Missouri Legislature to Review Contract Process
June 15, 2012

Missouri News Horizon:
Outgoing House Speaker Steven Tilley has launched an interim committee to review the state’s government bidding and contracting process under Gov. Jay Nixon.
Tilley, who is leaving the legislature after the 2012 election, said his committee will review the standards and practices currently in place with the state’s competitive bidding process.
“The contracts the state enters into put taxpayer money on the line and it is our duty to take every precaution possible to ensure the people of Missouri get what they pay for and that the process used to secure these contracts is open and transparent,” Tilley said. “We want to make certain the bidding process used by state government has the same kind of commitment to putting the interests of taxpayers first.”
The issue, which the legislature dealt with most recently in 2009, reemerged in this election year when Kathleen Burkett, a St. Louis Democratic official, was awarded a contract, even after officials knew about questionable financial incidents in her past. News of Burkett’s contract led to a negative round of press for Nixon, and days later, his administration revoked the contract, citing financial concerns.
Nixon’s likely Republican rival Dave Spence accused Nixon of using political patronage, not competitive contracting, to make the decision. Nixon, however, said that early in his administration, he and legislators made efforts to reform the process of how fee offices were awarded, away from a form of patronage to political supporters to a competitive bid process.

House Speaker Tilley Clashes With GOP Governor’s Candidate Spence Over Freebies
May 17, 2012

(AP) – Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley is accusing fellow Republican Dave Spence of hypocrisy for his habit of doling out sports tickets to lawmakers in his bid to become governor.

Spence is seeking the GOP nomination to run against incumbent Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in November. Though a political novice, Spence is a successful businessman who sold his container business for more than $200 million.

As part of his campaign, Spence is urging lawmakers to stop accepting perks from lobbyists.

Tilley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Spence is being hypocritical since he regularly provides legislators with tickets to events such as Rams and Blues games.

Spence’s campaign said in a statement that the tickets are minor compared with the big money that flows from donors to political campaign.

Maverick KC State Rep. Hughes Turns Down Republican Offer to Join Other Committees
January 20, 2012

Embattled Kansas City Democrat Jonas Hughes, stripped of his committee assignments by fellow Democrats because of attendance problems, says House Speaker Steve Tilley offered him three alternative committee assignments.
Hughes says he declined the offers.
In a letter to Tilley declining the offer, Hughes says the three committee offers were seats on the Special Standing Committee on Disability Services; the Special Standing Committee on Renewable Energy and the Special Standing Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability. The letter says the offer was made Wednesday January 18.
Hughes’ biography page on the House website now shows he is a member of the Energy and Oversight Committee
House Minority Leader Mike Talboy stripped Hughes of his previous committee assignments. Talboy says Hughes has not showing up for legislative session.
Hughes admitted to ’20 Pounds’ he has had an attendance problem. Minority Leader Talboy says Hughes missed every session of the legislature during last fall’s special session. Talboy says Hughes also missed the first day of the session this year.
“I left myself liable to it”, Hughes said in a phone interview.
“I came here as a Democrat. I’d like to stay a Democrat.”
Talboy says Democratic caucuses rules require members to notify the leadership in advance if they’re not going to be at a legislative day. He says Hughes never did that with the special session.
Hughes says there is another reason he’s in trouble.
He claims he is being punished for voting for the Republican version of the Congressional redistricting map last year.
“It’s about my map vote”, he said.
“He’s not in hot water”, countered Talboy Friday. “The vote on redistricting has nothing to do with his committees”
Talboy, the Democratic Leadership and Hughes, are still talking about ways he can be restored to his previous committee assignments. Talboy insists there was no threat that Hughes would be kicked out of the House Democratic Caucus if he accepted the Tilley committee assignment offers.
Hughes believes that is exactly what would happened if he had accepted those assignments.
Read the letter here

State Lawmakers Look at Mayor’s School Take Over Plan
December 22, 2011

Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley made it clear in Kansas City the embattled school district may not have a full two years to reform itself and avoid a state take- over in 2014.
The district loses its accreditation January 1, 2012. According to current state law, the district has until June 30, 2014 to regain the accreditation or risk a state take-over.
But Tilley, and others, don’t think the school system will get that much time.
‘If you’ve got kids in failing schools, why wait a day?”
Tilley and Majority Leader Tim Jones and other Missouri lawmakers met with Kansas City mayor Sly James.
Jones says education reform will be a focus of the 2012 House Republican majority.
James wants Missouri law changed to permit the Mayor of Kansas City to take control of the schools. The plan would eliminate the elected school board.
House Education Committee Republican Myron Neth is writing the bill. He says he’s comfortable removing the elected officials.
“Yeah. It’s a question of potential success versus continued failure,” he said.
Another component of Neth’s proposal would be a Kansas City retention vote four years after a mayoral take-over. That would hold the potential of restoring a more conventional school board and administration format.
While Mayor James says his plan is still a work in progress He’s also pushing for consensus. James is convinced unless Kansas City offers its own plan to reform the school system, the state will move quickly in 2012 to take over the district. He says another option would be a move by lawmakers to break the district up.
“And if we don’t have a plan of our own, that’s exactly what will happen,” James said at the meeting.
Neth agreed the city has to offer a plan to lawmakers.
“Or else you’re going to start to see some crazy things popping up from legislators.”
Kansas City lost is accreditation in the fall. State test scores for last year went down. At the time the district was on provisional accreditation, and had been for several years.
The loss of accreditation means students in the failing district can transfer to neighboring districts, at the failed school system’s cost. Some parents are already making inquires to suburban districts about transferring their children out of the Kansas City schools.
Suburban superintendents are worried their schools could then be swamped with fleeing students. Student transfers legislation may also be considered next year by the lawmakers.
Both Tilley and Majority Leader Jones said they came to Kansas City to listen to the options. Tilley says he is not endorsing any option at this point.
Turmoil continues in the district. Another superintendent, Dr. John Covington, resigned abruptly last summer to take another job. Since then, three other top administrators have left.
Wednesday, Chace Ramey, announced his resignation. That makes five top administrators who have left the district since August.

StL Realtor Jumps into GOP Guv Lite Primary, Goal: Eliminate Red Light Cameras in Missouri
November 13, 2011

Michael E. Carter says eliminating the Missouri red light cameras law will be his prime focus if is elected Missouri Lt. Governor in 2012.

In a news release carter says his concern about the red-light camera tickets is based partly out of the time he served as a municipal judge for the St. Louis suburb of Wentzville.

“Without exception, there was one type of ticket that suffered the most disdain and was the least popular—the red-light camera ticket,” Cart states in the news release. He announced his intention to run Friday. That came after new s that the GOP favorite in the Lt. Governor’s race, House Speaker Steve Tilley, dropped out of the campaign.

In the statement, carter adds his objective, “is to put an end to all red-light camera tickets, as well as other tickets that are doled out without the presence of a law enforcement officer. He finds the “guilty until proven innocent” nature of these tickets disturbing, and cites the state’s reluctance to give these tickets the same force and effect of other moving violations as proof that their enforcement is questionable and problematic.”

Carter describes himself as an “independent-minded Republican”. He says in the past he has voted for Ross Perot and Ron Paul.