Missouri Minute: MU engineering faculty makes PPE; St. Louis looks to waive airport vendor fees

Hello, MBA readers,

After years of lawmakers resisting Medicaid expansion in Missouri, voters on Tuesday approved a measure that will increase access to the government health insurance plan. Amendment 2, approved by 53% of voters, will extend Medicaid benefits to an estimated 230,000 uninsured people in the state. That comes after chambers of commerce and health care groups across the state threw their support behind the measure. It’s not likely Missouri has seen the end of debate over Medicaid expansion, though, as other states that have approved expanding the program have taken different approaches to implementation. Elsewhere in elections, activist Cori Bush defeated longtime incumbent Rep. Lacy Clay in a Democratic primary in St. Louis, ending the Clay family’s five-decade run in Congress. Surprises were otherwise scant, with incumbents winning all other primaries for Congressional seats and statewide offices. That cements the long-anticipated showdown between Gov. Mike Parson and State Auditor Nicole Galloway in the race for governor.


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Missouri approves Medicaid expansion
About 53% of voters approved an amendment to expand Medicaid coverage to Missourians earning up to 138% of the federal poverty line, or about $18,000 a year. The measure is projected to give 230,000 people access to health insurance. (MBA)

Clay defeated, but other incumbents win primaries
Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush defeated Rep. Lacy Clay, who has represented St. Louis in Congress since 2001, in a Democratic primary. Otherwise, all of the state’s incumbents in Congress and statewide offices won their primaries Tuesday. As expected, Gov. Mike Parson and State Auditor Nicole Galloway will face off in the race for governor. (MBA)

MU engineering faculty pivots to produce PPE
Faculty from the University of Missouri’s engineering school are producing some 4,500 face shields for university and hospital staff. Additionally, they have been 3D printing testing swabs for the University Hospital and producing ethanol-based hand sanitizer. (Columbia Missourian)

Report reveals 500 coronavirus-related fatalities in Missouri nursing homes
A recent federal report said that COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 502 nursing home residents and seven employees across the state, infecting thousands more. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis looks to waive airport vendor fees
St. Louis Lambert International Airport is considering a plan to allow vendors to waive four moths of fees typically charged for doing business at the airport, due to decreased income during the pandemic. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

State historical society reports security breach
The Missouri Historical Society experienced a data breach, and some of its donors’ personal information may have been breached. Society officials are warning donors not to respond to suspicious emails or calls, as they may be fraudulent. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Blunt-backed parks bill becomes law
President Donald Trump has signed into law a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, that will bring billions of dollars into the national park system for repairs over five years. Blunt said the bill will support a fund that has helped Missouri parks such as Mark Twain National Forest and the Ozark National Scenic River. (Missourinet)

World Series of Barbecue canceled
The American Royal has canceled the 41st World Series of Barbecue, an annual barbecue competition in Kansas City, citing coronavirus concerns. The event, which was set to be held in September at the Kansas Speedway, has never been canceled in its history. (Kansas City Star)

St. Louis private schools see increased enrollment
Private schools offering in-person learning are seeing a rise in enrollment. As many school districts in the area opt to start the year fully online, some parents are looking to private schools that are offering children an opportunity to return to a physical classroom. (KSDK)

KC-area lab to produce new COVID-19 test
The Food and Drug Administration has approved Lenexa, Kansas-based Clinical Reference Laboratory to produce a COVID-19 test that uses saliva samples rather than nasal swabs. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Worldwide Steel owners acquire timber company
In a deal between two companies based in the Kansas City area, the owners of Worldwide Steel Buildings have acquired Elmwood Reclaimed Timber, citing opportunities for cross-marketing and collaboration on future projects. (Kansas City Business Journal)


Say that again

“To go eight years doing something and then suddenly you’re (making) straight-up 50-60% of what you’ve been doing, that’s a really tough blow.”

That’s Dave Derr, co-owner of Wiener Wagon and Derr’s Artisan Sausages, speaking about the recent decrease in business at the Overland Park Farmer’s Market. The market in suburban Kansas City has moved locations twice to accommodate social distancing and consumer preference, causing some confusion for shoppers. With the pandemic causing a sharp decrease in acceptable crowd sizes, many consumers have questioned whether the market is still operating this year. Those factors, combined with many people limiting social interaction, have caused a significant reduction in revenue for market vendors.


Go figure

$2,000

That is how much the Missouri Ethics Commission has fined Uniting Missouri, a political action committee associated with Gov. Mike Parson, The Kansas City Star reports. The group was deemed to have violated campaign finance laws by failing to deliver a timely report of the fair-market value for a pair of flights taken by Parson, who on Tuesday won the Republican primary for governor. The PAC will only have to pay 10% of this fine unless it commits an additional violation over the next two years.


Hello, my name is

MatchRite

The Kansas City-based company has received a pair of grants recently to help accelerate its growth, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. In July, MatchRite landed a $20,000 grant from Digital Sandbox KC, a proof-of-concept program for early-stage businesses, and a $10,000 grant from coworking company WeWork’s new fund for Black-owned businesses. MatchRite founder Chris Jones plans to use the funds to further his startup’s efforts to make medical records from various sources available in one place. The project has personal significance to Jones, whose young son died a decade ago, less than a year after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Jones said that personal loss — and the frustrating experience of trying to manage his son’s medical records — drives him. MatchRite plans to launch a beta version of its product in September.


Word to the wise

Close contact
This is a term used by health experts to describe a person sharing air space within six feet of another person for 15 minutes or more. As contact tracers and medical professionals work to contain the spread of the coronavirus, they recommend that people who have been in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19 quarantine for two weeks in order to prevent further spread of the virus. As people try to navigate everyday activities like shopping in stores or going to work amid the continued spread of the coronavirus, health experts list close contact as one of several key considerations for how to handle the pandemic on a personal level.


It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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