KC Dropped From E-Tax Abolition Bill
January 28, 2016

Kansas City Mayor Sly James says it was surprised Kansas City was removed from a bill aimed at eliminating the earnings tax in Kansas City and St. Louis.
A Senate substitute for the bill now calling for the earnings tax in St. Louis to be phased out over 10 years.

The tax generates about $162 million dollars ayear for the city, according to Mayor Francis Slay’s office. That is about 33% of the St. Louis City budget.

The mayor said in a statement Thursday he does not think the revised bill will survive.

State Senator Kurt Schaefer pushed the bill. He said the earnings tax was vulnerable because the US Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Maryland.

Kansas City officials argued its law was legally sound. They told a State Senate hearing the kansas City earning tax contained a provison to allow for tax credits. That prevents non-residents from being double taxed on the 1% tax; and keep it legal.

Meanwhile Kansas City’s Mayor used a news conference to expand on a fued with state lawmakers.

“The issue of local control is an on-going issue with the state legislature,” James said.

He has been very critical of state attempts to make access to guns easier. He think it hurts crime fighting efforts in the city.

Another issue is control of the municipal courts.

Just Thursday, the Missouri Senate passed a bill limiting municipal courts ability to assess fines.

The measure limits fine to $200 for minor traffic violations and local ordinances.

Kansas City is concerned a limit like that may affect is ability to enforce housing codes.

“What I said t them when I was down there was, I’m not asking for a penny. All I am asking you is to leave us alone. I am still on that same note,” ,James said Thursday.

Kansas City will still have an April 5 vote to renew its earnings tax. That is required by state law

Private Pathologist to a testify at Brown Grand Jury, More Signs Decision is Near
November 13, 2014

AP) – A private forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on Michael Brown will testify before the grand jury deciding whether to charge the Ferguson police officer who shot him, the attorney for Brown’s parents said Wednesday.

Attorney Benjamin Crump confirmed that former New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Baden is scheduled to testify Thursday. A spokesman for St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch declined comment. Messages seeking comment were left with Baden.

Crump said Brown’s parents are pleased Baden will testify, but skeptical about the process.

“Their reaction was that they want the jury to hear from an independent witness not associated or controlled by the police department,” Crump said. “They feel that all the local authorities are going to work together to try to exonerate the killer of their child.”

Brown’s parents were in Geneva, where the U.N. Committee Against Torture is hearing testimony this week about U.S. policies.

“It’s very important for the family, making a powerful step toward justice,” Michael Brown Sr. said at a press conference there. “We need your help. That’s why we’re here.”

The younger Brown was shot in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 9 after Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, ordered Brown, who was black, and a friend to stop walking in the street.

The shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old led to sometimes-violent protests and the St. Louis region is bracing for renewed unrest once the grand jury decision is announced. Activists want Wilson charged with murder, but the grand jury could choose manslaughter or no charges at all.

At a press conference Wednesday, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley acknowledged significant anxiety in the region as the announcement approaches and urged people to remain calm.

“Take a deep breath, stand back and calm down,” he said.

Tension has been fueled by leaks suggesting the grand jury, which has been meeting since Aug. 20, has already made a decision. McCulloch on Monday called the leaks “rank speculation” and said the grand jury was still hearing evidence. A decision is expected this month.

Sly & Slay Rip Missouri’s “Lax” Gun Laws in Joint Capital Appearance
April 29, 2014

Kansas City Mayor Sly James and his St. Louis counterpart, Mayor Francis Slay blasted proposed gun laws now under consideration in the Missouri Legislature.
They says the proposals would make it harder for federal law enforcement and Missouri officers to enforce federal gun laws.
At a news conference in Jefferson City Monday, James called the proposals “absurd, embarrassing and dangerous,” especially for the state’s two largest cities”.
The Kansas City Mayor frequently complains about the city’s inability tone more effective in fighting crime because of restriction on gun laws at the state level.
A news release fromJames’ office claims, “Missouri’s lax gun laws have flooded urban neighborhoods with cheap weapons.”
Both measure expect more federal gun law restrictions to pass the legislature this year.
In 2013, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a federal gun law nullification bill survived an override effort by lawmakers.

Missouri Legislators Start Looking at Right to Work Proposal
January 14, 2014

(AP)–House Republican leaders wasted no time pursuing their agenda Monday, using the first legislative hearing of the year to introduce a labor measure that Democratic leaders denounced as an attempt at “union busting.”

The legislation that supporters describe as a “right to work” measure would prohibit labor contracts from requiring that all employees pay union fees, regardless of whether workers are union members. Under current law, unions are allowed to levy fees against workers who are not union members but who work under a collective bargaining agreement that allows such fees.

“This is a necessary bill if Missouri wishes to re-gain competitive standing with the states around us,” said the proposal’s sponsor, Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield.

The bill also has the backing of House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, who controls which bills get referred to committees and placed on the House debate calendar.

At a hearing of the House Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee, supporters argued that Missouri needs the law to compete for manufacturing and other jobs.

But that notion was countered by St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

“The men and women of organized labor are not our enemies, they are our allies,” said Slay, a Democrat.

Kansas City Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo also testified against the measure.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has said he will veto the measure if it passes the Legislature.

Under Burlison’s plan, paying union fees could not be a condition of employment except for railroad and federal workers. It also would not impact collective bargaining agreements in place before the measure’s passage.

Burlison argued the measure would make unions stronger by forcing them to better represent their members’ interests if they know workers have the option of opting out.

“An individual is able to make an intelligent decision to serve what’s in their best interest,” Burlison said.

Opponents say the legislation would simply encourage what one Democratic committee member called “free riding”: When a worker opts out of a union while still reaping the benefits of collective bargaining.

“No one is forced to join a union, but people are forced to recoup the costs of defending them,” said Rep. Kevin McManus, D-Kansas City.

The committee did not take a vote on the legislation Monday.

Slay Wins StL Mayor’s Primary, Set Up for Record Bbreaking 4th Term
March 6, 2013

(AP) — St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is on the verge of becoming St. Louis’ first-ever four-term mayor, after winning the Democratic primary Tuesday.
Final but unofficial results had Slay with 54 percent of votes and aldermanic president Lewis Reed with 44 percent. Former Alderman Jimmie Matthews got about 1 percent.
There are no Republican candidates, and Slay will be heavily favored over Green Party candidate James Eldon McNeely in the April general election. McNeely was unopposed in the Green Party primary.
At a downtown victory party, Slay said he relishes the chance to make history.
“We’re going to make St. Louis a better place, a more inclusive place,” Slay said.
Slay, 57, has cited the accomplishments of his 12 years in office, including efforts to rebuild neighborhoods, improve downtown and make the city more tolerant. In 2007, St. Louis’ downtown revitalization was the subject of a national award.
But Reed, 49, the city’s first-ever black aldermanic president, has called Slay “divisive” and been critical of the city’s high crime rate. Reed also was critical of the exodus of several corporations from the city.
“What we have done is raise the consciousness of this city so that when people look at St. Louis and we look at St. Louis, we know what the challenges are,” Reed said in his concession speech.
Slay was first elected in April 2001 and won re-election by large margins in 2005 and 2009. He is an attorney who served as an alderman and aldermanic president prior to becoming mayor.