Missouri Minute: Lawmakers pass bill limiting local health orders; gas prices hit six-year high

Hello, MBA readers,

As summer vacation season approaches and Americans regain their appetite for travel, the price at the gas pump is hitting its highest level in years. The national average price for a gallon of gas eclipsed $3 on Wednesday, surpassing that mark for the first time in more than six years. The national increase was driven, in part, by fuel outages in some states following a cyberattack on the country’s largest gas pipeline. But even in Missouri, where analysts say the price effects of the pipeline attack are not evident, the average gas price Wednesday was about $1.25 higher than it was a year ago. And, by all indications from Jefferson City, Missourians can expect the price of gas to be at least 12.5 cents higher by 2025. Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday praised a bill passed by Missouri lawmakers earlier this week that would increase the state’s gas tax by 12.5 cents over five years to help generate funds for infrastructure projects. As they wind down their annual session, legislators also sent the governor a bill that would ban vaccine passports and limit the ability of local governments to enact health orders.

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Lawmakers pass bill limiting local health orders
The bill, which has been sent to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk, would also ban vaccine passports. (Missouri Independent)

Kansas City mayor seeks support in Washington
Mayor Quinton Lucas visited the Capitol on Wednesday to help promote the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan. While there, he said he has “an easier time probably getting his voice heard” in Washington than in Jefferson City. (Kansas City Star)

Hoffman Family of Companies to acquire former seminary campus
The Florida-based company investing in making Augusta a national wine destination now plans to turn the Emmaus Home complex in Marthasville into a winery and vineyard. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Moneta forms trust company
The St. Louis-based wealth management firm has formed Moneta Trust in hopes of meeting customer demands and having greater independence in the future. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Chiefs ticket sales start Thursday
With the team planning a return to full capacity at Arrowhead Stadium this season, tickets are available for purchase Thursday. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“If you take away a public utility’s right to eventually, if necessary, use eminent domain, you might as well just accept that a big project like this isn’t going to happen.”

That’s Peggy Whipple, an attorney working on behalf of the Grain Belt Express, addressing the future of the energy transmission line as a bill in the Missouri Legislature challenges the project. A provision added to Senate Bill 141 would require the Grain Belt or any other transmission line seeking eminent domain rights to receive approval from county commissions for each county in its path. That would effectively kill the Grain Belt, a line planned to carry wind energy from Kansas to Indiana across eight counties in Missouri. About 40% of the landowners along the line’s planned route have already agree to the project. Invenergy, the Chicago-based company behind the project, currently has the right to enact eminent domain in order to obtain the rest of the land.

Go figure


The national average price for a gallon of gasoline eclipsed $3 on Wednesday, according to AAA. That marked the highest average in more than six years, since November 2014, The Kansas City Star reports. In Missouri, the average price of gasoline was $2.75, an increase of more than a dollar since the same time last year. Analysts attribute this largely to Americans resuming pre-pandemic behaviors, with summer travel season on the horizon and more people growing comfortable with venturing out. Another factor in the national price increase, analysts say, is the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline that has led to fuel outages in southeastern states.

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After legislators passed a bill Tuesday that would increase Missouri’s gas tax, Gov. Mike Parson indicated Wednesday that he intendeds to sign the bill into law, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Parson has championed infrastructure improvement, with it being a large part of his campaign platform in last year’s gubernatorial election. The measure awaiting Parson’s signature would raise Missouri’s 17.5-cent gas tax by 2.5 cents a year for five years. Missouri currently has one of the lowest gas taxes in the nation.


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