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NewsBook:  Missouri Government News for the Week of February 15, 2016

Missouri's Senate stripped out of a lobbyist-restriction bill a House-passed provision to impose a "cooling-off" period for state officials becoming lobbyists for one year after leaving office.

The Senate voted Thursday, Feb. 18, to limit the delay in registering as a lobbyist until after the official's term had ended, meaning an official that completed a term could become a lobbyist the next day.

The House-approved version would impose a one-year delay after the term expired before an official could register as a lobbyist.

The sponsor of the Senate amendment to restrict the House-passed "cooling-off" period charged the House approach did not address a real problem.

"It's not a problem, it's a perception issue and we're trying to solve a perception issue that really doesn't  exist," said Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Franklin County. 

"I do not agree on the basis of personal freedoms and liberties, restricting someone's ability of someone to earn a living," Shatz said.

During the two-day Senate debate, several other senators members complained about imposing restrictions for moving from government office to lobbying.

"Hocus pocus" was the term used by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield.

"Not one of the ethics, so-called ethics bills on the calendar [the list of bills before the Senate] will solve or address any of the things that occurred in this building last year, or last -- no, this week," Dixon said of the resignations of two legislators last year after allegations of inappropriate behavior with female college interns and the unexplained resignation of a House member one day before the Senate's action.

Dixon was the only Senate member to vote against passage of the bill.

The measure now goes back to the House for review of the Senate changes.

During Missouri's Joint Committee on Education Thursday night, Sen. Paul Wieland said he was considering filling a complaint against former head football coach, Gary Pinkel. This comes after Pinkel chose to stand by his players decision to not participate in the BYU game until former MU system President Tim Wolfe stepped down.

While the hearing was going on Wednesday night, Wieland sent a staffer to file a complaint against Professor Melissa Click. The formal complaint states that Click violated the University of Missouri Systems Rules and Regulations HR 500/505 on October 10th, 2015 by yelling profanities at police and on November 9th, 2015 in a confrontation with a student photographer when she called for "muscle" to have him removed from a public space.

As of Thursday afternoon, Wieland has not yet decided if he will continue with the compliant against Pinkel.

"I'm going to take at least two weeks to investigate and decide if Pinkel did anything wrong," Wieland said.

The Missouri House approved a bill that would require annual signed approval by a government employee before a portion of the worker's salary could be withheld to pay union fees.

The bill would prohibit a labor organization automatically withholding a portion of a government worker's salary to pay union fees without signed approval each year

Rep. Delus Johnson, R-Andrew County, was a firefighter and was required to pay union dues.

"We have come up with this insane concept, that requires you to pay dues to an organization when you do not believe in the leadership's values and that leadership is not representing your values, especially on a political basis," Johnson said during the House debate Thursday, Feb. 18.

"Over and over again, my money went to candidates that I strongly opposed. Say we require every Democrat in this state to join a union and pay dues to support the National Rifle Association, I think some Democrats would have a problem with that"

The bill sparked a lengthy labor union debate between Republicans and Democrats.

"This legislation, throughout the country, is designed to limit working families' participation in the political process by singling out unions for burdensome restrictions," said Rep. Joshua Peters, D-St. Louis.

One Democrat voted in support of the bill --  Rep. Courtney Curtis, D-St. Louis County.

He said workers in union workplaces would not be asking to avoid paying dues if the unions treated their workers better.

"To say that, 'if we don't force people to do something [pay dues] then they're not going to do it, that means that you either don't have good people or you're not doing a good job," said Curtis.

The bill does not apply to emergency personnel, such as firefighters.

Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Jefferson County, has taken the step to launch a MU faculty driven review of suspended professor Melissa Click.

Wieland filed a formal complaint against Click during a joint committee hearing with top University of Missouri officials Wednesday, Feb. 17.

"Would you do me a favor, I'm gonna send my staffer down, I'm giving you a complaint tonight that you can pass on to the provost," Wieland said at a heaing of the Joint Committee on Education.

Until the hearing, MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said to his knowledge no complaint against Click had been made.

Throughout the hearing, legislators criticized university administrators for the administration's actions taken during the racial unrest on the Columbia campus last fall.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, asked MU's interim chancellor, Hank Foley, why action against Melissa Click has taken so long.

"So whether it's Melissa Click, committing third degree assault on a student, yelling at a police officer, setting the worst image for the University of Missouri that I think anyone has ever seen probably in the entire history of the university on public display, or it's a pedophile, a faculty member that's a pedophile," Schaefer said. "I mean, what does it take?"

Schaefer mentioned the video of Click’s actions at the MU Homecoming Parade released over the weekend in which Click is shown cursing at police as protesters blocked the university president's car in the parade.

An earlier video showed Click calling on student demostraters help block a student student from video recording the protest. She was charged with misdemeanor assault, but prosecution was suspended pending community service and no further criminal charges for one year.

"I'm assuming even if it is a written contract there are provisions for cause," Schaefer said. "For the university as the employer to take adverse employment action against her for cause. And if there's one thing I see in both of those videos, the one from October and from November, it is more cause than I have ever seen in an employment situation in my life and 20 years as a lawyer."

Foley said that under MU Collective Rules and Regulations there is a due process for faculty members of the university.

Foley explained the process requires someone to file a formal complaint against Click, and that complaint would have to be adjudicated by a faculty committee before making a recommendation to the chancellor.

The chancellor then makes a decision regarding the faculty member.

Wieland said he also plans to file a complaint against the former Missouri football coach, Gary Pinkel, for his support of black football players who vowed not to play in a scheduled game unil the university president resigned.

Other questions raised by the legislative committee included a decline in donations and enrollment.

Foley said the university is on track to meet their goal for donations this year, but enrollment is declining.

"In terms of enrollments I have more concern there," Foley said. "Right now we're looking at applications being down and we are projecting that based on just demographics within Missouri we might have been down by about 300 students, we're thinking we might be down as many as 900 students in the fall."

Foley said he is talking with students, parents and alumni to get advice on how to fix the problem.

In regard to student demands, Interim UM President Michael Middleton said the university system is doing everything possible to move the issues forward and that the kind of cultural shift demanded takes time.

A member of the university Board of Curators, Pamela Henrickson, said the board expects to have a new, permanent president by the fall.

Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis, D-St. Louis County, said the administration representatives should take their roles seriously.

"Take the leadership role seriously, lead on that, and we can be leaders of the nation, we'll never have to be here again," Curtis said.

The hearing ended after two hours of discussion.

A St. Louis County House member resigned without explanation after the House Speaker said he asked for the resignation.

The circumstances leading to the resignation were not disclosed, although in a written statement House Speaker Todd Richardson made reference to the resignations of two legislators last year after allegations of inappropriate behavior with female college interns.

Rep. Don Gosen, R-St. Louis County, sent a two-sentence letter to Richardson declaring his resignation on Wednesday morning, Feb. 17. The letter provided no details as to the reason.

Shortly later, Richardson issued a statement that he had requested Gosen's resignation.

"At the beginning of this year, I said that the actions of this body would not be defined by a few. I was serious then, and I am serious now. That's why when I was made aware of the situation, I asked him to resign last night," Richardson was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his office.

Richard's statement did not explain the "situation" to which he referred.

Republicans held a closed-door caucus later in the day, but Richardson continued to refuse to describe what prompted him to seek Gosen's resignation.

Richardson became House speaker last year after the resignation of House Speaker John Diehl, R-St. Louis County, following reports of sexually suggestive text messages with a female college intern.

A few months later, Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, resigned after allegations he had sexually propositioned two female college interns in recent years.

Those two incidents led to new House rules restricting private relationships between legislators and interns.

Rep. Bob Burns, D-St. Louis County, commented in support of Gosen.

"I was always taught that you support your team, and I supported Don Gosen and I still do. All I've heard is rumors," Burns said.

Burns also said a team should be more supportive of their members rather than taking them down.

"I think particularly his team and the speaker should be more supportive of their members rather than just kicking them while their down throwing them away like a worthless piece of trash," Burns said. "I don't believe in that. I believe in loyalty. I believe in our country."

Burns said he believes the speaker did not have the right to remove Gosen and that it should have been up to the people who elected him to decide whether or not Gosen stayed.

"The speaker does not have the ability to remove him. They can censure him. But to tell him he should leave that's not his place either," Burns said.


Lesley McSpadden (left), Michael Brown's mother, testified in support of SB 628 with the bill's sponsor, Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis County (right).

The mother of Michael Brown, testified before a Missouri Senate committee in favor of a bill that would require the police departments of cities with 100,000 residents or more to wear body cameras.

Lesley McSpadden said a video recording of what transpired before her son was shot to death by a Ferguson police officer would had helped bring closure.

"It has been 557 days and I'm still left with the mystery surrounding what happened to my son," McSpadden said at a hearing of the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee Wednesday, Feb. 17.

However, a couple of members of the committee questioned the cost required for the body cameras and also voiced privacy concerns if video recordings were made public.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis City, the bill's sponsor, told the committee and reporters that body cameras would increase accountability among police officers.

McSpadden touched on cases across the country, including recent incidents in Chicago and South Carolina, in which body camera footage acted as evidence in cases of officer-involved shootings.

The senator whose district includes Ferguson -- Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis County -- told the committee she supported the bill, but wanted to make sure the footage from body cameras didn't leave victims vulnerable, including in cases of domestic violence.

The chair of the Missouri Legislature's Joint Committee on Education said a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 17 with UM System officials is not meant to rehash past issues.

"I'm not terribly concerned about the events of the past and how they happened," said Committee Chair David Wood, R-Versailles. "But, I am concerned about what we're doing to correct those situations to where they don't happen again."

Members of the UM Board of Curators, interim UM System President Mike Middleton and interim Chancellor Hank Foley are expected to attend.

Wood said he would not be surprised if members of the group Concerned Student 1950 attended Wednesday's hearing.

The students of Concerned Student 1950 held protests and demonstrations on the University of Missouri's campus before and following the resignation of former UM System President Tim Wolfe.

Other members of the joint committee said their focus will be on ensuring the UM System becomes a more diverse and welcoming system of universities.

Courtney Curtis, D-St. Louis County, said he is most concerned with the university being, "an inclusive place, and that diversity is welcomed, and that we respect all individuals that are members."

Wood said the committee will discuss the situation surrounding Melissa Click, an MU communications professor who was filmed trying to block a photographer and videographer from covering protests on the campus in the fall.

Click was also filmed by a police body camera cursing at a Columbia police officer during the university's homecoming parade held Oct. 10.

Click had intervened when members of Concerned Student 1950 formed a line in front of Tim Wolfe's car and stopped his caravan during the parade.

The body camera footage was obtained and released last week.

The Missouri Senate Commerce Committee heard a personal plea for lawmakers to delay state implementation of the federal plan to cut power plant emissions of carbon.

"I'm a mom of three and ever increasing energy expenses are going to hurt families like mine." Rachel Peyton from Americans for Prosperity said when speaking in support of the bill at the committee hearing Tuesday, Feb. 16.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine, R- Farmington, would require the Natural Resources Department to delay for two years submitting a carbon-reduction plan for the state to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA has adopted a rule requiring states to present plans for reducing carbon emissions from power plants, although the U.S. Supreme Court halted implementation of that plan in an order issued Feb. 9.

Romine said his bill would suspend the activities of the Natural Resources Department from going into action before the courts have made their decision.

Heather Navarro from St. Louis spoke in opposition of the bill, saying that "slowing down this process does not serve the people of Missouri." Navarro says she is an "energy efficiency proponent" and says that if Missouri doesn't get it done on time the federal government will "get it done for us."

Ewell Lawson from the Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities spoke in support of the bill, but when Sen. Ed Emery, R- Lamar, asked him if he had actually "seen the catastrophic impact of climate change" Lawson responded by saying he was "not here to discuss science."

Several witnesses speaking in favor of the bill presented the idea that by not allowing an extension, Missouri would be spending money and resources that could be spent in ways more economically sound. "If more of the paycheck is going towards energy, just to keep the lights on, that's money that is not going into the Missouri economy." Peyton said.

Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R- Cape Girardeau, added that "a lot of people can't afford energy at today's prices."

A package of bills that would make acts of terrorism illegal were heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Feb. 16.

The three bills, which are all sponsored by attorney general candidate Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), would punish terrorism when committed and stop its influence.

The first bill would make a murder committed as an act of terrorism a capital offense.

An act of terrorism is defined as, "committed for the purpose of, or in the manner of intimidating or coercing a civilian population, influencing the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or affecting the conduct of a government," said Schaefer who is running for the Republican nomination for attorney general.

A lawyer for the ACLU of Missouri, Sarah Rossi, cautioned that the bill is unclear because it does not include the full, federal definition of terrorism, which ends with, " mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping."

Another bill would require prison volunteers to be screened for terrorist tendencies by the attorney general's office.

Schaefer said that the bill is necessary because only criminal convictions are considered by the state corrections department in background checks.

However, Rossi argued the measure is too invasive in the private matters of volunteers.

"It raises a lot of first amendment issues for the ACLU because asking people for their social media account information will have a chilling effect on speech," Rossi said.

Schaefer's final bill would make any act done to intimidate or influence citizens or the government illegal.

He said the legislation would treat any act of terrorism causing serious physical injury similar to a first-degree assault charge, which has a maximum sentence of life without parole.

"Your behavior can be intended to affect the conduct of government without being terrorism," Rossi said. "If there is an altercation that happens during a protest that causes serious physical injury, I'm not sure that should be considered terrorism."


The House General Administration Appropriations Committee voted to cut $12 million out of Missouri's budget for next fiscal year promised to the Regional Sports Authority.

The committee's decision came after the Rams football team left St. Louis, abandoning a stadium with bond payments still due.

Missouri still has 5 more years of payments left to the St. Louis Authority until they can can completely pay back bond holders of the Edward Jones Dome.

The chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Robert Ross, R-Yukon, said he reached out to the Authority to testify at the hearing for cutting the money from the budget, but they did not attend.

"They could not make time to come before the General Administration Appropriations Committee," Ross said. "But they are now going to come before the full budget committee, and there are a series of questions and documents they should produce at this point, and we're gonna have a discussion about it."

Ross said voiced objections to Gov. Jay Nixon's original plans to extend the bond issue to build a new stadium in an effort to keep the Rams in St. Louis. And he voiced concerns that although the Rams have abandoned Missouri, the administration's prior position still leaves open the possibility of extending the bond debt to build a new facility. 

A bill that would require concussion training for coaches of youth sports was presented to the House Committee on Emerging Issues in Education on Monday, Feb. 15.

The bill applies to coaches of any organization that hosts a youth athletic activity for which an activity fee is charged.

The bill's sponsor -- Rep Paul Fitzwater, R-Potosi -- said the bill is designed to expand upon current law.

"Now, these key aspects of Missouri's current law are intact in House Bill 2388, and basically this proposed bill, it just expands the coverage to protect more youth," Fitzwater said.

Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, asked Fitzwater, a retired school teacher who had been both a coach and referree, about concussion training for referees in youth athletic activities.

"Do you think that maybe we should do something, because you guys are literally are the closest to the action," Hinson asked.

The bill's first witness, the executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Missouri, Maureen Cunningham, said the intention was to limit the requirement.

"The thought was to keep the removal of play with the coach who is responsible, or with the licensed athletic trainer on the sideline of the contest," Cunningham said. "So that's the reason that the game officials were not officially listed initially."

Fitzwater said he would not be opposed to adding an amendment that would require officials to undergo concussion training as well.

The committee expressed concerns regarding the cost of the training and who would pay for it.

The head athletic trainer at Hickman High School in Columbia, Stefanie West, said much of the training is free and online.

"There's already training available on several sites and Maureen touched on that," West said. "Through the brain injury association, MSHSAA has a good site, MoATA has already been talking about, if this passing maybe developing something specific for youth athletes."

There were no witnesses to testify against the legislation.

Last Week

Missouri's House voted to require ride-sharing companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar to insure their drivers while searching for riders on their company's cell-phone app.

The House approved the bill 153-1 after a 10 minute discussion on the floor.

Uber, Lyft and Sidecar currently insure their drivers and passengers for up to one-million dollars of liability while ride-sharing. However, those drivers are not covered while searching for riders. Their personal insurance covers driving for private matters, but most plans do not cover any commercial use of their vehicle, such as driving for Uber.

"By the end of 2015, a total of 29 states had enacted laws to protect not only the drivers, but their passengers and the public by closing the insurance gaps that left drivers and the public vulnerable in an accident," said Rep. Noel Shull, R-Kansas City,

Uber was not immediately available for comment.

Rep. Bob Burns, D-St. Louis County, also spoke in favor of the bill.

"This talks about the insurance issues to make sure the public is protected in case of an accident."

No representative spoke against the bill, and the lone voter against was not immediately available for comment.

Other bills have been filed that would impose restrictions on the ride-sharing companies including prohibiting cash payments or picking up drivers who hailed for a ride rather than through an Internet-based application.

Medicaid recipients could be charged co-pays and fined for repeatedly missing medical appointments under a measure given first-round approval by Missouri's Senate.

The bill comes after Gov. Jay Nixon called for more funding to medicaid this year.

A health-care provider could charge a Medicaid recipient an escalating fee for repeatedly missing doctor appointments starting at up to $5 for missing the a second appointment within three years.  The maximum fee that could be charged would rise $10 dollars for missing the third and up to $20 for every missed appointment after that within a three-year period.

In addition, there would be a mandatory $8 fee if a Medicaid recipient sought emergency-room care for a condition that was not an emergency.

Supporters argued that missed appointments was one of the significant reasons that some medical-care providers decide not to take Medicaid patients.

But Democrats argued against the bill.

"I understand that eight dollars or five dollars might be minor to somebody, but to many of my constituents, they don't have the five dollars to go out and buy groceries," said Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis County.

Joining Walsh in opposition was Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis County.

"You can either pay for an appointment that you weren't able to make it to, and deny your family a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk and two sticks of butter, or you can try to reschedule if you need to get to the doctor and not have to pay that amount so that you can take care of your family," Schupp said.

During the debate, Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, urged critics to come up a compromise.

"What I'm asking you to do is, if you don't like the language, come up with a compromise," Schaaf said. "How about instead of $5, make it $3."

Both Walsh and Schupp then introduced amendments to the bill that would allow patients to miss their first appointment without charge, and any missed appointments afterward would illicit a fee.

Also added onto the bill was a measure requiring greater financial disclosure by health-care providers.

The measure would require hospitals to report to the Health Department the costs of the 140 most common procedures.

In addition, a health care provider would have to provide a patient with an estimated cost of treatment within five days of a cost-estimate request.

Texting while driving would be banned and seat belts would be required under measures heard by the Missouri State Senate Transportation Committee.

Missouri law current prohibits texting only for those under 21 years of age.

The bills presented to the committee on Wednesday, Feb. 10 would extend the texting prohibition to all drivers.

Doug Horn, an Independence lawyer, said the bill would help protect passengers from becoming the victim of collisions caused by distracted drivers.

"Because of the volume of traffic, there's just more distracted drivers on the road," said Horn, who identified himself as a "crash" lawyer. "You can't trust the other driver to do the right thing anymore."

But one committee member said he was concerned about the ability to enforce the bill.

"I think it's something we'd all agree is appropriate, but how do we enforce it?" asked Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Franklin County. "The fact is I'm not looking for another reason for police or highway patrolmen to pull people over."

The seat-belt requirement bill would give police the right to stop and issue a ticket for a driver not wearing a seat belt. Currently, a ticket can be issued only if the driver had been stopped for some other driving violation.

In addition, the measure before the Senate committee would extend the seat-belt requirement to passengers in the vehicle.

Maureen Cunningham, the executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Missouri, said enforcement of seat-belt laws could prevent brain injuries and reduce collision fatalities.

"It's about safety," Cunningham said. "It's about safety for everyone on the road. If somebody chooses not to wear a seat belt let them get pulled over and get the fine that is already enacted."

But Schatz, said he was uncertain that the bill would encourage citizens to change their behavior.

"It comes down to personal responsibility," Schatz said. "You can't legislate common sense."

Tony Shepherd, legislative officer of Abate for Missouri, said he opposes the bill because it inconveniences truck drivers and gives the government power to regulate measures that do not necessarily guarantee driver safety.

"We keep hearing that seat belts will save your life," Shepherd said. "Seat belts will not save your life, they will help save your life."

In past years, giving police the power to stop a driver for suspicion of not wearing a seat belt has met opposition from some black legislators who voiced concerns it could be used as an excuse by police to stop black drivers.

The Missouri Supreme Court has held that a state constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2014 does not change state law that bans all convicted felons from possessing firearms.

The 2014 amendment defines the right to bear arms as an "unalienable" right.

But the amendment also provides that the firearms right does not prohibit the legislature from the power to restrict gun rights for "convicted violent felons."

Before the court was whether the constitutional language giving the legislature power to restrict the rights of violent felons meant the legislature could not restrict the firearms rights of other felons -- like financial cheats.

In two separate 5-2 decisions, the court held Tuesday, Feb. 9, that the constitutional amendment does not prohibit the legislature from banning non-dangerous felons from firearm possession.

The court's decision in the first case noted that the new provision in Missouri's Constitution does not explicitly preclude the legislature from restricting the rights of more than just violent felons.

"It would have been simple for the people to include language in Amendment 5 prohibiting the legislature from regulating possession of firearms by nonviolent felons," Judge Laura Stith wrote in the majority opinion.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Richard Teitelman drew a distinction between violent felons like rapists and murderers from non-violent criminals.

"I fail to see how restricting the constitutional rights of those who bet on horse races or divulge the names and addresses of donors to a state-established trust fund is narrowly tailored to the prevention of gun violence," he wrote.

The court's decision was a victory for the amendment's legislative sponsor who now is running for the GOP nomination for attorney general -- Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia. He had been attacked that his 2014 legislative proposal that went on the ballot would open the door to make it easier for criminals to get guns.

Consistently, Schaefer had argued that was not the intention of his proposal -- a position now upheld by the Missouri Supreme Court.

In a related case, the court also upheld a state law that bans a convicted felon from obtaining a concealed weapons permit.

The House Children and Families Committee heard two bills to increase adoptees access to their biological parents' information Tuesday, Feb. 9.

The increased access is crucial for adopted children to find their birth parents. Laura Long, an intermediary in efforts to reconnect the original parents with adoptees, argued that the bill still does not do enough to open up records for adoptees.

"They'll give you the redacted social history, but once the information is released they don't send out the information without the white-out. Adoptees could really use that, it's interesting."

The committee was told that the information some adoptees look for is difficult to attain due to the secretive nature of the adoption process. Anne Silea, with Lutheran Family and Children's services, said the nature of reconnection after adoption is complicated.

"A lot of women that we talk to now, when we're doing searches, are really taken-aback by the fact that [their name] might not be confidential anymore."

However, many biological parents look forward to meeting with their children. Annette Driver is one of those mothers.

"There's actually people here trying to tell you to keep a birth child away from their natural connection and it's not as bad as it seems. Most of these women do at least want to know that their child is OK."

Another bill gives birth parents the option to register a contact preference along with the child's original birth certificate.

Legislation to expand access to adoption records have been filed for many years, but have made little headway. Critics argue that if the original mother did not consent, disclosure of her name would be an invasion of privacy.

"The power to determine their own lives should be the right of adopted person, and they should be granted easy access to their original birth certificates without mandated consent," one birth parent, Judy Bock, told the committee in 2015 during testimony on an identical bill.

Critics also have warned that knowledge that it could cause parents to be more reluctant to put a child up for adoption if there was a possibility that years later a child could get information about the original parent.

A St. Louis Democrat urged Maryland Heights to deny a business partner of Stan Kroenke access to taxpayer dollars.

One of the business partners to the Rams football team has proposed a large development in the region.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D - St. Louis, introduced the resolution Monday after the Maryland Heights City Council had already begun the process for allowing tax credit to help aid in the redevelopment.

Nasheed said by moving the St. Louis Rams football team to California, Kroenke did direct economic harm to St. Louis, and neither he nor his business partner should be rewarded for that.

"If we're not good enough to have a football stadium here, he's not good enough to have tax credits on taxpayer dollars," Nasheed said.

However, Nasheed said she would not push legislation to prevent the town from awarding developer tax breaks to Kroenke or his partner.

"I'm a firm believer in home rules. I think Maryland Heights should decide on their own," Nasheed said. "I just wanted to be able to deliver a message and let them know that the state is outraged due to the fact that Stan Kroenke just disrespected the whole state of Missouri."

The chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee, Sen. Eric Schmitt, R - St. Louis County, said anytime taxpayer dollars are involved they have to be very conscious of how that money is spent.

Schmitt said he is more concerned with the overall economic picture than specific situations like the once facing Kroenke's partner.

"I think that our job as legislators is to look at the actual issue of TIF, and are there improvements that can be made, and we'll have that discussion I'm sure," Schmitt said.


A bill to extinguish the death penalty in Missouri brought on two hours of debate in the Senate, most of which happened after the bill was set aside by the sponsor.

The bill's sponsor -- Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Jefferson County -- began the Senate debate citing his religion as among the reasons for his measure. .

"The first reason is I'm a devout Catholic and I believe in the sanctity of life from the moment of conception until natural death," Wieland said. "And I find it inconsistent of me to be pro life on one end of the spectrum and then to allow the death penalty to go without saying anything about it."

For one hour, Wieland held the Senate floor questioning colleagues who supported repeal of the death penalty.

Wieland called upon his co-sponsors to speak on the bill. This included Senators Gina Walsh (D-St. Louis County), Rob Schaaf (R-St.Joseph) and Jill Schupp (D-St. Louis County).

"Sometime people are wrongly accused and wrongly prosecuted and wrongly sent to jail," said Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis County. "The other thing I don't think it's equitable across the board."

“I truly believe that, at the end of the day, it (the death penalty) doesn't deter crime," said Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis. "This is not a mechanism that will cause individuals to say 'I don't ever want to commit a murder again because I just saw Tony get the death penalty.' We still see murders occur each and every day while individuals are on death row."

Senator Jason Holsman (D-Kansas City) said he does not believe an authoritative state should be in control of life and death, but that there is not enough support for this bill in the Missouri legislature.

But after an hour of one-sided discussion, Wieland acknowledged that his bill would not pass in the Republican-controlled legislature and he promptly put the bill aside.

After allowing for the supporters of his bill to speak, Wieland set the bill aside knowing it would not gain enough support to pass.

"As Dirty Harry says, 'a man has got to know his limitations," Wieland said.

But that did not stop opponents. Even with the bill put aside, death-penalty supporters spent nearly a second hour voicing their side.

"The reality of it is, bad things happen and people have to be held accountable for it," said Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar and a former county sheriff.  "If there's anything we do need to do in our society today is make people accountable when things happen that are wrong."

Joining Parson against the bill was Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.

Schaefer attacked the bill supporters regarding their perspective on who the victim is in death penalty cases.

“So this idea that somehow the victim in this whole thing is the defendant. Who after this whole process was found guilty, and a jury determined that they warranted the death penalty. That that's the victim in this scenario, is outrageous," Schaefer said.