Missouri Minute: State extends marijuana application deadline; Briggs & Stratton to hire 130

Good morning, MBA readers,

Looking to boost the state’s agriculture sector, University of Missouri researchers have turned to hemp. At centers across the state, they’re testing hemp and considering its potential as a new cash crop for Missouri. Meanwhile, in southeast Missouri, a manufacturer is looking to create 130 new jobs as it consolidates operations in the state. Plus, health care advocates are trying to decide whether to make a push to put Medicaid expansion on Missouri’s 2020 ballot. Read on for all those stories and more.

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Sprint, T-Mobile may settle merger lawsuit with states
Officials at Sprint and T-Mobile have begun exploring potential settlement ideas both internally and with the group of state attorneys general who are suing to block the companies’ $26.5 billion merger. (Fox Business)

Manufacturer to add 130 new jobs in southeast Missouri
Briggs & Stratton, the Wisconsin-based maker of lawnmower engines, announced Thursday that it plans to expand its manufacturing plant in Poplar Bluff and add 130 new jobs over the next year. The state will provide $175,000 in incentives to help recruit and train workers. (Associated Press)

Missouri extends dispensary application deadline
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Thursday extended the deadline for medical marijuana business applications to 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 19 to accommodate applicants who were unsure about the submission process. (Springfield News-Leader)

Advocates mull Medicaid expansion ballot drive
The political action committee Healthcare for All expects to decide by the end of summer whether it will push to put Medicaid expansion on Missouri ballots next year. The group would need more than 100,000 signatures by next May to get an initiative on the ballot. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

SSM Health partners with Denver firm on direct-to-employer offering
SSM Health and Paladina Health are partnering on a direct-to-employer primary care offering in St. Louis. The companies say the new offering will reduce costs by having businesses pay a flat fee for each employee’s primary care service. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Luxury hotel developers buy more time from KC incentive board
The Tax Increment Financing Commission of Kansas City has granted an additional extension to the developers of a proposed $63 million luxury hotel, giving the developers more time to discuss tax incentives with Mayor Quinton Lucas. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Jefferson County company admits illegally leasing out 74 immigrant workers
Cardinal Lawn and Landscape and its owner William Richardet pleaded guilty to federal charges that the firm illegally leased out undocumented immigrant workers. The company made a profit leasing out 74 workers between 2012 and 2017. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Hy-Vee investigates data breach at side businesses
Hy-Vee said Wednesday that it detected unauthorized activity related to transactions at some of its fuel pumps, drive-thru coffee shops and restaurants. (Columbia Missourian)

SEMO taps SoutheastHEALTH for service to athletes
Southeast Missouri State University and SoutheastHEALTH have signed a five-year agreement through which the health care organization will provide orthopedic and sports medicine services for the school’s Division I athletes, club sports participants and performing arts students. (Southeast Missourian)

Say that again

“It’s a good crop, and we got a great opportunity over the next few years, and we hope Missouri farmers will be in a place to make some money in the next few years.”

That’s Joe Horner, a University of Missouri Extension specialist who is studying the commercial potential of hemp in Missouri, the Springfield News-Leader reports. Researchers at MU say the reintroduction of a hemp industry could provide rural economies with a much-needed “shot in the arm,” though it’s not clear yet just how and when it will become profitable for Missouri farmers. According to Horner, that will depend on several outside variables, such as public policy. He added that Missouri producers could learn from early adopters like Kentucky and Tennessee to develop hemp growing techniques and secure contracts with reliable buyers to become a “fast second” in the industry.

Go figure

Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 3.3% in July for the fifth month in a row, the Missouri Department of Economic Development reported Wednesday. The state economy has added 34,700 non-farm jobs in the last year, but the unemployment rate has increased from 3.0% last July, which matched the lowest unemployment rate the state has seen in at least 43 years.

Hello, my name is

Anthony University
Lenexa, Kansas-based Anthony Plumbing, Heating and Cooling has launched this new training program as part of recent facility upgrades, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The “earn while you learn” program features plumbing and HVAC training labs, with the goal of having 30 to 40 students complete the program annually. The company, which has grown to nearly 190 workers, has also added 5,500 square feet of space, for a total square footage of 23,500.


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