MOScout Daily Update: James for Justus? - School Choice Stalls - Gardner Email Server Seized and more...

James for Justus

Word is that Mayor Sly James will endorse Jolie Justus for mayor today.  This comes on the heels of former KC Mayor Kay Barnes, and her husband Tom, hosting a fundraiser for Justus at their home last night.

What It Means

This cements Justus’ position as the favorite in next month’s KC mayoral race.


Tough Day for School Choice

The House once again failed to bring up the charter expansion bill.  Talk was that proponents’ vote count was stuck around 80 votes.  Being just shy of votes, they postponed rather than risk defeat. This new whip count was for the proposed compromise of limiting the expansion to only St. Louis County.

·         The two vacancies of House 99 (Jean Evans) and House 158 (Scott Fitzpatrick) are proving critical, keeping the bar of 82 votes just out of reach right now.

·         Rural Republicans remain the key barrier.  Supporters of the bill are frustrated that they are “beholden” to their local superintendents.

·         All STL County Republicans were OK with to limit expansion to St. Louis County, but the gambit only netted a pair of switches from rural GOPers. And it even cost them a vote or two.  For example, it’s said that Rep. Mike Moon considered the change to be a “special law” and therefore unconstitutional.

·         This is one of Speaker Elijah Haahr’s top priorities.  So this isn’t the end of it.

·         Talk is that Senate Floor Leader Caleb Rowden is rooting for Haahr and is willing to do what he can to help.


In the Senate, Sen. Andrew Koenig offered a new version of his Education Saving Account bill.  He added sweeteners aimed at appeasing some of the bill’s prominent opponents.  Included in the latest substitute was both Sen. Gary Romine’s Fast Track legislation, and Sen. Scott Sifton’s transfer bill language. However, neither peace offering moved those senators from their opposition. 

Republicans Romine and Sen. Doug Libla – joined by Republican Sen. Lincoln Hough – helped Democrats to filibuster the bill.  It also appeared that Republican Sen. Sandy Crawford is opposed to ESA.

The stalemate continues…


Tourism Infrastructure Bill

The House perfected HB 677 which enables the state to spend money on “tourism infrastructure facilities,” aka stadiums, in St. Louis and Kansas City.  This would normally hit a lot of resistance from conservatives and outstate legislators, but the debate went very smoothly.

·         Rep. Jonathan Patterson handled the bill and did an impressive job.  He’s been mentioned as a rising star of the freshman class. He lived up to the billing yesterday on the House floor.

·         The bill shows a template for the urban areas to advance their agenda in a sometimes hostile environment.  Supporters included both Republicans and Democrats.  And there was strong regional unity on display in St. Louis with Jefferson County Republican Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman speaking in favor of the proposal.


Gardner Email Server Seized

Post-Dispatch reports (see it here): Police and a special prosecutor seized the email server from the St. Louis circuit attorney's office Tuesday afternoon amid a grand jury investigation into alleged perjury by a former FBI agent hired last year to investigate ex-Gov. Eric Greitens. The server was taken by police officers and an attorney for the special prosecutor for about an hour, from 3 to 4 p.m., according to statement released Wednesday by Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner... Gardner was scheduled to testify before the grand jury this week. It is not clear if she is considered a target of the investigation or being called only as a witness. The special grand jury convened in January to investigate perjury claims against private investigator William Don Tisaby and possibly related crimes…

What It Means

All signs point to more trouble in the St. Louis City Circuit Attorney’s office…..


Schmitt’s Sunshine Website

Press release: As Missouri continues to celebrate Sunshine Week, Attorney General [Eric] Schmitt announced today a new data portal to track Sunshine Law records requests and complaints received by the Attorney General’s Office.

See the portal here.


STL County Council Hires Moore

Press release: The St. Louis County Council named former Post-Dispatch reporter Doug Moore to be its first Policy Director… The Policy Director is a new position responsible for managing policy initiatives, oversight investigations, and other priorities of the County Council. The Policy Director will also serve as a leader among the council’s staff and will assist, on a day-to-day basis, the Council members’ assistants to help them serve Council members effectively.


Ostmann Passes

See the obituary here.

Former State Representative Lucinda “Cindy” Ostmann (née Depping) died March 10 in St. Peters, Missouri at the age of 80… After teaching elementary school for seven years, Cindy became a domestic goddess and frequent volunteer at her daughters’ school. Dedicated to community service, Cindy served on the Fort Zumwalt Board of Education from 1978-1990, five years a president. In recognition of her contributions, Fort Zumwalt’s 15th elementary school was named Ostmann Elementary in 2002. In 1992, Cindy was elected to the 90th General Assembly where she was an advocate for education, victim’s rights, and mental health issues until her retirement in 2002.


$5K+ Contributions

Progress KC - $10,000 from Polsinelli.

MO Opportunity PAC - $25,000 from Nancy A Arnoldy.

Believe in Life and Liberty - BILL PAC - $75,000 from Rex Sinquefield.


Lobbyists Registrations

Jeffrey Altmann added Kingdom Principles Inc.

Aaron Baker and Hannah Beer deleted Beyond Organics, LLC.

Alex Eaton, Rebecca Lohmann, Danny Pfeifer, and Greg Porter added Axis Medical

Mike Gibbons and Trish Workman added Municipal League of Metro St. Louis.

Mandy Elizabeth Scott added Charter Communications Inc.

David Shorr deleted University of Missouri – Columbia.

David Sweeney added GCFC LLC.

Drew Weber added Imperial Catering Company Inc, and Robert and Kim Brinkmann; and deleted Purpose Investments LLC.

David Willis added The Parking Spot.



Happy birthdays to Jason Klindt, Sara Howard, Mark Bruns, and Ryan DeBoef.