MOScout Daily Update: Healthcare Debates Ahead (T-21, Vaping, Anti-Vaxx) - Conservative Caucus as The Future? - Empower on Housing and more...

Healthcare Issues Proliferate

There are a few very big healthcare issues already drawing a lot of attention. 

·         There are several ongoing pro-life/pro-choice fights over women’s access to reproductive services.

·         The Dems are supporting a Medicaid expansion initiative petition for 2020.

But there’s also a bunch of public health issues bubbling up…

·         One big issue is “T-21,” a movement to move the tobacco age from 18 to 21.  This is already being fought in Springfield.  See it here.

·         As I wrote yesterday, there are lots of concerns about the dangers and growing pervasiveness of “vaping,” i.e. e-cigarettes and whether they need tighter regulations.

·         There’s also a lot of hand-wringing over the increasing popularity of the anti-vaxx sub-culture and its impact on the broader population.

These topics involve a classic showdown between individual liberty and traditional public health policy.  Some fiscal conservatives will support measures believing that the state would otherwise be ultimately subsidizing the poor health outcomes.  But many other conservatives – as shown by the passage of the freedom riders anti-helmet law last session – are prone to let fools be fools.

There are clear bright lines on these issues as shown, for example, by Rep. Nick Schroer repeated sponsorship of a prohibition against minors using tanning beds.  It demonstrates that arch-conservatives recognize reasonable limits should be placed on behaviors which are medically unhealthy.

 

Conservative Caucus Mind Meld

After the latest $75K check from World Wide Technology’s David Steward to BILLPAC, there was some concern about the money being used to enlarge the Conservative Caucus and the possibility that would create a less “functional” Senate in 2021.  But the view from the Conservative Caucus isn’t that there is a civil war brewing. But rather that they represent the next phase of the Republican legislative agenda…

·         Checks from big Republican donors to BillPAC and the other PACs associated with the Conservative Caucus shouldn’t be a surprise; the priorities of the Conservative Caucus come directly from the Missouri Republican Party platform.

·         The battlefronts on life and guns have nearly been won in Missouri (at least in an executive and legislative perspective). The future Republican Party will shift to educational, spending and tax reform amongst other fiscal issues.

·         Folks don’t vote Republican to get more spending and higher taxes.  Republicans win elections as the reformers of broken government institutions.

And

Governor Mike Parson is hosting a fundraiser for Sen. Bill Eigel in July in St Charles.

What It Means

Despite some obvious policy differences (closing fund, bonding) in the last year, the two have a good working relationship.

 

Empower MO: Housing Out of Reach

Press release: In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in Missouri, full-time workers need to earn $16.00 per hour. This is Missouri’s 2019 Housing Wage, revealed in a national report released today…. The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour without an increase since 2009, not keeping pace with the high cost of rental housing. In no state, even those where the minimum wage is set above the federal standard, can a minimum wage renter working a 40-hour work week afford a modest two-bedroom rental unit at the average fair market rent.

Working at the minimum wage of $8.60/hr in Missouri, a wage earner must have 1.5 full-time jobs or work 59 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment and work 1.9 full-time jobs or work 74 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment. The typical renter in Missouri earns $14.72, which is $2.18 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest rental home…

Read the report here.

What It Means

There’s been speculation that Governor Mike Parson would restart the flow of Missouri’s tax credits to create low income housing even without his previous demand for reforms to the program. It hasn’t happened yet. A study like this bolsters his case for acting unilaterally without the legislature.

 

New Committees

Kari Chesney formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Kari L Chesney) to run for House 50 as a Democrat.  The current incumbent is Republican Rep. Sara Walsh.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Friends of Terry Thompson - $25,000 from Terry Thompson.  Thompson is a Republican running in House 53 where Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer is termed.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and Capital Cork’s Jami Wade.