Kansas City Mayor Sly James may not get any help from Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on his bid to control gun violence.
The differences were on display as both men were at the ribbon cutting ceremony opening a new Kansas City business.
James has been pushing plans to allow Kansas City and St. Louis to toughen its gun laws to tackle urban violence.
“I’ve got a Legislature that passed a bill against federal gun laws”, Nixon told reporters in Kansa City Tuesday as he described the state’s political climate.
Nixon says different laws for the state’s big cities won’t work.
“I do think it becomes difficult to have consistency when you have a patchwork of laws. But I’m willing to listen to ideas to make our streets safer,” Nixon said.
Kansas City Mayor James was just a few steps from Nixon when the Governor said that.
James says he feels like he is on the outside of a mountain pleading his case.
“Sometimes you just have to howl at the wall just to make people hear you,” said the Mayor.
“And the current political climate shouldn’t stop me from saying what I believe. “
Kansas City Mayor Sly James may not get any help from Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on his bid to control gun violence.
Nixon Vetoes Another Set of Bills
July 4, 2013
(AP) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced several vetoes Wednesday, rejecting legislation dealing with uninsured motorists, volunteer health care providers and child care requirements.
The vetoes were the most recent of the various bills the Democratic governor has blocked so far. More legislation remains, and Nixon has until mid-July to sign or veto bills or will take effect automatically.
Under the motor vehicle legislation vetoed Wednesday, uninsured motorists involved in an accident would have waived the ability to have a cause of action or collect for noneconomic losses from someone who has insurance. Court awards would have been reduced by the amount representing noneconomic damages. Lawsuit restrictions would not have applied if the motorist at fault was drunk, under the influence of drugs or convicted of involuntary manslaughter or second-degree assault.
Nixon said the legislation was “riddled with ambiguity” and would have prompted excessive litigation over to whom and how to apply the legislation. He said the measure did not define “uninsured” and that there was uncertainty about whether it would have prohibited any causes of action or simply the recovery of certain damages.
When state lawmakers passed the uninsured motorist bill in May, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, called it a “common-sense measure” that would put heft behind Missouri’s requirement that motorists keep liability insurance for their vehicles.
Another bill vetoed Wednesday would have shielded volunteer health care providers from civil damages unless there was gross deviation from the ordinary standard of care or willful misconduct. Sen. David Sater, who sponsored the legislation, had said the bill would allow doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others to provide care for no compensation for a sponsoring organization with protection against frivolous lawsuits or civil damages.
“These providers, even if they are not compensated, are forced to provide their own liability insurance to protect themselves from lawsuits,” said Sater, R-Cassville. “The result is that they are prevented from donating their service because of the high cost of liability protection.”
Nixon said the State Legal Expense Fund provides liability coverage for volunteers at free health clinics, schools and to health professionals helping at summer camps. He said allowing coverage through the fund encourages volunteers and protects those who have been harmed and that gaps should be filled within the existing system.
“It would be bad public policy to deny individuals who receive poor medical care access to the legal system simply because the person who provided the care was a volunteer,” the governor said.
Nixon also vetoed bills he said sought to create an exemption for a St. Louis organization from child care requirements and legislation that dealt with foster parents and custody and visitation for military personnel. The governor also vetoed legislation he said conflicted with a measure already signed into law and dealing with private probation services.
Lawmakers return to the state Capitol in September to decide whether to attempt to override any of Nixon’s vetoes.
Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill blasted the Republican leadership of the Missouri legislature Tuesday.
At a Kansas City news conference, McCaskill said the GOP leadership in Jefferson City played politics with the health care issue and Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s bid to expand Medicaid during the 2013 session that ended earlier this month.
“They’ll make Missourians suffer because of political point they wanted to make,” said McCaskill.
McCaskill says Washington cut the payments they were making to hospitals with a heavy patient load of Medicaid clients because Washington was willing to pick up the tab by expanding Medicare.
“I mean it’s like nobody in Jeff City took math!,” exclaimed McCaskill, “ this isn’t something Jefferson City was being asked to pay for.”
Under the plan, the federal government would have paid 100% of the first years of the program, but then Missouri would be obligated to pay for 10%. Missouri Republicans said the cost would still be too much.
McCaskill also ripped the Republicans for not permitting the state to establish its own health care exchange to determine health insurance rates in Missouri.
As a result, McCaskill says Missourians will be taking part in a larger health insurance exchange at the federal level. ‘they’re all for state’s rights, until they’re not,:” McCaskill said. ‘They won’t even let us have our own exchange.
Lee’s Sumitt Lawmaker Backs Off Resignation Threat
May 23, 2013
A Missouri lawmaker who threatened to resign unless one or both of his key bills survived the last day of the 2013 legislative session is staying put, even though both bills failed to make it out by Friday’s deadline.
State Representative Jeff Grisamore (R, Lee’s Summit) said his resignation threat was based on frustration with the Senate’s inaction on the bills — House Bill 717 would have provided funding for disabled children and House Bill 727 for disabled adults. Both bills died when the Missouri Senate chose not to advance them on the final day of session.
“We don’t need to be waiting and allowing such important bills that impact our most vulnerable citizens in Missouri, folks with disabilities and at-risk women and children and families, be put off until the last minute,” Grisamore said.
Grisamore changed his mind after talking with House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) and Majority Floor Leader John Diehl (R, Town and Country).
“They assured me that they’ll do everything they can to help us next year insure that the omnibus disability bill passes,” Grisamore said.
Lawmakers Work on Business Incentives in Last Day
May 18, 2013
(AP) — Missouri lawmakers revamped four of the state’s main business incentives on the final day of their legislative session, but failed Friday to pass a broader measure that would have scaled back costly tax credits for developers.
The overhaul of Missouri’s current job-creation incentives flew quietly through the House with less than two hours remaining before the session’s mandatory adjournment – a sharp contrast to the public flame-out of the broader tax credit measure in the Senate earlier in the day.
The mixed results on Missouri’s economic development initiatives mirrored the final day’s general tone.
A high-profile proposal that would have asked voters to impose a 1 cent sales tax for transportation stalled in the Senate under opposition from some anti-tax Republicans. Yet lawmakers referred a proposed constitutional amendment to the 2014 ballot that would allow prosecutors to use evidence of a defendant’s past crimes in child sex abuse cases.
Legislators also gave final approval to dozens of other bills, including a budget patch that could prevent cuts to early childhood programs and medical care for the blind.
Republicans this year held their largest legislative majorities since the Civil War era. Many GOP priorities had been sent to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon before Friday, including a projected $700 million income tax cut that Nixon indicated he will likely veto.
Republicans have also passed new labor organization restrictions, numerous pro-gun measures, a change to the state’s education laws governing unaccredited schools and a bill that would restock an insolvent state fund for disabled workers.
“We showed leadership this year,” said Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, who held his post-session news conference four
hours before the session’s official 6 p.m. close.
House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, called it one of the most productive sessions in recent memory.
“It was a session of historic accomplishments and substantive reforms that will improve the quality of life for all Missouri families and pave the way for a better business environment,” Jones said.
Lawmakers repeatedly defeated Nixon’s top priority: a proposed Medicaid expansion that would have tapped more than $900 million of federal funds to cover about 260,000 lower-income adults under the provisions of President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Nixon praised the Legislature for increasing funding for education and mental health. But he said “this session fell far short of what Missourians have a right to expect,” because lawmakers failed to expand Medicaid or pass broad-based tax credit reform.
Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, called it a session of “lost opportunities and misplaced priorities.” House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, said it was “an absolute abject failure” when Republicans “let Medicaid expansion die.”
The business incentive measure passed Friday would consolidate the current Quality Jobs program and three other tax breaks into the new Missouri Works program, which was one of Nixon’s priorities. Like Quality Jobs, the new program would offer tax breaks to businesses that add a certain number of jobs that meet particular wage thresholds and include health benefits. But it would lower job and wage thresholds for businesses to qualify and grant greater discretion to the Department of Economic Development in determining how much money the businesses should get.
Missouri Works would be capped at $106 million next year and gradually rise to $116 million in 2016 and thereafter. That’s slightly lower than the combined cap of $128 million annually under the four current incentives being eliminated.
A separate plan that failed Friday would have created new incentives targeted at computer data centers, investors in startup technology companies and exporters who use Missouri airports to ship cargo to foreign countries. It also would have renewed a tax credit for a developer who has amassed large swaths of land in north St. Louis and scaled back existing tax credits for developers of low-income housing and historic buildings statewide.
The House voted 122-32 Friday for a plan that would have reduced annual tax credits for large historic preservation projects to $90 million from the current cap of about $140 million and imposed a new $10 million cap on smaller projects. The measure would have gradually lowered the cap for the state’s main low-income housing tax credit to $110 million annually from the current $135 million.
Overall, the legislation scaling back developer tax breaks and creating new incentives for certain business sectors was projected to save the state almost $460 million over the next 15 years.
But Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, said the restrictions on developer tax credits did not go far enough. He accused developers of exerting undue influence over House members and, at one point during a filibuster, asserted that “the leadership in the House is corrupt.”
“Just because the House continues to defend a handful of developers, a handful of donors, doesn’t mean the Senate should cave to a bad deal,” Lager said.