The Daily Dish, May 5, 2012

Cigarette tax supporters turn in signatures By Rudi Keller, The Columbia Daily Tribune

Supporters of a proposal to increase the tax on cigarettes by 73 cents per pack collected 220,000 petition signatures yesterday in hopes of putting the measure on the November ballot. The proposal would generate $283 million to $423 million annually. Half the money would be used for public school programs, 30 percent would go to higher education and 20 percent would support smoking cessation programs.

Lawmakers consider Missouri fund for college building By Chris Blank, The Associated Press, The Kansas City Star

Missouri lawmakers are considering a new way to help pay for construction on college campuses. The proposal would create the Higher Education Capital Fund to provide state matching funds for local contributions for new higher education building projects. 

Impasse over Mo. budget with one week left to pass it By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

House and Senate budget negotiators remain at an impasse on what’s become the main barrier to reaching an agreement:  finding a way to fund veterans’ homes. The House this week passed legislation that would fund veterans homes with gaming revenues currently designated for early childhood programs, and replace it with money from a tobacco settlement.  The Senate has so far refused to take up the measure.  


The Daily Dish, May 4, 2012

Missouri governor candidate backs limits on lobbyist gifts By David A. Lieb, The Associated Press, Kansas City Star

Missouri gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence outlined an ethics proposal Thursday that would limit lobbyist gifts to public officials and require greater financial disclosure by nonprofit groups running ads in Missouri and companies seeking state contracts. The proposal would also require certain nonprofit groups who spend money in Missouri politics to file financial disclosure reports and mandate that companies seeking state contracts disclose the political contributions they have made in past three years.

Schaefer in the middle of state budget battle By Rudi Keller, The Columbia Daily Tribune

The state budget for next year is stalled because of an intramural struggle among Republicans that features testy exchanges between the House and Senate leadership and criticism of Sen. Kurt Schaefer from the man who put him in charge of the Senate’s budgeting team. The holdup comes from a mix of issues including a budget boost for one university, and a political attack on a program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis that has become tied to a bill dealing with how veterans programs are funded. How those negotiations are being handled sparked criticism of Schaefer, R-Columbia and Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, by Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter. Mayer put Schaefer in charge of the appropriations committee last year.


Petition calls for cigarette tax hike By The Associated Press, Springfield News-Leader

Advocates submitted petition signatures on Friday to get a proposed increase in the state’s cigarette tax on the November ballot. The proposal would raise Missouri’s tax on cigarettes to 90 cents per pack up from the current 17 cents, which is the lowest in the nation.

The Daily Dish — May 3, 2012

City manager Mike Matthes reflects on his first year By Antony Lee, Jon Mcclure, The Columbia Missourian.

Tuesday is Matthes’ first anniversary in office as a city manager, and he reviewed several of his key initiatives for his first year, which includes Columbia regional airport, managing the city budget, strategic planing initiative, improving the Columbia Police Department, and improving the government’s customer service .

Changes to teacher layoffs OK’d by Missouri House By Chris Blank, The Associated Press, Kansas City Star

State House narrowly approved a legislation that would bar seniority from playing a role in Missouri teacher layoffs.Schools that are forced to reduce staff no longer would be banned from laying off tenures, and teachers’ seniority and salaries would not be a consideration in choosing teachers. Performance would need to be the most important factor when selecting which teachers to keep.

GOP incumbents face well-funded challengers By Rudi Keller, The Columbia Daily Tribune

The Boone County’s incumbent Republicans will face well-funded Democrats’ challenges for two first-term officeholders. State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, state Rep. Mary Still, D-Columbia,  U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler and Democrat Teresa Hensley will file for the two seats.


Mapping 2012 City Council campaign contributions

Google Fusion Tables City Council campaign contributions 2012 map (link will open new tab)

Final campaign finance reports for the April 3 City Council elections were due to the Missouri Ethics Commission on Thursday. According to those reports, unsuccessful Sixth Ward candidate Bill Tillotson both earned and spent the greatest amount during the campaign, with totals of $33,519.50 and $27,245.51, respectively. His opponent, Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe, raised $26,272.16, including more than $8,500 in the final two weeks of the campaign, after Tillotson released ads accusing Hoppe of abuse of power in her involvement in a dispute between the East Campus Neighborhood Association and Beta Theta Pi fraternity over the height of their new house under construction on College Avenue. Hoppe spent $25,316 on her campaign.

In the Second Ward, which comprises the northwest part of Columbia, election winner and sitting Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp reported the greatest amount of contributions and expenses. His totals were $7,260.37 raised and $6,760.37 spent. Opponent Mike Atkinson raised $5,615 and spent $5,593.57. Bill Pauls opted for an austere campaign, saying at several campaign events that he was the “$3,000 dollar man” and would not spend a penny over that amount. Pauls met his goal, raising $2,885.27 and spending $2,536.27.

The Google map below, created using Fusion Tables and contribution amounts collected from the Missouri Ethics Commission, lists individual contributors to all campaigns, their address, their contribution amount and listed occupation. The “Filter” button that appears at the top of the map will allow you to limit results by these qualifiers. For more detailed instructions on how to use the filter tool, or any other questions about navigating the map, consult Google’s own guide.

The following key explains which color represents which contribution amount:

Green: $0 to $49
Yellow: $51 to $99
Red: $100 to $149
Purple: $150 or more

Click the map marker for more detailed information about each contribution.

View the termination reports, including final campaign contribution and expense figures, in .pdf form below. For more information, visit the Missouri Ethics Commission website or contact Missourian Public Life reporter Kip Hill via email. And, as always, thanks for reading!

Google Fusion Tables City Council campaign contributions 2012 map (link will open new tab)

Michael Trapp final report (.pdf)
Bill Pauls final report (.pdf)
Mike Atkinson final report (.pdf)
Bill Tillotson final report (.pdf)
Barbara Hoppe final report (.pdf)

The Daily Dish — May 2, 2012

UPDATE: Missouri lawmakers delay budget negotiations By The Associated Press, The Columbia Missourian

The budget conference committee meeting on Wednesday was delayed until at least Thursday, but the discussion are still ongoing. One of the most pressing decisions is whether to cut funding for a health care program for blind residents. 


Tax Plan cost estimates soaring (again) by Brad Cooper, The Kansas City Star

Democratic lawmakers are calculating new numbers at Jefferson City today, and statistics shows that the proposed tax plan could leave a $712 million financial deficiency by 2018. The proposal would keep deductions for interest on home mortgages and charitable contributions. 


MO. lawmaker Wyatt says he is gay, denounces school bill By The Associated Press and Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio.

Rep. Zachary Wyatt held a Capitol news conference Wednesday at which he said he was disclosing his sexual orientation for the first time. This is to denounced a bill that would prohibit teaching, extracurricular activities or materials that discuss sexual orientation- unless they relate to the scientific facts about human reproduction.

The Daily Dish – May 1, 2012

GOP money floods battlegrounds, threatens Dems’ hold on Senate by Alexander Bolton, The Hill

Third-party groups associated with the Republican Party have outspent the Democrats and their backers in the Senate. The difference in advertising firepower threatens Democratic control of the Senate and could potentially have an impact on the presidential race. 

New research suggests Missouri fails to collect enough sales taxes each year to finance the budgets of eight state agencies. The study estimates Missouri loses about $468 million every year because it does not collect taxes on internet sales. 
Gov. Jay Nixon is calling on lawmakers to fully fund programs for blind health care and veterans care. Nixon wants an agreement to be reached to fully fund a health care program for low-income blind Missourians, to expand the “Show Me Heroes” veterans program, and to fully fund veterans homes. 

The Daily Dish – April 30, 2012

Senate passes bill limiting CRNA pain killing by Bob Priddy, Missourinet

The legislature is moving to make sure people involved in pain management are well-trained in the most delicate procedures. The idea came to Senator Tom Dempsey of St. Charles and his concern is for certified registered nurse anesthesiologists whose work was outside their scope of practice—meaning they lack the specific training for such a delicate procedure. 

Army Corps to take more comments about Mo. project by The Associated Press, Southeast Missourian 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended the public comment period on a project intended to improve Missouri River wildlife habitat at a site in mid-Missouri. The extension will last until June 30. 

Gov. Jay Nixon to stay out of tobacco tax debate by The Associated Press, The Columbia Missourian

Nixon said he does not intend to get involved in a campaign to raise Missouri’s lowest-in-nation cigarette tax. Supporters, however, are expected to turn in petition signatures this week for a November ballot initiative asking voters to raise Missouri’s tax on a pack of cigarettes to 90 cents from the current 17 cents.