2023 Legislative Update — Governor Signs Fiscal Year 2024 State Budget

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On Friday, June 30th, Governor Mike Parson signed the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) state operating and capital improvement budget bills into law. The Missouri FY24 state operating budget is approximately $51.8 billion, including $15.2 billion in general revenue. The FY24 state operating budget began on July 1, 2023, and ends on June 30, 2024.

Additionally, Governor Parson issued 201 line-item vetoes, totaling $555.3 million. Many of the vetoes were related to special projects throughout the state and they did not make any cuts to core functions of the state agencies or public education.

The FY24 budget bills include billions of dollars for critical infrastructure projects:

  • $2.8 billion to expand and rebuild I-70 across the state from Kansas City to St. Louis;
  • $379 million to boost road and bridge projects within the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program;
  • $248 million for broadband deployment in unserved and underserved communities; and
  • $60 million for safety improvements at railroad crossings.

The budget also includes investments in both education and workforce development systems including:

  • $3.6 billion to again fully fund the K-12 Foundation Formula for the fifth year in a row;
  • $288.7 million for capital improvement projects at public higher education institutions;
  • $233 million to fully fund school transportation needs for the second year in a row;
  • $70.8 million core funding increase for state higher education institutions;
  • $60 million to invest in semiconductor production research, development, and skills training;
  • $38 million for the fourth year of MoExcels projects and employer-driven workforce training investments;
  • $32 million for the Career Ladder program to reward educators who go above and beyond normal duties;
  • Full funding for the Teacher Baseline Salary Grant Program which increases baseline K-12 educator pay to $38,000 per year (participating schools will no longer have a grant match requirement); and
  • $3.5 million for Apprenticeship Missouri and Youth Apprenticeships.

Finally, the budget includes funding for the following programs:

  • $78 million to increase rates for child care providers;
  • $56 million for public and charter schools to provide Pre-Kindergarten programs to all students qualifying for free and reduced lunch;
  • $26 million for private child care providers to offer Pre-Kindergarten programs to students qualifying for free and reduced lunch;
  • $50 million for a second round of school safety grants;
  • $20 million for grant funding for first responders;
  • $25 million for a meat laboratory facility at UM – Columbia;
  • $43 million for a Veterinary Medical Diagnostic laboratory at UM – Columbia;
  • $13.1 million for targeted salary increases for the Missouri State Highway Patrol;
  • $11 million to upgrade Missouri State Highway Patrol equipment;
  • $1 million to continue the Missouri Blue Scholarship program;
  • $1 million to further support the 988 Crisis Hotline;
  • $250,000 for the statewide School Safety Tipline;
  • $300 million for a new mental health hospital in Kansas City;
  • $33.3 million for reconstruction and reform at the Missouri Children’s Division;
  • $17 million for MO HealthNet eligibility redeterminations;
  • $7.2 million for the construction of a new Division of Youth Services center in St. Louis;
  • $4.4 million to implement the Maternal Mortality Prevention plan; and
  • $4.3 million to increase the number of Youth Behavioral Health Liaisons statewide.

As the state operating budget bills have been signed into law, the Governor’s office will now focus their attention on the policy legislation that passed during the 2023 regular legislative session. The Governor has until July 14th to act on all bills passed. The Governor can either sign the bill into law, take no action to which the bill becomes law or veto the bill. If the Governor vetoes any legislation, these bills will be eligible for a veto override by the Missouri General Assembly in September. All laws will take effect on August 28, 2023, unless specifically stated otherwise in the legislation.

On June 27, it was announced Missouri will receive more than $1.7 billion through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, which is part of the federal Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA). Missouri’s funding allocation ranks as third highest among all states, the District of Columbia, and five territories. Nationally, funding allocation totaled more than $42.5 billion through the BEAD program. Missouri’s share of funding will be used by the Department of Economic Development’s Office of Broadband Development for its Connecting All Missourians Initiative, which aims to provide high-quality internet statewide.

Judge Mary R. Russell assumed the role of chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court beginning July 1. Her term as chief justice will run through June 30, 2025, and she succeeds Judge Paul C. Wilson, who remains on the court. Justice Russell, the third woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Missouri since statehood in 1821, is currently the most senior in tenure on the Court.

On June 30, after more than thirty years in public office, St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann announced this would be his last term. He is currently in his fifth term as St. Charles County Executive and will be 77 years old at the end of his term. Before his tenure as county executive, Ehlmann served in both the Missouri House and Senate, and was a circuit judge.

Gov. Mike Parson announced on June 20 that Jamie Birch has been named director of policy on his senior staff. Ms. Birch, 34, most recently served as the governor’s deputy director of policy. She joined the governor’s staff in December 2020 and has managed a policy portfolio of Missouri’s 17 executive branch agencies. She has served as justice reinvestment coordinator; American Rescue Plan Act project management co-leader, helping oversee the implementation of $2.7 billion; a member of the Missouri Blue Ribbon Commission; and co-leader of the Missouri Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families.

Prior to joining the governor’s staff, Ms. Birch served as legislative director for the Missouri Public Service Commission. She has past experience working in Arizona state government as policy advisor for Arizona Governor Janice Brewer. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Arizona State University and a Master of public administration from the University of Missouri, Columbia.

On June 16, Gov. Mike Parson announced that Michelle Hataway will serve as acting director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) after Maggie Kost’s departure. In her more than seven years with DED, Hataway has served as regional manager, deputy director, and director of the Division of Regional Engagement. Most recently, she served as DED’s deputy director. Prior to joining the department, Hataway held positions with her family’s 90-year-old business and at Netflix. Her appointment is effective immediately. Hataway will also serve as president of the Missouri Economic Development Council beginning in July. She earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in communication studies from the University of Alabama.

On June 2, Gov. Mike Parson announced his appointment of attorney Carole Iles, Ashland, to the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission. Iles has worked as a state and local tax attorney in mid-Missouri for nearly two decades, serving Of Counsel to the law firms Akerman LLP and Bryan, Cave, Leighton, Paisner LLP. Early in her career she served as a Missouri Supreme Court law clerk to Judge Charles Blackmar, then as an assistant Missouri attorney general for five years, and as general counsel in the Missouri Department of Revenue for four years. She served two terms as chair of the Missouri Bar Taxation Law Committee and is a current member of the Boone County Bar Association.

Iles received a Bachelor of Arts degree in international affairs from The George Washington University, an Associate of Arts degree from Cottey College, and a Doctor of Law degree, cum laude, from the University of Missouri School of Law, Columbia, where she was a member of the Missouri Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif.

The Administrative Hearing Commission is a neutral, independent, administrative tribunal. Some of its cases are appeals from decisions of other State agencies. Others are cases an agency or private citizen starts at the Administrative Hearing Commission. The Commission has jurisdiction in more than 100 matters specified by state statutes, including state tax, professional licensing and Medicaid provider issues; Ethics Commission late filing fee assessments; and Highways and Transportation Commission actions relating to railroads and motor carriers. The Commission makes decisions under contested case procedure, usually involving a trial-type hearing. All such decisions are subject to review by the courts.

On June 1, Gov. Mike Parson appointed Kayla Hahn to the Missouri Public Service Commission. Hahn had resigned the day prior as policy director on the governor’s senior staff team. She had served as senior advisor and policy director since August 2018.

As policy director, Hahn helped lead the governor’s legislative agenda, prepare the governor’s annual budget recommendations to the General Assembly, implement the governor’s policy priorities across all 17 executive branch agencies, and spearhead the state’s response to COVID-19. Also, she represented Missouri on the Southern States Energy Board and Midwestern Higher Education Commission.

Before joining the governor’s staff, she served as assistant director and research analyst for the Missouri Senate division of research from 2013-2018. She holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Missouri State University and a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in political science from the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Hahn replaces Ryan Silvey, a former state senator and state representative, on the PSC. Silvey, who had served as chairman of the PSC, said earlier this year he would be stepping down.

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