Friday, November 6, 2015

Judge Harris

Nixon aide, and former House minority leader, Jeff Harris announced yesterday that he would become a judge next year.  Here’s the press release…

Former State House Minority Leader Jeff Harris announced today that he will file for Circuit Judge when candidate filing begins in February. Prior to running for a full term, Harris will accept an appointment by Gov. Jay Nixon to the judgeship in the spring upon the retirement of well-respected Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler, who will reach the mandatory retirement age for judges on April 21, 2016. The seat covering Boone and Callaway Counties is in Division 2 of the 13th Judicial Circuit of Missouri, which handles general civil and criminal dockets… Harris (51) has served for seven years as Policy Director in the Missouri Governor’s Office, and will continue in that capacity until next year. He represented Boone County in the Missouri legislature from 2003-2009 rising through the ranks to become leader of the House Democrats. Prior to his election to the House, Harris served as an Assistant Attorney General, where he represented governmental entities, including high-profile cases involving statewide elected officials from both parties. He previously served as a private-sector attorney at the law firm of Atwill & Montgomery in Columbia and at Bryan Cave LLP in Kansas City, where he handled complex litigation in state and federal courts across the country…

 

Meanwhile

The other press release involving judgeships… Gov. Jay Nixon today announced the appointment of Associate Circuit Judge Ellen (Nellie) Ribaudo as Circuit Judge for the 21st Judicial Circuit, which covers St. Louis County. The position became vacant upon the retirement of the Honorable Richard Bresnahan

Former Rep. (and Nixon’s former director of Health and Senior Service) Margaret Donnelly was also on that panel…

 

Reisch for House 44

Cheri Toalson Reisch started a campaign committee to run for House 44 as a Republican.  The current incumbent, Rep. Caleb Rowden, is running for Senate 19.  House 44 is a swing district.

Reisch lost a Boone County Collector of Revenue race in 2014See a profile piece from Columbia Missourian here.

Democrat Tom Pauley started a campaign committee in September.

 

Lawsuit Against Pagedale “Ticket Profiteering”

The New York Times has an article about Pagedale and its use of non-traffic fines.  See it here.

Pull Quote:  On Wednesday, lawyers from the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest firm based in Arlington, Va., filed a civil rights complaint against Pagedale, which like Ferguson is in north St. Louis County. The complaint, filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, accuses the city of violating due process and excess-fines protections in the Constitution by turning its code enforcement and municipal court into “revenue-generating machines” to go after residents.  The complaint, which seeks class-action status, calls for an injunction against the city’s reliance on such fines…

 “I think it’s appropriate for policy makers to be mindful that there may be another wave of profiteering that manifests itself in a different form, and continues to create a cycle of poverty,” Eric Schmitt, a Republican state senator who had pressed for the tougher limits on traffic fines, said in an interview. “If we see that, all options are on the table.”

The practice of many St. Louis County municipalities of using traffic and nontraffic fines and fees to finance their budgets has also led to calls for some of those towns to consolidate operations as a means of reducing government costs. A commission assigned by Gov. Jay Nixon to study the underlying causes of the Ferguson unrest issued a long list of recommendations that included consolidating some of the 60 police departments and 81 municipal courts that serve the county….

To hear residents here tell it, the violations can seem endless: having a wading pool in front of the front line of the house; having a dish antenna on the front of the house; wearing pants below the waist in public; having a hedge above three feet in the front yard…

 

Gardner: Perception of Bias Destroys Trust

Rep. Kim Gardner, rumored to be exploring a bid for St. Louis City Circuit Attorney writes an op/ed in this week’s St. Louis American connecting the recent guilty plea of a city assistant prosecutor to the non-cooperation of witnesses.   See it here.

Pull Quote: This unethical and illegal misconduct goes to the heart of why crimes are so difficult to solve in the City of St. Louis where we have the vast majority of unsolved murders… Many would like to oversimplify these discussions in terms of pro-law enforcement versus anti-law enforcement. It comes down to trust.  The cooperation of victims and witnesses are essential to solve many of the unsolved serious and violent crimes that occur in our City… This current case is the most recent chip off an already unstable foundation of trust that exists in high-crime neighborhoods. Relatively recent illegal allegation of St. Louis city law enforcement have ranged from excessive force to internal collusion to inconceivable actions of assisting drug dealers in their murderous acts. With the current case involving a St. Louis city assistant prosecutor, there continues to be a perception of mistrust that is affecting our ability to deliver justice… We must send a strong message in the resolution of this case that public servants’ misconduct will not be tolerated at any level and will be punished to the fullest extent of the law like any other criminal that preys on the community and betrays our trust.

 

Finally

OK I know I’m getting old now because I don’t know if this is actually real or a hoax.  You make the call… Republican presidential front-runner Ben Carson’s radio ad.

 

Help Wanted

Missouri Public Service Commission seeks Public Information Coordinator.  “A self-directed, organized, energetic individual who enjoys interacting with a diverse and extensive range of contacts, including the news media, general public, state and local officials, utility industry representatives and with public, private, labor, business, and civic organizations.  The position is based in Jefferson City, with travel to sites across the state.  Duties include journalistic and public speaking activities, maintaining and expanding social media presence and also manage and maintain the PSC website, developing publications and materials to further public understanding of utility regulatory issues and the functions of the PSC, and providing assistance to the Legislative Coordinator…. Annual starting salary range is $37,548 to $46,068…”

 

Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Rep. Michael Butler Football Watch Party – The Lux Theatre, St. Louis 2PM.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Jason Jensen and Tim Ripperger deleted Missouri Department Of Conservation.

Craig Stevenson deleted University of Missouri.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Greitens for Missouri - $25,000 from Michael Dullea.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $25,000 from Givco LLC.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Rep. Joe Runions (75).

Saturday: Congressman Sam Graves, Sen. David Sater, Time Warner’s Jarad Falk, and former Rep. Doug Ervin.

Sunday:  BJC’s Ellie Glenn, Catherine Hanaway, and former Reps. Steven Webb and Tony George.