ST. LOUIS NEWS TODAY -
Governor Greitens Takes Action on Budget Bills, Tort Reform, and Announces Plan for Minimum Wage Bill
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), July 3, 2017 - Governor Eric Greitens has signed several bills and announced his intentions on the standard statewide minimum wage bill.
The Governor has signed House Bills 1-13, 17, and 18, the budget bills passed by the legislature to fund Missouri government for the next year.
For the first time in a decade, the Foundation Formula is fully funded. Under Governor Greitens' administration, funding for K-12 education has increased by more than $133 million.
This budget includes $6 million for the Governor's rural school broadband program. It increases funding by over $12 million for Early Childhood Special Education, over $10 million to keep children out of dangerous and abusive situations, and over $12 million to combat the opioid crisis.
Due to lower than expected tax receipts from 2016 and rising healthcare costs, the Governor is restricting more than $250 million to keep a balanced budget.
"We were sent here to make tough decisions. That's what we're doing. Politicians were trying to spend money we don't have. So we're left with two choices: raise taxes or cut spending. I will not raise your taxes," said Governor Eric Greitens in a release.
Governor Greitens vetoed HCB3. The bill asks the Commissioner of Administration to drain $35.4 million from various state funds into General Revenue to be used as a one-time gimmick to pay for other state programs. Funds at risk of being cut by the bill included initiatives to prevent child abuse and neglect (Children's Trust Fund), assistance to workers injured on the job (Workers Compensation Fund and Second Injury Fund), and training to police officers (Highway Patrol Academy Fund) and firefighters (Fire Education Fund).
"I put money in the budget to protect the most vulnerable Missourians. The House did their job. The Senate failed. This was a clearly unconstitutional, last-minute budget gimmick. I won't sign an unconstitutional, one-time, fake fix to a real problem," said Governor Greitens.
The Governor also signed SB 139, a bill to protect the MORx program. The program helps low-income Missourians pay for their prescription drugs. The entire MORx program was scheduled to expire in August 2017. Governor Greitens extended the MORx program until at least 2022 for more than 182,000 Missourians.
Governor Greitens signed several tort reform bills, SB 88, HB 452, and SB43. SB 88 gives veterinarians the same malpractice coverage as doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals. HB 452 says that, with certain exceptions, no health care provider shall be liable for the negligence of another entity or person who is not an employee of the health care provider. SB 43 brings standards for lawsuits in Missouri in line with 38 other states and the federal government.
The Governor also announced his view of the bill passed by the legislature to create a standard statewide minimum wage, HB 1194 and HB 1193. Governor Greitens will not sign the minimum wage bill. It will go into law automatically on August 28th without his signature.
"I ran for governor to bring more jobs to Missouri. Our state needs more private sector paychecks and bigger private sector paychecks. Politicians in St. Louis passed a bill that fails on both counts: it will kill jobs, and despite what you hear from liberals, it will take money out of people's pockets.
This isn't an easy issue. Too many Missourians struggle to get by. They work hard. They want to get ahead. They need leaders who have their back - and I do.
The St. Louis politicians who did this claim it will help people. It'll hurt them. This increase in the minimum wage might read pretty on paper, but it doesn't work in practice. Government imposes an arbitrary wage, and small businesses either have to cut people's hours or let them go. They tried this in Seattle. The minimum wage went up, and the results are heartbreaking: the average worker in the city lost $125 a month. That's $1,500 a year because jobs were lost and hours were cut. Liberals say these laws help people. They don't. They hurt them.
Politicians in the legislature could've come up with a timely solution to this problem. Instead, they dragged their feet for months. Now, because of their failures, we have different wages across the state. It's created uncertainty for small businesses. And it all could have been avoided if the politicians had done their job on time.
I disapprove of the way politicians handled this. That's why I won't be signing my name to their bill.
MoDOT to Hold Public Meetings on Safety Improvements
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), June 26, 2017 - The Missouri Department of Transportation will hold the first of two open-house style public meetings on Thursday, July 13, to discuss upcoming safety improvements in Franklin and St. Charles Counties.
The improvements are part of the St. Louis District Safety Design-Build project and include safety upgrades at 16 locations in Franklin County and 15 locations in St. Charles County.
The first public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 13, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the College Center Rotunda at St. Charles Community College, 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in Cottleville. Parking is available in the yellow lot on campus.
Since there are no formal presentations during the public meeting, participants may attend at any time during the open house.
A second public meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 19, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Franklin County Government Building, 400 E. Locust Street in Union.
Temporary Lane Changes to Shift on Wabash/Ellendale
Map of temporary lane changes on Wabash/Ellendale for next phase of the River des Peres Greenway construction, courtesy Great Rivers Greenway
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), June 26, 2017 - On June 30th, temporary lane changes on Wabash/Ellendale in the City of St. Louis will shift again to accommodate the next phase of the River des Peres Greenway construction project to extend the River des Peres Greenway 1.8 miles north from Lansdowne to Francis R. Slay Park
The paved greenway - designed for walking, running and riding bikes - is being built parallel to the southbound lanes of Wabash/ Ellendale Avenues (which is the same street that changes names) between Lansdowne and Canterbury Avenues in the City of St. Louis.
Between Lansdowne and the Interstate 44 Bridge, people driving or riding bikes southbound on Wabash/Ellendale will use the new single southbound lane parallel to the greenway. Northbound traffic will use a single northbound lane. Between St. James and Canterbury, the lanes will shift and people driving will utilize the recently improved northbound lanes of Ellendale to travel north and south. The southbound lanes in this area will be closed to traffic so the greenway can be constructed.
Construction will continue to be staggered to ensure vehicle traffic remains open in both directions at all times. Any driveways or side streets that intersect with the new greenway will be constructed one half side at a time to ensure access for residents and property owners. Project partners will also work closely with the construction team to minimize inconvenience to neighborhood residents and roadway users.
Permanent changes to the roadway include the reduction of one southbound lane from Lansdowne to Canterbury, parallel to the new greenway. Both northbound lanes will remain. Other improvements include roadway resurfacing, new lighting, enhanced drainage and low maintenance, native landscaping.
Construction is expected to last through December 2017.
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