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Kansas

The governor set priorities for the session

 

The legislature was not in session on January 16 to recognize Martin Luther King Day. We returned to the Capitol the next day, and it was highlighted by the swearing-in ceremony for Vivek Malek, our new state treasurer.

Malek was selected by Gov. Mike Parson to replace Scott Fitzpatrick, who stepped down to take up his new role as auditor, following his election last November.

The overall highlight of the week was Parson’s State of the State address. Members of the Missouri House and Senate gathered in the House chamber to hear Parson outline his priorities for the 2023 legislative session.

He used his annual speech to convey the theme “We’re not done yet,” calling on lawmakers to make key investments in infrastructure improvements, public safety, workforce development, elementary and secondary education, higher education, health and mental health care , and to reform the children’s division of the Missouri Department of Human Services.

Parson began the speech by thanking lawmakers for working together to implement the largest income tax cut in the state and provide support for agriculture. His speech also focused on the state government’s progress in infrastructure, workforce and education, mental health and health, government reform, and public safety.

“Together, we have moved billions of dollars in investments into this state. Whether you live in Kansas City or St. Louis, call Kennett or Rockport home, grow corn or cotton, vote left, right or center, we have not let no community behind it,” Parson said. “Missouri is stronger today and we will continue what we started because this governor is not done yet. We are not done yet.”

During his speech, Parson asked lawmakers to focus their efforts on several areas. In infrastructure, the governor prioritized major investments to continue expanding broadband accessibility, upgrade railroad crossings, and invest in widening and rebuilding the I-70 corridor.

Our governor is also recommending that we fully fund the foundation’s formula for education and school transportation while expanding the career program and continuing the base salary program. He also calls for expanding preschool options and strengthening the childcare network. Its proposed tax credits for childcare providers will allow more of these businesses to start, expand and stay in business.

The Missouri Caucus Women Legislators announced that they are once again sponsoring 16 $1,000 college scholarships available to senior graduates across Missouri. The WLM Caucus created the Senior Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to young women based on leadership, academics, and community service. Applicants must complete an application and are required to submit a 500-word essay answering the question, “If you were a state legislator, what is a specific goal you hoped to achieve and why?” A link to download the scholarship can be found at

January is National Blood Donor Month. It serves as a moment to recognize that approximately 3% of the population in the United States gives blood each year. The winter months are typically the leanest in giving due to inclement weather and seasonal illnesses. Someone in this country needs blood every two seconds, and a single donation can save up to three lives. The need is enormous. I personally donated my first unit when I was in college. I’ve earned my 10-gallon pin and will keep giving as long as I can. Please consider donating blood yourself. Go to www.redcrossblood.org to find a blood donation near you.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please contact me at 573-751-2077 or email [email protected]

State Representative Willard Haley represents House District 58, which includes parts of Miller, Morgan and Moniteau counties.

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