Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Election Day

Municipal elections today… The very embodiment of local politics… Nothing too sexy, but a lot of meat-and-potatoes proposals to keep or increase funding for fire districts, schools, capital projects.  Here’s a sampling…

North Jefferson County Ambulance District – Add ½ cent sales tax.

City of Nixa – Add ½ cent sales tax for capital improvements.

Columbia School District – Tax increase, bond issue.

Neosho School District – 24 cent levy increase.

Cameron School District – Bond issuance.

Valley Park School District – Bond issuance.

City of St. Joe – Smoke-free proposal.

Marshall Public School – Tax increase.

Metro north Fire District – Tax increase.

Monroe City School District – Bond issuance.

Palmyra School District – Bond issuance.

Branson – Continue 1% tax in Tourism Community Enhancement District.

Morgan County School District – Tax increase.

City of Clayton – sales tax for fire department, bond issue for improvements, sales tax for economic development.

Park Hill School District – Increase levy.

Warrendsburg School District - $16.8 million bond issue and increase in levy.

Boone County Fire Protection District - $14 million bond issue.

Senate Passes Criminal Code Revision

The Senate took up and perfected their criminal code revision.  Sens. Jolie Justus and Bob Dixon made some revisions.  This included dropping the proposal for a Class E felony, as well as pushing back implementation until 2017 which would give the legislature time to correct any mistakes in the massive bill.  See all the changes here.

There was no voiced opposition to the bipartisan bill when the Senate perfected it.  We’ll see what happens when they finally pass it, but a unanimous or near unanimous vote would send a message to Governor Jay Nixon who previously denounced the size of the bill as unmanageable.

Dempsey’s Letter to Koster

Here are excerpts from Pro Tem Tom Dempsey to Attorney General Chris Koster which led to their tete a tete…

Dear Attorney General Koster:

It has come to my attention that members of the legislature have asked your office for pertinent information relating to the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) and related settlement proceedings. In one such instance, a member of the Senate asked a representative of your office for information during a hearing on SB 820 before the Senate Appropriations committee. It is my understanding that as of the writing of this letter, this information has not yet been received.

This issue is of great concern to policymakers here in Missouri. If SB 820 is to come before the full Senate for debate, we will be asked to take a position which could substantially impact our state's budget. In order to make an informed decision, it is imperative that senators be provided all relevant information.  Considering that questions have been raised to which no answer of any kind has been offered by your office, I have great reluctance to move this bill forward…

 

Below I have listed the information I am requesting your office to provide:

1.         What is the collection rate for each of the years 2004 - 2012?

2.         How many lawsuits were filed in each of the years 2004 - 2012?

3.         What changes were made to improve the gathering of reliable data in each of the years 2004 ­ 2012?  

4.         What resources were allocated to enforcement and how many field audits were conducted in each of the years 2004 - 2012?

5.         What efforts were made to prevent non-compliant NPMs from making future sales in each of the years 2004 - 2012?

6.         What improvements, if any, were made in the record keeping and follow up on delinquent NPMs in each of the years 2004 - 2012?

7.         What penalties, if any, were imposed on distributors selling contraband, and how many notices of delinquency were sent to NPMs in each of the years 2004 - 20127

8.         Did Missouri continue to participate in meetings and telephone calls with NAAG, and did Missouri ever take a leadership role within NAAG or any of their working groups in each of the years 2004 - 2012?

MRP and O’Fallon

One Republican says that the Missouri Republican Party’s apparent foray into O’Fallon local politics has been the result of supporting a long time party activist.

Zoe Gilbert was a big Mitt Romney supporter and has been active in the state party politics.  According to this source, in her run for O’Fallon City Council she fell victim to a legal challenge in which some properties owned by her – or her husband – were not current on its taxes.  The question was whether she owned them – or her husband – and therefore whether the outstanding bill disqualified her candidacy.

This Republican says that the state party intervened and paid for an attorney to represent her, and that might account for the payments.  Again, the race is non-partisan.

This doesn’t fully explain the payment to Russ Gatewood’s campaign committee, or Gilbert’s payment to Bill Gardner’s committee.

And to complete the explanation comes another Republican with a most intriguing perspective… “MRP is funding farm team races. St. Charles is a critical margin county for Missouri Republicans, and O'Fallon is still a key swing area. You should see the MRP invest in multiple county races in traditionally Democratic areas this fall as well.  With Obama in the White House and no Presidential, Governor or Senate up, the GOP is positioned to gain potentially several hundred local offices in out counties like little Dixie, the Boot heel and Iron Belt.”

RTW Collateral Damage?

Organized labor warns about collateral damage to other jobs issues if Right to Work and/or Paycheck Protection are on the ballot.  If they have to defeat one of those proposals, it’s likely that most labor unions will not help fund or spend anytime trying to get the transportation tax bill passed.   They’ll probably also pull along their faith and community allies in the fight of their lives, further leaving fewer troops to work on the transportation proposal.

eMailbag on McNary and Ashcroft

“Funny that Gene McNary is Jay Ashcroft’s campaign treasurer. Gene and John Ashcroft had a contentious primary against each other for Governor in 1984.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Zachary Brunnert and Kristen Blanchard added Cheyenne International LLC.

David Winton and Scott Penman added Western Governor’s University.

Salvatore Panettiere added KC 2016 Host Committee.

$5K+ Contributions

Ashcroft for Missouri - $10,000 from Janet Ashcroft.

Notes on Money

Money from mom…

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Rep. Mike Thomson (68), and former Rep. Mike Sutherland (49).