Columbia MO to open temporary overnight warming center at Wabash Bus Station at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19

COLUMBIA, MO(STL.News) Due to the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast for unseasonably cold weather below 9 degrees Fahrenheit between the hours of 7 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 19 and 7 a.m., Monday, Jan. 20, the City of Columbia will open a temporary overnight warming center at the Wabash Bus Station (126 N. Tenth Street).  The overnight warming center will serve as a resource for individuals unable to access local emergency shelter services.  City staff will continue working closely with emergency shelter providers to ensure low barrier access to overnight emergency shelter as the preferred option for persons experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) also coordinates a network of warming centers in the community during cold weather; these centers are available to the general public during the building’s normal business hours.

Columbia’s regular warming centers include the following locations.  Please note the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday may impact hours.

  • Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) at 1707 W. Ash St. – (573) 874-7700
  • Armory Sports and Community Center at 701 E. Ash St. – (573) 874-7466
  • Boone County Government Center at 801 E. Walnut St. – (573) 886-4305
  • Columbia/Boone County PHHS at 1005 W. Worley St. – (573) 874-7488
  • Columbia Mall at 2300 Bernadette Drive – (573) 445-8458
  • Columbia Public Library at 100 W. Broadway – (573) 443-3161
  • Salvation Army at 1108 W. Ash St. – (573) 442-3229
  • Salvation Army Harbor House at 602 N. Ann St. – (573) 442-1984

Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital is also initiating a Warm Haven program for sheltering Veterans overnight during extreme cold conditions as community shelters are limited during evening and early morning hours.  Warm Haven will operate from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. this weekend.  The shelter is open to Veterans and their immediate families.  Veterans will be required to sign a roster and must remain in the hospital area.  To access the facility located at 800 Hospital Drive, enter through the main hospital doors and use phone to request entry.  More information is available by calling the hospital at (573) 814-6000.

Additional information on warming centers can be found at como.gov/health/human-services/warming-and-cooling-centers/.

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Missouri Governor Mike Parson Delivers 2020 State of the State Address


JEFFERSON CITY, MO (STL.News) Wednesday, January 15th, Missouri Governor Mike Parson delivered the 2020 State of the State Address to the Missouri General Assembly.

Governor Parson highlighted several of the state’s major successes in workforce development and infrastructure last year, including a $1.5 billion investment from General Motors and an $81.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding American grant to build a new I-70 Missouri River Bridge at Rocheport, among many others.

Following a recap of 2019, Governor Parson’s speech focused on issues in four main areas for 2020: stronger communities, workforce and education, infrastructure, and government reform.

“We have made record progress over the past year, but there is still more to do and much more we can achieve with hard work,” Governor Parson said.  “That is why my call this legislative session is to propose initiatives aimed at building stronger communities, improving workforce development and education, revitalizing our aging infrastructure, and making government more accountable.”

Stronger Communities

After multiple meetings with the mayors of St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia, Governor Parson announced their solutions to help combat violent crime in Missouri.  These include providing greater protection for victims and witnesses, providing more mental health resources and services, and strengthening laws to target violent criminals.

Governor Parson also shared the results of joint federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts in Kansas City and St. Louis to combat violent crime.  Operation Triple Beam in Kansas City and Missouri’s commitment of state personnel in St. Louis have resulted in the arrest of hundreds of violent criminals and gang members and the seizure of nearly 30 pounds of illegal drugs.

Workforce and Education

Governor Parson also emphasized the importance of early childhood education to workforce development in his speech, noting that Missouri recently received a $33.5 million preschool development grant aimed at creating a more effective, high-quality early learning system.

With this funding, the state has an opportunity to strengthen its early childhood offerings and better prepare Missouri children for success.

In addition to early childhood education, another focus for 2020 is increasing opportunities for high-demand job training at the high school level.  Governor Parson announced his administration is seeking a $750,000 investment to certify approximately 12,000 new high school students as work-ready through the WorkKeys program.

Governor Parson also announced an increase of $5.3 million in Bright Flight and A+ Scholarship funding for college bound students, as well as an additional $19 million for the MoExcels Workforce Training Initiative.

Further, all of these investments can be made while increasing school transportation funding and again fully funding the Foundation Formula.

Infrastructure

Building on last year’s progress, Governor Parson again called for key investments in Missouri’s infrastructure, including $4 million in disaster recovery funds and another $50 million for the transportation cost-share program.

Governor Parson also announced the approval of the Buck O’Neil Bridge project in Kansas City.

Government Reform

In his speech, Governor Parson highlighted the state’s efforts to drive efficiency and accountability for Missourians’ tax dollars, including a savings of $84 million in the Medicaid system.

Governor Parson also announced several other actions the state can take to improve government and promote Missouri, including tort reform and license reciprocity for military spouses.

Additionally, Governor Parson’s administration is proposing $100 million for a cash operating expense fund and directing a portion of Wayfair collections into this fund until it establishes solvency.  The remainder of Wayfair collections will be used to payoff debt obligations and provide another funding source for infrastructure cost-share programs.

“By working together on these issues, we can set the stage for greatness for Missouri,” Governor Parson said.  “My hope in the near future is that all of us will be able to celebrate more successes with one another, but the real benefits will be for the people of our state and our future generations.”

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Missouri Department of Corrections News: Investigation Results in Arrest of Institutional Staff Members

Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) An investigation spearheaded by Missouri Department of Corrections intelligence specialists has led to the interception of contraband at Moberly Correctional Center (MCC), bolstering the safety of staff and offenders who work and live there.

Following up on suspicions, an intelligence analyst and an institutional investigator at MCC worked with local law enforcement to prevent 173 grams of synthetic marijuana, or K2, and two pounds of tobacco from entering the prison.  The investigation led to the arrest of an institutional staff member, who has been charged with delivery of a controlled substance to a correctional facility.  Four offenders are in segregated housing pending further investigation.

K2 has been illegal in the state of Missouri since 2010.  A 2018 Department of Corrections policy bans the sale, possession and use of all tobacco products within the perimeter of adult institutions as well as inside all buildings and vehicles owned or leased by the department.

The nationwide substance misuse epidemic in the United States disproportionately affects the incarcerated population.  Approximately 88% of people in Missouri prisons report having engaged in substance misuse during the year preceding incarceration.  The department aims to prevent drug use in prison by addressing both the demand for and the supply of substances, employing approaches such as addiction counseling and institutional treatment centers as well as screenings, searches, security audits and investigations. Learn more about what we’re doing »

Moberly Correctional Center is an 1,800-bed minimum/medium-security facility Moberly, Missouri. Scott Weber, a Missouri Department of Corrections staff member since 2003, became the warden Jan. 4, 2020.

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California Governor Newsom Names New Members to Regional Judicial Selection Advisory Committees

SACRAMENTO, CA (STL.News) California Governor Gavin Newsom today announced new members to serve on the state’s regional Judicial Selection Advisory Committees (JSACs), which provide preliminary, non-partisan feedback on candidates and help promote a diverse and inclusive nomination process for California’s judiciary.

The Governor today named Administrative Presiding Justice of the Sixth District Court of Appeal Mary J. Greenwood to serve on the Bay Area Judicial Selection Advisory Committee; Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office head deputy-supervisor Irene G. Nunez and Greene, Broillet & Wheeler partner Christine D. Spagnoli to the Los Angeles Judicial Selection Advisory Committee; and former Presiding Judge of the San Diego County Superior Court Peter Deddeh to the San Diego Judicial Selection Advisory Committee.

In keeping with his commitment to increase transparency in government, the Governor last year announced the creation of eight Judicial Selection Advisory Committees (JSACs) – representing the Bay Area, Central Coast, Central Valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Northern California, Orange and San Diego regions – comprised of attorneys and judges who live and work in the regions.  For the first time in California history, the individuals who provide important feedback on judicial candidates for nomination and appointment are known to the public.

Committee members convene at the request of Judicial Appointments Secretary Justice Martin Jenkins (Ret.) to provide feedback on candidates’ legal acumen, work ethic, temperament and demonstrated commitment to public service.  They review all candidates before forwarding their names to the Governor for review.  All feedback from the JSACs is advisory in nature only, and is considered by the Governor’s Office in combination with evaluations provided by the State Bar of California and county and affinity bar associations.

The JSACs are comprised of attorneys and judges, selected by the Judicial Appointments Secretary, who are in good standing with the State Bar of California and are diverse with respect to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender, as well as substantive legal practice areas.  In identifying potential committee members, the Judicial Appointments Secretary considers suggestions from members of California state and local bar organizations and California affinity bar organizations.

A complete list of committee members, by region, can be found here.

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St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Establishes New $15 per Hour Minimum Wage for City Civil Service Employees

The new minimum wage will be effective mid-February, 2020

ST LOUIS, MO (STL.News) St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson today signed Executive Order #65 establishing $15 per hour as the new minimum wage for all City of St Louis Civil Service Employees.  This increase will be effective mid-February, 2020.

Executive Order #65 is one of several initiatives Mayor Krewson is pursuing to address chronic under-staffing across all City departments and to better attract and retain talented, hard-working, skilled employees.

“From tree trimmers, to grass cutters, to accountants, to police officers, to dispatchers… you name it, we need more of them.  Constantly having positions go unfilled is hurting our ability to provide good services to our residents.  More competitive pay is the right thing to do and will boost morale, reduce turnover, and help fill these open positions.” Mayor Krewson said.

Mayor Krewson will also ask the Civil Service Commission and Board of Aldermen to approve a one-time lump sum pay increase of $1,000 and an increase (from current 1.5%) to 3% in the annual merit increase available on the civilian employee’s anniversary date for the next two fiscal years beginning in June as recommended to the Civil Service Commission by the Director of Personnel.

Police Officers and Firefighters received a $6,000 raise in 2018.  The Director of Personnel is currently in negotiations with the labor representatives and expect to announce a new compensation package in the not too distant future.

“Our employees are important to us.  Due to tight budget constraints over the last 10 years, civil service civilian City employees have not received the raises they deserve.  There were even furloughs and no raises for several years.  We want to and must invest in our people. The City has established itself as a forward-thinking model of government that’s willing to lift up all people.  Our employees faithfully serve our residents, businesses, and institutions.  They deserve to share in the positive momentum we’re building for our city,” added Mayor Krewson.

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Missouri Senate News: Punitive Damages Bill Spurs Legal Debate in the Government Reform Committee Hearing

Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) Although we have just completed our first full week, the momentum is building for another successful and eventful session filled with office meetings, district visitors and committee hearings.  Last Wednesday, the governor gave his annual State of the State Address to both chambers, state officials, honored guests and others.  He outlined some of his priorities for 2020 which include continued workforce development, infrastructure improvements, violent crime prevention and early childhood education.

One of my priority bills, Senate Bill 591, was heard by the Government Reform Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 14.  The bill is designed to increase sovereign immunity and prevent the state from paying exorbitant costs in punitive damages.  Much legalese was exchanged between senators and witnesses, and a parade of supporters and opponents weighed in.

The Veterans and Military Affairs Committee also held its first hearing last Tuesday, and I was pleased to share the Department of Defense’s news about the expansion of access to commissary; exchange; and morale, welfare and recreation retail eligibility to more veterans and caregivers.  The Purple Heart and Disabled Veteran Equal Access Act of 2018 went into effect on Jan. 1.

The committee also discussed Senate Bill 560.  The bill is designed to help nonresident military spouses expedite employment in Missouri by forgoing the rigorous licensure requirements.  This has been named a priority issue by the governor, and six other states have enacted similar legislation.

I was pleased to welcome two optometrists from the 32nd district to my office during their annual advocacy day at the Capitol on Jan. 13.  Mike Roberts, O.D. from Monett, and Dr. Lorry Lazenby, from Lazenby Eyecare in Joplin, shared some of their insights on legislation potentially impacting their field.

Later that evening, Toby Teeter, President of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, and I joined members of the Missouri Economic Development Council during a reception at the Governor’s Mansion.

I am pleased to announce that the Senate and House Veterans Committees will host a joint hearing in honor of Missouri Military Appreciation Day on Feb. 5.  I will share more information about this important observance in the coming weeks.

Jan. 20 is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and communities in Missouri and across the nation will hold events to honor his heroic activism and leadership in advancing civil rights.  Please consider celebrating his vast accomplishments and legacy at one our area’s celebrations.

If you plan on coming to Jefferson City to visit the Capitol, I would love to meet with you.  Simply call or email my office at [email protected] to schedule an appointment.  It is an honor and a privilege serving the people of Dade, Jasper and Newton counties, and I value your input on issues that affect District 32.

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US DOL Investigation Results in Warehouse Liquors & Wines, Inc. in Mississippi Paying $22,782 in Back Wages, Damages

JACKSON, MS (STL.News) After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Warehouse Liquors & Wines Inc. – operating as Wines & Spirits in the Quarter in Jackson, Mississippi – has paid $22,782 in back wages and liquidated damages to six employees for violating the overtime and record-keeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

WHD investigators found the employer failed to pay employees overtime when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.  Instead, the employer paid workers their straight-time rates, in cash, for their overtime hours.  The employer paid some workers flat salaries, without regard to the number of hours they worked.  This pay practice also violated FLSA overtime requirements when those employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek and the employer did not pay overtime.  Wines & Spirits also failed to keep records of the number of hours employees worked, a violation of FLSA recordkeeping requirements.

“Employers must pay their employees the wages they have legally earned for all the hours they work,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Audrey Hall in Jackson, Mississippi.  “Intentionally paying straight-time rates instead of required overtime is not only an unlawful pay practice, but it gives the employer an unfair advantage over law-abiding employers.  The Wage and Hour Division is available to assist any employers in understanding their obligations.  Violations like those found in this case can be avoided.”

The department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls or in-person visits to local WHD offices.

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US Department of Labor Cites Philadelphia Energy Solutions for Process Safety Management Hazards After Fire and Explosions

PHILADELPHIA, PA (STL.News) The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Philadelphia Energy Solutions for serious violations of safety and health hazards related to process safety management (PSM) following a fire and subsequent explosions at the company’s Girard Point Refinery Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in June 2019.  The company faces $132,600 in penalties.

PSM encompasses requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals.  In this case, the chemicals were hydrofluoric acid and flammable hydrocarbons.  OSHA’s inspection found deficiencies in the refinery’s PSM program, including failing to establish or implement written procedures, insufficient hazard analysis and inadequate inspection of process equipment for highly hazardous chemicals used in the process.

“When employers fail to evaluate and address potential hazardous conditions associated with chemical processes, catastrophic events such as this can occur,” said OSHA Philadelphia Area Director Theresa Downs.  “OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard requires that employers conduct regular inspections to ensure process equipment meets industry standards.”

OSHA’s Process Safety Management webpage provides resources on recognizing, evaluating and controlling process hazards.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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US Department of Labor Investigation Uncovers Federal Child Labor Law Violations at Restaurant Locations in 9 States

LOUISVILLE, KY (STL.News) After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Manna Inc. – a Louisville, Kentucky-based franchisee of 99 Wendy’s and Fazoli’s restaurants in nine states – will pay a civil money penalty of $157,114 for violating child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

WHD investigators determined Manna Inc. violated child labor requirements by allowing 14- and 15-year-old employees to work outside of legally approved hours, and for more hours than allowed by law.  Investigators found 446 minors worked before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. on school nights, worked more than 3 hours on a school day or worked more than 8 hours on a non-school day – all FLSA violations.

“Child labor laws exist to ensure that when young people work, the work does not jeopardize their health and well-being or educational opportunities,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils, in Louisville, Kentucky.   “We encourage all employers to review their employment obligations and to contact the Wage and Hour Division for compliance assistance.”

WHD investigators found the violations at restaurant locations in Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.

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