Thursday, December 21, 2017

AG to Investigate Text Retention Policies

KC Star’s Jason Hancock reports that “Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has launched an investigation into whether Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff illegally destroyed public records by using an app that erases text messages.”  See it here.

Pull Quote: News of the investigation comes nearly two weeks after The Star first revealed that the governor and his senior staff use Confide, an app that destroys a text message after it has been read. The app also prevents someone from saving, forwarding, printing or taking a screenshot of the text… Later Wednesday in an interview with The Star, Hawley said his office will also look into recent accusations made by a GOP-aligned nonprofit that Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway has not properly turned over text messages sent and received on her state-issued phone. Both investigations will be led by Amy Haywood, section leader of the attorney general’s consumer protection division, and Darrell Moore, deputy attorney general for criminal litigation…

eMailbag

“Three statewide constitutional officers cross their party’s governor – Treasurer Eric Schmitt and LG Mike Parson on MHDC backed Parson’s motion for a delay in obliterating low income housing tax credits, and now AG Josh Hawley on investigation of secrecy, which may still be a fix. But is someone’s polling showing slippage in Greitens’ popularity?”

 

Transportation Task Force Preps Final Recommendations

From the House press operations (See it here): The Task Force met on Tuesday to finalize the recommendations that will go into the report it will release before the legislative session begins January 3.  It says an increase of 10 cents in the tax on gasoline and of 12 cents in the tax on diesel would generate about $430-million annually for roads and bridges.  $43-million of that would go to counties and $64.5-million would go to municipalities. Such an increase would have to be put before Missouri voters….

The report also recommends the implementation of a revenue stream dedicated to multimodal transportation (railways, aviation, mass transportation, ports, waterways, and transportation for the elderly and disabled).  The Task Force suggests restructuring Missouri’s Timely Filing Discount on retail sales or withholding tax and/or the discount given to companies that file employee withholding taxes on time….

 

Greitens Backs Fire Fighters on Cancer

Post-Dispatch reports that Governor Eric Greitens “wants Missouri to join many other states in allowing firefighters to file for workers' compensation after being diagnosed with certain cancers.” See it here.

Pull Quote: A bill pre-filed in the Missouri Legislature would shift the burden of proof to the employer.  Many times firefighters with cancer in St. Louis have to stop working and end up losing the health insurance they need to cover their treatments. Similar legislation was introduced in the House and Senate during the last session, but neither won approval. Sen. Jake Hummel, a St. Louis Democrat, said a Greitens’ administration aide told him during an April meeting that the governor would not back the legislation… Greitens took what has become a familiar swipe against politicians on Wednesday. "Unfortunately in politics, sometimes good things get ruined for no good reason at all," he said. "Sometimes good bills get stopped in a political process that is paralyzed by the petty, personal prejudices of politicians."

But

Former Sen. Jane Cunningham, on twitter warnedBEWARE!! Having been on a local fireboard, this could bankrupt fire districts and curtail lifesaving services…

 

Haahr on Priorities

Speaker-elect Elijah Haahr on Forbes.com previews legislative priorities.  See it here.

On Tax Reform

First, we need to simplify the code. Remove the countless loopholes and reduce the credits that only benefit a select few while cluttering up the code with so many rules and regulations that most Missourians needs an accountant to prepare their return. Second, eliminate the lowest levels of tax rates by shrinking the current brackets from ten down to three, while increasing the income level at which the maximum rate applies, so our tax system does not unfairly penalize the lowest earners. Third, lower the overall rates on both families and businesses to spur further investment in our economy and allowing taxpayers to keep and spend more of their earnings.

On Other Priorities

We will work to eliminate occupational licensing restrictions on those workers willing and able to enter the workforce and to eradicate antiquated barriers on individuals wishing to use their cars to provide transportation or their homes for lodging.

The state of Missouri also stands at the crossroads of the nation. With the 7th most miles of any state funded road system, we need to find a long term solution to repairing and repaving those miles so our farmers and truckers can move their product to market. And we must find a 21st century solution to our state’s aging utility grid.

Finally, Missouri needs to prioritize our human capital. We must produce a generation of workers with the highest level of educational skills rivaling any state in the nation…

 

Scott City Drama

Rep. Holly Rehder is one of three people (along with Tim Porch and Cindy Brashear) and being sued for defamation by Ron Cummins, former mayor.  Cummins is attempting a comeback…

Here’s Southeast Missourian’s reporting: Cummins filed Tuesday at city hall to return to the post of mayor after resigning in August. Cummins resigned amid a call from state Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, for an investigation into allegations he abused his position. Cummins and current Mayor Norman Brant filed as candidates on the first day to file for the April election. Brant, who was on the council when Cummins resigned, was named by the council to serve as mayor.

Oh also – Cummins is being sued by former Scott City parks director.

 

Cleaning Out the In-Box Before the Long Weekend

The MEC updated its Amendment 2 advisory adding “A political action committee/continuing committee may receive contributions from a federal PAC (see Art. VIII, Sec. 23.3(12)).”  See it here.

 

Last weekend UnitedHealth Group VP Brian Bunten married Maggie Eastman of Joplin, MO…  Bipartisan bold-faced names spotted at the celebration: Kristen Blanchard Ansley (cousin of the bride); MOChamber CEO Dan Mehan and COO Brendan Cossette; House Democrat Legal Counsel Alix Hallen; Centene’s Shawn Furey; lobbyist Trent Watson; Axiom’s Nick Schulte; Alex and  Anne Curchin; and CJ Baricevic, 2016 Democrat Candidate for US Congress (IL-12).

 

In St. Louis City, Paul Fehler landed the Democratic nomination for 8th Ward Alderman.  One MOScouter writing that the outcome of the Central Committee vote can be seen as a “big boost to [Board President] Lewis Reed’s re-election, big loss to [his challenger] Megan Green…”

 

Post-Dispatch reports that  “a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination and retaliation at the St. Louis Regional Chamber is set to go to court in early 2018. Karen Ellis, a director of economic development who still works at the Chamber, alleges President and CEO Joe Reagan and Senior Vice President of Economic Development James Alexander violated her rights under the state Human Rights Act. Attorneys for the Chamber have denied her claims and want the case dismissed. Ellis, who filed suit in August, alleges she was denied multiple promotions based on her gender and that her bosses, Reagan and Alexander, who then worked to force her out after she raised the issue.”   And meanwhile – note that Reagan deleted his registration below…..

 

Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson announced that Kelli Jones has joined his office as Public Relations/Communications Coordinator.

 

eMailbag on Greitens’ Legislative Relations

“I can't figure out whether or not he's intentionally picking fights with the legislature so he can continue to bash political insiders or whether they (he and staff) are just that incompetent.  There have definitely been some growing pains.”

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Jeffery Brooks, William Gamble, Cynthia Gamble, Kathryn Gamble, Sarah Topp, David Jackson, and Jorgen Schlemeier added Missouri Sheriff’s Association.

William Gamble, Cynthia Gamble, Kathryn Gamble, Sarah Topp, and David Jackson added NRDC.

Claude Brown added City of Saint Louis.

Zach Brunnert added BMC Software, and World Wide Technology; and deleted Missouri Hospice & Palliative Care Association.

Franc Flotron, David McCracken, and Richard McIntosh deleted Larry Rohrbach.

Samuel Wright deleted University of Missouri College Republicans, and Samuel Wright.

Nathan Wright deleted Madsen & Wright Inc.

Jeff Howell deleted Jeff Howell.

Joseph Reagan deleted St. Louis Regional Chamber And Growth Association (RCGA).

 

$5K+ Contributions

Majority Forward - $7,500 from Southwestern Bell Telephone LP DBA AT&T Missouri.

Next Gen GOP PAC - $25,000 from David Steward II.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $10,000 from Ameren Missouri PAC.

We Are Missouri - $350,000 from United Food & Commercial Workers Local #655.

We Are Missouri - $50,000 from Preserve Middle Class America.

Missourians for Patient Care - $67,015 from Missourians for Patient Care.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Sen. Andrew Koenig, Rep. Don Rone, Duane Lester, Virginia Young, Brendan Lind, and the peerless John Combest.

Friday: Sen. Dan Brown and Shannon Cooper (the big 5-0).

Sunday: Sen. Paul Wieland, Rep. Lindell Shumake, and former Rep. John Cauthorn.

Monday: David Christian.

 

MOScout News

Reminder: No MOScout tomorrow or Monday (25th).  See you all Tuesday…