Wednesday, June 21, 2017

St. Louis’ Chamber Mess

Over the weekend the Post-Dispatch reported that the St. Louis Regional Chamber was still actively looking into allegations lodged at the Chamber’ CEO via an anonymous letter.  See the Post article here.  (See the letter here).

Pull Quote: Meanwhile, questions have surfaced about whether a $700,000 loan to Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan circumvents state law governing loans by nonprofits to their executives. State law prohibits “loans or guarantees” in excess of $250,000 to nonprofit directors and executives. A spokesman for the Chamber said June 9 that Reagan was loaned $700,000, only half of which he is obliged to pay back if he stays with the Chamber, for his relocation from Louisville, Ky., when he was hired in 2012. But the Chamber’s 2015 tax filings show Reagan was loaned $250,000. In an email, David Baldridge, a FleishmanHillard communications specialist hired by the Chamber, said the $700,000 loan didn’t violate state law, but he would not explain the accounting discrepancy nor where the additional $450,000 came from…

Yesterday, the St. Louis Business Journal reported the “executive committee has hired outside counsel to help it review an anonymous letter that made accusations… David Baldridge, ‎vice president at public relations firm FleishmanHillard and a chamber spokesman, said Tuesday that the committee hired Robert Haar of the St. Louis law firm Haar & Woods LLP…”  See it here.

Where From Here

The applicable political adage here is that if you know something is going to end badly, just cut to the ending, and get on with it so you can get over it.

It’s hard to see how Reagan emerges from this as an effective leader.  Since we’re talking about the chamber of commerce for the economic engine of the state, it’s actually not just palace intrigue; it does matter.

With interest rates going up, an anti-trade president in the White House, and an aging recovery, growth won’t last forever.  You can’t waste the time you have to make things happen.

Whether it’s Civic Progress, Governor Greitens, Mayor Krewson, BJC’s Lipstein or whoever, someone needs to say “Enough with the drip, drip, drip.  Time to stop the nonsense and get back to business.”

 

House Passes Abortion Bill

And now it’s back to the Senate.  Read KCStar’s article on the House action here.

Follow-Up on Moon’s Constitutional Concerns

MOScout reader: I disagree [that] the current special session bill title is in violation of the original purpose requirement.  In non-legalise – the court has said basically that you can modify and broaden the original purpose/title (ie. AG’s authority on abortion cases” to “abortion” but you can’t switch topics or gut the original purpose.  See Legends Bank v. State, 361 S.W.3d 383 (Mo., 2012)

 

More on Opioid Epidemic

Washington Post reports that 1.3 million people needed hospital care for opioid related illnesses.  See it here.  And these are numbers from 2014 – the latest available.  What are they at now?

Today

Stay tuned for a press conference today from Attorney General Josh Hawley.  My guess would be he’ll be joining his AG colleagues in other state suing some pharmaceutical companies for practices related to the opioid problem.  We’ll see….

 

PubDef Appeals Ruling

Last week Michael Barrett filed an appeal of last year’s court case.  Barrett and the Public Defenders had argued that Governor Jay Nixon’s withholds of their budget was unconstitutional because they were not a state agency but were a part of the judiciary branch.

The case is now in the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District.

 

Governor Signs Four Bills

Here’s the press release: Today Governor Eric Greitens signed four bills into law relating to enforcing public safety, growing tourism, decreasing burdensome regulations, and supporting Missouri's Organ Donation Fund.

HB 190 sponsored by Rep. Kathie Conway gives community college police officers jurisdiction to enforce speed limits and issue tickets to those who break the law. This bill will help to keep our students and public safe while they are on Missouri's community college campuses.

SB 161 establishes the Ozark Exploration Bicentennial Commission, which is tasked with celebrating the exploration of Missouri's Ozarks. This celebration is intended to increase tourism to Missouri's Ozarks and highlight Missouri's natural beauty. SB 161 was sponsored by Senator David Sater and supported by Rep. Lyle Rowland.

County commissioners have struggled to keep up with maintenance and other costs associated with public cemeteries, due to restrictive government regulation. HB 51 removes these restrictions by expanding the investment tools county commissioners can use to raise funds. This will help maintain the beauty and dignity of our public cemeteries. Representative Allen Andrews and Senator Dan Hegeman were instrumental in passing this legislation.

SB 248 repeals the sunset date for tax refund contributions to the Organ Donor Program Fund allowing the fund to continue to accept donations in support of a program that has helped many Missourians. This bill was sponsored by Senator Will Kraus and guided through the House by Representatives Warren Love and Steve Cookson.

Notice Anything?

One person missing from the press release… Sen. Bill Eigel who carried Conway’s bill in the Senate.  Apparently no love for Eigel from the gov’s office…

 

Panel Named

The panel of three nominees was named “for the circuit judge vacancy in Division 11 of the Jackson County Circuit Court, created by the appointment of Judge W. Brent Powell to the Supreme Court of Missouri. The nominees are Justin J. Kalwei (received five votes in support), Jalilah Otto (received five votes in support), and George E. Wolf (received five votes in support).

Justin J. Kalwei – Attorney in private practice with Kalwei Law Firm LLC in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jalilah Otto – circuit judge for the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit in Kansas City, Missouri.

George E. Wolf – Attorney at the law firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City, Missouri…”

 

RX Alternative

RX Outreach is offering itself as an alternative following the recent news that “Missouri lawmakers have bumped about 64,000 senior citizens off of state assistance for prescriptions starting in July. Currently, the Missouri Rx Plan pays for 50 percent of prescription co-pays and premiums for Medicare recipients who fall within 85 percent and 185 percent of the federal poverty level, or earn about $20,000 annually. By not providing state assistance to those Medicare patients in next year's budget, the state saves about $16 million in a year…”

From a letter sent to legislators… “With the Missouri Rx Plan program discontinuing, Rx Outreach is a resource for people struggling to afford medications. Rx Outreach is a nonprofit, mail-order pharmacy that provides free and low-cost generic medications for people in need. Over 66,000 people in all 50 states received their prescriptions from Rx Outreach last year. Headquartered in Maryland Heights, Missouri, the organization provides access to over 800 medications… Eligibility is based on income: People qualify with annual income of $36,180 or less for a single person, $48,720 or less for family of two, $61,260 or less for a family of three, $73,800 or less for family of four…”

 

Bits

The Missouri Ethics Commission updated its website regarding the Amendment 2 litigation.  See it here. “Portions of Article VIII, Section 23 have been challenged in federal litigation in Free and Fair Election Fund, et al. v. Missouri Ethics Commission, et al. & Missouri Electric Cooperatives, et al. v. State of Missouri, et al., Consolidated Case No. 16-04332CV-C-ODS (Western District of Missouri, Central Division). On May 5, 2017, the Federal District Court issued the ruling. An appeal is pending in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. As of June 20, 2017, the 8th Circuit has not ruled on a motion for Partial Stay – therefore, the District Court’s May 5, 2017 injunction is now in effect…”

 

Carpenters filed a non-committee expenditure report for their efforts on the repeal right to work referendum.  See it here.

 

eMailbag on Senate 18

If it's Cindy [O’Laughlin] vs. Craig [Redmon], Lindell [Shumake], and Nate [Walker] she has a distinct advantage. She is a free-market force of nature in the best traditions of Margaret Thatcher vs. three indistinguishable pale male career politicians. Add in Axiom's Aaron Baker at the helm of team Cindy and its likely checkmate for the boys of northeast Missouri.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Civic Progress Action Committee - $13,000 from Monsanto Company.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Mike Pridmore and Hank Thompson.