JEFFERSON CITY – Since the 101st General Assembly (2021-2022) began in January, MOST Policy Initiative Fellows have written more than 50 science notes responding to legislative requests in MOST’s effort to bridge science with policymakers.
MOST Director Rachel Owen, PhD, emphasized that the information is provided at the request of lawmakers.
“Without their support and trust, we would not be able to effectively bring scientific resources into the policymaking process,” Owen said as she reflected on the first 10 weeks of legislative session. Owen also said the evenly partisan nature of legislative requests is a strong indicator that MOST is providing a valuable service.
Among the science note requests, 52 percent were from Republicans and 48 percent were from Democrats. Additionally, one-third of the requests were from senators and two-third were from representatives. Owen said fellows have also testified for informational purposes only on several occasions, and all but one of those requests came from Republican committee leaders.
Sen. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, expressed his gratitude for MOST Policy Initiative science notes.
“They are well-written, informative, easily understandable, and precisely what I was looking for,” Razor said. From the other side of the aisle, Rep. Brad Pollitt, R-Sedalia, chairman of Rural Community Development, added, “If you’ve never used MOST, they’ll work hard for you and you’ll get a lot of information from them.”
During the 100th General Assembly (2019-2020), MOST Policy Initiative received signatures from 40 percent of lawmakers supporting the concept of the MOST Policy Fellows program. A nearly 50-50 split of Republicans and Democrats signed.
Owen said that during that same timeframe, MOST Policy Initiative received a House Courtesy Resolution from Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, and then-Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, “acknowledging the crucial service we provide to the General Assembly.”
MOST Policy Initiative is a nonprofit organization aimed to improve the health, sustainability, and economic growth of Missouri communities by providing objective, nonpartisan information to Missouri’s decision-makers.
The MOST Policy Fellows program was developed with the support of Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, and Rep. Kendrick as members of the inaugural advisory board. Since then, Owen said, MOST has added two Republican-appointed agency directors – Commissioner Zora Mulligan (Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development) and Director Anna Hui (Department of Labor and Industrial Relations) – to the advisory board.
Rep. Raychel Proudie, D-Ferguson, also joined the board in 2020.
Owen explained, “We are committed to obtaining bipartisan feedback and assuring that our program is providing truly unbiased resources for lawmakers.”