MOScout Daily Update: Title IX Fight - Parson's State Gov Re-Org - MO Supremes Forbid Debtors Prison Time and more...

Title IX Fight

The coalition attempting revise the sexual assault investigation process on college campuses has been on a well-reported hiring spree.  They’re now up to 29 lobbyists. (See them here.)  And that list doesn’t include the whole team. For example, Gregg Keller, who’s doing communications, isn’t listed because he’s not lobbying.

But… the other side hasn’t been sitting on their hands…

Independent Colleges & Universities of Missouri has been around for many years, and is represented by Gamble & Schlemeier.  In the last week they’ve added four new lobbyists: Jeremy LaFaver, Richard AuBuchon, Aaron Baker, and Hannah Beers

The coalition of colleges is very diverse.  But they appear to share concern at the way their unique codes of conduct could be impacted by any change in laws.  And in the case of Christian universities, there’s the issue of religious liberty.  “They don't want the state government telling them what to do…”

 

Parson State Government Re-Org

Press release: Monday marked the end of the 60-day period in which the legislature could vote to oppose the proposed changes announced by Governor Parson through a series of executive orders issued in January. The next two phases of the restructuring occur on July 1, when the state’s fiscal year begins, and August 28, when the executive orders take effect. In the interim, the state agencies will continue working together to ensure that these vital services will continue without interruption….

What is changing:

·         The Division of Workforce Development and Missouri Economic Research and Information Center will move to the Department of Higher Education to establish a single resource in state government for all postsecondary education options.

·         The Division of Energy will return to the Department of Natural Resources.

·         The Office of Public Counsel and the Public Service Commission will join similarly structured Tier III regulatory agencies at the newly named Department of Commerce and Insurance.

·         The Missouri Arts Council will be elevated to the Office of the Lt. Governor.

·         The Department of Economic Development will shift to have staff based across Missouri in order to better meet the unique needs of each economic region and will form a new division that will specifically help businesses address workforce needs as they hire and train workers for large expansions.

Meanwhile

Parson’s legislative agenda needs a strong second half.  The guess is that the Republican governor gets his wishes with the Republican super-majority legislature.  But in the Senate his workforce bills have gotten caught in the cross-fire with education reformers.  And in the House the new Budget Chair has made substituted his own infrastructure plan for the governor’s.

 

Supreme Court Forbids Debtors Prison

Post-Dispatch reports that “the Missouri Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision issued Tuesday, ruled that courts cannot threaten defendants with additional jail time if a defendant fails to pay bills charged for any prior jail stays.”   See the opinion here.

It was cheered by Attorney General Eric Schmitt: “Missourians shouldn’t be forced into a cycle of incarceration and used as an ATM simply for being unable to pay jail debts, and classifying jail debts, or board bills, as court costs continues that cycle.  I’m pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling – board bills should not be classified as court costs, and modern day ‘debtors’ prisons’ have no place in Missouri.”

Meanwhile

Folks in the lieutenant governor’s office keep waiting for the Supreme Court decision to rule on the constitutional of Mike Kehoe’s appointment.  It would seem that the longer they let the appointment stand, the harder it would be to eject him from that office.  Next “hand-down” day is April 2.

 

Bits

·         Adam Schwadron will be running for House 106 as a Republican.  The current incumbent, Rep. Chrissy Sommer, is term limited.  Look for a committee filing early next month…

·         Jolie Justus was endorsed by EMILY’s List in her mayoral race.

 

eMailbag on The Slow March of Local Taxes

Two major reasons for the steady march of local government/school district tax increases: for years and even decades, many of these bodies haven't been updating or expanding their buildings, roads, sewers, etc., so that has caught up with them; at the same time both federal and state governments have steadily decreased the funds available to local governments, so they have to make up the difference with local taxes.  Until public infrastructure is close to "caught up" with age and increasing population and/or can get more investments from higher levels of government, the steady march will continue…

 

eMailbag on Jones and Ed Reform

Former Speaker Tim Jones replies to the mention of his name in MOScout… I agree in part and dissent in part with your MOScout reader who discussed my attempts at education reform.  Yes…the bills I championed did not make it COMPLETELY across the finish line.  Do you remember where/how they were stopped?  At the office of Democrat Governor Jay Nixon. I passed at least two education reform bills. Both were vetoed.

So how sad is it that all these years later…with MORE Republicans in the House than what I had…and with a REPUBLICAN Governor in the Governor’s Mansion, which I did NOT have…education reform still hits a massive Education Cartel road block.

 

New Committees

Scott County Democrat Womens Club was formed.  It’s a PAC.  Its treasurer is Susan Hester.

Holly PAC was formed.  This is the new independent PAC supporting Rep. Holly Rehder.  Its treasurer is Melissa Largent.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Uniting Missouri PAC - $7,500 from Christian Prada.

Uniting Missouri PAC - $10,000 from Association of Dental Support Organizations.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Aaron Baker and Hannah Beers added Independent Colleges & Universities of Missouri.

Ryan Johnson added People United for Privacy.