Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nixon Nixes Medicaid Meeting

Governor Jay Nixon and his legislative counterparts, Rep. Jay Barnes and Sen. Gary Romine, couldn’t agree on where or how to meet to talk about Medicaid next year.  See the St. Louis Beacon’s article here.

What It Means

There are three sides here.  Democrats want Medicaid expansion.  Republicans don’t.  Pragmatists are willing to bridge the gap by taking the federal funds into a “reformed” more market-based Medicaid.

My guess is that Barnes and Romine could lead the third group.  But there are stoppers to their compromise position in both the House and Senate.  Nixon’s hardline stance is perhaps an early indication that Dems want to be clear that expansion has to accompany any “transformation.”  And that means Medicaid could be dead this year…

Dems Prepare to Fire on Neth

After my rumorville bit yesterday of Rep. Myron Neth not running for re-election next year, I was pelted with emails alerting me to a fundraiser he was holding the very night.  My check of sources makes feel OK about by rumor though.

One strong source says that Neth has been back and forth, implying he might be in a “forth” stage right now.  Another says they’re trying to keep a lid on it for a bit.  If I were betting, I’d say he doesn’t run.  Donors beware!

Dems meanwhile think the Neth turmoil gives them a pick-up opportunity.  Mark Ellebracht will announce soon he’s in again.  He lost last year to Neth in a squeaker.  Ellebracht won 49.4% of the vote.  See Ellebracht’s website here.

If Neth’s the candidate, he’s vulnerable.  If he’s not, it’s a possible open-seat pick-up for Dems.

Happy birthday, Myron….

Follow-Up on Grow Missouri Petitions

There is no shortage of critics who look at the new petition filings at the secretary of state’s website and find what they view as drafting errors. 

The Grow Missouri tax credit petition might be challenged on various points. For example, they use the phrase to cap tax credits “issued, authorized or approved,” but it’s not defined.  It would appear to leave calculations wide open.  There are many credits where approval is ministerial and means little. 

It wouldn’t surprise me if we hear more on these type of issues from Grow Missouri’s opponents…

And

Matt Dameron files three new versions of his early voting petition.  See them here.

NYTimes: Violence in North St. Louis Unabated

The New York Times uses the north side of St. Louis City as a case study in how urban areas still have pockets of near-constant violent crimes even as a city’s overall crime rate drops.  See it here.

Pull Quote:  Mr. Wayne lives in a poor, mostly black community, where, as in similar neighborhoods across America, residents are fed up with persistent gun violence. Victims die one by one, or in clusters….

 

Last month in North St. Louis, a 16-year-old was fatally shot in a park as he was waiting for a school bus — a month after his friend was shot to death. And last week, a 17-year-old boy was shot in the face walking to his school bus stop on the city’s North Side. He survived.

 

Even as St. Louis and many other cities celebrate significant decreases in crime over the past two decades, concentrated pockets of violence remain, and sometimes grow, a cruel imbalance that criminologists and police departments nationwide are struggling to correct.

 

In the 27th Ward in North St. Louis, for example, there were 17 murders last year, up from five in 2009. This, even as homicides citywide have dropped nearly 60 percent (113 last year) since peaking at 267 two decades ago.

 

Mr. Wayne, 23, is hardly an innocent, with repeated arrests for drug possession or trafficking. He will not discuss whether he has ever killed anyone, but says there was a time when he used to arm himself with a gun and break into the homes of drug dealers to steal. He was a hard-core dealer and user, he said, before trying to straighten out. He still hangs out with a crew that calls itself the 20th Street Gang, part of a larger group called the Water Tower Mafia that pledges allegiance to the Crips.

 

His daily routine gives a glimpse of how life here can be marked by shockingly violent interludes on seemingly ordinary days. They come out of nowhere to disrupt a trip to school or the supermarket...

New Trend Coming?

A private catholic grade school in St. Louis looks to convert itself to a charter school to nab some state funds... Post-Dispatch has the story here.

The school’s president, Corey Quinn, is an old grade-school ice-hockey chum of mine.  He dropped by “the office” today, and explained the move.  98% of the kids they serve (from some of St. Louis’ poorest neighborhoods) end up graduating from high school; they see strong test score improvements; and they’re looking for a way to increase their capacity.  Instead of helping 60 or so kids, why not see if there’s a way to scale their efforts and double or triple that.  To make the leap, they’re enlisting St. Louis University as a sponsor and plan to go the charter school route. Other schools around the country have traveled this path, but they’d be the first in Missouri.

Bits

Governor Jay Nixon appointed Associate Circuit Judge Thomas Clark Fincham as Circuit Judge for Platte County.

New committee registered with the Missouri Ethics Commission is the Chesterfield Township GOP;  Gloria DeCampi treasurer. See it here.

 

Tough mid-terms coming for Dems?  Standard-bearer President Barack Obama’s approval ratings in the cellar.  See it here.

Help Wanted: Cape Girardeau Assistant Prosecutor for Child Support.  See it here.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Zachary Brunnert and David McCracken added Leading Age Missouri.

Jay Hahn added American Cancer Society Action Network.

Scott Marrs added AP Plus + Technologies Inc.

Gregory Porter added Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Notes on Lobbying

Despite adding the American Cancer Society, Hahn remains with MO Eyecare.  The Cancer Society added him as an additional contract lobbyist. There are a handful of government relations directors out there whose associations allow for other lobbying contracts so long as there is no know conflict of interest.

$5K+Contributions

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $5,001 from Eastern Missouri Laborers’ Educational and Benevolent Fund.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $10,000 from Citizens for Ryan Silvey.

Citizens to Elect Kurt Schaefer Attorney General - $15,000 from Citizens for Brad Lager.

Notes on Money

Lots of speculation, but no good theories on what’s behind Lager’s recent large checks.  $10K to Kehoe yesterday and $15K to Schaefer today…

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Matt Blunt (43), Reps. Sharon Pace and Myron Neth (45), and former Rep. Mike Vogt (the big 5-0).

MOScout News

Sorry for those whose Update emails were delayed yesterday.  Internet mysteries.  I am trying to get it solved.  If your email seems suspiciously late, you can always just log-on to www.moscout.com and go to Daily Updates.