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Blue Notes, February 11th. Not Great News.

Jefferson City Republicans Are Weakening Open Records Laws
Jefferson City May Be Getting More Secretive
(via Rep. Jerome Barnes)
 
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Feb. 7 approved legislation that was intended to strengthen ethics rules for local government officials but was amended to eviscerate Missouri’s open records law. Lawmakers voted 103-47 to advance the bill to the Senate, which many supporters of the original version hope will remove the provisions weakening the Sunshine Law.
 
As originally drafted, House Bill 445 enjoyed wide bipartisan support as it would have imposed a two-year waiting period on local officials becoming lobbyists and capped gifts from lobbyists to local officials at $5 – requirements recently imposed on lawmakers by a constitutional amendment Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved last year.
Over Democratic objections, however, state Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, added an amendment to broadly expand statutory exemptions that allow certain records to be withheld under the Sunshine Law. Under the amendment, government officials would have legal authority to keep virtually all records secret.
 
Most Democrats, and a few Republicans, voted against the bill because of the change. Several Democrats still voted for it because of its original provisions and with the expectation the Senate will make changes to make the final legislation more palatable.
 
Missouri's Budget Situation: Bad News and More Bad News
 
Net state general revenue collections were down 7 percent during the first seven months of the 2019 fiscal year compared to the same period in FY 2018, going from $5.49 billion last year to $5.11 billion this year.
 
A dismal January in which net general revenue collections plummeted 24.1 percent compared to January 2018 was largely responsible for the sharp drop in the year-to-date collection rate. January revenue collections went from $1.06 billion last year to $801.2 million this year.
 
Through the first six months of FY 2019, year-to-date collections had been down just 2.9 percent compared to the prior year until the sharp January drop. In order to make up financial ground, Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration is anticipating Missourians will be paying substantially more than normal when they file their 2018 income tax returns in the coming weeks. If the administration is correct, it would keep the state budget in balance but also result in countless Missourians getting hit with surprise tax bills.
 

On the State of the Union Address from the State Party

Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday was highlighted by a bewildering attack on the legitimate function of Congress to provide a check-and-balance. The President’s assertion that there cannot be legislative progress on our shared priorities unless investigations into the President and his campaign’s corruption are halted was not only concerning, but downright scary.

 

In addition to investigating Trump’s own corruption, Democrats are also investigating his harmful policies, like his family separation policy, and holding hearings on how to improve the lives of Americans across the country through policies addressing climate change, gun violence prevention and increasing access to affordable health care.

 

Here at the Missouri Democratic Party, we’re taking a similar approach. MDP is rolling out a new effort, the Missouri Government Accountability Project, to hold our lawmakers accountable and shine the spotlight on bad governing. The success of this effort relies on YOU. Send tips to info@missouridems.org if you have information on the actions of Republican elected officials that we should be aware of.

 

 

Fundraising for Staff: Keep Jackson County Democrats Strong

More than ten years ago, the Democratic Committee made a bold decision to hire a full-time Executive Director, setting Jackson County apart from other counties and allowing for year-round development and more long-term goal setting.  Funding the Executive Director position comes through many small donations from engaged voters across the region. The county committee invested heavily in our candidates in 2018 so our funds are very low.  To keep our county party working, we need to keep our staff funded.  Please donate now to keep us as the leading county committee in Missouri.

Join us for the annual Wiggins Fund event February 28th 5:30pm at Crane Brewing Company in Raytown.  This event will feature a number of elected and party officials discussing what is on the horizon for 2019 and the 2020 elections while supporting Jackson County Democrats staff.

          

2019 Truman Gala is Scheduled

Save the date for the 32nd annual Truman Gala: June 1, 2019 at Arrowhead Stadium. A line-up of speakers including a nationally prominent name will be announced closer to the event. Tickets will go in sale in March.

Upcoming Club Meetings and Events:

  • 40 Club Lunch: Tuesday, February 12th, noon at Sheet Metal Local 2 (2902 Blue Ridge Blvd. KCMO 64129). $15 supports labor local's educational fund.
  • Our Revolution: monthly meeting at new location (Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W 47th St KCMO). Monday (tonight), 6:00pm. Board elections are next month.
  • Lee's Summit Democrats 1st Quarter Social: Join this brand new local club as they host their first social event of the year at Lakewood Oaks County Club February 12 from 7-9pm. 651 NE St. Andrews Cir. Lee's Summit MO 64064.
  • Moms Demand Action Advocacy Day: February 19, 10am at 422 Monroe St. Jefferson City, MO.  Their biggest advocacy event of the year and the best chance to fight two expansive "guns everywhere" bills that have been introduced this year. Keep up with more information on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MomsDemandActionMO/
  • Heartland Alliance for Progress: Monthly meeting (4th Monday of the month) February 25, 5:15-7:15pm at Californo's (4124 Pennsylvania Ave KCMO). Meet the KC City Council candidates for April's election. With a large number of candidates, this is a great opportunity to see who is running and learn a little about their campaigns. Bring friends!
  • Greater KC Women's Political Caucus: Candidate forum for Mayor, City Council and School Board followed by an endorsement vote. Thursday, February 28 at 5:30, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church (4501 Walnut St. KCMO).
 
 
 
PLEASE JOIN 
THE NORTHLAND DEMOCRATIC CLUB
FOR OUR
February Meeting!
Tuesday, February 19th
6:30 pm - Social, sign in   7:00 pm - Program & Business meeting
 
Program:
Lindsey Baker, Ph.D.
Research Director
Missouri Budget Project
Cell: 816-349-0370
 
Agenda:
Election of Officers & Executive Board
 
Sherwood Estates Homes Assoc Office
4120 NE Vivion Rd KCMO 64119
(across the street from Penguin Park -
next door to the barber shop!)