Springfield Area Chamber continues to serve as principal advocate for regional businesses in 2023
The 102nd Missouri General Assembly convened on Wednesday, January 4, with renewed optimism from many lawmakers about opportunities for progress during the legislative session.
With the start of session, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce has once again been preparing to serve as the principal advocate for the regional business community and advance the member-driven priorities approved in the 2023 legislative agendas.
Both the state and federal legislative agendas are crafted through months of member outreach and feedback. The final board-approved agendas are comprised of positions proposed by members and vetted through a member driven-committee process, representing many different industries and organization sizes.
For 2023, top state priorities include, but are not limited to, continuing to address workforce challenges through education, training and apprenticeships, addressing additional workforce barriers like childcare and transportation, capitalizing on the unprecedented budget by making strategic investments that will have a long term economic benefit for the state, protecting long-term transportation infrastructure funding, supporting initiatives to improve public safety, and advancing tort and initiative petition reforms.
The Chamber will continue to prioritize a strong staff and volunteer-leader presence in the Capitol throughout the session. To date, the Chamber is tracking over 350 bills that cover a wide array of member priorities and will weigh in on these bills throughout the legislative process.
The City of Springfield and surrounding region have strong elected officials in Jefferson City, including significant Southwest Missouri representation in committee and caucus leadership positions. The full regional list includes:
House of Representatives:
- Rep. John Black (129) – Chair, Subcommittee on Appropriations for Health, Mental Health, and Social Services
- Rep. Bishop Davidson (130) – Chair, Legislative Review Committee
- Rep. Bill Owen (131) – Chair, Subcommittee on Appropriations for Public Safety, Corrections, and Revenue; Vice-Chair, Fiscal Review Committee
- Minority Leader Crystal Quade (132) – Ex-officio member of all House committees
- Rep. Melanie Stinnett (133) – Vice-Chair, Healthcare Reform Committee
- Rep. Alex Riley (134) – Chair, General Laws Committee
- Rep. Betsy Fogle (135)
- Rep. Stephanie Hein (136)
- Rep. Darin Chappell (137)
- Rep. Bob Titus (139)
- Rep. Jamie Ray Gragg (140)
- Sen. Lincoln Hough (30) - Chair, Appropriations Committee
- Sen. Sandy Crawford (28) – Senate Majority Caucus Secretary; Chair, Insurance and Banking Committee; Vice-Chair, Local Government and Elections Committee
- Sen. Karla Eslinger (33) – Senate Majority Caucus Whip; Chair, Governmental Accountability; Vice-Chair, Economic Development and Tax Policy Committee
- Sen. Curtis Trent (20) - Vice-Chair, Insurance and Banking Committee
- Sen. Mike Moon (29)
The region is also well represented on several budget-focused committees, including the following elected officials with either an appropriations leadership role or committee membership:
- Sen. Sandy Crawford
- Sen. Karla Eslinger
- Sen. Lincoln Hough
- Rep. John Black
- Rep. Darin Chappell
- Rep. Betsy Fogle
- Rep. Jamie Ray Gragg
- Rep. Stephanie Hein
- Rep. Bill Owen
- Rep. Melanie Stinnett
The Chamber board adopted their 2023 federal legislative agenda focused on support for apprenticeships and process streamlining, support for regional higher education institutions, efforts to reduce inflation, improving supply chains, reducing regulatory burdens and prioritizing the needs of the region and state’s business community.
Throughout the year, Chamber staff and private-sector leaders will work to grow and foster connections with Missouri's federal delegation, including U.S. Congressman Eric Burlison, U.S. Senators Josh Hawley and Eric Schmitt and their respective staff.
The Chamber’s advocacy efforts offer the ability for our members to connect with key decision makers and elected officials, including several upcoming advocacy-related events. The annual Salute to Missouri Legislators reception, hosted by the Springfield Metro Partnership in Jefferson City, is an opportunity to honor Missouri’s elected officials and showcase the Springfield region to all lawmakers. Furthermore, we will be hosting several lawmakers throughout the year to provide insights into the legislative process and further foster relationships with our members and elected officials. Keep watch on the Chamber website and in the Advocacy in Action e-Newsletter for our upcoming events, updates on our advocacy efforts, and additional ways for you to engage.