Smith Non-Bonding Plan
Word spread yesterday about Rep. Cody Smith’s plan to eschew debt to pay for the governor’s bridge repair program. The soft-spoken House Budget chair gave a few media interviews explaining his reasoning with a humble yet confident demeanor. He was careful to praise Governor Mike Parson’s leadership, crediting him with keeping legislators’ attention and focus on the issue of transportation funding.
However, while Smith was winning favorable reviews, one Senate side source told me that his cheerleaders should stop doing backflips and get real. “The House budget [is] a rookie budget. Putting $100M in a line for road funding is amateur. Senate won't go along with it and now they have a massive line to fund their priorities without even working at it. It's equivalent to what Greitens did in his first budget. A bunch of new stuff with big dollar lines. It didn't work out well for him…”
In other words: we’re early in the budget process and nothing is in stone. Stay tuned.
Education Day Canceled
After all the build-up, the House didn’t take up the charter school expansion bill yesterday. Champions of the bill think they have 82 votes for passage within reach, but there’s no margin of error. One supportive representative was missing because of a family funeral, another left after taking a fall. The issue will be back for sure, but they need all their votes present.
Rumor: Governor Mike Parson is trying to help Speaker Elijah Haahr and has “gently leaned” on some folks.
Some lobbyists took issue with the “selective” APR numbers I referenced yesterday saying that they lacked context.
· DESE’s APR numbers show district numbers and not schools within each district. If it did, there would be dozens of failing traditional public schools.
· The last school on that list is a dropout charter school. They take all of the kids that KCPS has pushed out and get them back in school. So yes, that school is underperforming the district because it’s the kids that KCPS has already completely failed. Graduates from that school are kids that never would have graduated after they were pushed out by KCPS.
Tisaby Grand Jury
Post-Dispatch reports that “Circuit Judge Michael Mullen, in a heated court hearing Tuesday afternoon, accused Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner's office of impeding a grand jury investigation into alleged perjury by a former FBI agent hired last year to investigate ex-Gov. Eric Greitens… Mullen on Tuesday issued a gag order on both sides involved in Gardner's attempt to quash the Feb. 21 search warrant that Mullen authorized, seeking "any and all stored electronic email communications and files" on the Circuit Attorney's office servers between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2018… The search warrant had been under seal, but Gardner went public with it Monday by issuing a statement condemning it as an “unconstitutionally broad” attempt to undermine her authority…
Gardner’s office wants the grand jury to focus solely on Tisaby's alleged perjury and not look into allegations aired in court last year by Greitens’ defense team that Gardner knowingly allowed Tisaby to lie under oath — also called suborning perjury…”
What It Means
The feeling among politicos is that we’re in the early innings of this – and that Gardner could be in some legal trouble before it all ends.
· Stacey Preis, former deputy commissioner of DESE, has become the Director of Outreach at the PRiME Center SLU. SLU PRiME (Policy Research in Missouri Education) Center is a new research center that aims to “serve as a resource for state lawmakers, educators, administrators and other educational leaders. SLU PRiME will launch in early spring and will publish annual ‘report cards’ for schools and districts across Missouri, produce reports that compare Missouri to the rest of the nation in areas like student outcomes and teacher pay, among other things.”
· The Seventh Circuit Judicial Commission selected a panel of nominees for the associate circuit judge vacancy in Division 5 of the Clay County circuit court. The nominees are: Angela M. Atkinson (four votes in support), Calan T. McConkey (five votes in support) and Alisha D. O’Hara (five votes in support).
· Minority Leader Crystal Quade appointed LaKeySha Bosley as Ranking Member of the Standing Committee on Ways and Means
· Ken Franklin is no longer with Bi-State Development. He previously handled their government relations.
· The Department of Economic Development reports that “Missouri’s unemployment rate edged up a tenth of a point to 3.2 percent in January, increasingly slightly from 3.1 percent in the final two months of 2018 [but] Missouri nonfarm payroll employment increased by 9,300 jobs from the revised December figure, reaching 2,903,400 in January.”
· Former GOP Auditor Saundra McDowell weighed in on Jay Ashcroft’s investigation of Josh Hawley with what one observer called “revenge tweeting.” See it here.
· Who was the first witness to testify for Rep. Jared Taylor’s HB 258 to expand gun rights? Kerry Messer, on behalf of Missourians For Personal Safety. He told the committee you needed to be able to defend yourself because there are crazy people in the world, and you can’t tell what’s inside their heads.
· Governor Mike Parson appointed Richard L. Ebersold, Republican, and Alan L. Landes, Republican, to the Missouri Western State University Board of Governors. And he appointed Lowell Mohler, Independent, and Kevin Roberts, Democrat, and Sherry Jones, Republican, to the State Fair Commission.
Jeffrey Brooks, Cynthia Gamble, Kathryn Gamble, William Gamble, David Jackson, Jorgen Schlemeier, Sarah Schlemeier, Sarah Topp and Olivia Wilson added Foster Care & Adoptive Care Coalition.
Richard Browlee added Cable One.
Cheryl Lynne Dozier added Flotron & McIntosh, and Greater Kansas City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Casey Allen Wasser added Property Assessment Review c/o Strategic Capitol Consulting.
Drew Weber deleted Walls Street Realty, Inc. DBA Ancob Construction Inc, JRB Investments LLC, Stone Chapel LLC, and 1960 II LLC.
AGC of MO PAC - $6,000 from Fabick Cat
Committee To Elect Reed - $10,000 from GDC Integration Inc.
Happy birthdays to Rep. Rory Rowland, Rich AuBuchon, former Sen. Frank Barnitz, and Jeff Layman.