Senator Elaine Gannon’s Capitol Report for Nov. 4, 2021
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of attending committee hearings and meeting with state and regional leaders. One of the tasks assigned by Senate leadership at the conclusion of the 2021 session was to thoroughly examine our state budget’s largest expenditure, Medicaid or MO HealthNet, to ensure it is managed efficiently, aligns with Missouri values and protects the sanctity of life for the unborn. The Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection held its fifth and final hearing on Oct. 20 to learn more about managed care programs and the technology used to implement these programs. The director of MO HealthNet explained how outdated computer hardware and software systems present an ongoing challenge to the division and its staff. The Missouri Foundation for Health and the Missouri Hospital Association shared suggestions to strengthen and improve Missouri’s three managed care programs. The committee will present a full report of its findings and recommendations to the entire chamber before the end of the year.
After this hearing adjourned, I joined the other members of the Joint Committee on Education to discuss the possibility of implementing a performance-based model for funding higher education in Missouri. During the hearing, the commissioner of higher education recommended measuring outcomes based on all graduation rates, including students who transfer from a two-year to a four-year institution or transfer schools during college; the number of graduates who utilize Pell Grants; and student performance on licensure exams. The committee also heard from the executive vice president of finance and operations from the University of Missouri Systems and the Council on Public Higher Education.
The final stop on my legislative bandwagon was a hearing for the committee I chair, the Senate Interim Committee on Greater St. Louis Regional Emerging Issues. Held on the campus of Lindenwood University on Oct. 25, the committee heard from various county executives and municipal leaders about the challenges they face and opportunities for improvement in their communities. Public safety and crime reduction are overarching regional concerns, as well as police recruitment and retention. I believe the members of this committee have gleaned a great deal of information and potential ways to address these issues in Jefferson City next session.
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Honoring District Veterans
With Veterans Day just around the corner, make plans now to honor the valiant heroes who reside in the 3rd Senatorial District. Check with your local chamber of commerce, VFW and American Legion to see what has been planned. If you have an event to share, send me the information and I will post it on social media.