Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Zweifel Gets Bill Signed

The press release: “State Treasurer Clint Zweifel today thanked Governor Nixon for signing House Bill 1217 into law, officially making Missouri the first state in the nation to prohibit pension advances targeting public employees…. Victims of pension advance schemes are often seniors, struggling to pay medical bills or care for aging loved ones. Companies promise to provide an upfront lump sum in exchange for all or a portion of a public pension benefit, but these schemes are currently unregulated in Missouri and agreements can easily be misrepresented to the borrower. Pension advance schemes often include costly fine print such as interest rates as high as 106 percent. In some cases the borrower is required to take out a life insurance policy and name the company as the sole beneficiary in order to ensure payment.  House Bill 1217 prohibits this practice and provides the Attorney General with the authority to enforce the ban and ensure victims of pension advances will be allowed to reclaim any money lost during these transactions….”   See it here.



Says one observer: “This is a pretty big deal. Zweifel got all of his legislative priorities done this session. Whatever he decides to do, he's going to have a pretty great list of accomplishments to run on…”


And what will Zweifel do next?  He’s getting asked to take the LG spot…



Nixon Opens New Line Against Tax Exemptions Bills

Yesterday Governor Jay Nixon moved beyond his previous statements about the tax exemptions bills he vetoed hurting education funding to also warn that they would hurt parks and conservation efforts.  It appears the latest move to marshal additional allies against the bill before the override votes in September.


“The Department of Conservation is funded through a one-eighth of one percent conservation sales tax approved as a constitutional amendment through a citizen initiative process and statewide vote in 1976. These funds are used to carry out the Department's responsibility to protect and manage the state's forest, fish and wildlife resources for all Missourians to use and enjoy.  In 1984, Missouri voters approved a separate one-tenth-of-one-percent parks and soil and water sales tax to fund state parks and soil and water conservation efforts. In 2006, more than 70 percent of Missouri voters reauthorized this dedicated funding mechanism, which has helped farmers reduce erosion and make Missouri State Parks among the most decorated in the country...  Most of these special breaks are sales tax exemptions, which would reduce the number of items that are subject to the conservation sales tax and the parks and soil and water tax, therefore reducing the amount of revenue these voter-approved measures generate. Projections by Missouri's Office of Budget and Planning estimate that if the provisions vetoed by the Governor were to become law, over the next decade funding for the Department of Conservation would be reduced by $137.2 million and revenues from the parks and soil and water tax would be reduced by $108.5 million.”



Nixon Vetoes Captive Deer Bill, Munzy Guns for Override

AP’s David Lieb reports:  With the definition of farm-raised deer in question, Gov. Jay Nixon declared Tuesday that they are "wildlife" not "livestock" and vetoed legislation that would have shifted their regulation to state agriculture officials instead of the agency that oversees hunting.


Nixon cast his veto as a bold defense of the constitutionally independent Missouri Department of Conservation, which is pursuing tougher regulations on deer breeders and ranchers who raise animals for fenced-in hunting preserves. The wildlife agency says the restrictions are necessary to prevent the spread of disease through Missouri's 1.3 million wild deer…


Sen. Brian Munzlinger, who sponsored the legislation, said he expects to get the two-thirds majority vote needed in each chamber to override Nixon's veto. The House fell a little short of that mark when passing the legislation because some members were absent.


Munzlinger said it should be the Legislature's duty, not the Conservation Department's, to define livestock.


Read it here.    My thanks, of course to the peerless John Combest for the link…



eMailbag: Greitens for Gov?

Reader 1:  “Eric Greitens is looking at running for office, no question.  He lives in the city (CWE) so it would need to be statewide… David Barklage has been mentioning the 5 possible Republican gubernatorial candidates in 2016 (Tom Schweich, Catherine Hanaway, Blaine Luetkemeyer, John Brunner, and Greitens).  Greitens attended state and STL County Lincoln Days and spoke at Paul Curtman’s fundraising dinner.”


Reader 2: “I have heard (Greitens) speak a couple of times now... really powerful speaker but I'm not sure how that translates to politics. Maybe this explains why he spoke at the Lewis and Clark dinner this last year? We'll wait and see...”



Messer Missing

The Post-Dispatch reports that Lynn Marie Messer is missing, having “walked away from her 300-acre farm” and that she “has a broken right toe and does not have her walking boot with her. Her purse, cell phone and other personal items were left at the home. She has a history of depression…”  See it here.


She is the wife and mother of father-son lobbyist team Kerry and Abram Messer who run the Missouri Family Network.



Missouri Right to Life Endorsements

Missouri Right to Life released their full list of primary endorsements yesterday.   See it here.


Some interesting points to note…

Senate 2 – As previously mentioned Bob Onder got the sole endorsement here, could be a big deal in that three-way Republican primary.


Senate 10 – Both Republican Jeanne Riddle and Democrat Ed Schieffer were endorsed.  Perhaps this sets up a dual endorsement in the general election as well.


Senate 24 – Jay Ashcroft pulled down the sole endorsement in that Republican primary.  Like much else of his campaign thus far, that would seem to help him in the primary, but might be more weight in his general election campaign.


House 3, 130, 144, 155 – The four incumbents (Nate Walker, Paul Fitzwater, Jeff Messenger, and Lyle Rowland) targeted by Missouri Club for Growth over their errant tax cut override votes were all endorsed by MRL, while their challengers were shut out.


House 34 (Grisamore termed) – Rebecca Roeber took the sole endorsement in that three-way Republican primary.


House 41 (Schieffer to Senate) – Randy Pietzman was endorsed over opponent Alexandra Salsman.


House 98 (Scharnhorst termed), 103 (Funderburk termed), 108 (Gatschenberger to Senate), 112 (Wieland to Senate), House 139 (Elmer out) – All candidates in these five three-way Republican primaries were endorsed by MRL neutralizing any potential tilting of the scales.


House 151 (Fowler retired) - Tila Rowland Hubrecht won the endorsement, cementing her position as the favorite here.



Nuisance Changes Vetoed

Governor Jay Nixon vetoed Sen. Jamilah Nasheed’s SB 731 which sought to give aggrieved residents more tools to fight nuisance properties.  See his veto message here.


Lawyers for City Neighborhoods, a committee of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, issued a press release in response to the veto.


“SCS SB 731 would give neighborhood organizations in the City of St. Louis and Kansas City legal standing to bring a private cause of action to enforce city ordinances through a court order enjoining a condition or activity that constitutes an ordinance violation and adversely affects a neighborhood. Furthermore, the bill would allow such suits to be brought in circuit court, which has many advantages over municipal court for a lawsuit seeking abatement of a nuisance arising from condition or activity that constitutes an ordinance violation. As such, it is a powerful new tool to use against problem properties and nuisance behaviors in the City neighborhoods.  The bill was passed by the Missouri General Assembly during the last legislative session with strong bipartisan support…. In his veto message, Governor Nixon said he vetoed the bill because of an amendment that was added to the bill on the Senate floor by Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia)…. The volunteer lawyers who drafted SCS SB 731 appreciate the Governor’s concern for the environment, but respectfully disagree with his assessment of Senator Schaefer’s amendment.”



Help Wanted

Missouri Public Service Commission seeks Attorney.  “The Missouri Public Service Commission is seeking a Legal Counsel for its Staff Counsel Division in Jefferson City. This is an entry-level position. Duties include: litigation of public utility cases (telecommunications, electric, natural gas, water and sewer) before the PSC on behalf of Commission Staff. Cases involve matters such as utility rates, utility operation financing, mergers and regulatory law enforcement of Commission rules and laws… Legal Counsel starting salary range (entry level) is - $43,860 - $45,612 with a potential increase at the completion of a successful probationary period.”   See the ad here.



Fundraising Calendar

Today’s fundraising events from Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Rep. Elijah Haahr Reception – The Olive Room, 1111E. Republic, Springfield, 5-7 p.m.



Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Keith Hazelwood added 1600 Veterans Memorial Parkway LLC.

Hugh McVey deleted Missouri AFL-CIO.



$5K+ Contributions

Committee to Elect Mike Insco - $6,000 from Michaal Insco.

Missouri Farmers Care - $10,000 from Missouri Egg Council Inc.

St. Charles County Republican Central Committee - $12,500 from St. Charles Organization of Republicans.

Missourians for Koster - $10,000 from Health Systems Inc.

SmartKC - $18,700 from Missourians for Responsible Government.

Missouri Farmers Care - $30,000 from FCS Financial.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $25,000 from Citizens for Jay Wasson.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $25,000 from Committee to Elect Ron Richard.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $10,000 from Drury Development Corporation.

Schmitt for Missouri - $5,001 from Hollingsworth Interiors.

Schmitt for Missouri - $25,000 from Friends of Tilley.



Happy Birthday

Happy birthdays to Ron Fitzwater (60), and former Rep. Don Ruzicka (57).