Showing posts with label Jay Nixon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jay Nixon. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gov. Nixon discusses impact of $800 million tax bill with higher education leaders


June 11, 2013
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - During a speech to college and university chancellors and presidents today, Gov. Jay Nixon said House Bill 253 would threaten college affordability by jeopardizing funding for higher education and by repealing the longstanding sales tax exemption on college text books. According to data compiled by the College Board, Missouri now leads the nation in holding down college costs.
"Over the past four years, through some very challenging economic times, we had to make the tough but necessary decisions to keep our budget in balance and continue moving Missouri forward," Gov. Nixonsaid. "We challenged our higher education institutions to do more with less, cut under-performing academic programs, increase accountability, and hold down tuition - and that is exactly what we did.  Today, Missouri leads the nation in holding down college costs, more students are pursuing a post-secondary education than ever before, and this year we will implement a performance-based funding model that rewards schools based on results. At a time when a highly trained workforce is more essential than ever to competing and winning in the global economy, House Bill 253 would undermine our ability to provide the high quality, affordable higher education options Missouri students need and deserve."
House Bill 253 would cost the state more than $800 million when fully implemented, the equivalent of cutting all public support for higher education, closing all of Missouri's prisons, or eliminating the Department of Mental Health.  Such a drastic reduction in state revenue would force deep cuts to vital public services, including funding for higher education and scholarships.  The legislation also repeals Missouri's longstanding sales tax exemption on college text books.
"House Bill 253 poses a serious threat to college quality and affordability in the Show-Me State," said Dr.John Jasinski, the newly elected president of the Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE) and president of Northwest Missouri State University.  "Other states pursuing this type of unbalanced tax policy are experiencing program erosion and facing spikes in tuition. Our education system is a critical component to economic development and our Missouri students and families should not have to bear the costs of tax policies with unintended consequences.  We look forward to working with our elected representatives and the Governor to continue moving higher education, and for that matter, early childhood, elementary and secondary and higher education, forward in Missouri."
According to an analysis by The College Board, since the 2007-2008 school year, tuition and fees at Missouri's public four-year colleges and universities have increased just 5 percent, the lowest of any other state in the nation.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gov. Nixon to lead Missouri business delegation on trade mission to France, the United Kingdom and Belgium


June 10, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that he will lead a delegation of Missouri businesses, industry leaders and higher education institutions to France, the United Kingdom and Belgium from June 14 through June 22. 

"The world wants what Missouri makes. By connecting Missouri businesses with customers in foreign markets and attracting new investments from around the globe, we can continue to create good jobs here at home," Gov. Nixon said. "Through strict fiscal discipline and strategic investments in economic development, Missouri's exports have reached record highs, while our unemployment rate has hit a four-year low. Expanding exports is vital to keeping our economy moving forward."
The past two calendar years, 2011 and 2012, were the best record for export sales by Missouri businesses, with a total of $28 billion in Missouri-made goods sold around the world during those two years. 
Missouri exports to Europe totaled more than $2.5 billion in 2012, making up nearly 20 percent of Missouri's export market. In fact, Belgium and the United Kingdom are Missouri's 6th and 7th largest trading partners, respectively. Customers in Belgium bought more than $394 million worth of Missouri goods in 2012.  Customers in the United Kingdom bought more than $351 million worth of Missouri goods in 2012, a 15 percent increase over 2011. France is Missouri's 14th largest trading partner, having purchased $225 million worth of Missouri goods in 2012, a 21 percent increase over 2011.
Joining Gov. Nixon on the delegation will be: First Lady Georganne Nixon; Mike Downing, Acting Director, Department of Economic Development; Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin); and State Senator Ryan McKenna (D-Jefferson City).
The Missouri delegation will also include representatives of Missouri businesses, industry leaders and higher education institutions, including Automated Motion Inc. (AMI); Boeing Company; DRS Technologies; Essex Industries; F-Stop Corporation, Kansas City Area Development Corp; Kansas City International Airport; LMI Aerospace; Mead & Hunt, Inc.; PAS Technologies; Sabreliner; St. Louis Lambert International Airport; St. Louis Regional Chamber; and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
In France, Gov. Nixon will attend the 50th International Paris Air Show, the world's leading aviation and space industry event, and meet with major aerospace industry leaders and foreign investors who have, or are considering, significant investments in Missouri. The Governor will also meet with U.S. Ambassador Charles H. Rivkin, the Confederation of French Industries International, and the American Chamber of Commerce.
"Designing, building and supplying aviation components creates good jobs in southwest Missouri, and throughout the state," said Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin), a member of the delegation. "As a delegate on a number of successful foreign trade missions, I have seen their value to Missouri businesses and workers firsthand. By strengthening our state's role in the global aerospace industry, we can continue to bring more jobs home to Missouri. We have a well trained, highly-skilled workforce in the Show-Me State, and I look forward to promoting this critical asset to international aviation and aerospace leaders during this trade mission."
"Essex Industries has been a leading supplier of products to the aerospace and defense industry since 1947, based right out of our hometown of St. Louis, Missouri," said Keith Guller, Chief Executive Officer ofEssex Industries, Inc. "The Paris Air Show provides us the opportunity to build upon and strengthen our relationship with customers and clients around the world."
While in France, Gov. Nixon and other members of the delegation also will travel to the Normandy American Cemetery to honor the American soldiers who died in World War II and are buried there, including 232 Missourians.
In the United Kingdom, Gov. Nixon is scheduled to meet with U.K. Trade and Invest, personnel from the U.S. Embassy; Minister Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; and the British-American Business Group.
"From agriculture to aerospace, the world's top companies can be found in St. Louis," said Steve Johnson, Executive Vice President, Economic Development & Marketing Strategies for the St. Louis Regional Chamber. "This business development mission allows us to build on these relationships so that we can continue to grow the economies of the St. Louis region and Missouri."
In Belgium, Gov. Nixon is scheduled to meet with U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman; personnel from NATO Command; and with members of the American Chamber of Commerce and American European Commission Association.
The Governor, First Lady and members of the delegation will arrive in Paris on Saturday, June 15.  The delegation will travel to the United Kingdom on Wednesday, June 19 and then to Belgium on Thursday, June 20. The delegation will return to the United Kingdom on Friday, June 21 and depart for Missouri on Saturday, June 22. Travel costs for Gov. and Mrs. Nixon will be covered by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic growth in Missouri. State taxpayer funds will not be used.
"This trade mission will produce meaningful discussions with our European peers leading to enhanced partnerships and global competency for our students and faculty in emerging fields of research, education and technology transfer," said Dr. Gail Hackett, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. "These discussions will help us ensure that our students, faculty and researchers can compete and win in the global economy."
"Kansas City's economy continues to grow, in part because of our ability to attract business from companies around the world," said Robert Marcusse, President and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Corp. "This trade mission gives us the opportunity to promote Kansas City's talented workforce, strong technology sectors, and key manufacturing and logistics assets." 
Gov. Nixon has made creating opportunities for Missouri businesses to sell their products around the globe a top priority of his administration. The Governor led successful trade missions to China (October 2011) and Brazil (April 2012), which resulted in agreements to sell $4.6 billion in Missouri goods to Chinese consumers, and the state's first-ever trade agreement with the State of São Paulo, Brazil's financial capital. 
This past March, Gov. Nixon led a trade mission to the Republic of Korea and the Republic of China (Taiwan) that resulted in agreements to sell a total of $1.9 billion in Missouri goods to Korean and Taiwanese consumers over the next four years.
To continue this momentum, the Governor's Fiscal Year 2014 budget calls for $2.3 million in funding to help businesses identify and access new export opportunities and to expand the state's presence in emerging markets around the world.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

On National Get Outdoors Day, Gov. Nixon launches 100 Missouri Miles Challenge in St. Louis to encourage physical activity in Missouri's great outdoors


June 8, 2013
ST. LOUIS - Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon today were joined by local parks officials as well as fitness and outdoor enthusiasts in Forest Park in St. Louis to launch the Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge. The challenge encourages Missourians to complete "100 Missouri Miles" of physical activity by the end of the year, while enjoying the incredible outdoor resources found in the Show-Me State. Missourians taking the challenge can register through www.mo.gov, and track their progress alongside the Governor's and First Lady's. Missourians can also connect with the challenge through Facebook andTwitter.
"From neighborhood greenways to backcountry hiking trails, Missouri's nationally-recognized trails can accommodate a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests," Gov. Nixon said. "This challenge is a great opportunity to enjoy Missouri's proud outdoor heritage, improve your health and - best of all - have fun with family and friends. Whether you run, walk, bike, paddle or roll, I encourage all Missourians to join me and the First Lady as we explore 100 Missouri miles of trails this year."
With some help from a couple young participants, Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon kicked off Gov. Nixon's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge at Forest Park in St. Louis on Saturday, June 8, 2013. The program challenges Missourians to join the Governor and First Lady to complete 100 miles of outdoor activity in 2013 and track their progress at 100MissouriMiles.com.
With some help from a couple young participants, Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon kicked off Gov. Nixon's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge at Forest Park in St. Louis on Saturday, June 8, 2013. The program challenges Missourians to join the Governor and First Lady to complete 100 miles of outdoor activity in 2013 and track their progress at100MissouriMiles.com.
Missouri was recently named the "Best Trails State" by American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting our nation's hiking, biking and riding trails. This national award recognizes innovative and successful trail sharing efforts, programs, and systems.
Missouri State Parks offers almost 1,000 miles of managed trails and the state claims more than 500 miles of National Recreation Trails designated by the U.S. Department of Interior. Notable trails include the Lewis and Clark, Trail of Tears, Santa Fe National Historic Trails, and the Katy Trail, the longest developed rail-trail in the nation.     
The award also recognized Missouri State Parks for a project that began in 2008 to inventory and manage trails, which is being used in a statewide effort to consolidate and coordinate trail data. Missouri State Parks recently released Trails of Missouri State Parks, a publication that provides detailed information on 230 Missouri State Parks trails.   
Earlier this year, Gov. Nixon announced that attendance at Missouri's State Parks increased in 2012, another sign of Missouri's economic recovery. More that 18 million guests visited Missouri's State Parks in 2012, the fourth consecutive increase in attendance since Gov. Nixon took office, reversing a 10-year decline.
Missouri trails and state parks are also important drivers of tourism and economic activity. A recent economic impact study found that visitors to state parks produced an overall economic impact of $1.02 billion and supported more than 14,000 Missouri jobs.  Another study found that the Katy Trail alone generates nearly $18.5 million a year in economic impact for the state, supports 367 jobs, and makes an overall economic impact of $8.2 million to the local trail communities.
The Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge is a partnership with the Missouri State Parks, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Missouri Division of Tourism.

Friday, June 7, 2013

On National Get Outdoors Day, Gov. Nixon launches 100 Missouri Miles Challenge in Springfield to encourage physical activity in Missouri's great outdoors


June 7, 2013
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon today were joined by local parks officials as well as fitness and outdoor enthusiasts to launch the Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challengeat David C. Murray Trailhead in Springfield. The challenge encourages Missourians to complete "100 Missouri Miles" of physical activity by the end of the year, while enjoying the incredible outdoor resources found in the Show-Me State. Missourians taking the challenge can register online at mo.gov, and track their progress alongside the Governor's and First Lady's. Missourians can also connect with the challenge through Facebook and Twitter.
"From neighborhood greenways to backcountry hiking trails, Missouri's nationally-recognized trails can accommodate a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests," Gov. Nixon said. "This challenge is a great opportunity to enjoy Missouri's proud outdoor heritage, improve your health and - best of all - have fun with family and friends. Whether you run, walk, bike, paddle or roll, I encourage all Missourians to join me and the First Lady as we explore Missouri's award winning trails this year."
Missouri was recently named the "Best Trails State" by American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting our nation's hiking, biking and riding trails. This national award recognizes innovative and successful trail sharing efforts, programs, and systems.
Missouri State Parks offers almost 1,000 miles of managed trails and the state claims more than 500 miles of National Recreation Trails designated by the U.S. Department of Interior. Notable trails include the Lewis and Clark, Trail of Tears, Santa Fe National Historic Trails, and the Katy Trail, the longest developed rail-trail in the nation.     
The award also recognized Missouri State Parks for a project that began in 2008 to inventory and manage trails, which is being used in a statewide effort to consolidate and coordinate trail data. Missouri State Parks recently released Trails of Missouri State Parks, a publication that provides detailed information on 230 Missouri State Parks trails.
Earlier this year, Gov. Nixon announced that attendance at Missouri's State Parks increased in 2012, another sign of Missouri's economic recovery. More that 18 million guests visited Missouri's State Parks in 2012, the fourth consecutive increase in attendance since Gov. Nixon took office, reversing a 10-year decline.
Missouri trails and state parks are also important drivers of tourism and economic activity. A recent economic impact study found that visitors to state parks produced an overall economic impact of $1.02 billion and supported more than 14,000 Missouri jobs.  Another study found that the Katy Trail alone generates nearly $18.5 million a year in economic impact for the state, supports 367 jobs, and makes an overall economic impact of $8.2 million to the local trail communities.
The Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge is a partnership with the Missouri State Parks, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Missouri Division of Tourism.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Independent report shows Missouri's graduation rate in the top 10 nationally


June 6, 2013
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Nixon issued the following statement regarding Education Week's 2013 Diploma's Count report, released today, showing Missouri with the 8th highest graduation rate in the country.  According to the report, over 80 percent of Missouri high school students graduated with a regular diploma in 2010, up 9.5 percent from 2000. This is the second year the state has been in the top 10 and the fourth consecutive year the state's graduation rate has increased.
"Quality public schools are essential to our state's economic competitiveness, and today's report is yet another indication that our smart, strategic investments in education are paying real dividends for Missouri families and communities," Gov. Nixon said. "There is more work to do, but with math and reading scores going up and dropout rates going down, Missouri's public schools are clearly moving in the right direction.  To ensure our workforce is ready to compete and win in the global economy, we must continue to build on this positive momentum, not undermine it with fiscally irresponsible experiments."
Yesterday, Gov. Nixon joined business leaders, educators, administrators and parents to discuss his veto of House Bill 253, which would undermine Missouri's economic competitiveness by jeopardizing funding for public education.
All states, public school districts, and local education agencies are required by the U.S. Department of Education to publicly report comparable high school graduation rates using its four-year adjusted cohort rate. The four-year adjusted cohort rate is a different method than the Diplomas Count report uses to calculate graduation rate.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Gov. Nixon vetoes HB 253; legislation's $800 million price tag would jeopardize vital public services and undermine economic growth



June 5, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon was joined today by area business and community leaders, including The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Bloch School of Management to discuss his veto of House Bill 253, calling the bill's $800 million price tag a fiscally irresponsible experiment that would undermine the state's economic and fiscal health and jeopardize funding for education and vital public services.

"With a price tag of $800 million, this legislation is an ill-conceived, fiscally irresponsible experiment that would hurt our economy and jeopardize funding for vital public services," Gov. Nixon said. "Writing a bad check and saying you'll figure out a way to pay for it later might make sense in Washington, DC and some other states, but it's not how we do things in Missouri."

The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, a membership organization of chief executive officers of the largest corporations and professional partnerships in the Kansas City metropolitan area, had urged the Governor to veto the legislation in a May 21 letter.

"Missouri already has a very competitive tax and regulatory environment," said Donald J. Hall Jr., Chair of The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City. "Missouri must maintain quality public services to remain competitive.  An excellent K-12 education system and world class, affordable colleges and universities that produce a skilled, 21st Century workforce, an efficient transportation infrastructure and reliable public safety are essential to our state's success. The Civic Council believes that HB 253 will result in a significant loss of state general fund revenues necessitating drastic cuts to funding for education (pre-K, K-12 and higher), social services and infrastructure.  That is why we urged Governor Nixon to veto House Bill 253 and applaud him for doing so today."

"Missouri can't afford to put state funding for our public schools in jeopardy with unaffordable and irresponsible tax cuts," saidDr. Carter Ward, Executive Director of the Missouri School Boards' Association. "We need to be making more investments in education, especially in early childhood education, not cutting the revenue available to fund our public schools. Quality public schools are not only important to our children and families, they're also vital to the economic health and vitality of our state.  That is why we applaud Governor Nixon for vetoing this ill-conceived legislation and will work with our elected representatives and other stakeholders to ensure it does not become law."

In a September 2011 report, the State Auditor recognized that Missouri has the seventh-lowest state taxes as a percentage of personal income.  In 2012, the Federation of Tax Administrators ranked Missouri the fifth-lowest in per capita state taxes in the country, representing a lower tax burden than all of our surrounding states.  Moreover, a 2012 report by Ernst & Young and the Council on State Taxation ranked Missouri's effective business tax rate as the eighth-lowest in the country.

The Governor also reiterated his concerns that House Bill 253 raises taxes on Missourians who take prescription medication. Since 1979, Missouri law has exempted prescription drug costs and co-pays from state sales tax.  Language in Section 144.030 of House Bill 253 would repeal this exemption, resulting in an estimated $200 million tax increase on Missourians who take prescription medication.

"Missouri is a low tax state, and we're going to keep it that way," Gov. Nixon said. "This legislation would increase taxes on seniors' prescription drugs, while giving special breaks to lawyers and lobbyists. That's not the way we do things here in the Show-Me State. House Bill 253 costs too much, accomplishes too little, and puts our budget and our economy at risk."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gov. Nixon makes board and commission appointments, including to Highways Commission and University of Missouri Board of Curators

June 4, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)
JEFFERSON CITY - An independent study emphasizes the importance of strengthening Medicaid in Missouri, and shows why Republican governors like Terry Branstad of Iowa are moving forward with Medicaid expansion in their states, Gov. Jay Nixon said today.  According to a study published yesterday by the RAND Corporation, states that choose not to strengthen Medicaid will increase spending on the cost of treating uninsured residents and forgo billions in federal dollars.

"This independent study builds on the already overwhelming evidence that strengthening Medicaid in Missouri is the right thing to do for our citizens, and the smart thing to do for our state," Gov. Nixon said. "Turning down the federal dollars available to expand and improve Medicaid in Missouri will increase costs and send billions of Missourians' hard-earned tax dollars to other states. That is why we are seeing governors and state lawmakers of both parties, all across the nation, seize this opportunity to improve access to basic health coverage and save taxpayers billions."

RAND found that in the fourteen states opting out of Medicaid expansion, 3.6 million fewer people would have health insurance while state spending on uncompensated care could increase by $1 billion in 2016 alone. Federal payments to those states would fall by $8.4 billion. The study's authors recommended that state policy makers "be aware that if they do not expand Medicaid, fewer people will have health insurance, and state and local governments will have to bear higher costs for uncompensated care."

Applying methodology from another recent study, RAND projects "that fully expanding Medicaid eligibility could reduce mortality by 90,000 lives per year. The mortality reduction would be only 71,000 lives per year if fourteen states opted out of the expansion."

The Associated Press reported this week that officials in Iowa were moving forward with their Medicaid expansion plan, after Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and state lawmakers reached compromise on increasing eligibility up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.  Branstad touted the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan as a better alternative to the "old Medicaid system" that would give Iowans "more ownership" over their health decisions and make Iowa a national leader.

RAND Corporation study shows increased costs for states that decline Medicaid dollars

June 4, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)
JEFFERSON CITY - An independent study emphasizes the importance of strengthening Medicaid in Missouri, and shows why Republican governors like Terry Branstad of Iowa are moving forward with Medicaid expansion in their states, Gov. Jay Nixon said today.  According to a study published yesterday by the RAND Corporation, states that choose not to strengthen Medicaid will increase spending on the cost of treating uninsured residents and forgo billions in federal dollars.

"This independent study builds on the already overwhelming evidence that strengthening Medicaid in Missouri is the right thing to do for our citizens, and the smart thing to do for our state," Gov. Nixon said. "Turning down the federal dollars available to expand and improve Medicaid in Missouri will increase costs and send billions of Missourians' hard-earned tax dollars to other states. That is why we are seeing governors and state lawmakers of both parties, all across the nation, seize this opportunity to improve access to basic health coverage and save taxpayers billions."

RAND found that in the fourteen states opting out of Medicaid expansion, 3.6 million fewer people would have health insurance while state spending on uncompensated care could increase by $1 billion in 2016 alone. Federal payments to those states would fall by $8.4 billion. The study's authors recommended that state policy makers "be aware that if they do not expand Medicaid, fewer people will have health insurance, and state and local governments will have to bear higher costs for uncompensated care."

Applying methodology from another recent study, RAND projects "that fully expanding Medicaid eligibility could reduce mortality by 90,000 lives per year. The mortality reduction would be only 71,000 lives per year if fourteen states opted out of the expansion."

The Associated Press reported this week that officials in Iowa were moving forward with their Medicaid expansion plan, after Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and state lawmakers reached compromise on increasing eligibility up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.  Branstad touted the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan as a better alternative to the "old Medicaid system" that would give Iowans "more ownership" over their health decisions and make Iowa a national leader.

Farmers in 12 Missouri counties impacted by severe weather in April and May eligible for low-interest loans and other federal assistance


June 4, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)
JEFFERSON CITY - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated seven counties in northern Missouri and five counties in eastern Missouri as natural disasters because of severe storms, straight-line winds and flooding that occurred from mid-April to early May, Gov. Jay Nixon said today.

Seven of the counties - Clark, Harrison, Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler, Scotland and Worth - are contiguous to counties in Iowa that have been declared primary disasters because of severe weather that occurred from April 17-30. Five other Missouri counties - Lincoln, Marion, Pike, Ralls and St. Charles - are contiguous to counties in Illinois that have been declared primary disasters because of severe weather that occurred from April 16 to May 5. Farmers in those counties who suffered qualified losses are eligible for low-interest loans and other federal assistance.

A disaster designation allows eligible farmers to be considered for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), including FSA emergency loans.

In addition to keeping an eye on crops and livestock, producers should document any losses or additional costs experienced as a result of weather events during those dates. That information is often required for producers to be eligible for physical and/or production loss loan assistance from the FSA, as well as other assistance programs.

Affected farmers can contact their local FSA office for more information.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Gov. Nixon vetoes SB 267; cites concern that legislation would negatively impact Missouri families' ability to adopt children from other countries


June 3, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)
ST. LOUIS - Gov. Jay Nixon today visited Lutheran Family & Children's Services in St. Louis to discuss his veto of Senate Bill 267, citing concerns that the legislation would have limited Missouri families' ability to adopt children from foreign nations.
"This legislation seeks to solve a problem that does not exist, while creating the very real problem of jeopardizing Missouri's families' ability to adopt children from foreign countries," Gov. Nixon said. "Here in Missouri, we believe in strengthening families and encouraging adoption. By placing additional barriers between couples who want to adopt and children who need loving homes, Senate Bill 267 is quite simply out of step with these basic values."
"This legislation raises serious questions as to whether a Missouri court could consider the foreign decree or order that is necessary to finalize the adoption of a child from a foreign country," the Governor's veto letter states. "This obstacle would complicate an already challenging process facing a Missouri couple seeking to adopt a child from another country whose legal system is deemed 'inconsistent' with ours."
"By banning judicial consideration of any body of law from outside of the United States, SB 267 could jeopardize the intercountry adoption process in Missouri," said Rev. Alan Erdman of Lutheran Family & Children's Services. "Senate Bill 267 would spell disaster for children and families, in addition to increasing the costs and processes that govern these adoptions.  We applaud Governor Nixon for vetoing this bill for the benefit of Missouri families and will work with our elected representatives to ensure it is sustained." 
According to the U.S. Department of State's Office of Children's Issues, from 1999 through 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, Missouri families have adopted 5,852 children born outside the United States.
The U.S. Department of State's Office of Children's Issues serves as the U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, which is an international treaty among over 75 nations around the world, including the United States.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Gov. Nixon assesses damage from storms, flooding and tornadoes in eastern Missouri


June 1, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)
ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon was in eastern Missouri today to meet with local and emergency response officials, and to assess damage from severe storms, flooding and at least two confirmed tornadoes in those areas. The Governor conducted aerial and ground tours of affected areas, including communities in St. Charles County where he was joined by St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann and other officials.
"Missouri has been hit by several rounds of severe storms in the past few weeks, and last night's dangerous weather follows several days of heavy rain," Gov. Nixon said. "I want to assure Missourians that the state will continue to work closely with local communities. Because many streams and rivers are overflowing their banks, we will need to stay vigilant in both monitoring and responding to flooding across the state as well. This remains a dangerous situation."
Before he assessed damage in St. Charles County, Gov. Nixon earlier today conducted an aerial and ground tour of Meramec State Park in Franklin and Crawford counties, which has been affected by severe flooding.
The Governor also received a briefing from officials with the National Weather Service regarding the weather outlook for Missouri, as flooding continues to pose a threat in many parts of the state as rivers and streams continue to rise. Authorities have confirmed three deaths from high water; those occurred in Lawrence, Miller and Reynolds counties. Over the past 36 hours, Highway Patrol Troopers, local law enforcement and other first responders have responded to numerous calls throughout Missouri because of flooded roadways and rivers, and have assisted in several rescues.
Gov. Nixon urged Missourians to remember these important safety tips on flooding and high water:
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups. Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don't try it. Water hides dips in the road. Worse yet, there may be no road at all under the water. Flooding can scour away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath.
Last night, Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri as a widespread severe weather system continued to move across the state, bringing heavy rain, hail, straight-line winds, flooding and radar-indicated tornadoes.
The State Emergency Operations Center has been actively monitoring the storm system this week. Gov. Nixon also has been receiving updates from his emergency management team, including senior officials from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Missouri National Guard, Missouri State Highway Patrol and State Emergency Management Agency to assess the current weather situation and address local needs.
Gov. Nixon has also activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Gov. Nixon signs law reinstating public safety exemptions to Missouri Sunshine Law


May 31, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon today signed House Bill 256, which reinstates important public safety exemptions to Missouri's Sunshine Law. These exemptions, which expired at the end of 2012, help prevent the release of security plans and procedures that protect facilities such as schools, courthouses and hospitals.  The Governor had publicly called on the General Assembly to renew these expired provisions earlier this year.
"Earlier this year I called on the General Assembly to reinstate these narrowly tailored provisions, which help keep sensitive security plans out of the hands of criminals and terrorists, while respecting the bedrock principles of transparency and accountability," Gov. Nixon said. "I want to thank Representative Caleb Jones and Senator Mike Kehoe for their leadership in getting these important public safety protections to my desk and I am pleased to make them law with my signature today."
Specifically, the bill re-institutes exceptions to the Sunshine Law that protect records relating to operational guidelines, policies and specific response plans maintained for the purposes of law enforcement, public safety, first response or public health.  Under the bill, a public governmental body can also close records that relate to security systems and structural plans submitted by private entities with facilities on public property.
The bill, presented to the Governor yesterday, contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately upon the Governor's signature.

Gov. Nixon announces launch of 100 Missouri Miles Challenge at Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games


May 31, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon joined thousands of athletes, coaches and families at the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games in Columbia today to launch the 100 Missouri Miles Challenge. The new initiative encourages Missourians to complete "100 Missouri Miles" of physical activity by the end of the year, while enjoying the incredible outdoor resources found in the Show-Me State. Missourians taking the challenge can register online at www.100MissouriMiles.com, and track their progress alongside the Governor's and First Lady's. Missourians can also connect with the challenge through Facebook and Twitter.
Gov. Jay Nixon joined thousands of athletes, coaches and families at the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games in Columbia today to launch the 100 Missouri Miles Challenge.
Gov. Jay Nixon joined thousands of athletes, coaches and families at the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games in Columbia today to launch the 100 Missouri Miles Challenge.
"From neighborhood greenways to backcountry hiking trails, Missouri's nationally-recognized trails can accommodate a wide variety of activities for all ages, interests and ability levels," Gov. Nixon said. "Because this initiative is all about bringing people together for healthy competition and outdoor physical activity, tonight's opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics Summer Games is the perfect place to kick things off.  Whether you run, walk, bike, paddle or roll, I encourage all Missourians to join me and the First Lady as we explore 100 Missouri miles of trails this year."
Missouri was recently named the "Best Trails State" by American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting our nation's hiking, biking and riding trails. The national award is presented every two years to the state with the most innovative and successful trail sharing efforts, programs, and systems.
"With more than 16,500 athletes across Missouri, Special Olympics works year round to increase physical fitness for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, build communities and improve our athlete's overall health, saidMark Musso, President and CEO of Special Olympics Missouri. "We are proud to help launch the Governor's 100 Miles Challenge as a way to highlight our state's beautiful outdoors and the benefits of staying healthy and active."
Earlier this year, Gov. Nixon announced that attendance at Missouri's State Parks increased in 2012, another sign of Missouri's economic recovery. More that 18 million guests visited Missouri's State Parks in 2012, the fourth consecutive increase in attendance since Gov. Nixon took office, reversing a 10-year decline.
Missouri trails and state parks are also important drivers of tourism and economic activity. A recent economic impact study found that visitors to state parks produced an overall economic impact of $1.02 billion and supported more than 14,000 Missouri jobs.  Another study found that the Katy Trail alone generates nearly $18.5 million a year in economic impact for the state, supports 367 jobs, and makes an overall economic impact of $8.2 million to the local trail communities.
The Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge is a partnership with the Missouri State Parks, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Missouri Division of Tourism.
To take the Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge, sign up at www.100MissouriMiles.com 
About the Special Olympics: The Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.  The State Summer Games will bring together than 2,500 athletes and coaches, along with family and friends from across Missouri.

Gov. Nixon declares state of emergency in response to severe and dangerous weather


May 31, 2013

(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon tonight declared a state of emergency in Missouri as a widespread severe weather system continued to move across the state, bringing heavy rain, hail, straight-line winds, flooding and radar-indicated tornadoes. This severe weather follows several days of heavy rain throughout much of the state, leading to flooding along many streams and rivers. The severe weather threat continues tonight in parts of Missouri, and is likely to continue tomorrow for much of the state. 
"Much of Missouri is experiencing dangerous severe weather tonight, on the heels of several days of heavy rain," Gov. Nixon said. "I urge Missourians to closely monitor weather conditions, so they can take shelter or move to higher ground if needed. The risk of severe weather remains with us well into tomorrow. The state of Missouri will continue to work closely with local officials to help protect lives and property from these storms."
The State Emergency Operations Center has been actively monitoring the storm system this week. Gov. Nixon has been receiving updates from his emergency management team, including senior officials from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Missouri National Guard, Missouri State Highway Patrol and State Emergency Management Agency to assess the current weather situation and address local needs.
Gov. Nixon has also activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Legislation would impose a $200 million sales tax increase on Missourians who need prescription drugs


May 30, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)
JEFFERSON CITY - House Bill 253, passed by the General Assembly earlier this month, would increase taxes on Missourians who take prescription medication if it becomes law, Gov. Jay Nixon said today.  An initial review has determined that the bill would eliminate the current sales tax exemption on prescription drugs and result in an estimated tax increase of $200 million annually, the Governor said.
"The out-of-pocket cost of prescription drugs, especially for those suffering from cancer, heart disease or other life-threatening conditions, already puts a strain on many Missouri families," Gov. Nixon said. "That is why it is so troubling that House Bill 253 would repeal Missouri's long-standing sales tax exemption on prescription drugs.  If enacted, this provision would impose a $200 million sales tax hike on Missourians and increase the cost of the medications they need. This is a tax increase that Missourians cannot afford and don't deserve."
Since 1979, Missouri law has exempted prescription drug costs and co-pays from state sales tax.  Language in Section 144.030 of House Bill 253 would repeal this exemption, resulting in an estimated $200 million tax increase on Missourians who take prescription medication.
Additional review of this legislation is ongoing.

Express Scripts to create 100 new jobs in Joplin, Gov. Nixon announces


May 30, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)
JOPLIN, Mo. - One of the largest pharmacy benefit management companies in the U.S. is expanding in the state of Missouri again, Gov. Jay Nixon announced today. St. Louis-based Express Scripts will be adding up to 100 new local jobs for work-at-home customer service representatives in Joplin, representing a capital investment of approximately $960,000 into the local economy. The Joplin announcement follows two significant expansions by the company at its St. Louis headquarters since 2009.
"Express Scripts' decision to further invest in the state of Missouri by adding these jobs in the Joplin area will have a significant impact on the area's economy," Gov. Nixon said. "I am pleased my administration could help make this important project a reality. It's the latest sign of the positive momentum of the Show-Me State's economy."
In just the last six weeks, Missouri has seen major jobs creation announcements by Ford (900 new manufacturing jobs at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo), Monsanto (675 new jobs at its St. Louis County facility) and Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems (263 new auto supply manufacturing jobs at a new facility in Riverside). Missouri employers created more than 12,000 new jobs in April alone, and the state's current unemployment rate of 6.6 percent, which has decreased three full points since 2009, has been lower than the national unemployment rate for 44 consecutive months.
Express Scripts manages more than a billion prescriptions each year for tens of millions of patients in the U.S. The company provides integrated pharmacy-benefit management services, including network-pharmacy claims processing, home delivery, specialty benefit management, benefit-design consultation, drug-utilization review, formulary management, and medical and drug data analysis services for its clients, which include employers, health plans, unions and government health programs. The company also distributes a full range of biopharmaceutical products and provides extensive cost-management and patient-care services.
The state of Missouri helped make Express Scripts' expansion in Joplin possible through a strategic package of economic incentives, which the company can redeem if it meets strict job creation and investment criteria.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Missouri supports our veterans and military families


May 23, 2013

(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)
This Memorial Day, as we honor those who have paid the ultimate price in protecting our freedom, it also reminds us to renew our efforts on behalf of the military veterans who have come back home.
The state of Missouri has been proud to honor and support those who are serving, or have served, in our military and their families. Over the past four years, we have started several programs and passed legislation on behalf of military families, for both active-duty members and veterans.
In 2010, I initiated the Show-Me Heroes program to encourage Missouri employers to hire veterans, and to recognize the efforts of those employers. To date, nearly 3,000 employers have taken the Show-Me Heroes pledge, meaning they will give first consideration to veterans when they have job openings. Those employers have put more than 4,271 veterans to work in the past three years. The employers know they are not just helping those veterans, they also are getting someone who is trained, disciplined, and who will work hard.
Last year, we strengthened Show-Me Heroes by adding an on-the-job training component for returning veterans employers agree to hire. Through this on-the-job training program, employers are reimbursed for 50 percent of the veteran's wages during a contracted training period. These resources are helping Missouri veterans obtain necessary skills to transition from military to civilian careers.
More help came to spouses of active-duty military in Missouri as well, as they became eligible for the same financial assistance provided to the spouses of National Guard and Reservists. That assistance includes payment of overdue bills; transportation and day care costs while they are pursuing employment; and vocational counseling and subsidized employment.  
We have also recognized that military spouses often face unemployment when they leave a job to relocate. That is why I signed a bill last year that provides them with unemployment benefits of up to 20 weeks, or until they find new employment. In the past two years, some 248 Missouri families have been helped by this assistance after they relocated.
That same law from 2011 also helps military spouses who move to Missouri and have professional licenses in good standing. They can apply for a 180-day courtesy license to make the transfer of their professional credentials to Missouri as seamless as possible. A realtor in good standing in Georgia whose husband was transferred from Ft. Benning to Ft. Leonard Wood, for example, could apply for a temporary realtor's license that would enable her to work in that profession while she goes through the process of obtaining a permanent license here.
Missouri also has become an attractive location for retired military veterans, many of whom are now active in the civilian workforce. A law I signed in 2009 is phasing out the state tax on their military pensions, and the tax will be eliminated by 2016. It's another way we are recognizing their service to our country.
Finally, last year, I worked across the aisle to provide a dedicated funding source for Missouri's seven veterans homes, which house and care for more than 1,300 military veterans. Under legislation I signed, Missouri's veterans homes will have the resources they need to provide the high-quality, modern care our veterans deserve for many years to come.
The bottom line is that, in Missouri, we are proactively taking steps to help our troops and their families, both during and after their service. They sacrifice so much in order to ensure we remain free, and I am proud Missouri can offer these ways to thank them.