Senate Doesn’t FastTrack Fast Track
The Senate spun its wheels again yesterday as SB 16 was debated without resolution. This is the “Fast Track grant” program to help older workers get retrained.
Sometimes things are simple and easy in the Senate; sometimes they’re not. Still it was surprising to see one of the governor’s workforce priorities fall victim to the round and round of amendments.
The bill was set aside after a point of order was taken under consideration. This will give the various parties chance to huddle and plot a path forward.
Prepping the Next Formula
One of the eagle-eyed budget-watchers noticed a $400K+ increase in the Division of Information Technologies Services for “DESE Foundation Formula Payment Rewrite.”
No, there’s not a movement afoot to rewrite the foundation formula which controls how the state’s hundreds of millions of education dollars are distributed. Not right now anyway.
Rather this line item would upgrade the software to facilitate easier calculations of the formula. And when legislators ultimately do tackle a rewrite, it would be very helpful, reducing the amount of effort required to game out the impact of various scenarios.
A rewrite will have to happen again in the not too distant future. If you don’t rework the formula every decade or so, it risks no longer being equitable as population shifts and other changes skew the outcome away from its original design.
Koenig’s Committee Audible
At the Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday morning, Chair Andrew Koenig did something that one lobbyist had never seen before. “They held an executive session on SB 108. Koenig had a substitute, but he wanted some changes to it. He offered the sub ‘with the changes I’ve verbally just outlined.’ No amendment. No new substitute. Just passing bills without amendments and ‘verbal’ agreements. I don’t know what the bill was even about, but this kind of stuff is just absolutely sloppy and is the kind of silly lawmaking they pull in the House…”
The fear here is that a senator could vote on something that verbally sounded one way, but then ends up differently on paper. Not a best practice.
Walsh’s Anti-Merger Resolution
Sen. Gina Walsh’s SCR 1 had its hearing in the Senate Rules Committee yesterday. This resolution proclaims that the General Assembly opposes “any statewide vote or legislative mandate on governmental reorganization regarding the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County and the municipalities.” A parade of St. Louis County municipal officials testified in favor of the resolution. St. Louis Regional Chamber opposed the measure. Pro Tem Dave Schatz, who represents part of St. Louis County, seemed sympathetic saying he’d heard from constituents there who were concerned about the merger proposal.
Post-Dispatch reports that “the consolidation of St. Louis city, St. Louis County and all 88 county municipality governments could save $55 million in year one and more than $1 billion in year 10, according to finance estimates released Tuesday by merger-advocacy group Better Together. The analysis shows that the merged city’s annual budget would run a surplus — even after deep tax cuts, more than $175 million in annual debt payments, and yearly distributions back to the municipalities, which have been critical of the plan so far…”
Governor Mike Parson made new appointments to the Missouri Development Finance Board:
Rose Marie Carmichael, a Democrat from Springfield; Bradley G. Gregory, a Republican from Bolivar; Clifford Kent Holekamp, a Republican from Ladue; and Rick Holton, Jr., a Republican from Ladue, were appointed.
Parson also appointed Deborah Kerber and Scott Ream to the State Board of Optometry.
Kraske Exits KCStar
KCUR reports that Steve Kraske is among the latest round of journalists to take a buyout offer. See it here.
“I can't tell you how difficult it is to leave such a dedicated band of committed journalists,” Kraske said about accepting the buyout offer. “Journalism has never been more important, and The Star performs vital work that I've been proud to be associated with for 32 years. I will, of course, continue hosting Up to Date, and will be involved in expanding the scope and reach of KCUR and its newsroom.”
One MOScouter sends in this end of an era lament…
Throughout the 90’s and into the new century the stalwart Missouri political reporters who broke big stories and were must-follows before Twitter and Facebook were Steve Kraske of The Kansas City Star, Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Scott Charton of The Associated Press. Those three covered state campaigns, national and state political conventions, marquee events such as Hannibal Democrat Days and Republican Lincoln Days, and had the fattest Rolodexes (look it up, kids) and deepest sourcing on Missouri politics. Charton was the first of these three out of daily journalism, taking early AP retirement and an appointment running University of Missouri System communications, then for the last decade as the go-to Missouri campaign communications guru. Mannies took early retirement after 32 years with the P.D. and had a laudable five-year second act at the St. Louis Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio before retiring this year to her estate at Innsbruck. Now Kraske accepts a Star buyout, and his gargantuan political memory is gone…
One Last Thing
The latest episode of the “Crime Junkie” podcast (“a weekly podcast dedicated to giving you a true crime fix. Every Monday, Ashley Flowers will tell you about whatever crime she’s been obsessing over that week in a way that sounds like you're sitting around talking crime with your best friends. The storytelling is straightforward and free of rabbit holes so the cases stay suspenseful and are easy to follow…) is “Mysterious Death of Lynn Messer.” Find it here.
Empower Missouri seeks Communications Director. “The Communications Director will develop and manage the online presence and communication strategy across multiple platforms including social, online and traditional media. The ideal candidate will have a strong interest and experience in social media and will engage and expand Empower Missouri’s online presence and support…” See the ad here.
Jonathan Hansell formed a campaign committee (Committee to Elect Jonathan Hansell) to run for House 70 as a Republican.
Regional Leadership PAC was formed. Its treasurer is Kyle Tilley.
Richard AuBuchon added American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA).
Guy Black added Kings Garden Midwest, LLC.
Zach Brunnert, Franc Flotron, David McCracken and Richard McIntosh added Center For Diagnostic Imaging.
John Burchett added Google LLC and its affiliates.
Allyssa Marie Miget added Missouri Department of Economic Development.
Colin Weaver added Secure Democracy.
Merri Berry deleted Kenneth Menges.
Sonette Magnus and David Sweeney deleted St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office.
CenturyLink Missouri Federal Employees Political Action Committee - $12,000 from CenturyLink Inc. Employees Political Action Committee.
Happy birthdays to Doug Galloway, Matt Bartle, and Kenny Biermann.