capitol building

Missouri House Approves Plans for Repair Projects

May 7, 2015
missouri house floor
File photo / KBIA

The Missouri House gave final approval today to a plan for roughly $300 million in bonds for state building and higher education repair projects.

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

A plan to use bonds for repairs to the Missouri Capitol, universities and other state-owned buildings is moving forward.

A House committee this week outlined how to spend more than $300 million in bonds for building maintenance and new construction.

File Photo / KBIA

Transforming the Missouri Department of Transportation headquarters into a space for some legislative and executive branch employees is among the projects that could be funded with new bond revenues.

 

Katie Hiler / KBIA

On a Thursday morning in late February, a group of 100 middle and high school students gathered in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Jefferson City for a capitol day event organized by the Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advisory Board. Their goal was to speak with their legislators about making the building smoke-free. Unlike every other public building in Jefferson City, the capitol building doesn’t entirely comply with the city’s smoking ban - lawmakers are unofficially allowed to smoke in their offices.

“They absolutely have the right to smoke and we’re not telling anyone they don’t,” said Youth Advisory board member Alex Higginbotham, age 17. “They can still smoke in their home, but we’re asking them in public not to affect us.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Missouri is ranked 48th in the nation for number of adult smokers - roughly 1 in 4 Missourians over the age of 18 smoke. And the state ranks 50th for workplace exposure to second-hand smoke.  The state’s Clean Indoor Air law gives business owners the option to declare a public space smoke-free, or to set up a designated smoking area. If communities want to be truly smoke-free, it’s up to local governments to make that happen. In the fall of 2010, Jefferson City banned indoor smoking in public spaces, including the capitol building. But state legislators continue to not-so-secretly smoke in their offices.

Katie Hiler / KBIA

Some of Missouri’s strongest anti-tobacco advocates just happen to be under 18 years old. More than one hundred students from across the state arrived in Jefferson City Thursday for an anti-tobacco advocacy and education event at the capitol organized by the Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advocacy Board. The students delivered over two thousand signatures of support along with pinwheels to represent their desire for clean air to House of Representatives Majority Leader John Diehl.