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June 2, 2021

To find previous Chamber legislative updates and resources, check out our archive page.
 
Information current as of Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 4:30 p.m.

Policy updates outlined in this issue:

  • Fast Facts and Resources: Springfield ends COVID-19 restrictions, editorial from Mayor McClure, vaccine update, Good Morning, Springfield! reminder
  • Federal: Restaurant grant program and PPP updates, ARP local funds
  • State: Legislative session resources, Medicaid expansion lawsuit, gas tax referendum
  • Local: Judge rules in Galloway rezoning, June 1 City Council summary

Fast Facts and Resources

Springfield ends COVID-19 restrictions

Approved at the May 17 City Council meeting, all COVID-19 restrictions were removed in Springfield effective May 27, including social distancing and face covering requirements. The repeal of these restrictions was supported by the Health Department. Mayor Ken McClure also withdrew the proclamation of civil emergency in conjunction with the removal of pandemic-related restrictions.

In response to the Council decision to withdraw COVID-19 regulations, Mayor McClure published a letter in the Springfield News-Leader, thanking citizens for their handling of COVID-19 - read that here.
 

COVID-19 vaccination updates

Currently, 37 percent of Greene County residents have been fully vaccinated, representing just under 89,000 people. Over 102,000 people have been partially vaccinated.

Statewide, 35 percent of the population have completed COVID-19 vaccination, totaling over 2.1 million people; 42 percent, or 2.6 million people, are at least partially vaccinated.
 

Reminder - tomorrow's Good Morning, Springfield!

June's Good Morning, Springfield on Thursday, June 3, will feature the annual State of the City address from Mayor Ken McClure. Although in-person registration is closed, the City will be providing a free stream of the event via its social media channels to anyone interested in watching - virtual attendees can also find the link to this stream on the Chamber's calendar page Thursday morning.
CLICK HERE to view current COVID-19 case counts and vaccination rates at the local, state and federal levels.  

Federal Policy Update

Two federal COVID-19 programs end
Two federal funding programs created to assist businesses in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts closed applications this month.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), administered through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), have closed to new funding applications. These were two of eight relief programs established by Congress to assist businesses during the pandemic.

According to SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, the SBA approved over 11.8 million in PPP loans, providing just under $800 billion in loan funding to over 8.5 million organizations; in 2021, 96 percent of PPP loans went to small businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

The RRF program closed to eligible applications on May 24. Through May 18, over 303,000 applications representing $69 billion in requested funds had been received by the SBA; just under 38,000 applicants had been approved for more than $6 billion.

Several SBA relief programs, including the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, are open to apply. Learn more about SBA COVID-19 relief program options here.

American Rescue Plan COVID-19 local funds
In early May, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. These dollars, established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will provide $350 billion in COVID-19 relief funding to eligible state and local governments. Funds can be used for several different purposes, included supporting public health measures, addressing negative economic impacts, investing in critical infrastructure, and more.

Missouri is expected to receive over $5.4 billion in funding; projections for southwest Missouri include $56.84 million for Greene County and $38.82 for the City of Springfield.

State Policy Update

2021 legislative session recap
The 2021 legislative session concluded on May 14 and was ultimately a successful year for the business community and Springfield Chamber members' legislative priorities. Provided below are several resources you can use to learn more about what passed this year, how southwest Missouri delegation lawmakers voted on specific priorities, Chamber advocacy efforts this session, and more:

Medicaid expansion lawsuit filed
A lawsuit was filed in Cole County regarding Medicaid after the state legislature did not appropriate funds to implement the voter-approved expansion.

The suit was filed by several individuals who fall in the expanded population and would have been eligible to enroll in the program starting July 1, 2021. The lawsuit asks for the court to find the lack of funding unlawful and allow newly eligible individuals to enroll.

The lawsuit is set for trial on June 18.

Gas tax referendum
Last week, the Missouri Secretary of State's office declined a filed initiative petition to place the recently passed increase to the gas tax on the ballot, citing drafting errors. However, a new petition was refiled soon there after by the same group, Americans For Prosperity-Missouri.

This referendum petition would put the 2.5-cent yearly increase to the state's gas tax on the November 2022 ballot, and the refiled version is currently accepting public comments. The bill was passed during the 2021 legislative session and does not require a vote of the people. It awaits final approval from Governor Parson, and if signed, would implement the first increase to Missouri's gas tax since the early 1990s in October 2021.

Local Policy Update

Galloway rezoning decision
On May 24, the Greene County Circuit Court ruled in favor of the developer of a Galloway-area project. The judge ruled that the Springfield City Charter referendum election process for rezoning decisions conflicts with state law and the planned referendum election that would have asked voters to consider the rezoning of this property could not be held.

This specific rezoning involved a proposed mixed-use apartment complex across from Sequiota Park, approved by City Council in 2020. 

An appeal has been filed regarding this most recent decision and is moving through the legal process.

June 1 City Council meeting
Tuesday's Council meeting was the first in-person Council meeting for citizens to attend since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Councilmember Romine absent, Council unanimously approved several ordinances aimed at long-term improvements for Springfield. These include funding for Art Museum Parking lot improvements, land purchases for the first phase of the Renew Jordan Creek Project, infrastructure improvements to Galloway, and intersection and sidewalks improvements for the Central Street Corridor.

The annual budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year was also considered, which totals $394.6 million. Drafting of the budget began in early December 2020, and discussions on the proposed budget, including in-depth workshops, occurred throughout the spring. Council will vote in two weeks.
Do you have unanswered questions about local, state or federal policy COVID-19 response efforts?

We will do our best to get them answered or connect you to resources!

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