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Parson’s State of the State address scheduled for mid-January

Gov. Mike Parson will deliver the annual State of the State address from the House chambers in mid-January. 

The speech is set for 3 p.m. on Jan. 19, exactly two weeks after the legislative session gets underway. 

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic threw Parson’s address into a kerfuffle as the Governor’s Office and legislature had to scramble to relocate the speech at the eleventh hour. 

Multiple senators were out of the building after testing positive for or being exposed to COVID-19, and the House had canceled its proceedings the week prior due to an outbreak on its side of the building.

Just ahead of the address, which was planned to be given in the House, lawmakers were at loggerheads: Senators did not want to move to the lower chamber where many members did not wear face masks, and representatives weren’t too keen on welcoming potentially sick senators to their chambers.  

The Governor’s Office said it was informed it could not use the House chambers the morning of the speech, and Parson gave his State of the State address in the Senate chambers where lawmakers’ desks are more distant. Members of the media congregated in the designated press gallery, and fourth-floor gallery seats were saved for executive branch officials. Some House members also watched from the upper gallery. 

Parson, then, emphasized workforce development and infrastructure in his speech. 

The new legislative session gets underway on Jan. 5.