Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Schaaf Draws a Line in Sand (Just north of Downtown St. Louis)

Sen. Rob Schaaf yesterday sent a letter to Governor Jay Nixon declaring that “the power of purse exclusively” rests with the legislature, and that he would fight and filibuster any new monies going to a new stadium without voter approval.  He put his letter up here.

He urged Nixon and “all potential purchasers of bonds to take note.”

I believe that Schaaf has at least a couple other senators and a motivated group of House members who are itching for a fight on this should it come to pass.

In addition to believing that there’s not compelling evidence of an economic “rate of return” on tax dollars for public financed stadiums, Schaaf is invoking a separation of powers argument which could prove persuasive among the Republican-dominated legislature.

 

Post: Suit Alleges Secret Tax Commission Meetings

The Post-Dispatch reports on a lawsuit alleging illegal meetings “to skirt the law.”  It involves Democratic attorney general candidate, St. Louis County Assessor Jake ZimmermanSee it here.

Pull Quote: The St. Louis County Board of Equalization, which decides tax appeals, has “resorted to adjourning to darkened loading docks to conduct secret meetings,” according to a lawsuit filed against the board.  Joseph C. Sansone Co., a Chesterfield-based tax appeals company, and the Wilkendon Partnership, a commercial property owner, claim in the lawsuit that the board should be fined millions of dollars because it has repeatedly violated the state Sunshine Law.  The law requires that board meetings be open to the public, with certain exceptions.  Christopher Bauman, who filed the lawsuit Thursday in St. Louis County Circuit Court, said when he walked into one recent loading-dock meeting and refused to leave, the board called the police.  “Crazy things are happening,” Bauman said.  County Assessor Jake Zimmerman and county employees attended the loading dock meetings, the lawsuit alleged…  The board generally hears evidence in several tax appeals, and makes its decisions later, usually later that day. But it doesn’t tell taxpayers when they’ll be discussing the taxpayer’s case so that taxpayers can watch, Bauman complained.

 

In Capitol Culture War, Change Still Losing

Rep. Kevin Engler circulated a draft of the revision intern policies for the House.  The Columbia Daily Tribune put up a copy.  See it here.  But more telling might be this email response to Engler.  File under “blame the victims.”

 

Begin forwarded message:

 

From: Bill Kidd <Bill.Kidd@house.mo.gov<mailto:Bill.Kidd@house.mo.gov>>

Date: August 17, 2015 at 5:08:53 PM CDT

To: Kevin Engler <Kevin.Engler@house.mo.gov<mailto:Kevin.Engler@house.mo.gov>>

Cc: _Democrat Representatives

<_DemocratRepresentatives@house.mo.gov<mailto:DemocratRepresentatives@house.mo.gov>>,

_Republican Representatives

<_RepublicanRepresentatives@house.mo.gov<mailto:RepublicanRepresentatives@house.mo.gov>>

Subject: Re: Draft Intern Policy Outline

 

Intern dress code.

Bill Kidd

Representative District 20

 

Sent from my iPhone

 

On Aug 17, 2015, at 5:00 PM, Kevin Engler

<Kevin.Engler@house.mo.gov<mailto:Kevin.Engler@house.mo.gov>> wrote:

 

Colleagues,

 

I have attached a working draft of suggestions for the legislative intern policy.

Please review and send any specific recommendations regarding these criteria in

writing as soon as possible.

 

Thank you,

Kevin Engler

Representing the 116th District

 

New Tobacco Tax Hike IPs Filed

St. Louis Public Radio reports that “[t]hree years after killing off Missouri’s latest statewide tobacco-tax proposal, the group representing many Missouri gas stations and convenience stores has filed two initiative-petition proposals of its own to hike the tax. Missouri’s tobacco tax is now 17-cents a pack and is the nation’s lowest. The Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association’s proposals would increase the per-pack tax to 40 cents by 2021.”

It’s not considered a genuine proposal because as Jo Mannies writes, it looks like a negotiating tactic… Ron Leone, the association’s executive director, says his group’s aim is ‘to get the dialogue going’ to perhaps come up with some sort of compromise tobacco tax hike proposal that could be acceptable to all parties.”  See it here.

And

There’s some question of constitutionality of the language in the petitions: The additional taxes.... shall immediately, automatically and permanently be repealed and reduced to zero…. In the event any tax or fee increase on some or all cigarettes or other tobacco products is officially certified to be placed on any local or statewide ballot by the Secretary of State or other election official at any time…

 

Barnes Fires Back

Rep. Jay Barnes responds to yesterday’s bit about his PDMP compromise float…. The unidentified lobbyist who said a substance abusers registry “does nothing to solve the problem of doctor shopping by individuals virtually all of who do not fall in the categories he describes” must not live in the real world or has done a good job of ignoring the testimony I’ve heard. The pitch from proponents of the dragnet approach is that if we don’t do it, people will die. The vast majority of the testimony and arguments I’ve heard about saving drug abusers also includes the fact that even their family knew it was happening, but they couldn’t do anything to stop it. Or that at some point the person had sought help. So is this lobbyist saying that those stories and testimony are just outliers? That drug abusers aren’t convicted of crimes? That their drug abuse doesn’t become an issue in family law or juvenile court proceedings? That drug abusers family members don’t know about their abuse? That they never seek help? This lobbyist should go watch juvenile court in any county of this state where children are being placed into foster care. Next they should watch a criminal law day and count the percentage of criminal drug cases in

Missouri courts. Drug abusers don’t usually just turn up dead from an overdose without having already had some previous contact with our legal system, their family members, or seeking treatment.

 

Emery Update

From Facebook… Update from Senator Ed Emery: "Good news from my test today. My carotid arteries are clear and looked good. Won't find out until tomorrow if the doctor still wants to do the echocardiogram. Thank you for the continued prayers."

 

Bits

Missouri only one of many states targeting Planned Parenthood.  See the NYTimes article here.

 

SEEN at Senator Claire McCaskill’s book tour in Kansas City yesterday… “Teresa Hensley having lunch with McCaskill’s sister, Lisa, at McCormick and Schmick’s.  Coincidentally, in a nearby room the Senator was having a pre-book tour brunch with friends, including Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, Steve Glorioso and JE Dunn’s Richard Martin.”

 

New Committees

These are previously announced candidacies…

With Robin Smith In 2016 Committee is the vehicle for Robin Smith’s SOS bid.  Michael Kramper is the treasurer.

Murphy For Missouri is the campaign committee for Jamey Murphy running as a Republican in House 95 where Rep. Marsha Haefner is running for state senate.  Murphy was a staffer for Jim Lembke.  And this morning Post-Dispatch reports that the school board which Murphy sits on approved a tax increase to go before the voters in the fall.  Murphy was absent.  See it here.

 

Help Wanted

Missouri Department of Revenue seeks Supervising Senior Counsel… “The General Counsel's Office of the Missouri Department of Revenue is seeking an experienced trial attorney with knowledge and experience in the area of DWI prosecution… Applicant must be a strong team builder with a firm understanding of policy making. This position requires excellent writing skills as applied to drafting and reviewing pleadings, reports and other professional communication as necessary. Position is located in St. Louis, Missouri, and supervises four to five attorneys. Salary is $60,200 plus full state benefits….” See the ad here.

 

The Pujols Family Foundation seeks Intern… See the ad here.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Scott Kimble added Missouri State High School Activities Association, Missouri Council of School Administrators, Missouri United School Insurance Council, Missouri Association of School Administrators, Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals, Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals, Missouri Association of School Business Officials, MO K-8 Association, Missouri Council of Administrators of Special Education, and Missouri Association of Rural Education.

Keith Carmichael and David Schneider added Convention of States Action.

Kimberly Akin, Heath Clarkston, and Harry Gallagher added Crown Castle USA Inc.

Deborah Alford Sherwood added Christian Science Committee on Publication For Missouri

Gary Elmestad deleted City of O’Fallon.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Bradshaw for Missouri - $5,005 from Bruer Wooddell & Harrell P.C.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from John Ghirardelli.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to former Rep. Charles Denison (80) and Munzy’s Pat Thomas.