Driving the Day: Amazon Ups Wages
Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon will raise its minimum wage to $15/hour. “The new minimum wage will kick in Nov. 1, covering more than 250,000 current employees and 100,000 seasonal holiday employees. The company said it also will start lobbying for an increase in the federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25 an hour.”
What It Means
This suddenly makes the Raise Up Missouri ballot question look kind of tame. That proposal bumps Missouri’s minimum wage to $8.60 per hour and implements yearly increases until it hits $12/hour in 2023.
It’s also a symptom of a full employment economy where a scarcity of workers is the biggest constraint to growth. I’d like to say that Governor Mike Parson’s focus on workforce development is happening at exactly the right time, but the truth is it should have happened a decade ago to be ready for today.
What We Didn’t See This Quarter
With the October fundraising quarter behind us now, the biggest surprise was what we didn’t see… few big checks going into PACs that will fuel third-party expenditures in the coming weeks. There were two big $100K checks from Herzog into GOP PACs, and a fair number of business checks into Governor Mike Parson’s PAC. But nothing which looks to be aimed at helping the Republican auditor candidate, Saundra McDowell, and very little to fortify vulnerable Republican state senators.
It could be coming in a last-minute push, or it could be that primaries were the source of action for IEs in Missouri.
Reader: Wildcard November?
One prediction for next year: there will be hell to pay when the little people - who have been relying on tax refunds every year like a bonus - find out they have to write a check because DOR screwed up the 2018 withholding tables. In fact, the gnashing of teeth may start early as new withholding tables are released in a few weeks and people start seeing less take-home pay, just in time to be angry voters on Election Day….
House 10 Fight?
I spoke yesterday to a Democrat who is worried about House 10. In a blue wave year, this should be an easy hold. In the terrible 2016, Hillary Clinton lost it (42.5%), Jason Kander won it (53.5%), and Koster Greitens were even.
But the skittishness is the result of the candidate mathc-up. Republicans have a well-known “nice guy” candidate, Bill Falkner, with some name ID as former St. Joe mayor. Meanwhile the Dem candidate, although strong ties to labor, has some baggage as seen with financial judgements against him on Casenet.
Why It Matters
If Dems lose a few of these seats they currently hold – this seat, the Ben Harris seat, the Mike Revis seat – it will really temper what could otherwise be a nice year for them.
MOScout Forecast Update
Making a few more minor adjustments to the forecast spreadsheet. I plan to do an update each Tuesday. See the spreadsheet here. Moving Rep. Elijah Haahr from “like Republican” to safe. Moving Rep. Sara Walsh from “tilt Republican” to likely. And moving Rep. Ken Wilson from “likely Republican” to tilt.
This doesn’t change my current bottom-line projection (+2 Dems), but it does slightly alter the range. It’s now at +3 GOP to + 13 Dems.
Galloway Audit on Sex Offenders
Auditor Nicole Galloway unveiled a report showing many of the state’s sex offenders are not being tracked. Post-Dispatch reports here: “Sex offenders must register their information, including their address, with a local law enforcement agency periodically. That information is then forwarded on to a Missouri Highway Patrol database that is available for the public to search… When an offender doesn’t register, Galloway said law enforcement officers need to follow up by calling or sending an officer to their residence. If police can’t locate the offender, the agency can submit evidence to prosecutors to apply for criminal charges and get an arrest warrant. But Galloway said those follow ups are not happening enough. Failure to register as a sex offender is a felony, but the auditor’s office found about 91 percent of unaccounted-for sex offenders do not have a warrant for their arrest. Statewide, more than 1,200 sex offenders haven’t registered, or about 8 percent of the 16,000 known sex offenders, the report concluded. That’s significantly down from 2002, when an audit showed about 36 percent of known sex offenders in Missouri weren’t registering…”
Hawley Reports on Untested Rape Kits
Press release: “The Attorney General’s Office final audit of law enforcement agencies, crime labs, and hospitals identified a total of 5,424 untested sexual assault kits. In conducting this audit, the AGO received information from 372 law enforcement agencies, 87 healthcare providers, and 5 crime labs. These numbers represent the sexual assault evidence kits contained in law enforcement agencies, healthcare providers, and crime labs who voluntarily responded to the Office’s request for information…
[E]ntities across the state do not have consistent practices related to the retention of kits. Statewide, standardized protocols must be created for the collection, retention, and submission of all sexual assault evidence kits in Missouri… the Attorney General’s Office will develop an electronic tracking system for all sexual assault evidence kits that will allow victims and law enforcement to follow a kit from collection through trial. At present, no such system exists. The absence of such a system can prevent victims from following the status of their case. Additionally, a centralized tracking system allows stakeholders to view the number of unsubmitted kits across the state at all times….”
Because untested rape kits weren’t the only pressing matter before the AG, there’s this… “Attorney General Josh Hawley called Monday for a special counsel to investigate the conduct of Senator Dianne Feinstein, her staff, and all other relevant parties for violating the confidentiality of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and obstructing the work of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
eMailbag: Schaefer Hawley Rapprochement
Schaefer may have attended a Hawley fundraiser – I’m sure Lathrop and Gage would like to lobby the AG or Senator – but they will never be on good terms. Schaefer spent way too much time during and after the primary [talking trash about Hawley]…
Missouri Farm Bureau seeks Spring 2019 Internship- State Legislative Affairs. “To be eligible, students must be enrolled in college credits during the semester in which the internship occurs or be enrolled in college credit hours during the following fall semester. This intern must have completed at least one year of college and have an academic background in Agriculture… Missouri Farm Bureau’s Capitol Connection program brings MOFB members, from around the state, into the state capitol on a weekly basis throughout the Missouri legislative session. This new position will help facilitate the program. This will be a great opportunity for students to learn about MOFB’s policy and advocacy work in Jefferson City, get to know MOFB leaders, and learn more about the Missouri legislature from a hands-on perspective…. $10/Hour…”
Rodney Gray, Tami Holliday, and Susan Henderson Moore added SSM Health, and Polsinelli Healthcare Solutions.
Sarah Schlemeier added the clients of Gamble and Schlemeier.
Gary Duke deleted The Christian Science Committee on Publican For Missouri.
Perry D Willmore formed an exemption committee to run for House 116 as a write-in.
Madison County Republican Central Committee was formed. Its treasurer is Jessica Stevens.
The Madison PAC was formed. Its treasurer Jeffery S Brooks Scott.
Recall Tom Van Camp was formed. It’s a PAC. Its treasurer is Lee Williams. Van Camp is a councilman in Independence accused of spending taxpayer money on personal travel.
ASA Midwest PAC - $12,500 from American Subcontractors Association - Midwest Council.
SaferMo.Com - $12,500 from Central Plains Cement LLC.
Express Scripts Inc. Missouri PAC - Federal Committee - $20,000 from Express Scripts Inc. Political Fund.
Safer Families for Missouri - $21,200 from Gary or Anita Robb.
Safer Families for Missouri - $11,800 from Dollar, Burns & Becker, L.C.
Uniting Missouri PAC - $10,000 from Missouri Soybean Association.
MO Opportunity PAC - $25,000 from David Steward.
Happy birthdays to Reps. Tim Remole and Jeff Knight, former Rep. Eric Burlison, David Zevan, and Teresa Wallace.