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Rick Francis

Representative Rick Francis, 145th District Representative

Submitted photo by Tim Bommel

The members of the House and Senate last week gave final approval to a state spending plan that will make a record investment in K-12 public education. The $28.3 billion state operating budget approved by the General Assembly will fully fund the school foundation formula for the second consecutive year. Additionally, the plan keeps funding stable for Missouri’s institutions of higher learning, which will minimize potential tuition increases for students and families.

The budget achieved full funding for K-12 public schools with a $99 million funding increase. The final spending plan also boosts transportation funding by $10 million.

This year’s budget plan enforces fiscal discipline by holding welfare spending in check. It also includes a budget reserve of $100 million to allow for emergency spending needs.

Other highlights of the FY 2019 Budget include:

Education

• Funding increases recommended by the governor for the state’s scholarship programs, which include a $2 million increase for Access Missouri, $3.5 million in additional funds for the A+ Scholarship Program; and an additional $1 million for Bright Flight.

• $300,000 in new funding for school safety grants.

• $250,000 to a new Kindergarten through 3rd Grade reading assessment program for dyslexia diagnoses.

Social Programs

• $1.8 million increase in funding for the state’s independent living centers, which help people with disabilities to increase their independence.

• $5 million in new money to provide community-based services that will allow those battling substance abuse to receive appropriate treatment as an alternative to prison.

• $1 million increase for the state’s drug treatment courts to partially restore an FY18 cut.

• $72 million increase for nursing home reimbursements, an additional $1 million for developmental disability rebasing, and a 1.5% rate increase for all other Medicaid providers.

Community and Economic Issues

• $400,000 restoration of proposed cuts to the Missouri National Guard to prevent the closure of several armories.

• A 1% pay increase for state employees starting January 1st, 2019. (Does not include legislators).

• $374,000 for a physician prescription monitoring program to curb opioid abuse.

• $3 million to initiate a water resource and reservoir fund for communities with water shortage issues to access.

Missouri Celebrates Truman Day

While the legislature continued to work on the state holiday of Truman Day, House members did pause to pay tribute to one of Missouri’s greatest citizens, and the only president to hail from the Show-Me State.

Truman was selected as the candidate for vice-president to Franklin D. Roosevelt; who won his fourth term as President of the United States on November 7, 1944. He took office on January 20, 1945. On April 12 of the same year, Roosevelt passed away as the result of a massive stroke and Truman became president.

Truman was president for two terms until January 20, 1953. During the first six months of his first term, Truman announced the surrender of the Germans, ended World War II after dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and signed the charter establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). His time in office also saw the conflict between mainland China and Taiwan; the Korean War; the First Indochina War; and the rise of the Soviet Union as a nuclear power.

After his presidency, Truman returned to live in Independence, where he founded the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum.

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