Missouri Minute: Rural economic development caucus forms; New organization aims to lighten public defender caseloads

Here are today’s top business headlines from across Missouri:

Rural economic development caucus hopes to expand view on state’s economy

A fledgling legislative caucus hopes to shine a light onto the state’s economy outside the business hubs of St. Louis and Kansas City. The Rural Economic Development caucus met for the first time earlier this month, focused on highlighting the economic work done outside of Missouri’s two largest cities. Some of the key issues the caucus wants to explore include rural broadband expansion to boost small businesses and give rural students equal opportunity, job training and encouraging entrepreneurship in rural areas. Read more

New attorney group aims to lessen Missouri public defender caseloads

The state’s public defender system will get some help from a new non-profit organization that wants to ease the agency’s caseload size. Richard Scherrer with the Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel says more than 20 Missouri law firms, primarily from St. Louis, will help represent those who can’t afford an attorney. The initiative will also provide court room experience to early-career private practice lawyers. Read more

Wind energy firm trying again for approval of cross-country line

A renewable energy company again faced opposition from landowners Monday as it tried for the second time to win one of the final pieces of regulatory approval needed to carry wind power east from the nation’s heartland over one of the country’s longest transmission lines. Missouri utility regulators began hearing testimony on a request from Clean Line Energy to build a high-voltage transmission line from western Kansas across Missouri and Illinois to an Indiana power grid that connects with eastern states. Read more

Holten Meat workers now picketing around the clock as strike continues at Sauget plant

A strike that began Saturday at the Holten Meat Co. plant in Sauget is intensifying, with the facility’s unionized workers announcing Monday that they would extend picketing to all hours of day and night. At issue is not higher pay, but a “quality of life” dispute according to a statement from Local 655 of the United Food & Commercial Workers. The union is protesting the company’s policy that does not allow night-shift workers to bid for consideration when day-shift jobs become available. Read more

RubinBrown expands with Las Vegas deal, looks to grow gaming practice

RubinBrown LLP, one of St. Louis’ largest accounting firms, plans to merge Stewart Archibald & Barney of Las Vegas into the firm, effective June 1. The Las Vegas market was attractive for the “strategic platform” it will provide for RubinBrown’s national gaming practice, as well as for its thriving business climate, RubinBrown Chairman John Herber Jr. said in a release Monday. Read more

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