Missouri Minute: $1.2 billion infrastructure bill heads to Biden; Schmitt joins suit against mandate

Hello, MBA readers,

Missouri is set to receive billions of dollars in fresh funding for its infrastructure, which drew a C-minus rating from the White House earlier this year. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Friday night that, once signed by President Joe Biden, is expected to help Missouri improve its roads and bridges, broadband access, vehicle charging station network, water infrastructure and public transportation. Rep. Cori Bush, D-St. Louis, joined five other progressive Democrats in voting against the bill over concerns that it would sacrifice leverage needed to pass a sweeping budget bill later on. In St. Louis, two of the biggest coal companies in the country are taking different roads in an attempt to bypass industry-wide problems. Both Peabody Energy and Arch Resources are looking to reduce costs, increase profits and remain viable through distinct types of coal production. Plus, Monday marks the start of a busy week for entrepreneurship enthusiasts in Missouri. More than 100 free events are scheduled in Kansas City, which will be a hub of activity for Global Entrepreneurship Week, and dozens more events are planned in St. Louis as part of STL Startup Week.


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Infrastructure bill awaits Biden’s signatureAfter months of debate, a stripped-down $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed a vote in the House late Friday and is headed to the president. Rep. Cori Bush, D-St. Louis, joined several progressive Democrats in voting against the legislation. (Missouri IndependentKansas City Star) Eric Schmitt joins other GOP attorneys general against mandateAs promised, the Missouri attorney general sued Friday over the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 employees, joining 10 other attorneys general. (St. Louis Public Radio) Missouri employment, economy signal recoveryUnemployment was down in all eight major Missouri metros in September, signaling a long-awaited comeback from pandemic damages. (KCUR) Goodfellow Federal Center faces investigationEmployees at the federal office complex in north St. Louis risked exposure to asbestos, lead, mercury, arsenic and more, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an investigative agency. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) Department of Justice presses Tyson over worker treatmentThe food processor, which operates several facilities in Missouri, has been accused of failing to properly protect its workforce throughout the pandemic. (Missouri Independent) Arizona-based IT company bringing HQ to KCNetPMD Solutions cited Kansas City’s location and “deep well of talent” in its decision to relocate to the area, where it expects to create more than 100 jobs. (Kansas City Business Journal)


Say that again

“The fact that this is an up year ignores the fact that we were starting from a really low base. Ten years of decline are not being reversed in one year.”

That’s Rob Godby, an economics professor at the University of Wyoming, explaining the root of the problem two coal companies based in the St. Louis region are attempting to combat. Each of the companies is doing so in a different way: Arch Resources is moving away from thermal coal, the kind sold to power plants to generate electricity, and toward steelmaking coal, while Peabody Energy is doubling down on thermal coal production. Investments in both companies have surged, but both face challenges in the form of industry-wide competition, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.


Go figure

56.86%

That’s the percentage of the state’s nursing home workers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 — the lowest number in the country, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Under President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate, all staff must have received at least one dose of the vaccine by Dec. 5. But as staffing shortages persist, some nursing homes worry the mandate will force out some of their few remaining caretakers, the Missouri Independent reports.


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Monday marks the start of a week packed with activities for Missourians interested in entrepreneurship. Kansas City is once again a hub of activity for Global Entrepreneurship Week. The 14th annual event will feature 100 free functions in the Kansas City area, part of a series of events in 170 countries around the globe celebrating entrepreneurship. It’s also STL Startup Week, and dozens of events are on tap for startup enthusiasts in the St. Louis area.


Hello, my name is

AMC Theatres Perfectly Popcorn

That’s the name of Leawood, Kansas-based AMC’s newest offering: movie theater popcorn you can buy at the grocery store. After a turbulent 18 months that included shuttered theaters and faltering attendance putting the company in dire straits, CEO Adam Aron said the prepackaged, microwave-ready popcorn represents a new revenue stream he hopes will reach people beyond theaters, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The bags should hit shelves throughout the country in 2022. AMC will also open 15 stores inside malls that will offer a variety of popcorn flavors and other treats.


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