Capitol Report: April 23, 2018

Hello!

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about how terrible it is to call on a friend to step down. Bob Burns is a friend of mine, and is kind and caring to a fault. Unfortunately, this fault right now is his support for Bob Romanik, a man who shares Representative Burns’s support for veterans issues but also espouses racist and misogynist views on his radio show. Representative Burns has appeared a number of times on Romanik’s radio show and has called Romanik a good man. Until Representative Burns issues an apology for his support for Romanik, I am calling for him to step down.

In this issue:

  • Governor Update
  • House Happenings
  • Capitol Construction
  • In the Community
  • Announcements
  • Events

Governor Update

It has been an eventful week. Here are a few things that happened:

  • Minority floor leader Gail McCann Beatty filed a resolution, HR 6783, allowing the Special Committee on Oversight to issue articles of impeachment (step #4 below). I have co-signed that resolution.
  • House Republican leaders issued a call for the Governor to step down.
  • The leader of the Senate called for the Governor to step down or be impeached.
  • Judge Rex Burlison ruled that he will not dismiss the criminal invasion of privacy case against Governor Greitens.
    Governor Greitens filed a motion in Cole County court (Jefferson City) to enjoin Attorney General Hawley from investigating the Governor’s alleged criminal conduct.
  • Calls for resignation from majority leaders
  • Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that he has information sufficient to bring criminal charges against Governor Greitens based on his campaign’s use of The Mission Continues donor list. He was charged with two felony counts this week based, at least in part, on this information.

I have seen arguments from Eric Greitens and his lawyers that using The Mission Continues list was not a crime because Greitens founded that nonprofit. Here’s why that is wrong: People did not sign up on the Mission Continues list because they supported its founder, but because they supported its mission. The mission of the organization was to help veterans — it was NOT to get Eric Greitens elected. Unlike campaign donors, the names of donors for nonprofits are not public information, and donors to an organization don’t sign up to receive political phone calls. They may want to stay anonymous. Using a nonprofit donor list for election fundraising is a federal crime, and Eric Greitens has not denied committing that crime.

House Happenings

This week saw business as usual in the House. It started off on Tuesday with several hours of discussion about the House’s version of the tax bill, HB 2540. After this bill passed out of the House 91-50, we heard a number of other bills and finished just before 11 pm.

On Wednesday, we voted out a bill restricting punitive damages in lawsuits. In some cases, punitive damages allowed by law are the only concrete damages a plaintiff can recover. For example, if a debt collector were to violate the law by harassing you over a debt you had paid, you wouldn’t be able to show actual damages, but the law allows for punitive damages against the debt collector. This bill would make cases like this more difficult.

On Thursday, an amendment I wrote was added to Senate Bill 592, relating to elections. This bill has passed both chambers and will soon head to the Governor’s desk.

The charter school bill, HB 2247, has been moved to the informal calendar. It could come up at any time. This bill would allow a charter school to open in any school district in Missouri, without increasing the accountability measures for charter schools. Charter schools are privately-run schools that are publicly funded. I have heard that there are not enough votes for this bill to pass.

Another bill on the informal calendar is a bill that prevents government agencies from contracting with any company that boycotts Israel. This is HB 2179. This bill is a priority of the Governor.

As of this writing, the Missouri House has taken votes on 236 House bills. 10 bills have been finalized by the Legislature.

Capitol Construction

The Missouri Capitol will be under construction for the next two years. The streets around the Capitol are closed, with signs directing an alternate route. In case you’re wondering what it will look like, here is an artist rendering. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.

In the Community

This week, I had the opportunity to share with fourth graders at Edgar Road School, and I met with fourth graders from Clark School at the Capitol. I enjoy talking with the children about what I do as State Representative and teaching them more about the state legislature. I also spoke at an Indivisible We Will Persist forum.

I am currently scheduling meetings in June to talk with constituents about the voting process and how to be involved with your government. If you would like to schedule a time for me to meet with you and your neighbors, please let me know by responding to this e-mail!

I enjoy opportunities to meet with people in the community and participate in local events. It’s one of the best parts of my job!

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

 


 

Committees

The committees I am on are:

Announcements

Children are looking for Forever Families

One of the priorities of the legislature this year has been legislation to help foster children. We have a crisis number of foster children in Missouri, and it has been rising due to the Opioid epidemic. If you would like to open your home to a child, you can find information about becoming an adoptive parent online at https://dss.mo.gov/cd/adoption/.

 

Legal Help

The Missouri Bar has launched a new website, https://missouri.freelegalanswers.org/. This website will provide some legal answers for low-income people from trained lawyers, and also has resources for other legal assistance for people who need it. It is a resource for people who need legal help but cannot afford it.

Events

I will share events here that I am asked to share with my constituents.