Ann Kelley’s Capitol Connection

November 09, 2023

What’s Going on in the Capitol

The Honorable Ginger Gooch Chosen as Next Missouri Supreme Court Judge

The Honorable Ginger Gooch, 47, has been chosen to serve as a Judge on the Supreme Court of Missouri, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Patricia Breckenridge.

Judge Gooch was one of three nominees presented to Governor Parson by the Appellate Judicial Commission. In 2022, she received an appointment from Governor Parson to serve on the Southern District Court of Appeals. Before her tenure on the appellate bench, she served as a partner at Husch Blackwell LLP in Springfield for nearly 15 years. Judge Gooch's legal journey began when she graduated at the top of her law class and subsequently served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Ann Covington, who was the first female judge on the Supreme Court of Missouri, from 2000 to 2001.

Judge Gooch obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, philosophy, law, and rhetoric from Stephens College.

"Judge Gooch has fought her whole career to help give the next generations of Missourians a hand up, especially women. Building the bench is as important to her as it is to me, and she works tirelessly to ensure the most qualified people have an opportunity. She clerked for the first woman on the Missouri Supreme Court, and now with her appointment, we cement the first female majority on our state's highest court in state history. We know Judge Gooch is the right woman for the job," Governor Parson said while introducing the newest member to Missouri’s Supreme Court.

Judge Gooch’s swearing-in date has not yet been set; however, Missouri law requires her to be sworn in within 30 days of her appointment.

Missouri Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe to Step Down

Anne Precythe, the Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC), will retire on December 5, 2023, after leading the department since January 2017. Governor Mike Parson commended her leadership and accomplishments during her tenure, which included reducing staff turnover rates, improving public service, and implementing various innovations. Precythe oversaw 19 correctional facilities, community supervision centers, transition centers, and probation and parole districts. Her initiatives included justice reinvestment programs, reentry and transition support, education and vocational training partnerships, workplace culture improvements, significant staff pay raises, and data-informed decision-making.

Precythe expressed pride in her team's accomplishments and confidence in the department's future. An interim director for DOC will be announced soon to ensure stability during the transition in leadership.

Pay Raise Plan for MoDOT Workers Approved by Cole County Judge

A recent ruling from a Cole County judge has approved the highway commission’s pay raise plan for Missouri transportation agency workers.

In a long-awaited decision, Circuit Judge Cotton Walker decided that Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission can give employees “market adjustment” raises using money from the State Road Fund.

Judge Walker’s decision comes after a similar case involving the state’s Conservation Commission, in which the court ruled lawmakers had authority to set spending levels from the state conservation fund but could not limit the Conservation Commission’s use of appropriated money for authorized purposes. Walker delayed ruling on the highway commission case until the conservation case was decided, stating that it provided the answer in this matter as well.

The judge’s ruling states that the Missouri Office of Administration Commissioner must allow payments approved by the Highways and Transportation Commission “when the request is for a constitutionally authorized purpose and there is sufficient balance in the State Road Fund.”

The significance of this decision is that, under this ruling, the Department of Transportation can use funds from the State Road Fund to increase salaries for employees. When lawmakers pushed forward a fuel tax increase with the intent of securing more funding to maintain and upgrade the state’s road systems, they did not intend those potential funds to be used for salaries. Some lawmakers have criticized this decision, saying citizens are being taxed for the funds going to something other than its intended use. This decision could potentially lead to newly-drafted legislation related this matter in the upcoming legislative session, with bill prefiling starting on December 1, 2023.

Boeing Considering Missouri for Major Expansion Project

A major global aerospace leader is considering a major expansion project in St. Louis County, Missouri, and the state is eager to support the company's potential growth. Boeing, Missouri's largest manufacturer, has had a presence in the state for over 80 years, and is looking into a proposed expansion involving a $1.8 billion investment and the creation of more than 500 new jobs. Various organizations, including the Department of Economic Development, St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis, and other partners, are working to support Boeing's efforts.

Steve Nordlund, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Air Dominance division, highlighted the support received from the state government and expressed gratitude for their collaboration in expanding aerospace manufacturing in Missouri.

Boeing's St. Louis manufacturing facility is a significant defense contractor and a major producer of advanced aircraft, with over 16,000 Missourians involved in the production of Boeing jets. The state is home to more than 100 aerospace manufacturers, providing employment to around 80,000 individuals in aerospace and defense manufacturing.

The Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB) has approved incentives for Boeing's potential expansion, including the Business Use Incentives for Large-Scale Development (BUILD) Program, the Missouri Works Deal Closing Fund, and Missouri One Start for workforce recruitment and training. The approved incentive amounts are as follows:

· BUILD Program: $8,849,162

· Missouri Works Deal Closing Fund: $20,375,491

· Missouri One Start: $8,500,000

This expansion project signifies a new chapter in Boeing's partnership with Missouri, with the aim of driving growth in the aerospace and defense industry in the region. Economic development efforts are being coordinated through a collaborative approach to ensure the project's success and the prosperity of Missourians.

Taking Care of YOU

Resolutions: My office offers Courtesy Resolutions for birthdays, deceased loved ones, Eagle Scouts, Girl Scouts, Glory Awards, Marriage, Retirement, Sports, Wedding Anniversary’s, and Veterans. To request one, please call my office at (573) 751-2165.

Flags: Are you in need of a new flag? I offer new Missouri State and United States flags upon request. If you need a flag for a special circumstance, we can even fly it over the capitol for you. These flags are available for any non-profit organizations and groups.

Scheduling a Capitol Trip: If your school is traveling to Jefferson City, contact my capitol office to set up tours times for the Capitol, Supreme Court, and Missouri State Penitentiary. These tours fill up fast in a first come first serve basis. Please give us a months’ notice in order to ensure you get tours of everything.

I am always in your service,

State Representative

Ann Kelley

Proudly Serving District 127