The Weekly Wrap: Ride-hailing companies get a lift; Centene commits to ACA

Here’s a look at the week’s biggest business stories from across Missouri:

A lift for ride-hailing

Gov. Eric Greitens put down the chalupa and put pen to paper on a bill that will make it easier for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in Missouri. The bill requires the companies to pay a $5,000 fee to operate in Missouri and means they will be regulated by the state, rather than at a municipal level. The move is already causing cab companies to announce shifts in their operating strategies.

Going up?

The minimum wage in St. Louis could increase to $10 as soon as next week. That comes after the Missouri Supreme Court declined to reconsider an earlier ruling allowing municipalities to set minimum wages higher than the state’s. St. Louis passed an ordinance in 2015 to raise its wage floor to $10 this year and $11 in 2018, but the increase was delayed by legal proceedings.

Centene committed

As other health insurers head for the exits, Centene plans to participate in the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges again in 2018. The fast-growing, Clayton-based company announced those plans this week as it reported first-quarter results, which included revenue of $11.7 billion, an increase of 69 percent over last year.

Losing charge

Ameren’s plan to install a network of electric vehicle charging stations between St. Louis and Jefferson City hit a roadblock with a decision this month by the Missouri Public Service Commission. Regulators voted not to exercise jurisdiction over the charging stations, meaning Ameren isn’t assured of recovering costs on the stations. The utility said after the vote that it’s deciding its next move.

Job security

A new apprenticeship program affiliated with Scott Air Force Base aims to increase the talent pool available to fill the growing number of cybersecurity jobs in the St. Louis area. The program, launched this week, will match individuals with area companies looking to beef up their cybersecurity. Participants will get 18 months of training.

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