DOC Judgement Could Crash Budget
Columbia Tribune reports on a zonkers of a story… See it here.
“A Cole County circuit judge Thursday ordered a $118 million garnishment against the Missouri Department of Corrections after the state failed to satisfy a judgment in a class-action brought by corrections officers for unpaid overtime. The state, in response, directed Central Bank not to honor the garnishment because there is no appropriation for legal costs big enough to pay it, State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick said Friday. Finding the cash will further strain a state budget already facing uncertainty over declining income tax receipts…
In August, a Cole County jury awarded corrections officers employed after 2007 more than $113.7 million for time spent on required duties before and after they clocked in and out from their posts. Since the verdict, more than $4.8 million in post-judgment interest has accrued….
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office, which is appealing the case in the Western District Court of Appeals, declined to comment Friday citing ongoing litigation….
The Missouri Constitution prohibits the state from spending money without an appropriation, Fitzpatrick said.
The ability of the courts to order the state to spend money without an appropriation, however, are unclear. During the 1980s and 1990s, desegregation cases in St. Louis and Kansas City cost the state more than $2 billion and most of the money was withdrawn from the treasury based on federal court orders and without a legislative appropriation…
The House Budget Committee next week will finalize its version of the state budget for the coming fiscal year… Parson’s budget projects a $516 million surplus in the current year and his proposal for the year beginning July 1 left $116 million unspent. In committee work this past week, state Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, said that unspent remainder has been padded.
Kendrick, the committee’s ranking Democrat, said he was told the bottom line was increased to fund the judgment…”
MOScout Poll: Trump and Life Issues
With the increasing possibility that President Donald Trump will be the defining issue of the 2020 elections, I asked a few questions to gauge what his impact might be on voters. Additionally, I asked questions from two “life” bills before the General Assembly this session.
If you go to the full results, you’ll see how Trump predictably splits along party lines. The intensity is real: 80% of Missouri Republicans say they’ll be “much more likely” to vote for a candidate who supports Trump (another 10% would be “somewhat more likely”). And Democratic numbers are almost the exact mirror.
What It Means
In Missouri Republican politicians who publicly break with the unorthodox president – even to uphold traditional conservative values – might find themselves vulnerable to the primary challenge.
Survey conducted March 6 through March 7, 2019 by Remington Research. 984 likely 2020 General Election voters participated in the survey. Margin of Error is +/-3.3%.
Q1: Thinking about the 2020 General Election for President, will you definitely vote for Donald Trump, probably vote for Donald Trump, probably not vote for Donald Trump or definitely not vote for Donald Trump?
Definitely will vote for Trump: 45%
Probably will vote for Trump: 8%
Probably will not vote for Trump: 6%
Definitely will not vote for Trump: 40%
Q2: If a candidate for public office was supportive of Donald Trump, would that make you more likely or less likely to vote for that candidate?
Much more likely: 45%
Somewhat more likely: 11%
Somewhat less likely: 6%
Much less likely: 35%
No difference: 3%
Q3: House Bill 126 creates the "Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act." This bill specifies that if there is any change in federal law or court decisions, it is the intent of the state of Missouri that abortion shall not be permitted under any circumstances. If a total ban is not possible, abortions shall be limited to women who are less than eight weeks pregnant. Do you approve or disapprove of the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act?”
Not sure: 17%
Q4: Senate Bill 32 repeals the punishment of the death penalty for first degree murder. Any person sentenced to death before August 28, 2019, must be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Do you approve or disapprove of repealing the death penalty?
Not sure: 18%
MOScout’s Hallway Index: Freshmen Senators Exceeding Expectations?
I asked lobbyists which freshmen senator was exceeding their expectations so far. That’s a tricky question of course because it means some of the anticipated “stars” have a higher bar. But I think the survey shows that as a whole this is a strong freshmen class, full of serious and conscientious individuals. No dead weight among this crop.
Which freshman senator is exceeding expectations? 26 responses…
1. Lauren Arthur… 23%
2. Mike Bernskoetter… 3.8%
3. Justin Brown… 7.7%
4. Eric Burlison… 0%
5. Lincoln Hough… 19.2%
6. Tony Luetkemeyer… 23%
7. Karla May… 3.8%
8. Cindy O’Laughlin… 11.5%
9. Bill White… 3.8%
10. Brian Williams… 3.8%
Sample of Comments
· [Lincoln] Hough is made for the Senate.
· [Cindy] O’Laughlin expectations were low, but she’s one of the most influential senators in the building because she knows how to make deals.
· It’s easy to pick a GOP Sen because they’ve been born into a supermajority. But it takes a little more work and a lot more finesse to be effective on the Dem side. That’s why Lauren Arthur continues to impress me. She’s extremely well prepared for every hearing, is making the right connections with her GOP colleagues, and is strategically picking which issues she engages on…
· Actually, a very good class of Senators. No disappointments regarding any of them, and impressed by all of them.
· Brian Williams: A star is born. Heads and shoulders above the rest of the freshmen. No comparison
· Tony [Luetkemeyer] and Lincoln are meeting expectations, which is commendable because they both had high expectations. But Karla [May] is the only one on this list exceeding expectations. She has quickly become a very impactful senator…
· [Bill] White has proven to be a thoughtful and reasonable Senator who is willing to fight for what he believes in — essentially what you want in a good senator. Fears that he would be the next Schaaf seem unfounded…
Who Won the Week?
Cody Smith – The new Budget chair strikes, and shows his steel. He set aside the governor’s bonding proposal in favor of a new plan to pay from current revenues, and quickly shifts the whole debate.
Conservative Caucus – MOScout’s lobbyist survey says that their number one fear for this session is the Republican factions in the Senate. Fear = power.
Better Together – The team pushing a St. Louis City-County merger cheers the state auditor’s fiscal note that backs their claim of big savings, and increased state revenues.
KCStar – Continues to churn out scoops and stories, and will get additional help in Jeff City as Crystal Thomas joins the team.
To Sen. Lauren Arthur on the passing of her grandmother, Lucille Arthur. See the obituary here. She hosted many sleepovers with her grandkids, always giving them biscotti for breakfast, followed up with an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen…
Dave Berry, Travis Brown, Tom Dempsey, Tracy King, Deanna Hemphill, Heath Clarkston, Doug Nelson, Kurt Schaefer, and Lynne Schlosser added Kingdom Principles Inc.
Kyna Iman deleted Kingdom Principles Inc.
Brianne Doura added National Council on Problem Gambling.
Eapen Thampy added Missouri Hemp Assocaition
Charlie Miller added Streets of West Pryor, LLC.
Linda Mustoe added Linda Mustoe.
Carol Hudspeth deleted Kansas City Regional Home Care Association, and Missouri Adult Day Services Association.
Kelvin Simmons deleted Hickman Mills School District.
MO Insurance Coalition PAC - $8,250 from CFM Insurance.
MO Beverage PAC - $5,223 from Pepsi Beverages Company of St. Louis.
MO Beverage PAC - $7,173 from Heartland Coca Cola.
American Property Casualty Insurance Association Political Account - $15,275 from American Property Casualty Insurance Association.