Missouri News Roundup 12-04-2008

Here’s a brief roundup of some of the happenings in Missouri.

Republican State Representative Vicki Schneider (R-O’Fallon) is seeking a recount after her loss in last month’s election.

The O’Fallon Republican was unseated by Democrat Kenny Biermann, a member of the Orchard Farm School Board.

Biermann netted 50.2 percent of the roughly 22,000 votes cast. Because Schneider lost by less than one percent, she is, under state law, entitled to request a recount, which she did earlier today.

Democrat Joan Barry has also requested a recount in her race.

Democrat Joan Barry is seeking a recount in her razor-thin loss to Republican Jim Lembke for the State Senate representing south St. Louis city and county.

Barry lost the contest by just 76 votes out of 88,362 cast — a difference of just fractions of a percent. Under state law, candidates who lose by less than one percent are untitled to a recount.

With both of those recounts filed, I found the following news release from the Missouri GOP amusing.

Barry Recount to Cost Thousands

JEFFERSON CITY – Democrat Joan Barry formally requested a recount today in her failed bid for the First Senatorial District. What does this mean to taxpayers? Wasted money, time and effort by public employees.

“The people of the First Senatorial District have spoken and it is unfortunate that Barry cannot accept defeat,” said Tina Hervey, communications director for the Missouri Republican Party. “President-elect Obama has not requested a recount and has indicated that he will not even though he was entitled to do so because he understood that the outcome would not change and that thousands of dollars and taxpayer resources would be wasted. It is sad that Joan Barry is not following his example.”

Jim Lembke won the election in a close contest. Experts have said that there is no chance this recount will change the outcome of the election.

Heh.  Note to the Missouri GOP: This kind of hypocrisy does not go unnoticed.

Governor-Elect Jay Nixon has outlined his plan to help stem the looming budget shortfall.

The initial steps Nixon announced Wednesday are aimed at gathering data. They include:

— Reviewing all tax credits to see whether they are producing jobs.

— Analyzing all capital projects that have not broken ground and getting status reports on those that are under way.

— Requiring all state agencies to submit plans to reduce their expenditures before June 30.

— Ordering performance reviews of every major state program to see whether some could be consolidated.

— Freezing all new long-term state contracts.

A couple of thoughts:

  1. This list sounds exactly like something I would expect from the Republican Party.  Why did they let Nixon beat them to the punch?
  2. Can we get this kind of critical look at the budget when things are good too?

Rumors are flying that a memeber of Presedent-Elect Obama’s Missouri Truth Squad will be tapped to be the St. Louis area’s U.S. Attorney.

Tongues are wagging with speculation over who may be named to replace U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway in the wake of President-elect Barack Obama‘s victory. Big-name party officials — in this case, Sen. Claire McCaskill — traditionally get to make the call when someone from their party gets elected. Sources close to McCaskill say she is ringing the endorsement bell for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch. The two have been pals since McCaskill was the top prosecutor for Jackson County.

Governor Blunt’s former Chief of Staff Ed Martin has launched a group that seeks to expand term limits to all state wide offices.  The group is called Term Limits for Missouri.  The issued a press release.

Today, a new Missouri organization promoting term limits has filed paperwork with the Missouri Secretary of State that would place term limits on all statewide offices in Missouri state government.  Under the Term Limits for Missouri initiative, all statewide offices would be limited to serving a total of eight years or two terms.

Currently, only the Governor and Treasurer are limited to a total of eight years: two terms of four years.  All state legislators are likewise limited to eight years: four terms of two years for the House, two terms of four years for Senate.  Auditor, Attorney General, Lt. Governor, and  other statewide officials may serve without limit.  The most recent example of statewide elected office extending for far longer than eight years is Attorney General Jay Nixon who served for 16 years as attorney general.

“Missourians have been clear: they want their elected officials to serve a limited time in office.” said Term Limits for Missouri President Ed Martin.  “Missourians recognize that too much time in office leads to complacency and, too often, to corruption.  Term limits guarantee that new citizens will serve in every elected position of state government at least every eight years.  It’s better for democracy to have citizen elected officials not bureaucrats who stay in office for decades.”

Term Limits for Missouri calls upon the legislature to put this issue on the ballot. If they will not, Term Limits for Missouri will spend the time gathering signatures to put the issue on the ballot in 2010.

Anyone else in Missouri, please feel free to add any other stories of interest.