“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of March 21: Half of the Work Is Behind Us

The Legislature has completed the first half of the 2022 regular legislative session. Each session has its own set of challenges, and this year has been no different. We continue to live under the shadow of a worldwide pandemic. At the same time, we face a number of issues, both in northwest Missouri and throughout our state. In the course of the four and a half months that make up the session, time can be short for lawmakers.

We were fortunate to pass a supplemental budget to carry the state through the remainder of the current fiscal year, which will end on June 30. House Bill 3014 contains a number of items, including higher salaries for our teachers and other important employees, money for hospitals and funding to keep Medicaid working for our most vulnerable citizens. The bulk of the money in this supplemental bill comes from the federal government, and we had a short deadline to meet; otherwise, we may have lost this funding to other states.

The Missouri Senate has also sent some key measures to the Missouri House of Representatives for consideration. These include Senate Bill 799, which I sponsor. This proposal would modify the offense of escaping from custody for anyone on probation or parole. Another big-ticket bill that has been approved by Missouri senators is Senate Bill 672. This measure would modify provisions relating to workforce development. I believe this legislation would go a long way toward helping employers hire and keep the best people for the many jobs that are available out there.

In the second half of session, we still have to pass a balanced budget for the next fiscal year, which will start on July 1. The Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee, which I chair, has spent numerous hours hearing from both the public and department heads. By law, the budget has to be delivered to the governor no later than 6 p.m. on May 6. With only a few weeks until this deadline, our work will continue toward the only constitutional task assigned to the Missouri General Assembly, and one I take seriously.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.