Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

LaVota Statement
May 21, 2015

Here is the statement from KC St. senator Paul LeVota:

Recently, the Missouri Capitol was buzzing about the Speaker of the House and his relationship with an intern. There have been unconfirmed rumors about the interns in the Missouri Senate program and other interns in the Missouri House. I understand the need for universities to look into rumors, even unsubstantiated rumors. I would be open to any university taking a further look at the experience of any of my legislative interns. I had the honor of working with five students from several universities across the state this spring.

This session, after a month and a half, my chief of staff was notified by e-mail that the male and female interns from UCM for my office were needed back at school to work on other projects. I was never informed by the university, or by either intern, of any issues they experienced other than that. I had no reason to doubt what the university said in that e-mail and still have no reason to doubt that. And as of today, I have still never been informed by any intern or staff member of any incidents at all. The remaining three interns assigned to my office had a great experience and finished the session. None have voiced any issues in their internship, nor any report that either of the UCM interns had any problems.

This is my 11th year in the Missouri Capitol and I have had an amazing experience with the intern program with students from across the state over that decade with no problems at all. Now with the recent climate, rumors and speculation abound and I am upset that any of these young people that come to experience the legislative process would be subject to sensationalism.”

Brownback Says No Bright Lone on. Tax Bill
May 20, 2015

(AP) – Republican Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s not drawing clear lines on what he’ll accept as the GOP-dominated Kansas Legislature considers backtracking on one of his major economic initiatives.

Brownback said Wednesday that such an approach is more helpful as lawmakers work on a plan for raising taxes. They must close a projected $406 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The House Taxation Committee was working on a plan to raise the state’s sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. But the plan also would tax some business income exempted by lawmakers in 2012.

Brownback championed the 2012 policy as an economic stimulus. It exempted the profits of 281,000 business owners and 53,000 farmers from income taxes.

Influential business groups want to preserve the tax break.

Update on Speaker John Diehl Sexting Story
May 13, 2015

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl issued an apology Wednesday afternoon after being named in a sexting scandal with a former state capitol college intern.
Dielh says he takes “full responsibility” for his actions.
His state goes on the say he regrets “this woman has been dragged into this situation”. The Speaker adds,” The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness”
Diehl had to issue the apology after the Kansas City Star broke this story today:
Text messages obtained by The Star reveal a sexually charged relationship between House Speaker John Diehl and a college freshman in a Missouri Capitol internship program that shut down abruptly last month.

The conversations unveil a flirty rapport and suggest an intimacy between arguably the state’s most influential lawmaker and a young woman taking some pleasure in a secret association.

The texts show occasional efforts by Diehl and the intern to meet in person. They range from mundane chatter, about boring meetings and dreading speeches, to the more sexually suggestive.
. The intern, who has hired an attorney specializing in employment matters, told The Star that the text messages were not real. Meantime, she has told confidants that she had an ongoing relationship with Diehl.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article20822424.html#storylink=cpy

Senate Passes RTW, Now Back to House
May 13, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri Senate Republicans used a rare procedural motion Tuesday to shut down debate and pass a right-to-work measure – a move Democrats say will bring business to a halt as this week’s deadline to pass bills nears.

The Senate voted 21-13 to approve the bill that prohibits workplace contracts in which union fees are collected from nonmembers. Supporters say it would attract more businesses to Missouri and improve the state’s economy.

The motion to force a vote hadn’t been used since 2014, when it was employed to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a measure tripling the waiting period for abortions. Prior to that, it had not been used since 2007.

The right-to-work legislation, which opponents say could lead to lower wages and make training more difficult, now goes back to the state House, which passed a similar version earlier this year. A final House vote would send the bill to Nixon, who has indicated he likely would veto it.

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, a Joplin Republican, had said the right-to-work issue was a priority of his and would be handled before anything else as Friday’s deadline to approve bills approaches. But Democratic Sen. Scott Sifton of St. Louis County called Republicans’ use of the motion “the nuclear option.”

“This session has already gone badly enough for working Missourians. We can’t allow it to get any worse,” Sifton said.

He and other Democrats, in an attempt to block any other moves by the Republicans, were forcing roll-call votes on multiple motions on Tuesday.

Kansas Lawmakers Eyeball Sales Tax Hike
May 12, 2015

(AP) – Republican legislators in Kansas are moving toward increasing the state’s sales tax to help close a budget shortfall while also reducing the tax on food.

The House and Senate tax committees reviewed multiple proposals Tuesday for raising revenues to close a projected $406 million deficit in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

No plan emerged from either committee.

But Republican legislators kept coming back to proposals to raise the state’s 6.15 percent sales tax.

The House committee considered and rejected proposals to boost the tax to 7.15 percent and 6.8 percent, but members planned to review more alternatives Wednesday.

The Senate committee plans to debate a proposal to raise the sales tax to 6.5 percent.

Both committees are considering proposals to drop the sales tax on food.

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