JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A cumulation of executive orders and legislative action have resulted in significant changes to multiple state agencies more than six months after the restructuring was first announced.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources now includes the division of energy; workforce development has joined forces with higher education; the Public Service Commission now is under the umbrella of the newly-renamed Department of Commerce and Insurance; and the Missouri Arts Council is part of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office.
The changes were initiated in January when Gov. Mike Parson signed three executive orders that began the process of restructuring four state agencies. Bills passed by the Missouri General Assembly that became effective on Aug. 28 completed the agency changes.
“During my State of the State Address in January, I committed to the General Assembly that our administration would fundamentally restructure state government. We are pleased to say today that we have accomplished that goal,” Parson said. “To move our state in the right direction, we had to roll up our sleeves and get to work, and that’s what this day represents. Today, we celebrate this historic moment for our state, our government, and most importantly, our citizens.”
“It’s been more than a decade since we evaluated our economic development strategy, and it was time we took a hard look at how we could provide better solutions in our state,” Department of Economic Development (DED) Director Rob Dixon said, noting the department’s year-long strategy assessment led to a “complete overhaul and new pathway for growth in rural and urban areas.”
The move is touted as better aligning certain functions of state government in order to streamline operations, increase efficiency, and improve customer service to all Missourians.
The final phase occurred on Wednesday, when legislation and the executive orders took effect.
The Office of Administration did not have a final cost for restructuring on Wednesday.
Prior to the press conference, Parson addressed dozens of DED employees gathered in the Capitol rotunda, thanking them for their work as public servants. He praised state employees for being willing to make changes to complement “the bigger picture.”
“It’s time we’re leaders of the Midwest. It’s time we’re leaders of the United States,” Parson said.
- The Division of Workforce Development and Missouri Economic Research and Information Center has moved to the newly named Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development
- The Division of Energy has returned to the Department of Natural Resources
- The Office of Public Counsel and the Public Service Commission is now at the newly named Department of Commerce and Insurance
- The Missouri Arts Council was elevated to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office
- The Department of Economic Development will shift to have staff based across Missouri in order to better meet the unique needs of each economic region and will form a new division that will specifically help businesses address workforce needs as they hire and train workers for large expansions
Watch the full press conference:
Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.