Governor Jay Nixon called for a wide range of state health, education and business improvements in his State of the State address tonight at the Capitol in Jefferson City. Measures proposed by the governor address domestic violence prevention, mental health coverage, health care, education and business expansion abroad.
Nixon's address included a wide range of topics, from modernizing equipment in public schools and lengthening the school year, to state parks investments, and a range of health care and mental health funding measures.
Nixon started the night discussing a plan to increase Missouri’s education budget by $150 million. The key increases would be $17 million for early education, $34 million for higher education, and $100 million for K-12 education. Nixon also said he plans to increase the K-12 school year, update classroom technology and train more teachers. For higher education, Nixon said he plans to use the additional funds to expand the A+ program to all high schools, which would all qualified high school students to attend a community college at no cost.
Nixon was widely expected to ask for increased spending for mental health training and across the board increases in education spending. Most controversially, Nixon was expected to to call for Medicaid expansion--a goal that Missouri Republicans are expected to oppose. Nixon asked tonight for legislators to put "politics aside" to consider Medicaid expansion as a business decision, saying strengthening Medicaid will strengthen, and bring jobs to, Missouri's economy.
KBIA began airing the speech live at 7pm and followed the coverage with a live roundtable discussion with state Reps. Caleb Jones (R-California) and Chris Kelly (D-Columbia), and Missouri Digital News' Phill Brooks, hosted by Reuben Stern, for a special edition of Intersection.