Utilities Bill Passes
The legislature continues to sprint for the finish. Yesterday saw the “grid modernization” utility bill pass the House to be sent to the governor’s desk. Also the “paycheck protection” bill was perfected in the Senate putting it in position to be passed in the final days. These are both big priorities which have floundered in the legislature for years.
Earlier in the week the “small cell” bill passed and a tax cut / reform bill passed. This looks to be one of the most productive sessions of the last decade.
Given the uncertainty surrounding Governor Greitens' future, one lobbyist says that Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson would be smart to have some dedicated eyes start reviewing legislation just in case it’s up to him to decide whether to sign or veto bills…
WWT Strikes Back?
Near the end of work in the Senate last night Rep. Marsha Haefner’s HB 2140 came up. Handled by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, it makes changes to state contract procurement. An amendment was offered and passed that some observers think was crafted to help World Wide Technology reclaim the state technology contract they lost earlier this year. The contract – worth millions of dollars – went to SHI who came in with a lower bid.
The amendment reduces the “points” that a bidder gets for offering a service or a product at a lower price, and says that any existing state contract that received points for offering a lower price can be immediately canceled and re-bid by the Office of Administration.
“In any request for proposals for the purchase of technology by the state, points awarded to cost shall not exceed twenty-five percent of the total points available in scoring the request for proposals for the award of the request for proposals.”
Act II Same as Act I?
Post-Dispatch reports that Greitens’ lawyers plan to reprise their efforts in the next felony case against him. See it here.
Pull Quote: [D]efense lawyer Jim Martin… said that defense lawyers would mount an effort similar to that which led to the dismissal of the invasion of privacy charge Monday. Prosecutors have vowed to refile that charge, which they dismissed during jury selection rather than subject St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to questioning by Greitens’ lawyers under oath. Defense lawyers wanted to question Gardner about her former lead investigator, William Don Tisaby, whom they have accused of perjury. They also have claimed he steered witness testimony to bolster the case against Greitens. Martin said Wednesday that Tisaby would also be an issue in the tampering case… Defense lawyers filed a motion April 24 seeking to disqualify Gardner’s office from handling the case. That has yet to be acted on by a judge and won’t be unless he is indicted, Martin said….
Cunningham: J’Accuse Y’all
Former Sen. Jane Cunningham in a stunning tweet suggested that most legislators live their lives like Governor Eric Greitens. See it here. If every legislator who has never, ever had an improper relationship outside marriage or has not used non-profit organization lists in their campaign, vote 4 impeachment, there will be very few affirmative votes and Greitens will remain governor. I hope hypocrites feel the guilt.
She’s completely and horribly wrong, and she should apologize.
I’ve covered the capitol for over a decade. I go out a lot of nights. I have some idea of the good and bad and ugly. I’m the guy who hears the stupid rumors. There’s no way a majority of legislators are cheating on their spouse. No anywhere close to anywhere near there.
It’s an insult to folks who gives a big chunk of their life to public service to have someone suggest this.
Also – she’s leaving out all of Greitens’ other alleged behaviors: lying to the Ethics Commission, concealing donors’ identities, using Confide to avoid Sunshine requests, misusing the grant Washington University administered, and worst of all: putting your family through all this.
No. Absolutely no way a majority of legislators act like this. I can’t even think of one.
SOS Signature Screw-up
The governor’s office provided an explanation how the secretary of state’s signature was wrongly put on a document that was put online. See the AP story here.
Pull Quote: Records provided to The Associated Press show a version of the order initially posted to Greitens’ website was different from the official version filed with Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. Although Ashcroft never approved the version on Greitens’ website, his signature was listed below it… Greitens’ deputy counsel Justin Smith in an explanation to the House wrote that the Office of Administration copied text from the executive order and used a PDF image of Greitens’ and Ashcroft’s signatures for use on the website. Governor’s office attorney Eddie Greim said the text initially used was from an earlier version of the executive order that didn’t include changes from the final version. He said governor’s office staff at first sent the wrong text to the Office of Administration to post on the website…
What It Means
The governor’s office has offered a sympathetic account for this screw-up. We’ll see if the House Investigative Committee concurs with this explanation. Add it to their list… affair, invasion of privacy, theft of the donor list, false statements to the Missouri Ethics Commission, concealing identity of donors…
One lobbyist’s take: This is symbolic of where we are. Their defense is that it was not willful but instead incompetent… Not that mistakes don't happen but they should not be happening with this degree of frequency.
Watkins: Fibbin’ Faughn
In an interview with the Kansas City Star, attorney Al Watkins denied Scott Faughn’s statement that the $50,000 was his personal money. Faughn previously said that he “retained” Watkins as his lawyer. That claim also seems unlikely now; lawyers don’t usually undercut their clients publicly. Read the article here.
Pull Quote: Freed from a gag order that had mostly silenced him in recent weeks, Al Watkins was ready to talk… [H]e contradicted Faughn’s claims that he was the source of the money and that it was related to research for a book. Watkins said he “understood and was led to believe” that both halves of the $100,000 came from the same individual and that Faughn and an anonymous person Watkins described as looking like a courier delivered the money on that person’s behalf. Faughn did not return a phone message seeking comment…
Galloway on TV for Putnam County Hospital
Yesterday Auditor Nicole Galloway was on CBS’ This Morning. See it here.
Pull Quote: Rural hospitals across the country are closing at the highest rates in decades. Since 2010, 83 have shuttered. Desperate to stay open, some hospitals got caught up in dubious billing schemes… In 2016, Missouri state auditor Nicole Galloway began examining the finances of several rural hospitals in her state. One was Putnam County Memorial, a 15-bed hospital in Unionville, Missouri, struggling to keep its doors open…. Her team discovered a management company called Hospital Partners had swooped in weeks before Putnam was about to close, promising to turn it around. They made deals with labs around the country to funnel billing for blood tests and drug screens through Putnam, which collects higher reimbursement rates as a rural hospital. Putnam kept about 15 percent; most of the money was wired back to the labs and the management company. "Essentially the hospital appeared to act as a shell company for these questionable lab billings," Galloway explained…
eMailbag on House Role in Impeachment
“Chip Robertson’s position is absurd spin apparently designed to counter the Governor’s attempt to make the impeachment vote a trial. It is neither an indictment nor a trial. This is the only part of the process that representatives of the people have a say. If the only standard is, ‘would this offense be impeachable if proven?’ then every Governor could be impeached just by making a charge. By necessity, the House must determine if the accusations have merit. They don’t have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but they must be credible…”
eMailbag on Hanaway’s Multiple Clients
“Catherine Hanaway’s comments on the Will Scharf email highlights a huge conflict of interest for her. [Jay] Barnes should take a page from the Governor’s playbook and subpoena her as a witness.”
Yesterday Wiley Price IV and LaKeySha Bosley were in the building making rounds and meeting folks. They were being introduced by Rep. Michael Butler. Bosley is running for Butler’s seat. It’s a four-way primary, but her last name gives her instant the front-runner status. Price, meanwhile, is the son of famed photojournalist Wiley Price. He has a two-way primary to succeed Rep. Karla May.
On the floor yesterday Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal dubbed herself “the black Erin Brockovich.” Only two more days of the MCN Show….
Lorna Frahm formed a candidate committee (Lorna Frahm For County Executive) to run for St. Charles County Executive as a Democrat.
Richard Watters added Ryan Companies US Inc., Country Club Care Center of Warrensburg LC, Mt. Carmel Senior Living - O'Fallon LLC, Crown Care Center of Harrisonville LC, Lakewood Care Center of Lee’s Summit LC, Mt. Carmel Senior Living - St. Charles LLC, Nursing & Rehab at Chestnut LLC, Nursing & Rehab at Cameron LLC, Nursing & Rehab at Carmel Hills LLC, Nursing & Rehab at Independence LLC, Nursing & Rehab at Holmesdale LLC, Nursing & Rehab at Raymore LLC, Delta South Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, and Clarendale of Clayton LLC; and deleted Shriners Hospital for Children.
Sean Ostrow added PGA Tour Inc.
Rodney Hubbard added Colonial Management Group LP.
Blake Schofield deleted University of Missouri System.
We Are Missouri - $72,000 from Missouri AFL-CIO General Fund.
Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $5,001 from Missourians for Mike Cierpiot.
New Approach Missouri - $25,000 from Emerald City Holdings LP.
Happy birthday to former Rep. Doug Funderburk.