Missouri Minute: State lawmakers propose vaccine mandate bans; US employers add 210,000 jobs

Hello, MBA readers,

Missouri Republicans are wasting no time in opposing vaccine mandates. On Wednesday, the first day of legislative pre-filing for 2022, GOP lawmakers submitted over a half dozen bills that opposed vaccine mandates, offering a preview of the debates that may await when the legislative session opens next month. The filings come as public health experts globally scramble to understand the new omicron variant of the coronavirus, and how well current vaccines — and boosters — protect against it. At the same time, health departments across Missouri have shown little interest in the state’s gift card-based vaccine incentive program. Only 20 out of 115 eligible departments have utilized the program, which was designed to encourage vaccination. That leaves millions in allocated funds unspent. Plus, November’s jobs report is out, and it shows slower hiring across the U.S. Employers added 210,000 jobs for the month, the lowest gains in nearly a year. But the unemployment rate continued its downward trend, hitting 4.2%.


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Missouri ranked second in the country in 2020 in coal-generated electricity. But the state is undergoing a shift away from coal. The latest episode of the Market Dives podcast looks at how this transition is going and what the path toward a different energy profile entails.


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Hiring slows, but unemployment rate continues declineU.S. employers added 210,000 jobs in November, the lowest monthly gain in almost a year. The unemployment dropped to 4.2% from 4.6% in October. (Associated Press) Vaccine mandate bans put up for legislative debateMore than a half dozen bills that would prohibit vaccine mandates were introduced on the first day that legislation could be filed for the upcoming session. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)MLB enters lockoutMajor League Baseball owners locked out players after the parties failed to reach an agreement on a new collective-bargaining agreement, bringing the league’s first work stoppage in 26 years. (Kansas City Star)Fore!: Golf entertainment center bound for St. LouisThe city planning commission voted unanimously to rezone land in the Midtown neighborhood for a 68,000-square-foot complex believed to be Topgolf. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)‘Alternative protein’ plant arrives in St. LouisAn Israeli company with North American headquarters in St. Louis opened an $18 million production facility expected to produce 15 million pounds of plant-based meat substitutes annually. (St. Louis Business Journal)Kansas City weighing incentives for insurerFidelity Security Life Insurance is seeking $7.5 million in tax breaks for an $83 million office tower located less than a mile from its current building. (Kansas City Star)Kansas City consulting company plans to expandSpotlight Analyst is looking to double its workforce after attracting business from large national brands. The company plans to have about 200 employees by the end of 2022. (Kansas City Business Journal)Chase Bank unveils new modular design at KC-area branchThe bank is testing a new design at a location in Blue Springs that is said to be a quicker, cheaper and more sustainable structure to build. (Kansas City Business Journal)EPC shaking up leadershipThe St. Charles IT recycling company is making several changes to executive positions, including the promotion of Pat Laughlin, currently executive vice president, to president and CEO. (St. Louis Business Journal)St. Louis nonprofit proceeds with planned transitionBrian Roy will replace Jan Albus as the CEO of Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis. Albus has led the organization for 25 years. (St. Louis Business Journal)


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As a record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September, leisure and hospitality saw the highest rate of employee departures of any sector, at 6.4%. Other industries with quits rates above 3% included trade, transportation and utilities, professional and business services, and other services.


Say that again

“It was just going to be a complete nightmare.”That’s Kandra Counts, an administrator at the Shannon County Health Department. Her department is one of many in Missouri that opted out of the state’s vaccine incentive program that offered $100 gift cards to vaccine recipients. According to the Missouri Independent, only 20 health departments out of the 115 that were eligible in the state embraced the $11 million program. Less than $1.8 million has been distributed so far.


Go figure

3%That’s the percentage of Kansas City tenants that receive legal representation when facing eviction in court, according to KCUR. Landlords are legally required to have legal representation in court, but that isn’t the case for renters. Advocates including KC Tenants have proposed that the city provide free legal counsel to tenants in cases against landlords. “Having a lawyer means the difference for a tenant between being housed and being homeless,” said Gina Chiala, executive director and lead attorney at the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom.


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Legal Missouri 2022, one group leading the charge to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in Missouri, launched a campaign to gather petition signatures Thursday, according to St. Louis Public Radio. With enough signatures, the group’s legalization measure would make it on the ballot, putting the decision to voters. Several elected officials, including Gov. Mike Parson, have indicated that they do not support the full legalization of marijuana, and the issue has been an uphill battle in Missouri. But Legal Missouri 2022 organizers are optimistic. “We believe we have the support now to pass the adult use of marijuana in Missouri,” said the organization’s campaign manager, John Payne.


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Wall to Wall Wine and SpiritsThis new store from Iowa-based supermarket chain Hy-Vee is coming to Kansas City after it was first introduced in West Des Moines, Iowa, this week, The Kansas City Star reports. The store, which will offer a large selection of wine, spirits, beers and other related goods, will replace a current Hy-Vee grocery store location. The store’s 364 employees will be offered the opportunity for local transfer.


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