information available at the public meeting will be made available online on Thursday, October 6.  Should anyone interested in the project require language translation, please call 573-248-2517.
With an increased number of highway work zones in Missouri, it is important all drivers pay attention every second while driving, especially through a work zone.  Be informed of your route by checking the MoDOT Traveler Information Map before you leave to see if you will encounter any work zones.  You can also subscribe to counties, various routes or even projects online at Customer Service Signon (mo.gov).  Be sure you and all your passengers are buckled up, and please put the phone down while driving.

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Northeast

Published On
Thu, 09/22/2022 – 03:40

Missouri judge once again delays decision on closing Agape Boarding School

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The state submitted an amended petition Sept. 9 alleging a broader range of abuse, forming “the dark pattern of behavior at Agapé,” including allegations of child abuse and neglect which the state argued pose an “immediate health or safety concern” to students (Getty Images).

A Cedar County judge on Wednesday again delayed ruling on the state’s efforts to close Agape Boarding School, the Stockton-based reform school facing mounting abuse allegations — allowing the school to stay open until at least the next hearing, which is scheduled for Monday.

In the meantime, two state Children’s Division staff will continue to have 24/7 access to the school to monitor the children. 

Judge David Munton initially ordered earlier this month that the school be shut down, in a response to the state’s petition for injunction. But soon after, he put the decision on hold because the staff member accused of abuse in the state’s petition was no longer employed at the school. 

The state submitted an amended petition Sept. 9 alleging a broader range of abuse, forming “the dark pattern of behavior at Agapé,” including allegations of child abuse and neglect which the state argued pose an “immediate health or safety concern” to students. 

Because of various procedural objections by Agape’s attorney, the judge has yet to hear arguments on the state’s amended petition. Last week, Munton sided with Agape’s attorneys when they argued they had not had enough time to respond to this amended complaint. This week, the judge granted Agape a few days to appeal one of his decisions.

However, Munton did deny Agape’s motion to dismiss the complaint, allowing the process to move forward. He also denied Agape’s request for a jury trial. 

Agape’s attorney, John Schultz, said he expects to learn by Friday whether the appellate courts will hear arguments to overturn Munton’s decision to deny a jury trial. 

Jury trials are not standard in injunction cases, but Schultz argues this one — which seeks to close down the school and put a “30 year business out of operation” — is an exceptional case worthy of the right to trial by a “jury of our peers.”

Former Agape student Robert Bucklin said Tuesday he felt Agape’s lawyers were simply trying to “drag out” the case. 

“He’s trying to delay the inevitable,” Bucklin said of Schultz. “They’re playing games with the safety of children.”

The push to shut down Agape is being led by the state Department of Social Services and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. 

In a statement Wednesday, Schmitt’s spokesman said his office “yet again had witnesses, including victims of alleged abuse at Agape, ready to testify and the office was prepared to present evidence, but unfortunately the office was unable to do so.”

Unless a higher court agrees to hear Agape’s appeal, Munton will hold a hearing on Agape’s fate on Monday. 

The state submitted another amended petition Monday, which the judge decided he will not allow to be heard, due to fairness and due process concerns related to the timing. That petition points to new allegations from “numerous current Agape students” regarding “physical abuse” by current Agape employees. (Agape denies the allegations.)

Two Children’s Division workers have had 24-hour access to the facility since Sept. 8. While there, students have approached them, “often surreptitiously” out of fear of retaliation, to report physical abuse they experienced, according to the filing, the petition states. One student “hid his notes in his shoe” prior to his meeting with the state worker, in case he were searched beforehand. 

The current students’ reports ranged from experiencing “severe bruising” after being restrained, being slammed into the ground, pushed into walls, forced to do hundreds of pushups as punishment, and being kept in handcuffs for days at a time, including while sleeping. One student was punished by having food withheld, which was “documented as malnourishment,” the amended petition states. 

Although those allegations will not be considered in the next hearing, the attorney general’s office said with the witnesses and evidence they have in regard to the first amended complaint, “We look forward to presenting that evidence on Monday morning and obtaining justice in this case” and said the Children’s Division staff will continue 24/7 on-site monitoring.

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Missouri lawmakers push ahead on tax cuts, rural credits in special session

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Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, right, speaks during a news conference Wednesday following passage of tax cut and rural economic incentives bills while Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, left, and Sen. Lincoln Hough look on (Rudi Keller/Missouri Independent).

Missouri lawmakers are moving swiftly to complete the special session agenda set by Gov. Mike Parson, with both the House and Senate passing incentives for farms and rural businesses and the Senate finishing work on a tax cut.

Only one thing hasn’t gone the way Parson and legislative leaders hoped. While the Missouri House was able to muster just enough votes to pass the $40 million package of tax credits and low-interest loans intended to support agriculture, it fell short of the number needed for the bill to take effect with Parson’s signature.

The Missouri Constitution requires an absolute majority of the 163-seat House, or 82 votes, to pass a bill and the rural incentives bill got 83. To take effect immediately requires an emergency clause and 109 votes, two-thirds of the chamber. 

Only 94 members voted for the emergency clause.

That is a change from the regular session, when the House provided 111 votes to pass the bill and 120 votes for the emergency clause. Parson vetoed that bill because he disliked the two-year sunset for the programs and asked lawmakers to pass it again with a six-year sunset.

The vote came after a debate where some Republicans and Democrats questioned the need for addressing the rural programs in a special session.

State Rep. Tony Lovasco, R-O’Fallon, said the bill will not rescue any farmers or save any struggling agriculture-related business. 

“The reality is that this is not some industry that is going to fall hard if we don’t do anything,” Lovasco said.

And state Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, said he was worried about what he didn’t know about the bill. He said members on the Republican side had whispered to him that the bill is “full of grift and corruption” and he was uncertain how the new credits would be used.

“I don’t know who this benefits and who it doesn’t but when I see it move through the process like it did I wonder if they are right,” Meredith said.

Defenders of the bill noted that many of the programs are only being renewed, with some small changes.

The bill includes tax credits for fuel retailers to increase the sale of biofuels and loans for livestock producers to expand herds and for producers growing specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables and flowers. It would also provide tax credits to support urban farming and meat processing and a sales tax exemption for utility vehicles purchased for farm use.

“This bill has been an accumulation of everything the farmers, the ranchers and the forest people have asked for,” said Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville.

While the House debated the rural incentives bill, the Senate was taking final votes on the income tax cut, which passed 24-4, and its rural incentives bill, which passed 26-4.

The tax cut would set the top tax rate for 2023 at 4.95% and, over time, reduce it to 4.5%. When fully implemented, it will reduce annual state revenue by about $950 million, said Sen. Lincoln Hough, a Springfield Republican sponsoring the bill.

The state took in $12.9 billion in general revenue from income, sales and other taxes in the fiscal year that ended June 30, and the treasury holds a general revenue surplus of about $4.4 billion. 

Senate Republican leaders said they anticipate the surplus will be consumed in coming years but defended the tax cut as fiscally responsible. There will be money for priority programs such as education and child protection, they said.

“I don’t anticipate that we’re going to have this plethora of money we’ve had right now into the future,” Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz said. “We are not putting a future legislature in danger of not being able to take care of those issues.”

The tax bill is easy-to-understand and lawmakers are not making wholesale changes in tax policy, Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said.

“We did some good things in this bill but we did not upend the way things normally function,” Rowden said.

But Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, said he was concerned about future budgets. Rizzo said he voted for the bill because it is less onerous than some other ideas discussed during the session but indicated he’s not as confident the state can avoid funding shortfalls.

“We are going to be vigilant in the future and push that $4 billion to places where it should go,” Rizzo said of the surplus.

If Republicans seek additional tax cuts in the future, he said, Democrats will push for the relief to go to low- and middle-income taxpayers.

“Democrats are here to fight for working families, not help corporate CEOs with their second mansion,” Rizzo said.

The special session will wrap up in the coming days. The House will hold committee hearings on the Senate bills next week.

The Senate will return after House action on the Senate bills, Rowden said.

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