Missouri Minute: State AG orders mask mandates to end; Uber rolls out recording system in KC

Hello, MBA readers,

A federal judge on Tuesday halted the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contracted employees, blocking another of the vaccine orders imposed by the Biden administration. The statewide University of Missouri System alerted employees to the change and suspended its own vaccine order pending further developments. The White House said it plans to fight to reinstate the mandate, insisting it was within the administration’s legal right. In another legal fight over pandemic health measures, Missouri’s attorney general has ordered public health agencies and schools to abandon their mask mandates by Dec. 22. A state teachers union pushed back against the change, and school districts including Columbia Public Schools have elected to keep their mask policies in place for the time being. And, although more than $1.2 billion in federal funds flowed to Missouri counties through the American Rescue Plan Act, local officials across the state are hesitant to spend those dollars. Many say they are holding off because they lack clarity regarding the terms for using the money.

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Judge blocks COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors Employers can no longer enforce the rule. The University of Missouri System rescinded its requirement following the news. (Associated PressColumbia Missourian)State attorney general orders mask mandates to end Effective Dec. 22, Eric Schmitt said masks are no longer to be required in schools districts and public health agencies. (Columbia Missourian)Some counties waiting for clarity before spending relief moneyMissouri’s counties received over $1.2 billion in federal COVID-19 funding. But some have not allocated it yet, over fear they may fall outside its permitted uses. (St. Louis Public Radio)Congress ups funds for St. Louis County-made fighter jetsA defense bill suggests the purchase of 17 Boeing F-15EX and 12 Boeing F/A-18E/F planes. It’s part of a broader national security spending increase. (Reuters)SKC Communications approves sale to Florida IT companyThe Kansas City-area company, which specializes in video and voice communication technology, will be acquired by Florida-based AVI-SPL for an undisclosed price. (Kansas City Business Journal)Consultancy to launch St. Louis apprenticeship program for local hiringAccenture Federal Services had said it will hire 1,400 technology workers by 2025. A portion of that will come from the new one-year training program. (St. Louis Business Journal) Uber rolls out recording system in Kansas CityIt’s one of four cities nationwide where the ride-hailing company is testing the new safety feature, which allows drivers and passengers alike to record rides that make them uncomfortable. (Kansas City Star)Kansas City company begins $10 million stock buybackDigital Ally’s share price dropped below $1 during intraday trading Monday, driving the decision. Buybacks will run through the end of the year. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“Most people think about power plants and cars. Usually people don’t think about cement.”

That’s Hafiz Salih, a research engineer at the University of Illinois, discussing the impact of cement production on carbon emissions. The process is responsible for 5% to 8% of global emissions, and Missouri ranks second nationally in cement production, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Salih is currently managing a study involving the adaptation of carbon capture equipment at a plant near Ste. Genevieve, which houses the world’s largest cement kiln of its kind. With heightened attention around cement’s contribution to climate change, production facilities are looking for the most effective method to contain the pollution they create. Many plants have promised to be carbon-neutral in the coming decades, raising the challenge of accomplishing that feat.

Go figure

1 year

New bipartisan legislation in Missouri would extend health care benefits for new mothers to one year from the current two months, according to the Missouri Independent. A state report issued earlier this year shows that mothers on Medicaid are four times more likely than mothers with private health insurance to die within a year of their pregnancies. The report also found Black mothers are four times more prone to death than white mothers in the year following pregnancy. Missouri was most recently rated 42nd in the nation in terms of maternal mortality rate, a figure that lawmakers backing the new legislation hope to remedy.

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After 20 years of being listed on the NASDAQ, Garmin has moved to the New York Stock Exchange, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Officials for the wearable device and location technology company, which has its operations base in the Kansas City area, credited the human interaction and day-to-day knowledge of the stock floor at the NYSE for the desire to switch exchanges. Garmin officials rang the opening bell at the NYSE on Tuesday morning, and company shares closed Tuesday at $137.96, up about 3% over Monday.

Hello, my name is

MLS Next Pro

This new professional soccer league affiliated with Major League Soccer will kick off next year. It will feature 21 teams across the country, including two in Missouri, MLS announced Tuesday. Sporting Kansas City and St. Louis City SC will both have affiliate teams in the new developmental league, which aims to provide a steppingstone between MLS teams’ youth academies and their top-level professional teams.

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