By Rick Francis
I have received my committee assignments. I will chair a Rules Committee that reviews bills after they have been heard in committee to see if they should continue to the House Floor for debate. I am also a member of Appropriations for Agriculture, Conservation, Natural Resources and Economic Development. I also serve on Ethics, Financial Institutions, Legislative Review and Elections. All great committees to serve on and I look forward to legislation that will come from these committees.
This week Governor Mike Parson outlined his priorities for the 2023 legislative session. Parson began his State of the State Address by thanking the legislature for the work they’ve done together to enact the state’s largest income tax cut and provide support for agriculture. Parson asked legislators this session to focus their efforts on the following areas:
o $250 million to continue broadband
o $35 million to update railway crossings
all across the state
o $859 million to expand I-70 to six lanes
from St. Louis to Kansas City
o Add $117 million to fully fund the
o $233 million for school transportation needs
o $32 million to expand the Career Ladder Program
and continue to work on raising teacher salaries.
o $56 million to expand pre-kindergarten options
to all four-year-old children eligible for free and
reduced priced lunch at no cost.
o $78 million to increase child care subsidy rates and
establish three new child care tax credit programs:
■ Child Care Contribution Tax Credit –
For child care providers to improve and
expand facilities and services;
■ Employer-Provided Child Care
Assistance Tax Credit -
Benefits employers who offer child care
assistance to their employees; and
■ Child Care Providers Tax Credit -
Assists child care providers with payroll costs
and incentivizes capital improvements
to child care facilities.
I am very hopeful that we can address the child care concerns in our community. We need to enable more child care providers to remain in business, start their business, or expand their business.
• Workforce Development and Higher Education
o $275 million for transformational capital
improvement projects at Missouri’s public
higher education institutions;
o $38 million for MoExcels workforce
development projects on college campuses
• Health and Mental Health Care
o $4 million for Certified Nursing
Assistants (CAN) training programs to increase
the number of individual’s receiving CAN training.
Missouri currently ranks 44th in the United States maternal mortality. Parson asked the General Assembly to allocate $4.3 million to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to implement its new maternal mortality plan. Absolutely unacceptable: If we can’t get it right for our mothers and children across our state we need to pack our bags and let someone else occupy these offices.
• Public Safety
o More scholarships to individuals to attend law
enforcement training academies in Missouri.
o $50 million for school safety grants for
Missouri schools to make physical security
investments on their campuses
I’m excited about the Governor’s agenda and I am ready to advance policy measures and support funding to improve public safety and support law enforcement, invest in the state’s infrastructure, train the state’s workforce, increase educational opportunities for young people, and expand child care opportunities.
I’m proud of the work we’ve done with the governor to enact historic tax relief, provide record funding for our system of education, and support law enforcement. But, that was yesterday. Let’s get to work making a greater tomorrow for all Missourians.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here