MOScout Daily Update: House to Continue DOR Probe - Plocher's Anti-Merger Plan - Anti-Vaxxers Crowd Hearing - Nexus Adds EcoDevo and more....

More DOR Hearings Coming

KCStar reports that Speaker Elijah Haahr “says the legislature will continue its investigation into how Gov. Mike Parson’s department of revenue handled tax code changes that reduced or eliminated refunds for thousands of Missouri taxpayers…. ‘I fully anticipate the oversight committee will continue its hard work of being the watchdog of the unelected departments of the executive branch by having additional hearings relating to (the department of revenue),’ said Haahr, R-Springfield….”

What It Means

This is less significant is it relates to actual changes in policies at Department of Revenue.  Instead the House’s continued actions (and perpetuation of a chain of news stories) is an attempt to:

·         Create some urgency within the Parson Administration to shake up the department to get the right people in the right jobs.

·         Send a message to the Parson Administration that if information isn’t shared with the legislature, they’ll make life a little tougher until it is.

 

Anti-Vaxxers Come to Capitol

It was a packed room for a marathon hearing of HB 711, which would prohibit “an elementary school, secondary school, public institution of higher education, day care, or physician's office

from discriminating against a child because he or she has received a legal exemption to immunization requirements due to medical contraindications or religious beliefs.”

Incredibly the bill is sponsored by pharmacist Rep. Lynn Morris

Elisabeth Condon tweeted a play-by-play of the hearing which included a lot of parents who have had bad experiences from vaccinations. See it here.

Meanwhile

Washington Post reports that “for the second week in a row, U.S. health officials added dozens of new reports to the year’s list of confirmed measles cases, bringing the total to 465 — already the highest number in the past five years. It’s another significant milepost on the road to what will probably become a record outbreak after vaccines led to the disease’s ‘elimination’ in the United States… [P]ublic health experts link the surge to pockets of unvaccinated children across the country, populations deemed vulnerable in large part because their parents have hesitated or refused to get them immunized. One of the main reasons is an anti-vaccination movement that has spread misinformation around the world.

“More bad news,” Peter Hotez, an infectious-disease expert at the Baylor College of Medicine, said in a Twitter post about the new CDC numbers. “A totally unnecessary and self inflicted wound, and a direct consequence of an aggressive antivax misinformation campaign.”

Hotez and his colleagues at other Texas academic centers predicted the spike in measles and other vaccine-preventable childhood diseases in a study last year. That report identified the 18 states that allowed parents to opt out of school immunization requirements for reasons of religion or philosophy.

Now, Hortez told The Post last week, of the 15 counties with the most nonmedical vaccine exemptions, half are reporting measles cases…”

What It Means

One lobbyist believes that this issue has the potential to “be the next big battle for the individual liberty crowd after the PDMP...”

 

MO Works Filibustered Again

Sen. Mike Cierpiot’s SB 56, which would expand the Missouri Works program and is part of Governor Mike Parson’s workforce development agenda, stalled again in the Senate due to a filibuster by members of the Senate’s Conservative Caucus.

It’s the third time the bill has come up for debate.  But some participants appeared to be seeing a path to a compromise.  One would expect that this will find its way to the governor’s desk considering there’s plenty of time left.

However, if this relatively non-controversial bill is encountering so much resistance, it does reduce optimism about an easy resolution to other parts of the governor’s legislative agenda – especially his bonding proposal.  That’s expected to see debate in the Senate today.

 

Plocher Plots Defense Against City-County Merger

Rep. Dean Plocher advanced his HJR 54 yesterday, passing it out of the committee he chairs.  The constitutional change takes aim at the proposed merger between St. Louis City and St. Louis County.  It would require a vote of residents of those jurisdictions before taking effect.

Plocher’s resolution faces a problem common to other plans to stop the merger: they’d be on the same ballot as 2020 vote on the merger. 

To get around this, HJR 54 contains this provision: “this Section shall also apply to any amendment to this Constitution that is adopted concurrently with the enacting amendment of this Section.”

I asked a few veterans if that would do the trick.

·         The problem is of course is that this thing is not effective until passage… the best argument for Plocher is that these are conflicting amendments within the meaning of the last sentence of Article III, Section 51… My sense is just briefly looking at this -- that anyone that tells you for sure they know the answer it too confident.

·         I am having trouble with the idea that the voters could enact something to mess with another proposition on the same ballot. Article 3, Section 52(b) says: "Any measure referred to the people shall take effect when approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon, and not otherwise.” What if the secretary of state completes the vote totals first on the Better Together measure and it passes.  Would the Plocher HJR amend it “retroactively”?  I would not think so.  I do not think the measure can affect the BT ballot measure because of the “not otherwise.”

Drebes: we’ll see.

 

Daily Revenues

Very strong revenues on Friday make it look like a late charge is coming in revenues. Will it continue over the next couple weeks?  As of close of business Friday, we’re down $177 million, or -2.61%.

 

Nexus Adds EcoDevo Service

The Nexus Group announced a new hire. It’s an intriguing move.  It’s not another lobbyist to the team, instead they’re adding a new, complementary service for clients.  

Here’s the press release:  We are pleased to announce that Sallie Hemenway has joined the Nexus Group as an economic development finance advisor.  As you know, Sallie spent 25 years at the Missouri Department of Economic Development where she gained a tremendous knowledge of the state’s resources available to help development projects of all kinds.  Sallie led the Division administering business incentives, redevelopment financing, disaster recovery, and community-development assistance programs.

In our current government relations and lobbying capacity, we are often approached about project-specific financing strategies and specific tools as well as access to technical expertise to assist over time in the planning and development phases.  Sallie’s work will allow us to expand those client services.  

For those of you in need of economic development advice for your clients with whom you may already have government relations and lobbying relationship, Sallie is not registering to lobby, so you are welcome to contract solely the development component with Nexus, as needed.

 

eMailbag: The Biden Effect

Yesterday in the [building] so many people were saying hello and asking if it was okay to side hug or allow their hair to be sniffed…

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Kristin Czubkowski added High Aspirations, Inc.

Steven Tilley and Thomas Robbins added Root Weaver Missouri, LLC.

Heath Clarkston, Doug Nelson and Kurt Schaefer added AB46 Investments LLC.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Casey Wasser and Matt Lieberman.