Greene County voters yesterday approved the Medicaid expansion amendment – joining 37 states in the legislative move – and new regulations on local payday loan businesses.
For yesterday's primary election, roughly 32%, or 53,430, of the county's 166,222 registered voters cast a ballot, according to the unofficial election results posted by the Greene County clerk's office last night.
Voters in Greene County and the state narrowly gave the stamp of approval for Missouri to adopt Medicaid expansion.
In Greene County, Amendment 2 passed with 52.3% of the vote, according to the unofficial election results. There were more than 27,700 votes in favor of the proposal. At the state level, the amendment received 53.3% of votes in favor out of nearly 1.3 million cast, according to the unofficial results posted by the Missouri secretary of state's office.
The passed legislation means coverage will be extended to at least 231,000 additional individuals between the ages of 19 and 65 who have annual income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
That’s roughly $17,000 per year for an individual or $29,000 for a family of three. Prior to yesterday's vote, the state’s Medicaid program, MO HealthNet, was only available to low-income individuals in four categories: those with disabilities, families with children, seniors and pregnant women. There were over 923,000 enrollees in May, according to the Missouri Department of Social Services.
Medicaid expansion is expected to cost $200 million annually and save the state $1.3 billion by 2026, and the expansion is projected to create 16,300 jobs, according to past reporting.
In January's State of the State address, Gov. Mike Parson called Medicaid expansion a “massive tax increase that Missourians cannot afford." He warned expansion would come at the cost of education, workforce development and infrastructure costs. Proponents of the legislation have said it would direct more dollars to health care systems and make preventive care more accessible to childless adults between the ages of 19 and 65.
The payday loan initiative was passed by 56.7%, or more than 14,700 voters, according to the Greene County results.
It's part of an ordinance passed in May by Springfield City Council to reform short-term lending practices. Yesterday's affirmative vote means the city can begin collecting an annual fee of $5,000 – or $2,500 if there is less than six months remaining in the calendar year when the permit is issued – from payday loan companies, according to past SBJ reporting.
Council's ordinance earlier this year required payday loan companies to obtain an annual permit from the city and to post information on-site for customers to review, such as interest rates and fees, and provide borrowers with payoff disclosures.
Yesterday's primary also included several candidate choices in the run-up to the general election in November.
More than 84% of Missouri voters who voted Democrat sent Missouri state Auditor Nicole Galloway to challenge incumbent Gov. Parson, who earned 75% of the vote on the Republican ballot. Also on the state level, former Missouri House of Representatives member Vicki Englund was voted in to take on incumbent Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, a Republican who owns Shell Knob-based MariCorps US LLC. Both treasurer races were unopposed.
For the 7th Congressional District seat in southwest Missouri, incumbent Republic Rep. Billy Long got the nod with 66% of the vote. Democrat Teresa Montseny, who ran unopposed in the primary, will challenge him in the November election.
Locally, homebuilder Rusty MacLachlan was chosen over state Rep. Sonya Anderson for the Greene County Commission seat that's being vacated by the retiring Harold Bengsch.
Other candidate races include:
• lieutenant governor, with incumbent Republican Mike Kehoe scoring nearly 59% of the vote and Democrat Alissia Canady winning 73.5% of the tally;
• attorney general, with incumbent Republican Eric Schmitt running unopposed and Democrat Rich Finneran taking 55.4% of the vote;
• secretary of state, with incumbent Republican Jay Ashcroft running unopposed and Democratic candidate Yinka Faleti also running without challengers;
• Missouri House District 131, with Bill Owen earning nearly 86% of the total on the Republican ballot and Democrat Allison Schoolcraft running unopposed;
• Missouri House District 132, with incumbent Democrat Crystal Quade and Republican challenger Sarah Semple both running unopposed; and
• Missouri House District 134, with Alex Riley winning 70.7% on the Republic ticket and Democrat Derrick Nowlin running unopposed.
Alpha Social Media looks to triple revenue on a variety of multimedia services.
Marc Thornsberry, a Senior Engineer at CJW, says he joined the company after working in the public sphere. He says CJW had a ton of experience working with the community, and putting their customer's and clients.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful advice and cautionary tips about the importance of tracking cash flow for new or established businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.