Friday, February 21, 2014

Delus Johnson:  I’m Out

Statement from State Rep. Delus Johnson:

"I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received since announcing my candidacy for Missouri’s 12th State Senate seat. However, I have decided to end my campaign for state senate, and seek reelection to Missouri’s 9th District State House seat. Though my campaign for State Senate is ending today, I look forward to continuing to fight for Missouri families in the State House by promoting policies that create jobs, cut taxes, and encourage strong agricultural growth."

That leaves Dan Hegeman was the clear favorite to succeed Sen. Brad Lager.

Student Transfer Bill Passes Senate Committee

Yesterday the Senate Education Committee passed out their student transfer bill, with Chair David Pearce predicting it could come to the Senate floor as early as next week.  See the Post-Dispatch article here.

Kelly to Nixon: Stop “Throwing Incendiary Press Bombs”

Governor Jay Nixon sent a letter to legislators arguing for the additional $44 million requested in his supplemental budget drawing a feisty response from Rep. Chris Kelly

Nixon Letter
Dear Representative Kelly:

I am writing to bring your immediate attention to the action of the House Budget Committee omitting $44.1 million in K-12 education funding from the Fiscal Year 2014 supplemental budget.

The Fiscal Year 2014 budget that was passed overestimated the revenue that would be available from riverboat gaming, lottery and other revenues dedicated to the school foundation formula. As a result, our local schools stand to receive $44.1 million less than what was appropriated for the current school year. That is why my supplemental budget request includes $44.1 million in general revenue for our K-12 classrooms to make up for this shortfall.

Unfortunately, earlier this week the House Budget Committee voted for a supplemental budget that failed to include these resources. If allowed to stand, this would leave Missouri's K-12 classrooms $44.1 million short of what the legislature appropriated to K-12 education for the current fiscal year.

Cutting $44.1 million from this year's budget will leave our local schools with less money than was promised to them for the current school year. The committee's refusal to include these education funds is unnecessary and unacceptable, as general revenue is available to support this supplemental request. When this measure comes to the floor, I urge you to restore this $44.1 million to ensure that our schools receive the resources upon which their budgets are based and upon which they are depending.

I ask you to live up to the commitments made in the budget you passed last year and immediately restore this essential funding, so that our classrooms get the resources they need and were promised.

Sincerely,

Jeremiah W. Nixon

Kelly Reply

Dear Governor Nixon:

Thank you for your letter of February 20, 2014, regarding the $44.1 million not included in the FY 2014 supplemental budget.

I am surprised that we are even discussing a supplemental bill because last year, for the third year in a row, your office told us that we would not need a supplemental budget for 2014.  We asked specifically if you were sure of that and we were given assurances from your office no supplemental would be needed.  Further, the Budget Committee last year appropriated the exact amount of money that you told us would be available for riverboat gaming.  This was your estimate, not ours.  It is also an estimate that your administration for riverboat gaming and lottery continues to believe will be available.

It is clear now that your office was incorrect regarding its assertion regarding the need for a supplemental budget and was incorrect with regard to its estimate of available money.  Given these facts, I suggest that it is more reasonable for you to engage in rational conversation with House Budget Committee members instead of throwing incendiary press bombs from 10,000 feet.  While I cannot speak for the entire Budget Committee, I believe that every single member of that Committee would be pleased to discuss with you, or your office, reasonable ways to work out the differences.  If the concept of reasonable negotiation to settle budget problems is an approach attractive to you, I am sure the Chair and any other member of the Budget Committee would accommodate your schedule for such conversation.

Sincerely,

Chris Kelly

Chiefs for Red Light Cameras

Excerpts from the press release from the police chiefs of St. Louis and Kansas City

As Police Chiefs in Missouri's two largest cities we constantly struggle with the question of how much manpower to dedicate to the most dangerous and deadly intersections in our communities. We know that having officers at these intersections improves safety and helps prevent drivers from running red lights, which can all too often end in tragedy. However, that means resources are diverted from other beats and combatting crime in other areas of our cities.

 

A number of years ago, leaders from both St. Louis and Kansas City made these decisions easier for us by passing local red-light camera safety ordinances. This allows our departments to leverage technology so we may focus attention on other high crime areas. We know that these cameras change driver behavior in a way that makes intersections safer for our drivers, pedestrians and families. This is yet another example of law enforcement using technology to save lives and operate more efficiently.

 

On hundreds of occasions, these cameras have also assisted our departments in investigating not only accidents but helping solve other crimes, including murder, theft and assaults. Police need additional tools, like these cameras, to help us solve crime.

 

Unfortunately a series of inconsistent and unclear court rulings have left many cities across our state unclear on how to proceed with enforcement of these ordinances…

 

What law enforcement across our state really needs right now is for the Missouri Supreme Court to take up these various red-light camera cases on appeal and provide cities the guidance we need to enact and enforce our local ordinances. It is our hope that our state's highest court will see the value in giving cities the clarity we need to move forward…

 

Police Chief Darryl Forte', Kansas City, Mo.

Police Chief Sam Dotson, St. Louis, Mo.

Trakbill Off Track on Tax Cut Bill

Trakbill, the technology upstart, which uses “scraping” to follow bills showed the weakness of its technology this week when HB 1253 (Rep. TJ Berry’s tax cut bill) was laid over on Tuesday, and perfected on Wednesday.  Trakbill had HB 1253 as being perfected on Tuesday.  They continued to have the wrong action throughout the day and into the evening of Tuesday the 18th.

As one observer notes, “Kind of a big deal since it is THE House’s tax cut bill of 2014.” Scraping is only as accurate as the website it’s scraping from, and in this case I assume the state website had it wrong.

For the record, all of my screw-ups are the result of human error…

Lincoln Days This Weekend

Here’s what people will be look for…

How cold is the cold war between Auditor Tom Schweich and former speaker Catherine Hanaway?  How close are Republicans to erupting into a full-blown two-and-a-half year gubernatorial primary?

And then there were three?  Will John Brunner give anymore hints about his intentions?

Does the grumbling about the lack of fundraising threaten Ed Martin’s spot as Party Chair?  Is there any organized coup attempt?

New Committees

Ahead of next week’s candidate filing, several folks started their campaign committees…

Mark Paul filed a committee to run for County Executive Jefferson County as a Republican.  See his Facebook page here.

Roger Parshall filed a committee to run for state representative in House 1 as a Republican.  Rep. Mike Thomson is termed.  Parshall owns Parshall Concrete.  See the website here.  And gave himself $50,000 (see below).

Alexandra Salsman filed a committee to run for state representative in House 41 as a Republican.  Rep. Ed Schieffer is termed. 

Addison Newberry filed a committee to run for state representative in House 29 as a Democrat.  Rep. Ed Schieffer is termed. 

Senate Graveyard

Ever Friday I’ll update the “graveyard.”  These are bills which have been brought to the floor, debated, with some opposition and then laid over to the informal calendar.  Remember just because something looks dead, it’s never dead in the Missouri legislature, it’s just waiting to be resurrected…  I’ll also try to keep track of the main players responsible for it be ditched.

SB 509 (Sen. Will Kraus sponsor) – tax cut – killed by Sen. Paul LeVota.

SB 518 (Sen. David Sater sponsor) – expanding managed care – killed by Sen. Rob Schaaf.

SB 519 (Sen. David Sater sponsor) – abortion wait period – killed by Sen. Jolie Justus.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Steven Rauschenberger added Zebra Technologies Corporation.

$5K+ Contributions

Leadership Committee - $13,264 from Citizens for Wessels.

Missouri Early Voting Fund - $10,000 from Missouri National Education Association Issue Crisis Fund.

United Food & Commercial Workers Local #655 Elect Political Action Fund - $25,203 from United Food & Commercial Workers Local #655.

Citizens for Roger Parshall - $50,000 from Roger Parshall.

Silvey for Missouri - $7,500 from Tom Goss.

Silvey for Missouri - $10,000 from The Cranford Coalition.

Silvey for Missouri - $15,000 from White Dog Asset Holding LLC.

Silvey for Missouri - $15,000 from White Dog Properties LLC.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to former state senator Harry Kennedy (62), St. Louis alderwoman Donna Baringer, and Joel Ferber.

Sunday: Rep. Rick Stream (65).