Capitol Report: April 30, 2018

Hello!

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about how our priorities are reflected in the budget. As the House and Senate get together to discuss the budget this week, one point of contention will be education funding. The House appropriation for k-12 education is $50m more than the Senate’s. The Senate uses this money for school transportation, nursing home reimbursements, and some other priorities. All of these issues are important. In an economy that is doing as well as ours is (at least on paper), we should not have to be pitting people against each other for crumbs in the budget. And we certainly shouldn’t be working to reduce revenue through more corporate tax cuts.ep down.

In this issue:

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

Governor Update

The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office on April 20 filed a felony count of tampering with computer data against Republican Gov. Eric Greitens. The charge, which essentially is electronic theft, is based on allegations that Greitens stole the donor list from the charity he founded and used it to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign.

St. Louis prosecutors filed the charge three days after Attorney General Josh Hawley, also a Republican, announced that an investigation by his office had uncovered evidence Greitens committed a crime by taking the donor list from The Mission Continues, a charity for assisting military veterans. Hawley turned his evidence over to local prosecutors because his office lacks the authority to independently prosecute the case.

Greitens now stands charged with two unrelated felonies. He is scheduled to go to trial on May 14 on the first charge, first degree invasion of privacy. In that case, he is accused of taking a photo of woman in state of undress without her permission. Greitens was involved in an extramarital relationship with the women at the time.

Amid the governor’s criminal problems, a special investigative committee in the House of Representatives continues gathering evidence for what could lead to articles of impeachment against Greitens. The committee has hired former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Chip Robertson to assist in the investigation. Robertson was appointed to the state high court by Republican Gov. John Ashcroft in 1985 and served on the bench until 1998. Robertson was on the court when it presided over the impeachment trial of Secretary of State Judi Moriarty in 1994. In that case, the court found Moriarty guilty and removed her from office.

House Happenings

The House Economic Development Committee voted 8-4 on April 24 for a resolution seeking to move a statewide vote on so-called “right-to-work” legislation currently scheduled for the Nov. 6 general election ballot to the Aug. 7 primary ballot. The resolution still has to clear the full House of Representatives, as well as the Senate, in order to reschedule the election.

The right-to-work measure seeks to make it a crime punishable by jail time for employers to negotiate labor contracts that require all workers covered by the contract to pay dues for the union representation they receive, currently a common practice. The Republican-controlled General Assembly enacted the measure, Senate Bill 19, early in the 2017 legislative session and Gov. Eric Greitens quickly signed it into law.

However, right-to-work opponents mounted a rarely used referendum petition drive to force SB 19, now known as Proposition A, onto the statewide ballot and prevent it from taking effect as scheduled last summer. Measures placed before voters via referendum petition automatically go on the next November general election ballot, but lawmakers can set an earlier special election if they choose. Lawmakers did just that the last time a referendum petition was used to force a vote on a legislative act in 1982, moving up the election from November to April.

Because labor voters, a key Democratic constituency, are expected to turn out in high numbers to defeat right-to-work, some Republican lawmakers fear Proposition A could cause collateral damage in state legislative races if it remains on the general election ballot. Moving Proposition A to August, the thinking goes, could minimize the potential electoral fallout for Republicans.

As of this writing, the Missouri House and Senate have agreed and passed 14 bills. 2 of these have been sent to the Governor for signature.

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

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

Do you make and sell products in Missouri?

The Lieutenant Governor’s office has launched an initiative called “Buy Missouri” which spotlights Missouri-made products. If you would like your product to be featured in the Buy Missouri guide, or to learn more, go to https://ltgov.mo.gov/tourism-economic-development/buy-mo/.

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/.

Donate Blood!

The Red Cross has issued an urgent call for blood donations. Platelet and type O negative and B negative blood donations – in particular – are critically needed right now. Hectic holiday schedules, winter weather and an active cold and flu season collectively contributed to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.
The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to help save their lives.
Eligible individuals are urged to schedule a blood or platelet donation today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can help even more people by inviting a family member, friend or co-worker to donate too.

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.