Schmitt Withdraws 1A Argument
AP reports that Attorney General Eric Schmitt “withdrew a legal brief he had filed in a defamation lawsuit arguing the First Amendment allows him to withhold some public records concerning private citizens that were requested by the plaintiff’s attorney.” This came after an article by KCStar’s Jason Hancock.
The whole brew-ha-ha about using the First Amendment to prevent government officials from releasing information to the public has emerged because of a practice implemented by Governor Mike Parson. The assumption in Jefferson City is that Parson’s team is trying to hide the governor’s contact with lobbyists.
In making the reversal, Schmitt issued a statement which hints that his office doesn’t share the governor’s argument. Auditor Nicole Galloway has asked for an opinion about the practice.
“There are times in the course of civil cases where information is personal and sensitive and can be protected, particularly as it relates to concerns of health and safety of our citizens, such as cases involving witnesses or victims who may be put in harm’s way by releasing their personal information. These are very limited instances…”
What It Means
In these days where apologies are considered weak, it’s a refreshing display of leadership. Schmitt quickly took charge of the situation, reversed a flawed argument of one of his lawyers, and has now telegraphed where he stands on the issue.
Dem 2020 Slate Still Has Holes
Since last week’s formal announcement that Auditor Nicole Galloway will seek the governor’s mansion, there’s been increased pressure for the Dems to round out their 2020 slate. They face incumbents across the entire ballot.
I spoke to several Dems about their prospects. Here’s where they are:
· First, Galloway isn’t strong arming people in or out of races. She’s giving her feedback, but this isn’t a top-down Galloway-dictated ticket emerging.
· AG: Elad Gross has been running hard. He’ll likely face a primary from St. Louis attorney Rich Finneran. Finneran previously worked in the US Attorney ‘s office, and now is with Bryan Cave. Some Dems favor Finneran because they imagine he’ll tap into money from the St. Louis legal community, and they like his resume. But Gross has fans too, winning accolades for hustle.
· SOS: Yinka Faleti is the name I’m hearing here. He’s also an attorney. Folks like his resume as well: West Point graduate, and former executive director of Forward Through Ferguson.
· Treasurer and LG: There’s nothing firm in these two spots. But with AG and SOS both potential St. Louis names (and Galloway grew up in STL), Dems are looking to the western side of the state. That’s one reason why Vicki Englund’s recent float for treasurer isn’t generating much enthusiasm.
· Scott Sifton: He seems to have decided that he’s not running statewide in 2020. Sifton is still looking at 2-CD race very seriously. DCCC is said to be actively seeking a woman who they believe would have an advantage in the match-up with incumbent Congresswoman Ann Wagner. But Sifton is a real possibility here.
Because folks start talking…. Some Dems are even starting to game out who “Governor Nicole Galloway” would appoint to take her spot as auditor – should she win….
Truckers Against Change
News Tribune reports that “truck drivers from across the country gathered at the Missouri Capitol early Tuesday morning for a ‘parked protest’ to let lawmakers know they oppose the introduction of automated trucks on the state's highways and roads… Billy Bogar, a Golden City truck driver, said many companies are lining up to try automated trucking because a number of federal grants available will make it worth their while… They were in Jefferson City on Tuesday to encourage lawmakers to pass legislation barring the vehicles from the state's roads. They also said — for the safety of the other vehicles around them — they would like to see requirements that truck drivers be able to read and speak English fluently….”
What It Means
Missouri’s geography makes it idea for a logistics hub for companies, particularly agricultural companies. To pursue those opportunities, it requires forward-thinking transportation policy. Automated vehicles are part of the future.
CAFO Freedom Lawsuit
Post-Dispatch reports that a judge has issued an injunction preventing Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s SB 391 from becoming law. See it here.
The new law, which bans counties from enacting regulations stricter than state rules, has pitted several rural counties against Republican lawmakers and Gov. Mike Parson, who have cited the measure as a main accomplishment of this past legislative session… On Monday, the Cedar County Commission, the Cooper County Public Health Center, two property owners and the nonprofit Friends of Responsible Agriculture sued the state, the Missouri Farm Bureau, the Missouri Pork Association and the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association… Because of the threat of litigation, [Judge Patricia] Joyce said the state could not enact the law until further notice. Her temporary restraining order lasts 10 days. She set a hearing for 9 a.m. on Sept. 16 in Cole County… The counties argue the law is unconstitutional and say it does not affect the roughly two dozen counties that had enacted health ordinances prior to passage of the new state law. They argue it violates Missouri's "Right to Farm" constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 2014. The amendment guarantees the right to farm, subject to the authority of counties, which at the time had the power to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs…
What It Means
This is a “grab-the-popcorn” moment for Dems. It’s a fight between Big Ag and Rural MO, neither of whom are voting Democratic in 2018, 2020, 2022…
Dems Worry About Medicaid Drop
Rep. Sarah Unsicker on Facebook arguing for a hearing about the drop in children covered by Medicaid…
Yesterday afternoon, I met with Rep. David Wood and other Republican legislators and Department heads to discuss why people are being dropped from the Medicaid rolls (over 100,000 children since January 2018) and what to do about it. Rep. Wood had requested this meeting.
Yesterday morning, David Wood submitted a report to the Speaker laying out the reasons we don't need a legislative review of the kids being dropped. The Speaker then issued a press release stating he would not call for a hearing about the drops to Medicaid coverage. This press release was put out less than an hour before my meeting with Rep. Wood.
One thing I learned from the meeting is that the most frequent reason people are being dropped from the Medicaid rolls is from people not returning the forms. We have been hearing from people that they are not receiving any information from Medicaid other than a notice of termination. The Department has checked the software (that was installed early last year) to verify the forms are being sent out. The people at the meeting seemed to shrug this off, claiming people must not want to have free healthcare for their children.
We need a hearing. We need to hear from people whose children are dropped from Medicaid what happened, from their perspective. We need to hear from Hospitals, FQHCs and managed care organizations what the implications are of so many kids being dropped from Medicaid.
A meeting, held after their mind is already made up, is not enough. We need a hearing.
What It Means
The decrease in enrollment in Medicaid isn’t a killer headline for Republicans. The killer is the part where there are ten of thousands of kids losing health coverage. That’s a problem politically. And if the answer is that someone didn’t fill out a form. That’s a big problem politically.
Dems are going to keep pushing on this issue.
Saint Louis Partners seeks Chief Operating Officer. “Saint Louis Partners (STLP) is a consortium of child welfare agencies coming together to provide services under the Foster Care Case Management (FCCM) contract with the state of Missouri Children’s Division. Those four agencies are Lutheran Family and Children Services, Good Shepherd Children and Family Services, Bringing Families Together and Our Little Haven. The Chief Operating Officer of STLP is responsible for the oversight of all operations related to the contract. This position is the primary point of contact for the State agency related to referrals, contract management and issues or concerns. This position works closely with the Senior leaders and Program Management staff at the individual Partner agencies to assure that the contract is being implemented in compliance with all expectations. This position reports to the Senior Leadership committee of STLP….” See the ad here.
Generate Health seeks Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives. “To coordinate and support collaborative initiatives to advance racial equity in pregnancy outcomes, family well-being and community health. This position will support the FLOURISH St. Louis and Perinatal Behavioral Health initiatives. Dynamic, motivated individuals with interests in maternal child health, racial equity and partnership building are encouraged to apply…” See the ad here.
Bishop Davidson formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Bishop Davidson) to run for House 130 as a Republican. The current incumbent, Republican Rep. Jeff Messenger, is termed.
Teona McGhaw-Boure' formed a candidate committee (Team Teona McGhaw-Boure') to run for House 75 as a Democrat. Mcghaw-Boure' ran against the current incumbent, Rep. Alan Gray last year, losing 65%-35%).
Missourians for Healthcare - $24,050 from Sixteen Thirty Fund.
Nexus PAC - $10,000 from Paric Corporation.
House Republican Campaign Committee, Inc - $15,000 from Anheuser Busch Companies.
House Republican Campaign Committee, Inc - $10,000 from QC Holdings Inc.
House Republican Campaign Committee, Inc - $10,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.
House Republican Campaign Committee, Inc - $16,800 from Friends of Nick Schroer.
Andy Blunt, Jay Reichard, and Ginger Steinmetz added The Healing Center of STL LLC, and The Healing Center of KC LLC
Melissa Boyd deleted Cerner Corporation.
Chris Moody deleted Rockwood Asset Management, Barkley Inc., and Systems & Methods Inc.
Happy birthdays to David Hageman, Sammy Panettiere, Katie Gamble, Shane Schoeller, and Jim Cooper.