Missouri Minute: Court halts vaccine mandate for health care workers; group seeks ‘ranked choice’ voting

Hello, MBA readers,

Missouri was one of 10 states that filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers, and a court ruling Monday halts the mandate in those states. A federal judge in St. Louis issued a preliminary injunction, saying that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid did not have clear authority to enact the order. In the media business, maneuvers continue after the hedge fund Alden Global Capital offered $141 million to acquire the owner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and dozens of other papers. Alden nominated three people for Lee Enterprises’ board in response to moves by the publisher designed to block a hostile takeover. That comes as a dozen unions representing journalists at Lee-owned publications issued statements strongly opposing a sale to the hedge fund. And, in politics, a push to add a constitutional amendment to the 2022 ballot in Missouri has started to gain traction. Advocacy group Better Elections brought in $670,000 last week to boost its promotion of “ranked choice” voting. The group endorses an electoral system that would have the top primary vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the general election.


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Court halts vaccine mandate for health care workersA federal judge on Monday issued a preliminary injunction against the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccination order for health care workers in Missouri and nine other states that sued to block the measure. (Columbia Missourian)Hedge fund nominates trio for Lee Enterprises board; unions resist dealAlden Global Capital, bidding to buy the owner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and dozens of other papers, suggested three board candidates in response to Lee’s move to prevent a hostile takeover. Unions representing 12 newsrooms urged Lee management to reject the deal. (St. Louis Business JournalPoynter)Advocacy group promotes ‘ranked choice’ voting in MissouriThe group, Better Elections, received $670,000 from a Virginia-based nonprofit last week in support of its effort to overhaul primary elections. (Missouri Independent)Wells Fargo enacts COVID vaccine requirementAll employees of the financial services company, including some 5,500 in the St. Louis area, must be fully vaccinated or undergo regular testing starting Dec. 4. (St. Louis Business Journal)New owners acquire The PitchA group that includes current Pitch editor Brock Wilbur is purchasing the Kansas City alternative weekly from Carey Media, marking the publication’s third sale in 10 years. (Kansas City Star)BOK Financial banker receives promotionMarc Maun, who led the Tulsa-based bank’s expansion into the Kansas City market, was promoted to regional executive, overseeing several states. (Kansas City Business Journal)


Say that again

“That’s a big step in the right direction to get us cheaper, cleaner, more local energy supply.”

That’s Robin Ganahl, a climate activist in Kansas City, discussing the city’s proposal to build a 2,000-acre solar array near Kansas City International Airport. The solar farm is one part of a larger plan to make Kansas City carbon neutral by 2040. The Kansas City Beacon reports that the city is developing a second climate protection plan after declaring a climate emergency earlier this month. The first blueprint was adopted in 2008 and aimed to cut greenhouse emissions by 30% between 2000 and 2020. As of 2017, emissions had only dropped 21%. A final review of the new plan is set for January.


Go figure

50.5%

Only 50.5% of St. Louis County homeowners have earthquake insurance, which has become a renewed talking point following a 4.0-magnitude earthquake earlier this month in southeast Missouri, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. If an earthquake of a similar magnitude to the one that hit New Madrid in 1811 were to happen again, one study estimates the resulting property damage would be around $300 billion, with much of it in the St. Louis area. The percentage of houses with earthquake insurance has decreased over the past two decades, with 74% of St. Louis County homes having the protection in 2000.


Send tweet


Twitter co-founder and St. Louis native Jack Dorsey announced that he is stepping down from his role as chief executive of the social media company. It is the second time Dorsey has left the position, but this time Dorsey said the move was his choice, the Associated Press reports. Dorsey said in a statement posted to — of course — Twitter that remaining tied to company founders is limiting for a business. Parag Agrawal replaces Dorsey, who was with Twitter for 16 years. Dorsey will remain in his role as a board member until his term expires in 2022. He will now serve as CEO of just one publicly traded company: Square, the payment technology company he founded with fellow St. Louisan Jim McKelvey.


Hello, my name is

Eastern Airlines

A name that first emerged in the aviation sector nearly a century ago is now tied to a new plan to ship light cargo with converted commercial jets. Eastern Airlines was founded in 1926 and liquidated in the 1990s. The name is now connected to a company that could create 140 jobs at a Kansas City facility, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The company aims to transform passenger planes into cargo planes through a much quicker and cheaper process than is typically used, according to CEO Steve Harfst. The company is still in the research and development stage, but will seek approval from the Federal Aviation Administration in January or February.


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