Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts published in June, 2015

Companies say they can’t find skilled workers. Turns out unions are pretty good at providing them.  By Lydia DePillis June 29 at 1:32 PM

This article includes: “…a quick history lesson. The declining relevance of unions in workforce development has several causes, other than the decline of the labor movement itself, and it starts in the 1930s.”

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It’s a challenge for the involved American citizen to find out what’s what!

Two 2014 studies by Sunlight Foundation, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses the tools of civic tech, open data, policy analysis and journalism to make our government and politics more accountable and transparent to all, show the influence of money on politics and government:
Fixed Fortunes: Biggest corporate political interests spend billions, get trillions by Bill Allison and Sarah Harkins Nov. 17, 2014, 9:26 a.m.
and
 Look who’s benefiting from Citizens United: Unions wrote more big checks than corporations in 2013 by Jacob Fenton Feb. 6, 2014, 2:58 p.m.
One shocking finding from the corporations study is: “After examining 14 million records, including data on campaign contributions, lobbying expenditures, federal budget allocations and spending, we found that, on average, for every dollar spent on influencing politics, the nation’s most politically active corporations received $760 from the government.”
To sift out some ‘truth’ from any of this, see also:
NPR: Top Spenders On Capitol Hill Pay Billions, Receive Trillions November 17, 2014 3:48 AM ET
AlterNet: Sweet Deal: Corporations Get $760 from the Government for Every Dollar They Spend on Elections – Is this the corruption the Supreme Court said would not occur because of the Citizens United decision? By Alex Ellefson / AlterNet  December 8, 2014
Washington Post: How unions trumped corporations in big donations, in one chart By Sean Sullivan February 7, 2014

For general information about Campaign Finance, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_finance

Happy Hunting!

from Education Votes
Koch Brothers vs. the GOP: A fight for control
by Brian Washington
New reports suggest that things are getting ugly between the Republican Party and the Koch Brothers, the billionaire siblings who serve as two of the biggest threats to quality public education.
It appears key members of the GOP, who have often sought the Koch Brothers’ support, now see the infamous duo as a threat to the party’s political power.
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, the two groups have had some heated exchanges–going back and forth over whether GOP candidates will use the party’s voter information file or a new system created by the Kochs’ political operation.
Since then, relations between the two sides have soured, turning into what one Republican operative described as “all-out war.” Interviews with more than three dozen people, including top decision-makers in both camps, have revealed that the Kochs’ i360 platform for managing voter contacts — which is viewed by many as a superior, easier-to-use interface than what’s on offer from the RNC — is becoming increasingly popular among Republican campaigns.
The RNC is now openly arguing, however, that the Kochs’ political operation is trying to control the Republican Party’s master voter file, and to gain influence over — some even say control of — the GOP.
“I think it’s very dangerous and wrong to allow a group of very strong, well-financed individuals who have no accountability to anyone to have control over who gets access to the data when, why and how,” said Katie Walsh, the RNC’s chief of staff.
Click here to read more about the tug-of-war between the Kochs and the GOP in the Washington Post.

MNEA Special Legislative Update – June 26, 2015
By Otto Fajen   MNEA Legislative Director
This message is coming to you from the Missouri NEA Legislative Update listserv (mo-nea-legis-update@list.nea.org).

GOVERNOR VETOES STUDENT TRANSFER, VIRTUAL AND CHARTER EXPANSION BILL
Governor Jay Nixon announced on June 26 that he will veto CCS/SCS/HCS/HB 42.  The veto was scheduled to be publicized at events in schools in Springfield and Ritenour school districts.
The Association opposes the final version of HB 42 and appreciates the action of the Governor to veto this harmful legislation.  MNEA urges legislators to vote in opposition to the bill and sustain the veto, should the bill be brought up for an override attempt in the Veto Session this September.
The legislature has again missed the opportunity to directly address the adverse financial impact caused by the state’s accreditation policy and State Board intervention in conjunction with the student transfer law on districts such as Riverview Gardens and Normandy.
The State Board and the legislature must correct this failing state policy: lack of support and ineffective state interference in local schools.  Failing to do so will consign other districts to suffer similar financial and educational harm if designated as unaccredited.
Unfortunately, HB 42 does little to improve the educational outcomes in struggling school districts and communities.  The bill doesn’t fully address the student transfer issue.  Instead, it undermines local control of schools across the state and enacts an expansion of charter and private virtual schools which is largely unrelated to student transfers and serves to divert public funds for the profit of private or quasi-private schools.
Stay tuned for further updates on opportunities to support the Association’s efforts to sustain the Governor’s veto of HB 42.  The Association will need members to contact and meet with legislators to remind them of the many concerns with HB 42 and ensure that it does not become law.

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About this veto in the News from progressmissouri.org
NIXON VETOES TRANSFER BILL. Governor Nixon said earlier today that he is vetoing this year’s school transfer bill because it doesn’t solve the problems of unaccredited school districts and creates new difficulties for public education in Missouri.
•    Post-Dispatch: Nixon vetoes school transfers bill
•    KWMU: Nixon vetoes school bill, saying it doesn’t solve transfer problems
•    KC Star: Gov. Jay Nixon vetoes Missouri student transfer bill, blocking charter
•    KMBC: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to veto school transfer bill
•    KMOX: Nixon Vetoes Student Transfers Bill, Some St. Louis-Area Legislators frustrated
•    KC Business Journal: Report: Nixon will veto school transfer bill

BOTH A COMMISSION WORKING SESSION AND A REGULAR MEETING

from the County’s website: http://franklincountymo.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx

you can download the agenda and agenda packet for this working session – they show that the ONLY agenda item is: “Proposed Amendments to Articles 2 and 10 of the 2001 Franklin County Unified Land Use Regulations”

Related to the Working Session, LEO, Labadie Environmental Organization, has posted this on their Facebook page:

FRANKLIN COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO *DISCUSS* CHANGES TO FRANKLIN COUNTY UTILITY WASTE LANDFILL REGULATIONS THAT REMOVE PROTECTIONS FOR THE PUBLIC:

DATE: JUNE 29th – MONDAY
PLACE: Franklin County Government Center, 400 E Locust, downtown Union MO
TIME: 2:00 P.M.

Be a witness to the discussion. Show Commission they promised us protections to get the landfill deal done and now are changing the regulations to give up local authority.

PowerToPeople

GIVE
from Representative Deb Lavender’s Bi-Monthly Newsletter
June 25, 2015    Year 1 Newsletter 11
Bills Signed by Governor Nixon
House Bill 514:  provides tax breaks for a redevelopment project in Fenton. The bill allows for designated tax increment financing for the former Chrysler plant in Fenton that closed in 2007. The site will be developed as a business park with an emphasis on light manufacturing. The redevelopment is expected to help create up to 1,500 jobs within the first two years while adding as many as 2,000 additional jobs over time.  Even though this bill diverts up to $12 million a year from general revenue, the jobs created more than make up for the tax incentive offered to developers.

TAKE
St. Louis’ minimum wage hike potentially dead after aldermanic surprise

The city’s drive to raise the minimum wage within its limits may have been dealt a death blow Friday.

Sidebar: Some board members were racing to pass the bill before Aug. 28, when a state law could kick in forbidding the city from taking such an action.

Boost Basic Skills to Add $28 Trillion to U.S. Economy, Study Says
By Michele Molnar on June 24, 2015 10:56 AM

Better basic skills would translate into higher lifetime earnings for the students, according to Eric Hanushek, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, and Ludger Woessmann, an economics professor at the University of Munich, in Germany. In fact, educating all U.S. students to reach the minimum level eventually would add $28 trillion in additional income over 80 years to the country’s economy, they calculated.

from the online Post-Dispatch

Supreme Court sides with Obama in health law case

1 hour ago  •  By Jordan Shapiro
UPDATED at 9:42 a.m.
In a sweeping victory for President Barack Obama’s administration, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a key tenet of his signature health law.
The decision could be the last significant legal hurdle that the president’s top domestic accomplishment faces.
The court ruled 6-3 that government subsidies to offset the cost of health insurance are available to consumers across the country, regardless of whether they bought coverage on the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, or a state-based website.
Residents in Missouri, Illinois and nearly three dozen other states all use HealthCare.gov to purchase individual health insurance policies.
At stake were subsidies, and likely insurance coverage, for more than 6 million Americans, including 200,000 Missourians and 230,000 Illinoisans.
The plaintiffs in the case argued that subsidies were only available to consumers who lived in the 14 states that established their own web-based insurance exchanges. The administration countered that all consumers could draw down a federal subsidy to buy insurance.

“Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result Congress plainly meant to avoid,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court’s majority.
The law says tax credits are available to consumers who bought coverage on an exchange “established by the state.” But the law also provides that the federal government shall operate “such exchange” in a state that opted not to create their own.
In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the plain language of the Affordable Care Act clearly restricted subsidies to consumers who purchased coverage on a state exchange.
“Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved,” Scalia wrote, adding the law should be called “SCOTUScare.”
Advocates and administration officials had embarked on a public relations campaign for weeks highlighting the importance of subsidies to the law’s overall goal of making health insurance more affordable.
They were coy on any contingency plans if the subsidies were struck down, but they did forecast a grim picture if the court sided against the administration. Those receiving subsidies would have no longer been able to afford coverage and premiums would have risen dramatically for everyone else. That potential fallout appeared to influence the high court.
“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not destroy them,” Roberts wrote.
St. Louis resident Katie Norvell, a 35-year-old music therapist, was one of those who risked losing their insurance coverage. She receives about $100 a month to subsidize her health plan.
“It would just be really difficult for me to afford my insurance,” she said about losing her subsidy.
Experts and analysts say Thursday’s ruling could mark the last significant legal hurdle to Obama’s health law. It previously survived a 2012 Supreme Court case challenging the law’s mandate that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Roberts also wrote the court’s opinion in that case.

JOBS – Fast Track Bill has passed both houses…

from Wednesday’s online Post-Dispatch:
Congress gives Obama ‘fast track’ power for Pacific trade deal
The measure to strengthen Obama’s hand in global trade talks cleared the Senate on a vote of 60-38, and will go to the White House for his signature — less than two weeks after it was temporarily derailed in the House in an uprising of Democratic lawmakers.

Use the “Search here…” field in the upper right side of this page’s banner to see the 10 or so articles warning of the issues involved in this legislation.
SearchField

EDUCATION – ESEA – Senate announced Wednesday it will begin debate of ESEA following the Fourth of July recess.

from Wednesday’s online neaToday
A day after 10 national education groups held a joint press conference near Capitol Hill urging Congress to act on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Senate announced Wednesday it will begin debate of ESEA following the Fourth of July recess.

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