Missouri Minute: Missouri Legislature enters the homestretch; KC employers could feel effects of visa program changes

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

Infighting among Missouri Republicans means party’s top priorities face delays

With only three weeks left before the General Assembly adjourns for the year, the Missouri Senate is mired in gridlock and no one seems confident lawmakers can dig themselves out. A litany of Republican legislative priorities hangs in the balance. Conservative lawmakers worry that bills easing restrictions on businesses or stiffening them on abortion providers will fall by the wayside. But the biggest issue by far is the state’s budget. Read more

Next move is up to Ameren after Missouri opts not to regulate charging stations

Ameren’s plan for six electric vehicle charging stations along Interstate 70 hit a roadblock last week when state regulators voted not to exercise jurisdiction over the new technology. The decision means regulated utilities such as Ameren can build stations, but they wouldn’t be assured of recovering the costs through rate increases spread across their base of customers. The question now is whether the vote will snuff out Ameren’s interest in vehicle charging, or whether the utility will forge ahead. Read more

Kansas City employers could feel effects of Trump’s push to change visa program

President Donald Trump’s push to change a visa program for foreign workers could affect employers in the Kansas City region who rely on the program for highly skilled workers. Kansas City-area lawmakers from both parties said they supported Trump’s efforts to scrutinize the H1-B visa program. But some backers of the visa argue that the problem with the program isn’t that the U.S. grants too many visas, it’s that it grants too few. Read more

E-commerce distributor Quiet Logistics latest to set up shop in St. Louis area

Quiet Logistics, a Massachusetts-based e-commerce distributor for fashion apparel, announced plans to open a “fulfillment center” in Hazelwood, becoming the latest in a growing number of logistics companies to establish operations in St. Louis. The desire to base operations in places where the greatest percentage of customers can be reached in the least amount of time has helped the region attract corporate interest as a place to locate shipping and warehousing operations. Read more

Panera to add 10,000 delivery jobs by end of the year

Panera Bread plans to add more than 10,000 new delivery driver jobs by the end of the year as it expands its delivery service to up to 40 percent of its cafes. Sunset Hills-based Panera, which has agreed to be acquired by JAB Holding in a $7.5 billion deal, rolled out its delivery service in select markets in 2015. Delivery service was launched in the St. Louis market earlier this year. Read more

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