Wednesday, November 22, 2017

New House Chairmanships

With the various vacancies that have arisen in the House, there’s a shuffling of some chairmanships.  Here are the new assignments: Rep. Kevin Corlew is taking over Judiciary.  Rep. Allen Andrews is the new chair of the Special Committee on Small Business.  And Rep. Kevin Austin is now chair of Ethics.


Q&A #1: Who Lost Claudia Greim?

Short answer: Too early to tell if she’s flipped sides or not.


In a stunning development yesterday Claudia Greim voted against the other appointees of Governor Eric Greitens to prevent the firing of DESE Commissioner Margie Vandeven.  Greim is also a Gretiens appointee, and was one of the three board members who called for the meeting.

One source said that the governor’s people came into the meeting with great confidence, only to find that once again they didn’t have it nailed down.

However, there’s a very real possibility that Greim is still on-board with the governor’s agenda to remove and replace the head of DESE – but particular circumstances of this meeting led to her vote otherwise this time.

The board will hold its regularly scheduled meeting one week from Friday (December 1) and the question of Vandeven’s future could resurface.

Greitens’ bungling of the appointment process though has created a mess.  A real mess.  It appears that there will have to be some judicial refereeing to figure out the situation in the southwest district.  Greitens’ first appointee to that seat, as well as his second appointee, and his third appointee are all interested in claiming the position.

One possible forecast would be a two-step process.  The SBOE could revisit Vandeven’s employment next week – and potentially muster the necessary five votes to oust her.

Then the legislature would reconvene in January with some appointees being rejected by the Senate, and the legal challenge (if it’s still a relevant point of contention) playing out. Then in summer of 2018, Mike Jones’ term will expire, and Greitens could make another round of recess appointments.  And then new SBOE could hire a replacement.

Of course in such a scenario, the interim six months with be treading water in policy uncertainty and a leadership vacuum without a department head or possibly a functioning SBOE.  Not be ideal from an organizational standpoint.

Greitens Enters Debate

Governor Eric Greitens finally issued a statement to articulate why dumping Vandeven was so important to him.  See it here.  Some folks took issue with parts of it.  Sen. Ryan Silvey tweeted a correction on education funding for example.  And another MOScouter sent me this Post-Dispatch article noting that the governor, himself, was responsible for the ACT funding cut.

But Where’s the Beef?

Here’s what’s interesting in the statement: you can read as the governor’s first real foray into education policy.  And if you read it like that, and discard all the rah-rah filler lines, there’s only one policy the governor is advancing: increasing teacher pay.  There’s certainly nothing radical like reconfiguring the curriculum to prepare students to be able to have three careers in the constantly changing, technologically disruptive economy they’ll face in the coming decades.  There’s nothing quasi-radical like dropping the agrarian-based school calendar and going to a year-round calendar where students don’t spend their first month after summer break learning what they’ve forgotten.  There’s nothing from the right-side of the mainstream like more school choice and greater teacher accountability.  There’s only that money going to administrators should decrease and that money should go to teachers.

DESE, Justice Trade Statements

DESE via Twitter yesterday: In a closed meeting today, the Missouri Board of Education discussed potential personnel changes for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The motion to remove Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven as head of the agency failed in a 4-4 vote. Eddy Justice, Doug Russell, Sonny Jungmeyer and Jennifer Edwards voted for the leadership change. Board President Charlie Shields, Vice President Vic Lenz, Mike Jones and Claudia Oñate Greim voted against the motion. “I look forward to the focus returning to educating our children,” said Commissioner Vandeven.

SBOE Member Eddy Justice: The current push to change the status quo in education is not a distraction from teaching children.  The fact that over 60% of fourth grde and eighth graders cannot read proficiently and the adamant desire to get change that is as centered on students as you can get.


From the eMailbag: I don't give a damn about school choice but where the hell is Ron Richard when all this education drama is going on. Is it okay with him if the Senate gets completely emasculated?



Ryan Dillon, Democrat running in Senate 16, fundraises off a potential Jane Cunningham candidacy… “Former State Senator Jane Cunningham has formed a campaign committee to run ... in rural Missouri! That's right. She just filed paperwork with the Missouri Ethics Commission that indicates the former St. Louis Senator - best known for attempting to loosen child labor laws and voting to gut public education - will seek elected office again. This time, in Missouri's 16th Senatorial District…. The last thing rural Missouri needs is a political opportunist.  If we are going to change Jefferson City, we have to change who we send there.”


Next week, Sen. Jason Holsman will hold a Q&A meeting about the medical marijuana ballot initiatives.  Wednesday, November 29 at 7 PM, at Bier Station in Kansas City. See it here.


Governor Eric Greitens has appointed Timothy J. Boyer, of St. Louis, as Circuit Court Judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, which covers the City of St. Louis.  The position became vacant due to the retirement of the Honorable Philip D. Heagney.


Help Wanted

Missouri Family Health Council, Inc. seeks Policy Director.  “Missouri Family Health Council, Inc., (MFHC), a private nonprofit organization based in Jefferson City, champions access for every individual to culturally sensitive, quality, sexual and reproductive health education and services by developing and managing family planning and related reproductive health programs… MFHC is currently seeking a dynamic leader to spearhead efforts to advance the policy agenda of MFHC. Efforts include planning and implementing legislative campaigns; analyzing and drafting policy proposals; lobbying federal, state, and local officials; preparing and presenting testimony; building a reproductive health coalition; building the capacity of subrecipient agencies to engage in advocacy efforts; and building/organizing public support for MFHC’s policy agenda…. Salary Range: $60,000 - $70,000…” See it here.


New Committees

Six PAC was formed.  Its treasurer is John Kehoe and its deputy treasurer is John Sheehan.


Lobbyists Registrations

Robert Hollis added Broadway Lodging Two LLC.

Scott Penman, David Winton, Kaycee Nail and deleted Missouri Family Health Council Inc.


$5K+ Contributions

Missouri Alliance for Freedom - Grace River PAC - $24,316 from Liberty Alliance.



Happy birthday to former Rep. Therese Sander.

Thanksgiving: Brian Bunten, Sam Wiles, and former Rep. Cynthia Davis.

Friday: Sen. Bill Eigel, Rep. David Wood, and Ryan Nonnemaker.

Saturday: Joe Lakin, Willis Jones, and former Rep. Bill Deeken.

Sunday: Jane Dueker.


MOScout News

Happy Thanksgiving everyone… See you Monday….