Monday, December 12, 2016

End of an Era?

See the large contributions below, maybe the last time you see them in a while, assuming Amendment 2 holds….

Among the final gifts: $500K from David Humphreys and $250K from Herzog Contracting to the Missouri Republican Party.

 

Backer Settlement

I’d mentioned the rumor of it earlier in the week, but news broke Friday that Gracia Backer had settled with the state in her discrimination lawsuit.  See the KCStar’s story here.

Pull Quote: A prominent former Missouri lawmaker who later worked for the state has won a $2 million settlement in an age and gender discrimination case against Gov. Jay Nixon. Documents The Star obtained Friday showed that Gracia Backer, who in 1996 became the first woman to serve as a party floor leader, and her lawyer will receive two payments. The first was to have been made Dec. 1. The second will come Jan. 4. Various state agencies under Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon have been sued for discrimination, resulting in millions of dollars in settlements and damages.

Then

Auditor Nicole Galloway announced her office will audit the state's Legal Expense Fund, “which is the pool of money used to make payments stemming from lawsuits against the state. Recent reports have highlighted an increase in the amount of money the state is spending each year to settle lawsuits against the state for inappropriate activity, including sexual harassment and discrimination occurring on the job… The purpose of the audit is to provide a clear picture of the liability created by employee lawsuits throughout the state workforce…”

Observer: Mark this date: State Auditor Nicole Galloway, facing her first statewide campaign

assuming she seeks re-election in 2018 - throws under the bus the fellow Democrat who appointed her, lame duck Gov. Jay Nixon, and the fellow Democrat she supported to succeed Nixon, Attorney General Chris Koster, who holds wide sway with huge state legal settlements.

 

Nixon to Dowd Bennett

Friday’s news…. After 30 years in Missouri public office, Gov. Jay Nixon is headed for the private sector. Nixon will join the law firm of Dowd Bennett in St. Louis after he leaves office on Jan. 9, he said in an exclusive interview with Missouri Lawyers Weekly.

 

Follow-Up on Pensions

In past years, Sen.-elect Andrew Koenig has filed bills to change the state employee and election official pension plan from a defined benefit to a hybrid. Look for him to do the same in the Senate and potentially get more traction because of the funding gap this year.  See last year’s bill here.  From the bill summary: “All new members of the hybrid plan are required to participate in the deferred compensation plan established under Section 105.927, with the employer contributing 3% and the participant contributing1% of the participant's salary.”

eMailbag on MOSERS

MOSERs has nearly 10 billion dollars of investments. The person running it should be someone who has experience managing a pension system not someone who got the $200K+ job because he was the long-time Chief of Staff for the Governor.

 

Rowden Charts Moderate Path?

The Republican legislators in Missouri usually quote ALEC, not NCSL, but perhaps Sen.-elect Caleb Rowden is considering a tenure in the Senate in line with his purple-ish district.  We’ll see…

The press release: Senator-Elect Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) pre-filed SB 197 to create a state earned income tax credit (EITC). This proposal would allow qualifying Missourians to receive a non-refundable state tax credit worth up to 20% of their federal EITC.

The federal EITC was first enacted in 1975 and, according to the National Conference of State

Legislatures, 26 states and the District of Columbia offer their own earned income credits.

The federal EITC and complementary state credits are widely regarded as an important anti-

poverty tool. The Missouri legislature has explored creating a state EITC for over a decade.

“A state EITC represents an immediate, tangible investment in half a million working Missourians,” said Rowden. “This concept enjoys bi-partisan support precisely because it

does so much to fight poverty and spur economic growth.”

"Passing an EITC in Missouri will mean a tax cut for over a half million working families from

every county in the state that need it most,” said Austin Walker, Manager of Government Relations for the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

 

HUD Grant to St. Louis

St. Louis will get a “major” HUD grant today.  Post Dispatch has the story.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro will be in St. Louis to announce what is likely the final round of the administration’s Choice Neighborhoods grant program, a prestigious designation that has been awarded to a handful of cities and housing authorities since 2010…  St. Louis’s bid for $30 million in HUD money beat out 29 other cities to make the round of five finalists.

 

Bits

File under Rumorsvills: Abe Rakov, after helping Jason Kander run 16 points ahead of the ticket, is rumored to be on the short list to manage Claire McCaskill’s re-election.

 

Governor Jay Nixon issues 15 pardons.  See them here.  Mostly folks nabbed in drug charges with a few common theft cases.

 

Kelly retires? In the lobbyist registrations, former Rep. Chris Kelly has de-registered.

 

Among the new committees formed: Preserve Middle Class America, a PAC, with David Cook as its treasurer.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Ginger Steinmetz added Missouri School Board Association and Steinmetz Consulting LLC; and deleted Missouri Attorney General’s Office.

Eapen Thampy added Heartland Priorities.

John Schillo added Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals Services LLC.

Kerry Messer deleted Missouri Baptist Convention, Christian Life Commission.

Chris Kelly deleted his lobbyist registration.  His clients were: Renovate America, Ameren MO, and The Gate Way Group.

 

$5K+ Contributions

MO Republican Party - $500,000 from David Humphreys.

MO Republican Party - $250,000 from Herzog Contracting Corp.

Parson for Missouri - $10,000 from Drury Development Corporation.

MBA River Heritage Region PAC - $6,373 from The Bank of Missouri.

MBA River Heritage Region PAC - $9,563 from First State Community Bank.

Citizens for Kevin Corlew - $27,502 from House Republican Campaign Committee.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Noel Torpey, Sal Martinez, Chris Girouard, and Celeste Rueter.