Thursday, June 20, 2013

DESE Guidelines on “Turner”

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued its guidelines for students from unaccredited districts to enroll in other (accredited) districts where they’re not residents.  This follows the Supreme Court’s ruling last week, and is an indication that after years of legislative and legal wrangling, the rubber is just about to hit the road.  See the “Guidance for Student Transfers from Unaccredited Districts to Accredited Districts” here, courtesy of Rep. Jay Barnes’ blog…

Barnes Cautions

Rep. Jay Barnes, who devoted a great deal of attention to education reform as well as agency oversight during the past session, takes to his blog to caution that DESE’s guidelines might not be entirely consistent with state law.

“Districts, however, shouldn’t confuse one important guideline with actual state law. In particular, paragraph 4 of DESE’s guidelines recommends a non-discriminatory method for receiving districts to determine which students to accept and which not... §167.241 does not make a ‘sufficient capacity’ exception. Its last sentence provides very clearly that, ‘Each pupil shall be free to attend the public school of his or her choice.’… Administrators in receiving districts are going to have to figure out how to serve these new students seeking a better education.”   Read it here.

Today’s Thoughts on Speaker’s Race

Engler Not Running for Speaker

There was a spat of talk about Rep. Kevin Engler throwing his hat in the ring for speaker.  But that’s all idle speculation.  Engler’s not running.   This is however a sign of the times.  People are still feeling out the situation…

Did Tim Jones Know?

There have been some chatter about the assertion that Speaker Tim Jones didn’t know that his cousin was preparing a challenge to Diehl, which the implication that any such concealments would have a detrimental impact of their working relationship next session.

Believing reader: “As someone who’s always blamed for being in cahoots with (her significant other), I can believe the Jones deal.”

Disbelieving reader: “Ridiculous comment by Tim Jones. I’d heard about Caleb during the last week of session… Doesn’t pass smell-test.”

Destined to Get Personal?

After the initial announcement of Jones’ challenge, hallway denizens were quick to project a nasty and personal fight ahead for the corner office.  But John Diehl says it won’t be so.  He calls Caleb “a talented caucus member with a bright future in the party,” and has given instructions to his supporters that no bad-mouthing, tear-downing, knife-twisting is to be engaged in.

And – it should be noted that Diehl and his floor challenger, Rep. Mike Leara, appeared to have an okay working relationship last session.

Lobbyist Fined by MEC

This is something I hadn’t seen before.  A lobbyist was fined – albeit only $1,000 – for failing to register.  The case (see it here) involves the City of Wentzville.  Ed Watkins, acted as a lobbyist, but didn’t register. 

The emails in the document reveal some of the behind the scenes maneuvering: “I’d like to represent the city at our next meeting… If I were his boss, I would fire Larry Tucker.  But maybe the board could just put him on the sideline like you did with Mayor Paul…”

 

Price of Money Increases

One of the most potent arguments in favor of Rep. Chris Kelly’s billion dollar bonding proposal was that interest rates were at very favorable levels.  So favorable in fact that former President Bill Clinton ad-libbed in his convention speech last summer, “it’s like they’re paying us to borrow right now.”  But Clinton also observed, in an aside, that once the economy got going interest rates would tick up.   One year later, that forecast is ever closer, and the bond market has begun to discount the steadier growth.  As a result the historically low interest rates have inched off their bottoms. 

Interest rates – like the stock market – are famously impossible to predict, the one exception being perhaps when they have nowhere to go but up….

If bonding is passed next session, the year’s delay may cost – literally – a full percentage point.  That’s not the end of the world, but on a billion dollars, it’s a nice chunk of change.

Bit

Eli Yokley’s PolitcMO reports that Auditor Tom Schweich raised $180,000 this week while Dems still sniff for a candidate.  Read it here.

Jeremy Cady is now Technology Director at Missouri Republican Party.

Husch Blackwell is buying a 65-lawyer Texas law firm, Brown McCarroll.  Read it here.

Express Scripts announced they’re planning to add 1,500 new employees over the next five year.  “[M]ost of the employees will be administrative and operational positions in a 220,000-square-foot building located in NorthPark, a 550-acre business park just east of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.”  That’s Paul McKee’s St. Louis North County development.  Read it here.

Missouri Municipal League continues to prod Governor Jay Nixon for a veto on HB 331, which they say would “take away local control over the placement, size and scope of new cellphone towers.”  They’re pointing to a KC Star editorial and a St. Joe editorial to make their case.

$5K+Contributions

Ameren UE Political Action Committee - $57,500 from Ameren Missouri.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Jack Cardetti deleted Sallie Mae Inc.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Sen. Eric Schmitt (38).

Friday: Mike Pridmore (34), Jeff Shawan, and Hank Thompson.

Saturday: Rep. Margo McNeil (65), and Ann Auer.

Sunday: Rep. Kevin Engler (54).