January 30, 2015

Nixon says could, doesn’t want to, go it alone on stadium bonds

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) says acting without the approval of the legislature to pay for a new NFL stadium in St. Louis is a possibility, but suggests it’s not the route he wants to take.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon smiles to the gallery before delivering the annual State of the State address at the state capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri on January 21, 2015.    Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon smiles to the gallery before delivering the annual State of the State address at the state capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri on January 21, 2015. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Republican lawmakers have expressed alarm this week at the Nixon Administration’s assessment that it could act without the legislature to extend the current bonds on the Rams’ stadium in St. Louis to pay at least part of the cost–as much as $350-million–of a new NFL stadium.

“Which I think is atrocious,” Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) told Missourinet.

Governor Nixon told reporters Thursday that is a possibility.

“That could be one of the options, but clearly those aren’t things you just do without remaining in contact with folks and working your way through those issues,” Nixon said.

Nixon said he wants to keep other elected officials involved, “not only folks at the state level but also local folks … It’s important that we protect taxpayers but that we do what we can to remain an NFL city. I look forward to working with a lot of policy makers at a lot of levels to have a unified approach.”

Nixon added, “This is going to require a team effort for us to be competitive.”

One Senate Republican has proposed a law to require legislative approval on a bond extension of more than 50-million dollars, while others are seeking the Attorney General’s interpretation of whether the administration could extend bonds without lawmakers.

The leader of the House’s Republican supermajority, Speaker John Diehl, Junior, (R-Town and Country) in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did not criticize the assessment that the administration could extend those bonds on its own. Diehl told the Dispatch it is a “hypothetical” scenario that didn’t merit a response.

Earlier story:  Lawmakers bristle at idea Missouri could spend on new stadium without them

Mike Alden stepping down as Athletic Director at Missouri. Press conference scheduled for Friday morning

Mike Alden (R) with Missourinet Sports Director Bill Pollock during this interview at Homecoming 2010.

Mike Alden (R) with Missourinet Sports Director Bill Pollock during at interview at Homecoming 2010.

Mike Alden, who has been the Director of Athletics at Missouri since 1998 is abruptly stepping down.  A staff meeting was held at the University this afternoon and Chancellor R Bowen Loftin released this statement through the athletic’s website.

However, Alden is not leaving the University of Missouri.  In a letter that was sent to staff members, Alden stated he will be a part of the College of Education as an instructor for the Positive Coaching Program and higher leadership courses.

His last day at A.D. will be August 31, 2015.

Statement from Chancellor Loftin:

“Over seventeen years of service to the University of Missouri, Mike has transformed our athletics program into one of the nation’s best, with world-class student-athletes, coaches, staff, facilities, affiliations and financial resources. He led our institution’s move to the Southeastern Conference and has been at the helm as our teams won multiple championships over the years. Though I am saddened that Mike will no longer be a member of our leadership team and leading our Department of Athletics, I am truly happy for him and Rockie as he embarks on a new challenge here at Mizzou. Mike will always be a part of our family.

We have already begun a national search for Mike’s successor and I am confident we will find a tremendous leader to carry us forward.”

Chancellor Loftin, Dean Daniel Clay and Mike Alden will be available to the media tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. in the Great Room in the Reynolds Alumni Center. Missouri students, faculty and supporters are welcome to attend.

Below is a copy of the letter that Alden sent to staff

Alden letter

Schweich talks candidacy for Missouri governor (VIDEO)

The day after formally announcing he is running for Missouri governor in the 2016 general election, Auditor Tom Schweich is touring the state talking about his campaign.

Schweich’s announcement sets up a Republican primary between himself and former Missouri House Speaker and U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway.

In Jefferson City Schweich fielded questions about who is backing his campaign and whether he is concerned the race between himself and Hanaway will leave the party split.

Earlier story: Schweich enters 2016 race for Missouri governor

After dramatic buildup Senate rejects raise for legislators, elected officials

Under the threat of a rare motion that could have angered some senators, the state senate has rejected a raise for lawmakers and elected officials.

The Missouri State Senate Chamber (courtesy; Missouri Senate)

The Missouri State Senate Chamber (courtesy; Missouri Senate)

Two senators, Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City) and Jason Holsman (D-Kansas City), appeared ready on Wednesday to fight for that raise to go through. They were part of a more than hour-long discussion Wednesday in what most considered a filibuster, though Holsman said it was simply a discussion.

The legislature had only until Sunday to approve the resolution to reject the pay raise. With lawmakers going home for the weekend Thursday afternoon, if a filibuster had prevented a vote on Thursday the resolution would have failed and the pay raise would have gone into effect.

Senate Republicans said state legislators and elected officials should not get a raise while state employees are among the lowest paid in the nation. They felt strongly enough on that point that they were prepared to call the previous question: a rare motion that would force an end to debate and a vote. Forcing a senator to stop speaking can lead to an adversarial tone in a chamber that emphasizes equality among members and allowing them all to be heard.

Senators Chappelle-Nadal and Holsman spoke on Thursday to say they were letting the resolution go to a vote. It passed 31-3, meaning the pay raise was rejected.

Governor Nixon’s involvement spurs Missouri transfer law discussion

More has been revealed during a state committee hearing about what Governor Jay Nixon (D) says he would accept in a change to Missouri’s student transfer law.

Senator David Pearce (Courtesy, Missouri Senate)

Senator David Pearce (Courtesy, Missouri Senate)

Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) said the governor has shown a willingness to work with the legislature on the transfer issue, but he still doesn’t want anything that would allow public tax dollars to go to private schools, as the bill he vetoed last year would have done.

“If we took that out and we also took out some provisions that he felt did not help for transportation, then he would entertain the possibility of an expansion of charter schools and virtual schools,” Pearce told Missourinet.

Pearce’s committee is faced with combining four transfer proposals into one bill. One of those proposals comes from Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City), who has included a so-called “private option,” and has been adamant in her support of it, but she said what Nixon has offered could present an acceptable arrangement.

“The difference between this year and last year is the governor is offering options, and right now, having an open enrollment provision for charter schools that are qualified … I think provides more choice for students than the local private option, even thought I still like the local private option.”

Pearce said a proposal might be voted out of committee next week.