Ashcroft Rejects Abortion Referendums
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft entered the abortion debate yesterday as his office rejected two of the three referendum petitions which have been filed to overturn HB 126. See his press release here. From the press release: There are certain limits to the people’s right to a referendum. Specifically, Article III, Section 52(a) makes exceptions for “laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, and laws making appropriations for the current expenses of the state government, for the maintenance of state institutions and for the support of public schools.” Because the legislature approved HB126 and its emergency clause with the constitutionally-required two-thirds vote of both houses of the legislature, HB126 may not be referred to the people.
When I wrote about this possibility a few weeks ago, one building denizen wrote: I'm not sure if the mere existence of an emergency clause will always necessarily preclude the use of the referendum process. In the past, the Missouri Supreme Court has found that is isn't bound by the mere declaration that an emergency existed and instead examined whether there was an actual emergency… it makes sense that the mere existence of an emergency clause doesn't preclude the use of the referendum process… Otherwise, a simple means of circumventing the referendum is slapping a meaningless E.C. on the contentious bills.
And another points out that “Koenig may have admitted [that this was the reason for the EC] with this quote: ‘What we did in the bill is actually preempt that type of situation by putting an emergency clause in there,’ said Koenig, referring to a potential referendum of the legislation he handled in the Senate. ‘So there can’t be a referendum.’”
What It Means
· With the ACLU suing to overturn Ashcroft’s rejection, we’re headed into a summer of litigation over abortion in Missouri.
· These legal maneuvers will pinch the timeline of folks trying to put it on the ballot. You can’t start collecting signatures until you have a ballot summary and this pushes everything back. Says one veteran: “Presumably you can get there if you have deep pockets but I am not sure of that.”
· The abortion battle is becoming Missouri Republicans’ front-and-center issue simply by having the statewide offices – governor (signing the bill, directing investigation), AG (defending the state’s positions), and now secretary of state.
· As I have written before, there is a vast middle ground on abortion. In the past Republicans have succeed with incremental barriers to abortion that play into Missouri’s pro-life sentiment. However, defending a no-exceptions ban takes them out of this middle ground, and creates political hazards.
Rep. Deb Lavender formally announced for Senate 15. Watch her announcement video here. She targets the recently passed abortion bill.
The best guess is that Mark Osmack uses his postponement to withdraw from the race, giving Lavender a clear primary.
Herzog Hearts Schmitt
In the large contributions, Herzog Contracting gave $100K to MO Opportunity PAC. That’s the third-party PAC supporting Attorney General Eric Schmitt.
MO Opportunity had $497,912 on-hand in the April report. And has since banked another $217K.
Springfield’s JCity Agenda
Springfield News-Leader reports on Mayor Ken McClure’s annual address to the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. See it here.
McClure took several opportunities to push on state lawmakers to pass key priorities determined by council. He said he was thankful state lawmakers fully funded the state's foundation formula, which gives money to K-12 schools, and allocated some money for preschool expansion as is mandated by state school funding law…
· However, he said more needed to be done on paying for Ozarks Technical Community College, which has the lowest state funding per student in the state…
· McClure also mentioned one of council's stated priorities — cracking down on short-term lending establishments like payday loan companies…
· The mayor also urged the state legislature to take action on implementing a statewide prescription drug monitoring program aimed at cutting down on so-called "doctor shopping" for opioid painkillers, something that already exists in Greene County…
· McClure said the state should also capitalize on a U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively allows states to tax online sales.
RFP for Urban Teaching Program
Missouri is seeking a contractor to “provide an urban teaching program to recruit, train, and develop teachers to teach in academically struggling urban school districts in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri.”
From the RFP: Through House Bill 2 Section 2.020, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has received funding for a program to recruit, train, and develop teachers to teach in academically struggling school districts in and around urban Kansas City, Missouri and St. Louis, Missouri. The available funding for this program is $1,455,000.
eMailbag on Ag #1 Industry Debate
Everyone poops. Is plumbing the state’s number 1 industry? Or number 2?
Alex Riley formed a candidate committee (Alex Riley For State Representative) to run for House 130 as a Republican. The current incumbent, Rep. Jeff Messenger, is termed.
Tina Goodrick formed a candidate committee (Missourians For Tina Goodrick) to run for House 9 as a Republican. The current incumbent, Rep. Sheila Solon, is termed.
MO Opportunity PAC - $10,000 from Anheuser Busch Companies.
MO Opportunity PAC - $100,000 from Herzog Contracting Corp.
John Bardgett, Jacqueline Bardgett, John Parris, and Chris Roepe deleted St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), PGA Tour Inc, SSM Health Care, and Secure Democracy.
John Bardgett deleted Insurance Auto Auctions, and Missouri Automobile Dealers Association.
Mike Gibbons deleted Monsanto Company.
Mike Gibbons and Tricia Workman added Bayer U.S. LLC.
Erika Leonard deleted Secure Democracy, SSM Health Care, and St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.
Joseph Treadway and Kim Tuttle deleted St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.
Happy birthdays to Trent Skaggs, and Nimrod Chapel.
Saturday: Tricia Workman, and Stephen Webber.
Sunday: Matthew Michelson, Lon Lowrey, Kevin Stamps, and Karen Englert.