Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Greitens EOs Parental Paid Leave

Governor Eric Greitens unveiled a new executive order implementing paid parental leave for state employees in the executive branch. Like all his important announcements it was made with the gravitas of a Facebook video.  See it here.

From the Post-Dispatch article: President Barack Obama signed a similar order for federal employees in 2015.  It’s unclear how much the move will cost, but Greitens spokesman Parker Briden said the governor’s office expected state agencies to be able to afford the extra leave out of their current budgets… The order applies to more than 45,000 state employees who belong to the worst-paid corps in the nation. The executive order also included a line encouraging other statewide officials, the legislature and the judiciary to adopt similar measures.

 

Senate Debates HB251

The Senate debated an expanded paycheck protection bill, HB 251, for hours last night.  The debate veered for a bit into Governor Eric Greitens’ dark money habit with a proposed amendment from Sen. Scott Sifton which was ruled beyond the scope of the bill.

 

MOSERS Follow-Up

It sounds like Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick’s presentation to the MOSERS Board didn’t change any minds about the amount needed from the General Assembly.

It could be with the new board members there’s a sense for a reality check: that the rate of return has been assumed to be too high for too long, and that if life expectancy continues to climb the fund may be even more unfunded going forward than it is now.

And in the background of every conversation is a nervousness that no one wants to be the reason that Missouri loses its AAA credit rating.

We’ll see…

 

Layton Tapped to Defend Blaine Amendment

Post-Dispatch reports that James Layton has been appointed by Attorney General Josh Hawley to defend the state’s Blaine Amendment before the U.S. Supreme Court.  See it here.

Pull Quote: In April, James Layton, who served under former Attorneys General Chris Koster and Jay Nixon, both Democrats — will be presenting oral arguments in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley. The case challenges Missouri’s “Blaine Amendment,” which prohibits public money from being used to aid religious organizations… After assuming office, Hawley recused himself, citing private practice work with the plaintiffs. On the campaign trail, Hawley, a Republican, was critical of the state’s position on the case, which he sees as vital for religious freedom… First Assistant Attorney General John Sauer asked Layton, who now works as a private practice attorney in St. Louis, to take on the case pro-bono, or without compensation. In a statement, Sauer said Layton is well-equipped for the task, having “carefully studied and vigorously defended the position taken by former Governor Nixon’s administration.”

And

Super-Attorney Chuck Hatfield approved via Twitter.  “Interesting example of what can happen when AG personally disagrees with state's position. Kudos to General Hawley on this IMO.”

 

Ameren Deploying Smart Tech in IL

Supporters for a utilities regulatory overhaul in Missouri point to Illinois where Ameren is investing in the grid with new technology and say it could be happening here with the right legislation.

Pull Quote: Ameren Illinois began grid modernizations for its Illinois customers in 2016, which cut carbon emission by 220,000 pounds last year, according to Ryan Ellen, director of advanced metering infrastructure. In 2011, the state of Illinois passed the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA), which allowed Ameren Illinois to start modernizing the grids for its 1.2 million electric and 800,000 gas customers. As the updates continue, Ellen said that the improvements will eliminate 350,000 pounds of carbon emissions a year.

 

Evans for Medical Marijuana

Rep. Jean Evans, co-sponsor of HB 437 for medical cannabis, talks about cannabidiol and medical cannabis starting about minute 35 in a recent Public Radio interview.

Pull Quote: Recently the Trump Administration came out in favor of medical marijuana, so, that was a good thing, at least in my mind...I would like to see this come through the legislature.

 

Bits

According to LinkedIn, Ryan Hobart is now “Multimedia Communications Manager at Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan.”  He was previously Communications Director at Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

 

The case of Lynn Messer will be featured on Discovery Channel’s Disappeared.

 

It appears that Craig Brenner has resigned as the City of Independence’s Public Information Officer, and former Rep. John Mayfield may be taking his place.

 

Rep. Peter Merideth has taken Rep. Lauren Arthur place on the Subcommittee on Second Amendment Preservation.

 

It’s said that the Rex Sinquefield team is cheered byAlderwoman Lyda Krewson’s victory in the St. Louis mayoral primary because they think she has a broader regional vision than some of her competitors.

 

eMailbag on Leave Policy Timing

Greitens pulled a Trump. The dual editorials slamming his lack of transparency casts him in a negative light so he announces paid parental leave to take attention away…

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Jorgen Schlemeier, David Jackson, Kathryn Gamble, Sarah Topp, Cynthia Gamble, Bill Gamble, and Jeffrey Brooks added Criminal Justice Ministry, and Journey to a New Life Inc.

Kelvin Simmons, Brian Grace, Katherine Casas, Rodney Boyd added Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Inc.

Shanon Hawk added Missouri United School Insurance Council.

Jonathan Dalton deleted Coalition for Responsible Ground Transportation.

LeRoy Grant Jr. deleted U-Gas Inc.

Roxsen Kosch deleted Burke, Swerdling & Associates, and Parkville Missouri Economic Development Council.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Professional Firefighters of Central St. Louis County PAC - $9,725 from Webster Groves Firefighters.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Jason Klindt, Sara Howard, Mark Bruns, and Ryan DeBoef.