In his final State of the State address as Missouri’s top leader, Governor Jay Nixon said he wants his last months in office to include creating jobs, expanding Medicaid, increasing funding for education and those with developmental disabilities.
Governor Nixon also called on state lawmakers to do the following this year:
-Pass ethics reform
One issue that Republicans and Governor Nixon agree on is passing ethics reform. Both chambers are working on legislation and the House has already passed four bills.
“Let’s get real ethics on my desk this session so I can sign it into law,” said Nixon. “Honest, transparent and accountable state government starts with remembering what we’re here to do and who we’re here to serve.”
– Pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA), which would prohibit discrimination against LGBT Missourians in employment, housing and public accommodations.
Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard (R-Joplin) said MONA will not pass this year in his chamber. Senate Democrat leader Joe Keaveny pre-filed that legislation for this session.
-Pass legislation to help pay for Missouri’s roads and bridges.
“With gas prices the lowest they’ve been in more than a decade, now is the time to get this done,” said Nixon.
-Pass legislation that would monitor the amounts of prescription drugs being taken by individuals.
Missouri is the only state in the country without a prescription drug monitoring program.
A topic mentioned by Nixon that came out of left field was regulating daily fantasy sports in Missouri.
“This is gambling, kids are playing, and it’s completely unregulated. There are lobbyists in this building that want to keep it that way. If you’re going to legalize it, we must regulate it and tax it just like we do casinos. This industry should follow the law, play by the rules and pay its fair share. This could mean millions of dollars a year for education,” said Nixon.
Nixon laid out his proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 that begins July 1. House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) said Nixon’s proposal includes a more than $400 million supplemental budget.
Some of the highlights of his proposed budget includes:
-$200 million increase to help those with developmental disabilities and mental illness
– An increase of $150 million for public schools
-$56 million added for performance funding for colleges and universities
-A $5 million increase to improve and expand Missouri’s ports
-An additional $3 million for Tourism
-$1.6 million to give treatment to those with severe mental illness
One topic not mentioned was increasing pay for state workers but Richardson said Nixon did include a 2% pay hike in his budget proposal. Richardson said state worker pay is going to be a priority this year.
Nixon did not mention anything about efforts to try and end abortions in Missouri. Several abortion related bills have been pre-filed by legislators.
He also didn’t bring up plans for the NFL in St. Louis. It might be a non issue to him now that the Rams are moving to suburban Los Angeles.
Nixon has said repeatedly that the plan for a new stadium would not move forward without a long-term commitment from a team. No commitments have been made and Nixon has said the likelihood of another team locating in St. Louis is slim.
Nixon said redeveloping the riverfront stadium area is more exciting to him than an NFL team in St. Louis.
Hear Nixon’s full State of the State address here: