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Columbia Chamber of Commerce announces 2018 legislative priorities

With the 2018 legislative session officially underway in Jefferson City, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce is unveiling the top priorities on its legislative agenda.

Chamber officials announced the business organization’s priorities Thursday at an event alongside Columbia and Boone County lawmakers.

“It’s just a great agenda that I think the whole community can get behind and definitely the Boone County delegation can,” said Rep. Kip Kendrick, (D) Columbia.

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce has identified the following as its legislative priorities for 2018:

1. Support stabilizing the funding for University of Missouri to help ensure the university can carry out its mission.

2. Support a sustainable funding plan for a comprehensive transportation system to better support Missouri’s economic growth, with a focus of advocating on rebuilding Interstate 70.

3. Support the efforts in FY19 to expand education and training for the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR).

4. Continue to advance efforts to complete the Columbia Regional Airport terminal project.

5. Support legislation that implements the streamlined sales and use tax agreement. This legislation would help level the playing field between local retailers and their out-of-state competitors when it comes to use or sales taxes on internet and catalogue purchases made by consumers.

6. Enact a statewide prescription drug monitoring program that lowers workforce drug abuse and insurance costs for employers.

Chamber president Matt McCormick said transportation funding continues to be a top priority for the business organization each year.

“Funding for transportation so that we can fix I-70 and other roadways that we need,” he said. “You’ve got to have a good transportation system to move commerce.”

Columbia and Boone County lawmakers said they supported the Chamber’s priorities.

“We need to support the University of Missouri, we need to get the research reactor help, we need to get the airport new terminal going and so they mirror a lot of my own priorities,” said Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, (R) Columbia.

McCormick said the prescription drug monitoring program is new on the chamber’s list this year. A statewide PDMP has failed to pass in the Missouri legislature leaving it the only state in the country without a prescription drug tracking program.

Columbia and Boone County joined the St. Louis County PDMP in 2017.

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