It’s been a very active and eventful week at the Legislature. We have already begun the process of perfecting bills that have been through the committee process, and so things are well under way.
Last night, the governor held his final State of the State address, in which he wrapped up his accomplishments while in office and laid out his plans for the last months of his term. My colleagues and I are hopeful that the governor will work together with the Legislature during his last year in office, and that we can pass constructive legislation that will make Missouri a better place to live, work and raise a family. Building a stronger economy and creating jobs are issues upon which everyone can agree. To accomplish this, we need a governor willing to work together with the Legislature so he may end his term on a positive note. The House and Senate have already agreed to work more closely together this session, and to take on the tasks that the citizens of Missouri elected us to do. We want the governor to become more engaged with the legislative process as we work toward a healthy and prosperous economic future.
The governor’s budget, which was handed down Wednesday evening, calls for large increases in education, including $85 million towards the foundation formula, and extra funding for colleges and universities that agree to tuition freezes. The Legislature has, in the past, matched or exceeded the governor’s proposals for education, and has increased present funding to historic levels.
The governor has also pushed for an expansion of Medicaid for the last several years and has asked for an additional $496 million this year in supplemental appropriations to achieve that goal. Because of evolving eligibility standards for both the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, an additional 100,000 people were added to the Medicaid rosters since last year. At this writing, more than 1/5 of Missouri’s population is on Medicaid. This system is not sustainable, and we seriously need to reevaluate the eligibility standards and find a solution to provide care for those who actually need it, and strengthen our investigation of fraud that is growing within this bloated system.
My hope for this session is to prove to the people of Missouri that we can truly work together to improve our way of life in our beautiful state.
As always, I encourage my constituents to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or suggestions by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, visit www.senate.mo.gov/brown. Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.