JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KPLR) - Governor Jay Nixon laid out his plans for the coming year Wednesday night during his eighth annual State of the State speech. The Republican dominated legislature declined to applaud for some of his proposals but they greeted individual Missourians warmly when the governor introduced them during his speech.
Nixon identified his priorities for the year as ethics reform, economic development, education funding and the development of a mental health safety net. However, Republican leaders complained the governor was refusing to release funding for new mental health programs which they approved in 2015. They also cited his request for nearly half a billion in supplemental appropriations for the current fiscal year. Much of that money would go toward Medicaid expenses. Republicans question whether it is truly necessary. One surprise in the governor's speech, he called for the regulation of fantasy Sports leagues which Nixon labeled as gambling. The governor made no reference to the specific issues raised in Ferguson but he did call for revisions in the state's use of force policy for law-enforcement.
Governor Nixon pointed to the states low unemployment rate of 4.4% and improvements in the number of jobs in the state as evidence Missouri's economic situation is improving.