February 8, 2016

MFA Oil Company acquires central Oklahoma propane supplier

MFA Oil Company, the seventh largest propane retailer in the United States, has acquired R&S Propane, Inc., a propane supplier based in Dibble, Oklahoma.

Mark Fenner, MFA Oil president and CEO

Mark Fenner, MFA Oil president and CEO

“This purchase gives us a good entry point into the nearby Norman and Oklahoma City markets and fits well with our existing operations in Oklahoma,” says Mark Fenner, MFA Oil president and CEO. “We look forward to integrating R&S Propane’s assets into our company and continuing to work with their customers to see that their propane service needs are met.”

This is MFA Oil’s third acquisition of its fiscal year, which began September 1, 2015. Previous acquisitions for the current fiscal year included Lybarger Oil Inc. in Garnett, Kansas and Elaine Petroleum Distribution Inc. in Elaine, Arkansas. The company plans to continue evaluating acquisition opportunities in its existing market area and other states where it can expand its footprint.

MFA Oil Company, formed in 1929, is a farmer-owned cooperative with more than 40,000 members. It is the seventh largest propane retailer in the United States. MFA supplies fuels, lubricants and propane to customers in Missouri, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. Through a subsidiary, MFA Oil operates Break Time convenience stores in Missouri and Arkansas, Jiffy Lube franchises in central Missouri and Big O Tires franchises in Missouri and Arkansas.

Missouri Supreme Court to consider unemployment bill veto override

The state Supreme Court will consider next week whether the senate did override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill to reduce unemployment benefits.

The Missouri Supreme Court

The Missouri Supreme Court

The 2015 legislation would reduce the length of time a person could receive unemployment benefits to as few as 13 weeks depending on the state’s unemployment rate, from 20 weeks.

The Court is being asked to consider whether the Senate could override the veto of that bill in the September veto session, or if it could only have done so before the end of the regular session last May.

Plaintiffs argue the Constitution only allows overrides to be considered on bills vetoed in the final five days of the session, but a lower court said the Senate could override this veto.

The state argues that the Constitution says there will be a veto session if the governor vetoes a bill in the final days of the regular session, but doesn’t limit what vetoes can be taken up for overrides.

If the Supreme Court finds with the plaintiffs, the passage of the unemployment bill could be ruled unconstitutional.

The Court will hear those arguments Wednesday and could then issue a ruling at any time.

Missouri Senate president: right-to-work would need more support in House for time in Senate in 2016

Right-to-work is going to need more backing in the state House for it to receive time in the state Senate in 2016, according to the latter chamber’s leader.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard

After leading an effort to bring that issue to a vote last session, Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard (R-Joplin) says it isn’t likely to have the support it needs in the House for the Senate to consider it.

“Right-to-work is going to need 109 votes [in the state House],” Richard told Missourinet. “I’m not sure in an election year they have that. They may be working on it but the speaker [of the House] hasn’t told me exactly his plan for that. But that’s not really an issue that I’m too involved in right now.”

Richard said what happened with that proposal this year has served a purpose.

“We made it an issue for the governor’s race. That was important,” said Richard.

The state’s four Republican candidates for governor are supportive of right-to-work while the only Democrat candidate, Chris Koster, opposes it.

The state House Speaker, Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff), told Missourinet his caucus hasn’t made an “official decision” on what will happen with right-to-work in the new session.

Tax incentives for businesses that relocate to Missouri proposed again

The state legislature will again consider whether to offer a tax incentive to out-of-state businesses to relocate to Missouri.

Representative John McCaherty (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative John McCaherty (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative John McCaherty (R-High Ridge) has filed again for 2016 his proposal to offer businesses a tax deduction equal to up to half the expense of eliminating a business outside the state and moving it into Missouri. The business would have to stay in Missouri for at least ten years or pay back that deduction.

He tells Missourinet he thinks there are many businesses that would come to Missouri if his tax incentive proposal passes, and those would bring a lot of jobs.

“Probably more than we know,” said McCaherty. “I know just AT&T, Sprint, just the telephone companies alone, there’s thousands of jobs there that have left the state over the years. Of course there’s other industries too, so you’re talking about utilities and any type of thing that uses service companies to where they can take a branch of their business and move it somewhere else.”

McCaherty believes there is a lot of support for his proposal.

This year it cleared the House and passed out of a Senate committee.

St. Louis area workers participate in nationwide strike for higher wages and union rights

Some fast food, home health and childcare workers nationwide went on strike today, including in the St. Louis area, to protest for higher wages and union rights. Demonstrators are calling for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Workers rally for higher wages and union rights

Workers rally for higher wages and union rights

Frances Holmes makes $9 an hour at a McDonald’s in the St. Louis area.

“Some days I don’t eat because I can’t afford food. When I pay my rent, sometimes I have about $11 left,” said Holmes. “This month, I had to borrow a dollar to pay my rent. I live in a boarding house. It’s very difficult, but I can’t afford a one bedroom apartment.”

Holmes said there’s no middle class.

“It’s rich people and poor people,” said Holmes.

Many cities, including Kansas City and St. Louis, have considered proposals to raise the minimum wage. During the Legislature’s veto session in September, lawmakers voted to overturn Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that tells cities they can’t set a greater minimum wage than the state.

Today’s demonstrations included a rally at City Hall in St. Louis.

St. Louis is one of 500 cities throughout the country participating in today’s protests.

Brad Tregnago of KSSZ contributed to this story.