Archive for the ‘Missouri Politics’ Category

3 Impeachment Articles Against Nixon in House Committee
March 31, 2014

(AP) – Three articles of impeachment against Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon are now in a state House committee.

Republican lawmakers have raised several complaints against the Democratic governor.

One article seeks to impeach Nixon over an executive order directing state tax officials to accept joint returns from same-sex couples who married legally in other states.

Another asserts Nixon did not move fast enough to call special elections for vacant legislative seats. The third complains there was insufficient punishment of officials involved in a dispute over the handling of concealed gun permits.

The articles of impeachment have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee

White House Responds to AB’s Call to Make Baseball’s Opening Day a Holiday
March 29, 2014

Post. Dispatch:
Sorry baseball fans, the White House says it lacks the authority to make Major League Baseball’s Opening Day a national holiday, an effort that was pursued by Anheuser-Busch and supported by the league.

The White House responded Friday evening to a petition by A-B to make Opening Day a holiday a week after a petition backed by the brewer reached 100,000 signatures, the minimum number necessary for the government to respond. In its response, the White House said it’s up to Congress to decide federal holidays, and President Barack Obama’s administration didn’t say it supported A-B’s effort.

Since it debuted in 2011, more than 10 million users had signed nearly 300,000 petitions on the White House’s “We the People” citizen petition website as of mid-November, according to the White House. Of those petitions, the White House responded to more than 200.

Budweiser, the official beer of Major League Baseball for more than three decades, paired with former Cardinals player and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith in late February to back a petition to get national recognition for America’s pastime. The effort on WhiteHouse.gov needed a minimum of 100,000 signatures by March 26 to garner a response from President Barack Obama’s administration.

Friday night, Josh Earnest, the White House’s principal deputy press secretary and “lifelong Kansas City Royals fan” according to a statement, said it’s up to Congress to establish federal holidays, not the White House.

“While we are sympathetic to your pitch to make Opening Day a national holiday, it’s a little outside our strike zone: creating permanent federal holidays is traditionally the purview of Congress,” Earnest’s statement reads. “So, it’s up to the men and women on Capitol Hill to decide whether to swing at this pitch.”

Silvey Developing ‘Private Option’ Medicaid Alternative
March 28, 2014

Clay County State Senator Ryan Silvey is developing a Missouri Republican alternative to Medicaid expansion is the state is being developed, according to KMBC TV.
The plan is similar to one now in place in Arkansas, Iowa and Pennsylvania. The plan would permit the uninsured to use state health care law money, provided for Washington, to buy private insurance coverage.
Silvey objected to Medicaid expansion because he fears the state budget can’t handle it.
Silvey, however, believes the state’s Medicaid system has to be reformed.
In an opinion piece earlier this week in the Springfield News Leader newspaper, Silvey wrote doing nothing on the issue is not an option.
“Moving some folks into a private option, having the state give subsidies for them to obtain their own insurance is an attractive way to try and make things run a little bit smoother,” said Brendan Cossette a lobbyist for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber has now joined Governor Jay Nixon and the Missouri Hospital Association in the effort to expand Medicaid in the state.
Currently, Missouri has 801,000 uninsured citizens, according to the Hospital Association.
A Medicaid expansion plan being pushed by Democratic Governor jay Nixon would provide health insurance through Medicaid for almost 300,000 Missourians.
One of the premises of this plan is that the ‘private option” would permit the state to obtain about $2.2 billion dollars a year the federal government is offering.
That would be 100% of the cost of Missouri Medicaid expansion. The money is available to 2014 and 2015. Because Missouri did not start its own exchange last year, the money was not available to the state.
Governor Nixon has complained bitterly Missouri is letting money that should come back to Missouri be sent to other states.
He says his plan would add coverage for about 300,000 Missourians.
In a statement Friday, Nixon’s office was critical of the plan linking Medicaid expansion with welfare reform.
“By bringing in unrelated programs, this proposal creates unnecessary obstacles to health care for 300, 000 Missourians,” according to the statement.
In an effort to lure reluctant GOP lawmakers to the plan, its developers are including entitlement reform as part of the package.
Some of those proposed reforms would include tightening regulations in the state’s assistance to needy families program, and the state element of the Food Stamp program.
Cossette also says this plan eases the strain on Missouri hospital caused by the unpaid for care they provide to Missourians without insurance.
The Hospital Association states more than $1 billion a year is spent by Missouri hospitals on uncompensated care. In the Kansas City area, the unpaid for care amounts to more than 530 million dollars a year, according to the Association.

Politico Looks at “Thin Bench” For Missouri Dems
March 28, 2014

Politico:
The Missouri state auditor’s post has been a launching pad for politicians with higher aspirations like Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and former GOP Sen. Kit Bond. But this year, Democrats concede they won’t field a serious candidate against incumbent Republican Auditor Tom Schweich — sparking questions about the strength of the party’s bench in the red-trending swing state.

Schweich may also be using his position to mount a bid for higher office in 2016, making Democrats’ historic failure to recruit an opponent for Schweich even more costly.

“The reality is we believed we had a candidate who withdrew mid-cycle, so people who might have otherwise taken a hard look at it didn’t get that chance. So you were asking people to make decisions relatively quickly,” Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Roy Temple said in an interview. “We weren’t successful in finding a serious challenger.”

State Rep. Jay Swearingen, a North Kansas City Democrat, bowed out of the race in January, saying that he wanted to step aside for a Democrat who was better able to raise money for the contest.

Democrats last held the post in 2010, when Schweich defeated incumbent Susan Montee.

In an interview, Schweich said he was “pleased that for the first time in over a century the Democrats have failed to field a Democrat for a statewide seat in Missouri.” But he said he wasn’t sure if that was due to their lack of credible candidates, or his own fundraising strength.

“I think Missouri is basically a conservative state,” he said. “Governor [Mitt] Romney won by 9 or 10 points and we lost 5 out of 6 statewide elections in 2012 for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with the people of Missouri disagreeing with us.”

Temple pushed back against the idea that the Democrats lack talent that could ascend to top offices such as the U.S. Senate or the governor’s mansion, saying that there’s an “extraordinary talent base on the Democratic side.”

“We have very serious stars in Attorney General [Chris] Koster, State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, Secretary of State Jason Kander,” he said. “You have a two-term governor who has plenty of political energy left in his tank. There are skillful and talented politicians distributed widely around the rest of the state.”
More:http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/missouri-democrats-105122.html

The ‘Either, Or’ School Budget in Missouri
March 28, 2014

(AP) – The Missouri House approved a novel two-tiered state spending plan Thursday that would increase public school funding by up to $122 million if more conservative revenue projections turn out to be right or up to $278 million if Gov. Jay Nixon’s rosier predictions come true.

The two-tiered approach is atypical for Missouri and stems from a disagreement between the Democratic governor and the Republican lawmakers responsible for putting together the budget. The lawmakers have a more somber outlook than Nixon for Missouri’s revenue collections next fiscal year, and they were unable to agree with Nixon on the estimate that normally forms the basis for crafting the budget.

Under the House plan, school districts would receive a $122 million increase to the current $3 billion spent for basic school aid. However, the increase could climb to $278 million if the state’s tax revenues match Nixon’s more optimistic projection. Both fall short of the $556 million increase that would be needed to comply with Missouri’s school funding law, and schools might have to wait until the end of the academic year to know whether they would get the larger increase.

Colleges and universities also would get more money next year, though the amount also would depend upon whose revenue estimate is more accurate. The House plan calls for a 2 percent increase for two-year and four-year schools, and a 3 percent increase if state revenues are larger. Nixon sought an increase of 5 percent for universities and 4 percent for community colleges.

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