The Capitol Report | November 17th, 2016

Campaign Contributions & Legislative Agenda

As I mentioned last week, after the votes were tallied, voters had decided to reject both proposed cigarette tax increases, but to support each of the other measures on the ballot this year. Specifically, almost 70 percent of Missouri voters decided the state should re-establish campaign contribution limits. Missouri previously had limits in place that were approved by voters in 1994. The limits were repealed by the General Assembly in 2008. Now, with the voters approving Constitutional Amendment 2, the limits will be re-implemented. However, since its passing, some have called the effectiveness of the measure into question.

The issue is that while the constitutional amendment strives to increase transparency and fairness by capping donations to candidates at $2,600 and capping contributions to political parties at $25,000 per election, donors can still give unlimited amounts to other more obscure committees that can pay for their own ads in support or against a candidate. In essence, more money will likely now be channeled into super PACs as opposed to given directly to the candidate. Time will tell how this newly passed amendment truly effects campaign contributions.

In other news, both majority caucuses have announced some goals for the up and coming legislative session. For the last eight years, Republicans have had to contend with Gov. Nixon and his ability to veto bills passed by the General Assembly. To override the governor’s veto, 109 votes in the House and 23 in the Senate were needed. However, now with a new Republican governor and assuming he approves of the legislation, only 82 votes in the House and 18 in the Senate will be required. During the next legislative season, the GOP will hold 117 House seats and 25 Senate seats.

One legislative priority that the General Assembly was not able to pass with Nixon in office was Right to Work (RTW), which would protect employees from being forced to join a union or pay dues against their will by unions or employers. With Governor Greitens’ support, Missouri is likely to become the next RTW state. However, it is not just labor-related bills that could finally get over the legislative hump next year.

Even before Nixon was elected governor, he vowed to reject any piece of legislation that provided any public aid to private schools. Gov. Greitens has criticized Nixon’s stance and may signify the newly elected governor’s willingness to consider education reform like school choice. These will likely be a few of the top priorities for lawmakers when the next legislative session begins in January.

You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below. As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

 

Campaign Contributions

As I mentioned last week, after the votes were tallied, voters had decided to reject both proposed cigarette tax increases, but to support each of the other measures on the ballot this year. Specifically, almost 70 percent of Missouri voters decided the state should re-establish campaign contribution limits. Missouri previously had limits in place that were approved by voters in 1994. The limits were repealed by the General Assembly in 2008. Now, with the voters approving Constitutional Amendment 2, the limits will be re-implemented. However, since its passing, some have called the effectiveness of the measure into question.

The issue is that while the constitutional amendment strives to increase transparency and fairness by capping donations to candidates at $2,600 and capping contributions to political parties at $25,000 per election, donors can still give unlimited amounts to other more obscure committees that can pay for their own ads in support or against a candidate. In essence, more money will likely now be channeled into super PACs as opposed to given directly to the candidate.

One relatively easy option is to use nonprofit social welfare organizations, which are 501(c)(4) committees according to the IRS, to raise unlimited amounts of funds from anonymous donors. These special committees then can give the money to super PACs that will spend the money on their specific candidate. Some claim that one specific effect of the recent constitutional amendment is that now big donors may become even more powerful by being able to directly coordinate how their money is spent as opposed to giving the money directly to the candidate. Time will tell how this newly passed amendment truly effects campaign contributions.

Upcoming Legislative Agenda

In other news, both majority caucuses have announced some goals for the up and coming legislative session. For the last eight years, Republicans have had to contend with Gov. Nixon and his ability to veto bills passed by the General Assembly. To override the governor’s veto, 109 votes in the House and 23 in the Senate were needed. However, now with a new Republican governor and assuming he approves of the legislation, only 82 votes in the House and 18 in the Senate will be required.

During the next legislative season, the GOP will hold 117 House seats and 25 Senate seats.

“It will be certainly be nice to have to count to 82 instead of 109 on some things for a change,” said House Speaker Todd Richardson. “This is a historic and really a unique opportunity for us in the legislature and with the governor’s office to be able to really impart some lasting positive change on the state.”

One legislative priority that the General Assembly was not able to pass with Nixon in office was Right to Work (RTW), which would protect employees from being forced to join a union or pay dues against their will by unions or employers. With Governor Greitens’ support, Missouri is likely to become the next RTW state.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard said lawmakers would act quickly. “That [Right to Work] will probably be the number one issue,” he said, adding that the Senate would also strive for changes to the state’s legal and regulatory statutes.

However, it is not just labor-related bills that could finally get over the legislative hump next year.

Even before Nixon was elected governor, he vowed to reject any piece of legislation that provided any public aid to private schools. Gov. Greitens has criticized Nixon’s stance and may signify the newly elected governor’s willingness to consider education reform like school choice. These will likely be a few of the top priorities for lawmakers when the next legislative session begins in January.

District Visit

stveteransI was honored to speak at the Steelville Veterans Day Celebration and at the ribbon cutting of the new Student Veterans Resource Center at Missouri S&T. As a veteran and former student at S&T, I am excited and proud of the strides they are making to be more inclusive of veterans. I also want to say thank you to all my brothers and sisters in arms.

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol Office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 115-H, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

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