What’s Happening Report: October 14, 2019

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about leadership.

Last week, I went to an amazing conference on leadership for government officials. Along with 20 other leaders from the Legislative and Executive branches in the South, I attended the CALS leadership summit in Arkansas, hosted by the Southern Legislative Conference. We heard from amazing speakers about the four keys to leadership: communication, conflict resolution, consensus building and critical decision making. We heard about integrity, discussed conversations that have gone badly, and talked about the secrets of a thoroughbred leader. I wish I could share everything I learned with you!

But the one key to leadership we talked about most? Relationships.

I have already benefited from relationships I formed at the summit. The hearing on Medicaid last week had a speaker from Arkansas talking about what an “unmitigated failure” Medicaid expansion has been in Arkansas. I spoke with a Republican Senator at the conference about his experience with Medicaid expansion, who says that, while he is unhappy with it, expansion is not as horrible as it was presented at the hearing. I also reached out to the Democratic vice-chair of the Arkansas Healthcare committee, who is beyond pleased with how expansion has benefited Arkansas, stating that they have only had one hospital closure (compared with Missouri’s 8), there has been a dramatic decrease in uncompensated care (leading to the closure of some free clinics because they are no longer being used), lower insurance premiums, and a much healthier population. Clearly there are a lot of factors to consider, but it is not as cut-and-dried as the committee presenter made it sound!

In other news …
Make a Difference Day in Shrewsbury/Webster Groves is coming up on October 26. This is a day of good deeds, when neighbors are encouraged to volunteer to help their neighborhood. Make a Difference Day is held the fourth Saturday in October. I hope to see you there! Sign up here if you plan to participate!
Each year, the Governor’s Council on Disability distributes a Legislative Priorities Poll to assist in understanding issues important to Missourians with disabilities and those who work and live with them.Here is a link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QNRSVQ2. It is open until November 7. I look at the results of the survey every year!
Grant Opportunity – Urban Agriculture
The Department of Agriculture will award grants of up to $7,500 for reimbursement of expenses associated with urban agriculture. Eligible projects include urban agricultural projects and activities such as introducing a new crop or product to an area or expanding the use of or adding value to agricultural products. Examples of projects include developing small agribusinesses, implementing production infrastructure, creating direct distribution venues, developing agricultural workforce or providing training and development skills for agricultural business sustainability. Application must be received by October 25, 2019. Up to $50,000 will be available for the Urban Agriculture Matching Grant Program. To learn more, visit https://agriculture.mo.gov/abd/financial/urban.php.
RealID Update
RealID compliant drivers and nondrivers licenses are now available with proper documentationYou can go to the DMV and request a replacement for your current license with the Real ID for a $5 processing fee. If you renew your license at the time of the request you will be charged the renewal fee. You need a RealID compliant Identification Card to board an airplane and enter federal buildings; Missouri issued Identification Cards (including drivers’ licenses) will be accepted in lieu of RealID until October 1, 2020. For more information about RealID, go to dor.mo.gov/drivers/real-id-information/.
The Census is Coming!
The US Constitution requires the federal government to take a count of people living in the United States every 10 years — and 2020 is it! Everyone means everyone — adults and children, citizens and noncitizens. The data collected from the census will be used, among other things, to reapportion legislative districts.

Census takers have begun visiting areas that have experienced a lot of change and growth to ensure that the Census Bureau’s address list is up to date. This is called address canvassing, and it helps to ensure that everyone receives an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.
The Census is hiringApply here.

Watch this space for more information on the 2020 Census!
Capitol Construction
The Missouri Capitol will be under construction for the next two years. Many streets around the Capitol are closed, with signs directing an alternate route. The Capitol Dome is also closed. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.
Even though I will not be in Jefferson City regularly, you are welcome to stop by my office if you are there. If you have an issue to talk with me about, it is best to make an appointment through my assistant, Nancy, at 573-751-1285.

I enjoy opportunities to meet with people in the community and participate in local events. It’s one of the best parts of my job!
Thanks for reading. Have a great week!
Representative Sarah Unsicker
91st District