Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Talk: Special Session in June

Rumblings from the governor’s office have folks looking for a special session in mid to late June.  There are lots of issues on the table, but Rep. Don Rone’s bootheel ecodevo package is in the mix.  Other possibilities: Rep. Holly Rehder’s PDMP, Educational Savings Accounts, Paycheck Protection, Prevailing Wage and…. a lobbyist gift ban.

This last one is potentially tricky for the governor who admitted to an ethics violation, and has been a champion of secret money.  Some think the governor could craft the special session call so narrowly as to only allow a gift ban and no other ethics reforms that would impinge on his dark money operations.  But others think it’s risky for this governor to even bring the subject of ethics up when it would command the spotlight.


Rehder asks for a special session for her legislation. See it here.


Court Says SB5 Included “Special Law”

The landmark legislation from two sessions ago, SB5 which curtailed the amount of revenue that municipalities could generate from tickets, fees and fines, lost a little of its sting yesterday.  The Supreme Court ruled that the section which carved out a lower threshold for St. Louis County municipalities constitutes a “special law.”  The law wasn’t thrown out, St. Louis County will have the same limits on fee revenue as everyone else, 20% of their budget.  See the court’s ruling here.

Bill sponsor Eric Schmitt’s statement: “Although I am disappointed with the decision to create a flat revenue limit applied statewide, the court's upholding of the majority of the law marks a significant victory for efforts to eliminate these abusive taxation by citation schemes that hit the poor especially hard.”


The court’s opinion relies on a test for whether a law is a special law or not.  It’s whether the definition of a county in statute is “open” or “closed.”  That is, could a county fall out of a category or a new one join the category.  If so, the definition is “open” and it’s not a special law.

Could Rep. Kevin Austin’s HB451 essentially take all the open definitions and make them closed and suddenly make a whole lot of laws on the books “special laws” and subject to being overturned?

We’ll see if the governor signs it first I guess.


Galloway: Hancock Violation Coming?

Press release from Auditor Nicole Galloway:  The Hancock Amendment limits the amount the General Assembly may raise taxes or fees through new legislation without a vote of the people.  The Office of Administration determined based on fiscal notes prepared by the Committee on Legislative Research-Oversight that  legislation enacted in 2016 could increase net taxes and fees by $127.7 million.  This exceeds the constitutional threshold by $33 million.

The Auditor's Office requested additional information and documentation from the Office of Administration regarding the calculation. The Office of Administration asserted that it did not have any additional information to provide and noted that in some cases, it is not possible to quantify the potential impact of legislation.

Actual compliance is determined by measuring revenues generated in the first fiscal year each tax and fee increase is fully effective.  Much of the total for 2016 legislation results from enactment of one bill, Senate Bill 588, which creates a process for sealing certain criminal records, including arrest records. The legislation takes effect January 1, 2018, and is projected to generate up to $154 million in fees the first full fiscal year it is in place.


Hudson Announces for House 138

I ran this bit back in March.  But yesterday Stone County Assessor Brad Harmon officially announcced on Facebook that he would run for House 138 as a Republican.  The current representative, Rep. Don Phillips is termed.

Many of you have been encouraging me to make this move, so let's make it official. I've made the decision to seek the office of Missouri State Representative. I would be honored to be your conservative voice in our state capitol. Please help me spread the word!


What is Clean Missouri?

In the $5K+ contributions, there’s a $250K check from Missouri NEA to Clean Missouri.  According to paperwork filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission (see it here), they were formed to put ethics reform on the ballot in 2018.  See their website here. Follow them on Twitter here.


Sauer on City-County merger

Fred Sauer, who spearheaded the contribution limits IP, is calling a meeting for Friday to discuss the possibility a St. Louis City-St. Louis County “merger.”

Friday, May 19, 2017 9:00 AM

The Frontenac Hilton

1335 Lindbergh Blvd.

Frontenac, MO 63131

I am writing you today to invite you to an important meeting on May 19th at 9:00 AM at the Frontenac Hilton to discuss the future of our metropolitan area and the grave fiscal crisis we face from the so-called City/County Merger.

Last spring I sent a copy of my book "Wake Up St. Louis County! Rex Sinquefield Wants You To Pay For His Empire" to every member of the Missouri General Assembly. It attacks Sinquefield's ongoing attempts to combine St. Louis City into St. Louis County. This would create a single government structure by which he and his vast supply of money would come to control the state legislature. He would create the Chicago of Missouri, a single city that dominates state policies…

Sauer has a few basic misunderstandings.  The most egregious is that when comparing the city to the county he’s comparing apples to oranges.  The city is both a city and a county right now.  To compare its structure to the county misses half the functions of St. Louis City government (its city functions). It’s the same if you’d compare the city to any of the single municipalities in the county.  You’d be missing the county functions that St. Louis City governance provides.



The latest project from Team Rex… Fly314 (see the website here) encouraging the city to privatize its airport.


Former Sen. Charlie Shields was re-elected as president of the State Board of Education.


Aaron Greisheimer has left SITE Improvement Association, and taken a job with Steamboat Financial.


Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announced “21 initiative petitions relating to minimum wage met state standards for circulation. The official ballot titles for initiative petitions 2018-196 through 2018-216 can be found at Before any statutory changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November2018 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to five (5) percent of the total votes cast in the 2016 governor's election from six of the state's eight congressional districts.Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2018 ballot are due to the secretary of state’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 6, 2018.”


Press release: Axiom Strategies, the largest Republican political consulting firm in the country, today announced the hiring of Josh Perry as Director of Social Media, adding talent and depth to its growing in-house digital operation. Josh previously served as Social Media Director for the Ted Cruz for President campaign where he helped build and lead one of the largest online campaign operations in the history of presidential primaries.


eMailbag: On Outsider Luetkemeyer

Ok, someone has to call BS on anyone using the word "Outsider" to describe a Luetkemeyer. And then for a "fresh" perspective they proceed to offer up the same 5 bullet points that Rs have been using for the better part of 2 decades? How is old party language "fresh", much less "outsidery"?


eMailbag on St. Louis Umbrellas

Better yet why don't St. Louis and Kasnas City withhold all the revenue they generate, and see

how these out state reps and senators fare on their own. Their roads, schools, and other services that depend on state subsidies will dry up… 


Help Wanted

St. Louis Community Foundation seeks Director of Community Engagement.  “This position’s primary responsibilities are the following: Lead the St. Louis Community Foundation’s community engagement team; Understand the nonprofit landscape and build strong, collaborative relationships with nonprofits (broadly defined to include grantees of the Foundation’s various funds, regional nonprofits across disciplines, and, episodically, national and international nonprofits linked with the interests of the Foundation and/or its donors)…”

See the ad here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Brooke Fallon added Institute for Justice.

Jorgen Schlemeier added Missouri Rising; and deleted City of North Kansas City.

Michael Schler added Missouri Beer Wholesales Association, and Brydon, Swearengen & England PC.

Kerry Messer deleted Samaritan Ministries International.


$5K+ Contributions

CLEAN Missouri - $250,000 from Missouri NEA.

Liberty Alliance - $10,000 from Rudolph Farber.

Supporters of Health Research and Treatments - $19,083 from John McDonnell.


MOScout News

Ok, Ok, tomorrow – I swear on every living plant in my backyard – I will produce the legislative grades.  Promise.