Thursday, February 23, 2017

 

Senate Perfects Schaaf Compromise of PDMP

Yesterday the Senate debated the Real ID compromise proposed by Sen. Ryan Silvey for a while then set the bill aside.  That debate centered on the tension between privacy concerns and quality of life.

The next bill had the same debate at its center.  Sen. Rob Schaaf offered his prescription drug monitoring program bill.  Schaaf has been an effective roadblock to other proposals in this arena.  But his compromise – which was amended – may be acceptable to advocates.  We’ll see.

The Senate perfected the bill 20-13.  The opposition (Sens. Chappelle-Nadal, Curls, Eigel, Emery, Hoskins, Koenig, Kraus, Nasheed, Onder, Sater, Schupp, Walsh, Wieland) included folks who thought it went too far, and folks who thought it didn’t go far enough.

 

Charter Pushback

Yesterday in the House hearing on the DESE Budget, the committee got sideways on a near hour-long discussion about the use of federal dollars for the lunch program. There appeared to be bi-partisan consensus on the lack of appeal on the Michelle Obama lunch menu. The kids throw the food away. One Representative suggested they make meals that fit the local cuisine - ditch the hummus and offer fried bologna…

But the hearing really got interesting when the topic of charter schools came up.  Lots of discussion around recent news about St. Louis charters that aren't making progress and the recent confusion over what the State Board of Education could do.  It seems that DESE only has authority over the charter sponsors - it's the sponsors who get to decide whether or not to close the schools.

There is concern that DESE is not in a position to protect student interests as the statute exists. The committee was not opposed to charters, but they had concerns about accountability.  For example, Rep. Michael Butler said he has two top charters in his district, but also two that are near the bottom.

The public school advocates (MASA, MNEA, MASA) may have realized that the conversation was giving them the talking points to oppose Rep. Rebecca Roeber’s HB634.  That bill would expand charter schools and has been stuck in committee.  The sentiment seemed to be taking charters statewide shouldn’t happen until accountability, performance and authority issues are ironed out.

Rep. Marsha Haefner asked really tough questions about the Missouri Charter Public School Commission and why the commission needed a $5.4 appropriation.  DESE struggled to explain what they do with the money.

 

Automatic for the People?

Sen. Kiki Curls introduced SJR18 which would repeal the constituional mechanism to increase pay for public employees – which has continually run into political roadblocks.  In its place would be automatic cost-of-living adjustments.

 

No Hartzler Town Hall

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler “welcomes the input,” but tell Rudi Keller there aint gonna be no town hall meetings.  See it here.

And so as these things go – the chicken costume shows up.

 

No State Plane Travel

The governor’s office said that Governor Eric Greitens is eschewing the state airplane and instead using campaign funds or private donations for his out-of-state travel.  See the Post-Dispatch article here.

The guess is that his campaign will reimburse any donor for the use of their private jets so that Greitens doesn’t have to name the contributor on a Public Financial Disclosure at some point.

 

One Nation on TV

The campaign cycle never stops…. One Nation is coming to Missouri TV?  See it here.  Who is One Nation?

 

Eigel: Make I-70 A Priority

Sen. Bill Eigel’s SB 457 would take 8% of the sales tax and use tax revenues and earmark them for I-70.  The press release: “We don’t have a revenue problem in the state when it comes to transportation funding, we have a prioritization problem.”

 

And The Other Transportation Funding Issue

A look at the DESE budget – page 62 – shows how transportation funding has been the usual target for budget cutting.  Governor Eric Greitens is not the first to say he’s protecting classrooms while cutting these funds.

In 2003 the state 47.98% of the allowable transportation costs.  That’s steadily declined. Last it hit 19.86% and this year it projected to be even lower… 16.19%.

 

Greitens-Pence Bits

A long-time statehouse observer wondered when Governor Eric Greitens changed from his suit to his jeans. “Did he change in the VP's limo?”  Awkward…..

 

Congresswoman Ann Wagner and Congressman Blaine Luetkemyer were at the Vice President Mike Pence event.  Luetky is close to Pence from their time in the House.

 

MOScouter: Greitens had a good day today.  Helps that the VP planned his day…

 

Bits

Governor Eric Greitens appointed Craig Frazier, a Republican from Springfield, and Carol Silvey, an Independent from West Plains to the Missouri State University Board of Governors.

 

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty “sent a letter to the University of Missouri System president asking that the system withdraw its support for legislation that would severely weaken the Missouri Human Rights Act. A UM System lobbyist testified in support of the legislation during a Feb. 13 House hearing.”  This is good news for Republicans as it’s the first time McCann Beatty has hit a target other than her early pointed poking of the governor.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Find the Cures - $25,000 from Brad Bradshaw.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to former Rep. Rick Stream.