Driving the Day
9:30AM – Oral arguments before the Supreme Court including Larry Rebman’s appeal of an appropriations cut to his Administrative Law Judge position, and Ron Calzone’s continued attempt to overturn legislation passed in 2016.
Ruth Gets Transportation
Rep. Becky Ruth has been appointed chair of the House Transportation Committee. House Bills 206 (Murphy) and 448 (Pike) were referred to her committee. The two will likely be merged and becomd the first bill that the House passes. The bills rename part of Interstate 55 for the late Rep. Cloria Brown.
Early January Quarters: Labor $$$
Scroll through the early filings of the January campaign finance reports (the deadline is today at 5PM) and you can’t help but be struck by the amount of cash that labor committee have on-hand. After spending millions fighting right to work, they have a lot of powder left. Look at these cash on-hand totals…
· Carpenters Help In The Political Process - $757,462
· Eastern Mo Laborers Education & Benevolent Fund - $869,657
· MO National Education Assoc PAC - $460,259
· We Are Missouri - $434,830
· Pipefitters Assoc Local Union # 533 - $266,734
· Laborers Union Local #110 Voluntary Political Fund - $243,574
· UAW Region 5 PAC - $143,965
· Midwest Region Laborers' Political League Education Fund - $111,000
· IUOE Local 513 Political & Education Fund - $102,839
And then there are dozens more smaller five-figure funds out there like these…
· Laborers Local 660 PAC - $84,312.11
· Heat & Frost Insulators Local 27 Political Education Committee - $73,129
· Iron Workers Local #396 Voluntary Fund - $64,233
· MO State Council of Fire Fighters PAC - $56,208
· Local 41 Political Action Fund - $55,356
· Boilermakers Local #27 Voluntary Fund - $54,601.
· FIRE PAC 3133 - $51,734
· Local 757 Fire PAC - $45,378
· IBEW Local 53 Voluntary Political Fund - $40,854
· KCFOP PAC - $31,087
· Building Construction Trades Council - $19,721.63
· IBEW Local Union 1439 Political Action Committee - $11,154
What It Means
As much as been written about the declining share of the US workforce that represented by labor unions, they’re still a very potent force in Missouri politics.
Early January Quarters: State Committees
Both state parties have depleted their bank accounts… the Missouri Republican Party has just $20,468 in their campaign committee. The Democratic State Committee has $53,903 on-hand, but is still carrying $68,381 in debt.
Early January Quarters Senate 27 Primary
I wrote yesterday about a possible Republican primary showdown in Senate 27. The two state reps there both have six-figures on-hand…
· Friends of Holly Rehder - $189,123
· Friends of Kathy Swan - $115,702
Early January Quarters: Termed Sens $$$
Termed state senators are sitting on plenty of cash…
· Sater for Senate - $196,107
· Friends of Wayne Wallingford - $96,162
· Friends for Gina Walsh - $98,852
Galloway Starts Public Corruption Unit
In a punchy swearing in speech State Auditor Nicole Galloway announced the creation of a new Public Corruption Unit.
Now, again, comes the news of unjust action by the Department of Revenue. The state incorrectly calculated how much tax to withhold from paychecks, meaning Missourians will get an unwelcome surprise. Fewer people will get refunds and instead will get a tax bill from the government. In all, citizens will be footing a $134 million tax bill this year that they were not expecting. This is real money to real people. Some officials in Jefferson City act as if the loss of even $50 or $100 won't matter to people. This is exactly why Missourians feel that the system is rigged against them. And this creates distrust in our public institutions. But I know that’s a trip to the grocery store, a couple tanks of gas to get to work, or money saved for a special family outing. The administration might be trying to sweep this under the rug, but I will hold them accountable to you. Missourians deserve transparency…. today I am announcing the creation of the Public Corruption and Fraud Division within the State Auditor's Office. This division will have dedicated auditors and attorneys, law enforcement professionals, forensic auditing specialists and certified fraud examiners. We will use technology and data analytics to target and uncover theft and fraud. My team will have the tools, resources and expertise to expose wrongdoing….
Rumors are that Mike Lodewegen will be leaving the Missouri Association of School Administrators and heading to work for Charter Communications.
The Sixteenth Circuit Judicial Commission has met and selected a panel of three nominees for the associate circuit judge vacancy in Division 32 of the Jackson County circuit court created by the retirement of Judge Robert L. Trout. The nominees, each of whom received five votes in support, are: Marilyn B. Keller, Kyndra J. Stockdale, and R. Travis Willingham.
Kansas City Star has an editorial about the need to raise teacher pay in Missouri. See it here.
“Nationally, about 8 percent of teachers leave their positions each year. In Missouri, it’s 11 percent. Education officials wonder why, and here’s at least part of the answer. Missouri has the second-lowest average starting salary for teachers in the nation… Missouri checks in at an average starting salary of $31,842, according to information provided to the State Board of Education this week. Kansas is at $34,883; Iowa is at $35,766; Kentucky stands at $36,494 and Mississippi comes in at $34,780. The U.S. average: $38,617. The picture in some ways is even bleaker. The minimum teacher pay the General Assembly sets is $25,000. Turns out, some teachers in rural districts are actually paid that paltry amount. That puts them in the range of $12 an hour…”
Ryana Parks-Shaw formed a candidate committee (Friends For Ryana Parks-Shaw) to run for Kansas City Councilperson.
Danny Sample formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Danny Sample) to run for St. Louis City Alderman, Ward 24, as a Democrat.
Phil Glynn For Mayor - $43,000 from Philip Glynn.
Happy birthdays to Virvus Jones, Esther Haywood, and Brendan Cossette.