Conservative Caucus Strikes Again
I thought Sen. Mike Cierpiot’s expansion of the Missouri Works program (SB 56) would easily win Senate approval. But it was not to be. The Senate’s “Conservative Caucus” stalled the legislation. After about two hours it was placed on the informal calendar. Meanwhile over on the House side, Rep. Travis Fitzwater’s version HB 255 breezed through with 136 Ayes, 20 Noes.
Then the Conservative Caucus took aim at what seemed like a simple local sales tax fix. A municipality in Sen. Doug Libla’s district wanted to raised their tax by ¼ cent instead of a full ½ cent. What would normally be an uneventful accommodation became a full-blown debate. Sen. Bill Eigel insisted that the Senate “vet” these local enabling provisions. And Sen. Andrew Koenig suggested a cap on how much local governments could increase their sales tax. Eventually, after hours of debate, the bill was perfected.
It wasn’t a good night for the Conservative Caucus. They pretzeled up the Senate over an issue that few senators would view as ideological: allowing local governments to ask voters for funds for public safety.
One Republican fretted… “These guys just lost a ton of good will tonight and are going to probably single-handedly kill education reform because they didn’t know how and when to pick the fight…”
The “education reform” is a reference to Koenig’s ESA bill which will likely hit the Senate floor in the next couple of weeks. The worry is that other senators will repay the scrutiny when bills of Conservative Caucus members are offered to the body.
Sen. John Rizzo implied as much last night on the floor: “This works both ways.”
Driving the Day
House’s Children and Families Committee this morning (8AM, HR1) will vote to pass out pro-life items from Reps. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, Adam Schnelting, and Nick Schroer.
Rappelling, Parson Style
The press release: Join us as Governor Mike Parson, Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn, DESE Assistant Commissioner Blaine Henningsen, and Missouri FFA leadership proclaim February 16-23, 2019, as National FFA Week in Missouri… Immediately preceding the proclamation ceremony at 11:30 a.m., Governor Parson will be driving a tractor to work in honor of the FFA tradition where students drive their tractors to school during National FFA Week.
Latest poll on St. Louis President of the Board of Aldermen to hit my phone shows some movement in favor of Sen. Jamilah Nasheed…
Lewis Reed: 31%
Jamilah Nasheed: 22%
Megan Ellyia Green: 11%
Jimmie Matthews: 2%
That shows Nasheed picking up ground compared with MOScout’s poll a few weeks ago…
Lewis Reed: 42%
Jamilah Nasheed: 17%
Megan Ellyia Green: 13%
Jimmie Matthews: 5%
The election is two weeks from today.
It was about time we defined "Shampooist" in state statute… “any person who performs the act of shampooing.” Thanks to Rep. Tom Hannegan’s SB 349 which will exempt shampooists from the regulations governing cosmetology and barbering.
Three Cheers for Liberal Arts
The Joint Committee on Education heard a presentation yesterday about the value of beefing up computer science offerings to students, as well maintaining a liberal arts curriculum.
There is a constant anxiety in all education discussions these days due to the looming fear that we’re entering an age of massive occupational turmoil.
Technological advances for the past twenty-five years have seemed largely benevolent – the birth and rise of the internet, the explosion of personal computing power culminating in production of the Blackberry.
But many fear that the decades ahead will see technology displacing millions of jobs. Robotics together with artificial intelligence will make machines better at many jobs than their human counterpart. Even where they’re not, the fact that machines don’t “sleep or [use] sick days” will make them preferable.
Thought leaders in education are grappling with how to create a system that will prepare students for a workforce that will be constantly churning as industries are automated.
One answer is to integrate more technology into the curriculum – computer science offerings – under the assumption that someone will have to program the machines.
Another answer is to develop the one’s full humanness via liberal arts study. Make sure that student learn how to learn, how to ask questions, how to research, how to frame the puzzle different ways until the pieces fit.
In an ever-changing work environment, you can’t teach specific skills for a 40-year career. Every skill will become obsolete by technology over that timeframe. You must teach how to learn, how to adapt, how to think.
eMailbag on Pro-Choice Dems
I think the view of the Democratic caucus is misunderstood when it comes to filibusters. Because there are so few Dems they tend to pick a couple core issues each session and stand together to filibuster, even if the issue isn’t important to each member (eg. labor issues). Abortion rights is a headline-grabbing issue that rallies the base, so I would bet the Dems band together if Republicans try to pass anything too restrictive.
eMailbag: Time for a Dedicated Public Safety Tax?
If you asked voters I bet they would support a dedicated tax to fund crime prevention. Included in that would be better pay for prison workers. It’s an embarrassing shame that Missouri’s are the lowest paid in the country. We have one for Conservation for Heavens sake.
Lyda Krewson for Mayor - $10,000 from TheLOUpac.
MO Opportunity PAC - $15,000 from Rudolph E Farber.
Lyda Krewson for Mayor - $10,000 from Marilyn Fox.
Happy birthdays to Ron Gladney, Jay Kanzler, Alex T. Eaton, Steve Stenger, Lynne Schlosser, and Rodney Schad.