Tuesday, February 16

Greitens’ Massive Push-Back

The Post-Dispatch reports on yesterday’s Eric Greitens press conference to rebut the charges in an anonymous video posted to Youtube that he does not embody the Navy SEAL ethos.  See it here.  The article links to originally video – now nearing 16,000 views – but not to Greitens rebuttal video.

Pull Quote: Most of the video's specific criticisms about Greitens' record relate to byzantine details that in some cases don't even qualify as criticisms. Among the “allegations,” for example, is that Greitens is the author or subject of four books.  Nonetheless, Greitens' campaign today staged a massive push-back, releasing his military record and conducting a news conference in which a few dozen boisterous veterans and other supporters lauded Greitens' military services, while campaign workers handed out a detailed, point-by-point refutation of the video.


Looking for Levers to Move Non-Discrimination Expansion

It looks like some folks in the LGBT community are questioning companies that don’t completely standing behind their rating in support of the LGBT community.  See it here.  Republican majority tends to listen to their business constituents…


Ag for Parson

In the third of a slow cross-agricultural roll-out, Sen. Mike Parson announced he’d received the endorsement of the Soybeaners.  This follows the Pork endorsement and the Cattlemen endorsement.


Somebody Just Make This Go Away

Everyday new click bait and Click-gate.  Here’s the tweet from Columbia Police Department… Jill Schlude ‏@DeputyChiefJill: Due to numerous requests for body camera footage from the Homecoming Parade the video has been posted online at http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/police/body-worn-camera-footage/


Pearce’s Limits Bill Gets Hearing

This morning Sen. David Pearce’s bill to limit campaign contributions will get a hearing in the Senate Rules committee. See it here.  In addition to caps on how much an individual can give to a candidate, it also require disclosures for 501c4 organizations which have recently been used to hide political contribution donors.  Pearce is one of several Republicans expressing regret at the legislature’s overturning of the voter-enacted campaign finance laws.

When Limits Will Go Away

We live in a capitalist society folks.  There’s too much money at stake, and too many people making a living from the free flow of money for the legislature to ever cut off that spigot.


House Plays Chicken With Stadium Funding

St. Louis Public Radio reports on that “the House General Administration Appropriations Committee voted to eliminate $12 million that goes toward the Edward Jones Dome’s debt payment and maintenance. Besides the state, St. Louis and St. Louis County both contribute $6 million toward the Jones Dome. The facility is slated to receive debt payments until 2021.”   See it here.

Wrapped up in this discussion is Rep. Jay Barnes’ demand to see a letter from the Nixon administration’s bond counsel.  “I believe the Nixon Administration has misled the General Assembly and the public about the contents or existence of this letter from bond counsel. And, this being the Show-Me State, there’s one simple way to prove me wrong: SHOW US THE LETTER.” See it here.


Ease-Dropping on the Accused and their Lawyers?

A follow-up article about recordings that appear to be happening in Missouri when they shouldn’t.  See it here.

Pull Quote: In the summer of 2013, Missouri criminal defense attorney Jennifer Bukowsky was preparing for an evidentiary hearing in the case of a pro bono client, Jessie McKim. The stakes were high: Along with his co-defendant, James Peavler, McKim had been convicted in 1999 of killing a woman named Wendy Wagnon and was serving life without parole at a maximum security prison. At the upcoming hearing, Bukowsky planned to argue that her client was innocent — and that the murder that sent him to die in prison was never a murder at all.

McKim was convicted in part based on the testimony of a local medical examiner… Among the witnesses Bukowsky planned to call at the hearing were five different pathologists who would testify that the state’s medical examiner was wrong…  “It was a really big time, and a crucial time, for his case,” Bukowsky recalls. As she prepped witnesses and decided who else should take the stand, she shared her strategy with McKim via lengthy phone calls — calls understood to be protected by attorney-client privilege. Unlike calls between prisoners and their family or acquaintances, which are routinely monitored, conversations with lawyers are not to be recorded…. The hearing took place in August 2013. The following spring, a circuit court judge ruled against McKim, upholding his conviction and saying that even if Wagnon was not suffocated, McKim and his co-defendant could have killed her another way — by intentionally forcing her to overdose on meth, a theory the state had never previously argued, for which there was no supporting evidence. Bukowsky was confounded by the ruling…

Last fall, Bukowsky received an unexpected phone call related to McKim’s case. The call came from The Intercept, following our November 11, 2015, report on a massive hack of Securus Technologies, a Texas-based prison telecommunications company that does business with the Missouri Department of Corrections. As we reported at the time, The Intercept received a massive database of more than 70 million call records belonging to Securus and coming from prison facilities that used the company’s so-called Secure Call Platform. Leaked via SecureDrop by a hacker who was concerned that Securus might be violating prisoners’ rights, the call records span a 2 1/2-year period beginning in late 2011 (the year Securus won its contract with the Missouri DOC) and ending in the spring of 2014…

In the wake of the story’s publication, we informed Bukowsky that her phone number had been found among the records and provided her a spreadsheet of the calls made to her office — including the name of the client and the date, time, and duration of the calls... The discovery was distressing. “I was in the thrust of litigating with the state attorney general’s office a very hotly disputed habeas petition, and I was acting under good faith that they were not recording,” she said. “And,” it appears, “they were.”


Replacing the Earnings Tax

Post-Dispatch has an article on the earnings tax receiving “fresh scrutiny.”  See it here.

The problem for St. Louis – and Kansas City should they receive “fresh scrutiny” – the lack of a replacement for the revenue.

One lobbyist shakes his head at the prospect and immediately imagines deep cuts to police and first responders as the only way to make the numbers work.

Probably there would have to be a basket of replacement taxes.  It’d be a bump in a variety of taxes – sales tax (already pushing double digits), hotel tax, use tax, property tax – in addition to cuts to the budget.  And would voters approve the increases to those taxes?

It’s easy to file a bill that doesn’t impact your constituents; it’s harder to govern.  Perhaps Sen. Kurt Schaefer should run for mayor of St. Louis.


New Committees

Columbians for Responsible Government was formed as a political action committee.  Its treasurer is Taylor BurksSee the paperwork here.


Help Wanted

House seeks Bill Room Clerk. “The House of Representatives, Operations Division is accepting applications for the position of Bill Room Clerk in the House Post Office… The position requires excellent customer service skills and the ability to meet deadlines and communicate effectively. Applicants should be dependable, motivated and able to lift up to fifty pounds... The salary range for this position begins at $25,824 annually…”  See the ad here.


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Missouri Academy of Family Physicians Advocacy Day.


Lobbyists Registrations

Rebecca Lohmann, Greg Porter, Danny Pfeifer, Alex Eaton and Steven Tilley deleted Fair Electricity Rate Action (FERAF).

John Bardgett Jr., Kim Tuttle and Steven Tilley deleted Mercy.

Franc Flotron, Bill Stouffer and Richard McIntosh deleted Missouri Clean Energy Funding LLC.


$5K+ Contributions

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $20,000 from Southwestern Bell Telephone LP – AT&T Missouri.