Liberal Group Accuses Some Missouri Republicans of Having Deep Ties to Conservative Group
April 17, 2012

KC Star:

A study released Monday by the liberal group Progress Missouri purported to detail how the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has “exerted extraordinary and secretive influence in the Missouri legislature and other states.”
Nearly 50 current and former legislators in the Show-Me State have ties to ALEC, including House Speaker Steven Tilley, House Majority Leader Tim Jones and Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer.
“Missouri legislators have a right to belong to any organization they want to,” said Bob Quinn, executive director of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare and a former state representative. “But in the interest of transparency, it’s important we be able to point to how ideas from ALEC are translated into proposals here in Missouri.”
Tilley, who is serving his last term in the House due to term limits, dismissed allegations of undue influence. He said he can’t remember ever attending an ALEC meeting.
“I may have gone to one,” he said. “If the leader of the Republican Party in the Missouri House doesn’t remember ever going to an ALEC meeting, that should answer your question that we’re not on the puppet master’s strings.”

Read more here:

Halftime for Missouri Lawmakers, Talboy says It’s “The craziest 1st 38 Days”
March 9, 2012

From the St. Louis P-D:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. • Missouri lawmakers have reached the halfway point of the session.
How are they doing so far? That depends on whom you ask.
The House Republican leaders gave themselves very high marks during a news conference at the Capitol today, boasting that they have two priority bills on the way to the governor and a budget proposal heading to the House floor.
“We’re proud to say at Spring Break that we’ve accomplished 70 percent of the agenda that we laid out,” said House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville.
Perhaps not too surprisingly, House Democrats had a different take on the session.
“This is probably the craziest 38 days that I’ve ever had at the start of session. We’ve had a myriad of bad things that have been proposed, passed (and) debated,” said House Minority Leader Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City.
After passing several bills on the floor of each chamber, lawmakers left the Capitol today for Spring Break. They’ll return March 19.
GOP leaders noted the Legislature’s passage of the workers’ compensation bill (SB 572) and the employment discrimination legislation (HB 1219) among key successes so far. Both bills found overwhelming success (though, largely by party lines) in both chambers.
Senate President Pro Tempore Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, and Majority Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, said in a separate news conference that they think the two bills will encourage businesses to create more jobs in the state.
The workers’ comp bill would require that all claims over chronic diseases caused by work duties go through the workers’ compensation program, rather than civil court action. The discrimination bill modifies the laws so that the discrimination itself (i.e. bias of race, religion, gender, age, etc) has to be the “motivating factor” for the case rather than a “contributing factor.”
Talboy disagreed with Republican leaders’ claims that they have been working to create jobs this session. He also said education should be of a higher priority.

Missouri Senate President May Push for Another Statewider Health Care Reform Vote
January 9, 2012

(AP) — The leader of the Missouri Senate hopes two measures targeting the federal health care law will be among the first debated in his chamber this year.

Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, a Republican from Dexter, supports a measure that would ask voters to amend the state constitution to prohibit government mandates to have health insurance. Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed a similar law in 2010. But the proposed amendment could have greater strength, and would put the issue back on the ballot as President Barack Obama seeks re-election.
Mayer also backs a bill to prohibit creation of a state-run health insurance exchange unless specifically authorized by the Legislature or voters. The federal health care law gives states until 2014 to create such exchanges, or else federal officials will do so.

Tight Budget & Missouri Schools on Lawmaker’s Minds as Mo. Session Starts
January 4, 2012

(AP) – Missouri lawmakers opened their 2012 session Wednesday with a pledge by legislative leaders to close the state’s projected $500 million budget gap and revamp its underfunded public school system but without any immediate answers about how they would do it.

The session that continues through May 18 will be the last go-around for dozens of lawmakers prohibited from re-election this year because of term limits. Senate President Pro Tem Rob Meyer said the clock is ticking to confront the two lofty financial challenges of the budget crunch and the schools crisis, in which two of Missouri’s largest districts str unaccredited.

“Some predict not much will be accomplished,” Mayer, R-Dexter, said in opening remarks to the chamber. But “we must act, and do so swiftly to pass a balanced budget without a tax increase for the people of Missouri and to help put Missourians back to work in this stagnant and weak economy.”

Lawmakers will have about two weeks of work before Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon presents his budget and policy proposals during his annual State of the State address on Jan. 17. The governor’s budget director already has indicated that every state department is likely to take cuts. Nixon’s administration and Republican legislative leaders alike have indicated that they hope to spare public K-12 school districts from cuts, but there have been no guarantees.

In recent years, Missouri has failed to provide the full amount called for by the formula that funds its more than 500 school districts. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has said that by the 2014 budget, and after some recalculations within the formula, Missouri could need to add more than $700 million on top of what currently is spent.

Lawmakers will attempt to tweak the formula during their 2012 session, but there is no agreement yet on how to do that.

Special Session, A Burial at Sea?
October 26, 2011

Kansas City Democratic Minority leader Mike Talboy calls the just-ended special session, “the Lost Legislative Session”.

The effort to pass a major economic development bill died quietly Tuesday. It was the political version of an anonymous burial at sea.

The AP reports it took about 40 seconds for Senate leader Rob Mayer to call the State Senate into Session. He then called on Republican Leader Senator Tom Dempsey, the only other senator present. Dempsey moved to adjourn. They both voted to adjourn, that was it.

The session’s major effort was to draw up and approve a jobs bill for the state. Kansas City officials and some local law makers were pushing for a jobs retention bill. They hoped that would provide enough extra tax incentives to keep existing Missouri companies from being lured across the state line into Kansas. Locally, it was referred to as ’business poaching’.

The economic development measures were caught in a battle between House and Senate Republicans over whether or not some reforms on tax credits should be permanent or limited to a certain amount of time.

The legislature did manage to pass a bills reforming Missouri’s ‘Facebook Law’. That will clear up language that will allow educators to use social media more freely in the classroom. Another measure, aimed at attracting more life science and high-tech companies into Missouri also passed. But that measure, the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, (MOSIRA), is linked to the dead jobs bill. Governor Jay Nixon’s office says it is looking at signing the measure despite the connection to the jobs bill.

The legislature also failed to move the Missouri presidential primary from February 7 back until March 6. Republican National Committee rules insisted the date be moved back, or the Missouri GOP would risk losing delegates to the national convention next summer.

Instead, the state GOP will hold a non-binding “beauty contest” primary on Feb.7. The delegate selection process will start with a statewide St. Patrick’s Day caucus on March 17.

According to the state, the session, that started September 6 and died Tuesday costs taxpayers about $280,000.