The TorchCast: CEI’s Trey Kovacs Discusses Taxpayer Subsidies to Unions and Transparency Fails in Missouri (Video)

Here is Trey’s report:

March 30th, 2015|Categories: The Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

What Would Speaker Newman Do?

It wasn’t that long ago that Republicans were in a deep minority in Missouri. Lt. Gov. Kinder spoke about it on Friday at the St. Charles County Lincoln Days.

Eventually, the Democrats will control the House and Senate again. It’s inevitable.

So a question Republican legislators need to be asking themselves as they debate bills is: What would Rep. Stacey Newman do with this if she were Speaker of the House?

For example, right now they are debating the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in the Senate. Say it passes and the state of Missouri established a database listing what meds everyone in the state is taking.

What would Speaker Newman do?

Would she take that list of people and cross reference it with the concealed carry database, compiling a list of everyone who is taking a med and has a CCW permit? Would she then take that list and try to pass a law that would mandate the people on that list surrender their permits? Or even worse, make a list that would mandate confiscation if a citizen is on a specific medicine?

Do you really think that is that far fetched? I mean, she brought a stuffed uterus on the House floor during a debate on an abortion bill. She’s as radical as they get, and in Missouri, there’s no bigger opponent to the Second Amendment than her.

You know this is something that could happen.

It might not be her.

It could be someone else. Someone more, dare I say it…extreme.

What would they do?

But for now, legislators need to consider this prior to casting their vote:


Not just on PDMP, but on any new program.

It can’t be abused if it isn’t passed into law.

If it is passed into law, it’s only a matter of time.

March 30th, 2015|Categories: The Blog|Tags: |1 Comment

“Claim It” Activity Leaves Fulton Students Upset Over Intimate Questions, But There’s Another Problem No One’s Talking About


Imagine being a grade school student.

Now imagine being made to stand in a line with your peers. You’re told that a series of statements are going to be read and if it applies to you, you’re to step forward and “claim it.”

Then the teacher starts reading.

At first, it’s stuff like “You play a sport for an organized team” or “You have one or more siblings.”

You’re more comfortable now. These aren’t so bad.

And then the teacher says, “You worry or have worried about how your family will pay the bills.”

Whoa. That’s rough. You see some of your peers reluctantly step forward and “claim it.”

The statements continue.

“You have low self confidence or esteem.”

“You have ever been physically abused by someone who said they love you.”

“You or someone in your family has been raped or sexually molested.”

“You need a hug.”

These are a few of the questions the students at Fulton Public School middle school physical education class were subjected to. It left some of the students in a state of distress:

April Bilyeu, whose daughter is a sixth-grade student, said the incident has caused stress in her home since Friday. Her daughter has had crying spells throughout the past few days, and expressed that she didn’t want to return to school. She said her daughter was upset for her friends who stepped forward when teachers read more sensitive statements.

Bilyeu said her daughter told her that teachers asked the students not to talk about the activity outside of class.

Now that’s especially troubling.

“You know you’re doing something wrong when you ask them not to discuss (the activity) outside of class,” Bilyeu said.

When Bilyeu’s daughter came home on Friday and talked about the activity, Bilyeu said she was in disbelief, thinking it was a misunderstanding.

“There’s no way the teachers would ask you that. They can’t ask you that,” Bilyeu said she told her daughter.

Pam Hendrix also has a sixth-grade daughter who came home worried over “Claim It.” She said her daughter told her that some students broke down crying during the activity and several went to the counselor’s office afterward.

“It’s more upsetting for (my daughter) because she saw some of her friends put in situations she didn’t want to see,” Hendrix said.

According to Fulton Public Schools, “Claim It encourages us to claim all of the many parts of our identities while also observing and respecting the many parts of the identities of others.”

Parents are upset because it was inappropriate or upsetting to their children.

Let me tell you the first thing I thought of when I read those questions. After working with adjudicated sex offenders for years, my first thought was “That’s exactly how a predator would choose a new student to start grooming.”

Think about those questions in the hands of a sexual predator with some authority over children.

It would allow them to identify who in the new class is the most vulnerable. Now consider this: what if there’s a predator in the class? It doesn’t have to be a staff. It could be a student looking for a new victim.

How incredibly irresponsible of this school to do something like this.

And they’ve been putting kids through this for years:

Cowherd said the activity has been used for the past 7-8 years, but he was unaware. He said it is unusual for upper-level administrators to be cognizant of all of the day-to-day activities within each school.

“If there were any complaints (in the past), they did not get to my level,” Cowherd said.

“Claim It,” he said, will never be used by FPS again.

Not only that, but I’d consider looking into the conduct of the teachers who proctored this exercise all these years and their relationships with the students most vulnerable for exploitation.

That activity is a sexual predator’s best friend.

See for yourself:

Claim It Description

Photo Credit: U.S. Army/Flickr
March 30th, 2015|Categories: The Blog|Tags: |2 Comments

Police: Spence Jackson Likely Shot Self with .357 Magnum, Left Note

A press conference was held today regarding the apparent suicide of Spence Jackson, who was the spokesman for Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich. Schweich shot himself last month. Jackson’s body was found last night.

March 30th, 2015|Categories: The Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

The Show-Me Report: March 30. 2015

Post-Dispatch: Spence Jackson, spokesman for the late Tom Schweich, found dead

PoliticMO: Following the suicide of his boss, Tom Schweich, spokesman takes own life

Missourinet: Tom Schweich spokesman Spence Jackson found dead

The Missouri Times: Spence Jackson, former Schweich staffer, found dead

Fox 2: Tom Schweich spokesperson Spence Jackson found dead

KPLR: Tom Schweich spokesperson Spence Jackson found dead

St. Joseph Post: Spokesman for late State Auditor found dead of apparent suicide

Kansas City Star: TheChat: Catherine Hanaway heads back to the campaign trail

St. Louis Public Radio: Nixon’s choice: Examining the possibilities for Missouri’s next state auditor

Forward: Jewish Navy SEAL Vet Jumps into Missouri Governor’s Race

Fox 2: Hancock and Kelley: 2016 Presidential Race, conflict of Interest in the MO AG’s office, and more

Kansas City Business Journal: Missouri sheds workers as better-paying jobs open up

Post-Dispatch: As the economy improves, more Missouri state workers are leaving

Ozark Area Network: Sen. McCaskill to visit Missouri seniors in state tour

Southeast Missourian: Missouri Gov. Nixon doesn’t use public email address, text or any electronic communication

Bookriot: Missouri’s governor, Jay Nixon, wants to cut budget for libraries from $6.6 Million to $724,000

KTLA: Video Captures Violent Attack on St. Louis Train That Began After Michael Brown Question

Fox 2: Police running down tips in MetroLink attack

The Missourian: Missouri organic farmers eligible for reimbursement

News-Tribune: Bills would ban gender neutral housing, unisex bathrooms

The Missourian: A look at where bills stand at the midway point of the 2015 Missouri legislature

The Missourian: Missouri Republican Party deals with split at legislature’s midpoint

Post-Dispatch: Ferguson-related bills slow to move through Missouri Legislature

Kansas City Star: Missouri bill would allow growlers in gas stations, grocers

March 30th, 2015|Categories: The Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

Schweich Spokesman Spence Jackson Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

5518da349f449.image_According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other sources, the spokesman for late Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich was found dead in his apartment yesterday:

Veteran Missouri state official Spence Jackson, who was media director for the late state auditor Tom Schweich, was found dead Sunday, sources said. He was 44.

A source told the Post-Dispatch his death was being investigated as a suicide.

Jackson’s death comes about a month after Schweich’s suicide. Amid the subsequent turmoil in the state’s Republican Party, Jackson emerged as a strong critic of Schweich’s political adversaries, to the point of calling for the resignation of a top party official.

Look for an official statement this morning.

March 30th, 2015|Categories: The Blog|Tags: , |0 Comments

Missouri Taxpayers Paying Union Members to Lobby Jefferson City Against Right to Work, Paycheck Protection


Missouri state agencies often give “release time” to unions as part of their collective bargaining agreement. Release time allows for public employees to be paid by Missouri taxpayers while working for their unions, doing things like lobbying state legislators in opposition to laws like Right to Work and Paycheck Protection.

How much taxpayer money is spent paying public sector union members to do this?

After reaching out to multiple “state agencies, city governments and public schools throughout Missouri,” Trey Kovacs of the Competitive Enterprise Institute concluded that no one knows, but the cost is in the tens of thousands.

The problem is a matter of transparency and record keeping. Kovacs said Missouri’s lack of transparency is “disturbing and startling.”

“For instance, the Department of Corrections first just told me ‘Oh, these records are closed to the public,'” Kovacs said. “Then I informed them that several other Missouri government employers said me they were public and gave me the data. So then they came back and said, ‘Oh, well, we’ll make them available to you, but for a fee.'”

Kovacs said he was expecting something like $25. He was in for a shock.

“They said it would cost around $25,000 to produce the records and over 1,000 hours of mantime,” Kovacs said. He was stunned.

“I’ve been doing public records requests at the state level for a while in a number of states and before I came to Missouri, I think the highest fee I was ever charged was in Maryland and it was $100. So when they came back to me with $25,000 or so, I was absolutely shocked,” Kovacs said. “And especially claiming it would take over 1,000 hours to compile simple data of where government employee was and what they were doing, you’d think that would be easy data to acquire.”

It isn’t, because the Department of Corrections is recording this time through handwritten slips of paper.

But at least they are recording it.

According to what Kovacs reported in his article at CEI’s “On Point,” many agencies keep no records:

The Grandview School District’s Custodian of Records response sums up this lack of proper record keeping. Not only did the Custodian of Records inform us that release time records are closed under the state’s Open Records Act, but that “the District does not maintain or possess any records responsive to this request. I am not aware of which agency, if any, that maintains records responsive to your request.”

In Kansas City, the Office of the City Manager responded that its legal department came to the decision that records related to a specific employee activity are closed under the Open Records Act. Further, city officials said they do not keep records pertaining to CEI’s request and “would not be able to state how many overall hours of union leave has been granted to employees.”

The City of Springfield records manager said the city could not fulfill CEI’s release time records request because the majority of union activity during work time is governed by informal practices throughout the city and is not tracked separately.”

The City of St. Charles’s Deputy City Clerk told Kovacs that the Police and Public Works Departments don’t track release time separately and “have not been recording union business on daily schedules, therefore they have no records or names for unions business.”

While Parkway School District gave an incomplete response, what information they gave might surprise Missouri taxpayers.

“What we found at the Parkway School District, they were paying around $25,000 towards the union president’s salary, who only works for the union and never does any public work,” Kovacs said.

You read that right. Over a three year period, the Parkway School District paid nearly $100,000 of the president of the Parkway National Education Association’s salary, and not one minute of work was done for the school. The president works solely for the union.

While Gov. Nixon is traveling the state, scaring anyone who will listen that tax cuts will hurt school funding, schools are paying unions bosses tens of thousands of dollars for absolutely no work for the school districts.

And then there’s the month Parkway gave union members to go to Jefferson City and lobby.

Well, at least a month.

“Also at the Parkway School District, they gave at least 31 days to public employees to engage in lobbying events at the capitol, where they lobbied against Right to Work and Paycheck Protection legislation that would reduce union political clout,” Kovacs reported.

In essence, Missouri taxpayers are paying union activists to go to the state capitol to argue against legislation unions feel would hurt them.

And the amount isn’t even being tracked.

But it can be stopped.

Missouri’s constitution contains several provisions known as gift clauses that prohibit the state and local governments from granting public money or a thing of value to associations and corporations.

The state constitution prohibits any public expenditure to private entities “without regard to the purpose of the grant or loan. A proviso has been judicially grafted onto this and similar sections, however, which permits grants of public money to private entities if the grant is for a public purpose.”

The judicial rule created by Missouri courts to determine the validity of public expenditures is known as the “primary effect” test:

If the primary object of a public expenditure is to subserve a public municipal purpose, the expenditure is legal, notwithstanding it also involves as an incident an expense, which, standing alone, would not be lawful. But if the primary object is not to subserve a public municipal purpose, but to promote some private end, the expense is illegal, even though it may incidentally serve some public purpose.

Under the primary effect test, the primary object of the public expenditure must be to promote a public purpose and a private entity may benefit from it only incidentally.

Release time is at conflict with the primary effect test. Government unions are the primary beneficiaries of release time and they use it to promote their own ends, not a public purpose. Only government unions benefit from lobbying legislators, attending union conferences, or any other activity performed on release time.

This is what led to the practice being declared unConstitutional in Arizona.

The staggering lack of accountability and transparency in the amount of taxpayer money given to union business in reason enough to consider doing the same here in Missouri, especially when you consider the constant wailing from the school lobby regarding the need for more funding.

Here’s the entire report from CEI:

Look for a new TorchCast with Trey Kovacs later today.


You can watch my interview with Trey here.

March 30th, 2015|Categories: The Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

The Show-Me Report: March 28, 2015

The Missouri Times: What did they do? How Missouri lawmakers spent the first half of the session

Missourinet: Missouri GOP Chairman says ‘whispering campaign’ disproven, ‘tired of talking about’ controversy after Schweich death

Show-Me Daily: Is School Consolidation an Issue of Local Control?

Fox 4: Uber drivers and riders stand together to oppose city ordinance

News-Tribune: Settlement reached in suit filed by Ferguson protesters

Fox 4: KCMO passes budget, but police say more money needed for force to keep up with expenses

The Eagle: Survey angers Fulton parents; school will investigate

Daily Signal: Scott Walker Lands Former Senator as National Security Expert for 2016 Race (Jim Talent Sighting)

Missouri Business Alert: Nixon: No deals, but ‘productive meetings’ so far in Europe

March 27th, 2015|Categories: The Blog, The Show-Me Report|Tags: |0 Comments

The Show-Me Report: March 26, 2015

Fox 2: Missouri school “survey” makes students uncomfortable

Missourinet: Nixon-led Missouri trade mission to Europe enters last leg

The Missouri Times: Medicaid Expansion advocates look to put local pressure on lawmakers

Ozark Area Network: McCaskill slams GOP on Medicaid expansion during Alzheimer’s hearing

St. Joseph Post: St. Joseph makes Nixon report on productive meetings with global companies in Europe

Fox 2: Missouri Attorney General wins judgment against predatory lender

Joplin: Politically Speaking: Missouri GOP Chairman Hancock defends his reputation …

Kansas City Star: TheChat: Mike Parson again laments Missouri’s political culture

Review Journal: Ferguson interim police chief fed up with how protesters treat officers

KBIA: Suspect in Ferguson Police Shootings Now Claiming Innocence

Post-Dispatch: KSDK silent on newsroom aide who helmed Ferguson marches

Post-Dispatch: Ferguson Commission asks public for ideas to promote racial reconciliation

News-Tribune: Tale of 2 Ferguson deaths: 1 well known, 1 anonymous

KSHB: Kansas City working on balancing budget

Ozark Area Network: Ferguson City Council appoints interim city manager

Fox 4: Chat with the Chief: Police Chief Daryl Forte talks about preventing civil unrest

Bloomberg: Cleaver Says Failure to Confirm Loretta Lynch Would Show Racism Persists

Connect Mid-Missouri: MoDOT revs up for I-70 construction

Kansas City Business Network: Local engineer touts alternative to I-70 toll road: A smart highway

Kansas City Business News: Uber may give up on Kansas City

Show-Me Daily: Restoring Accountability and Transparency—Four Quick Points on SB 549

Ozark Area Network: Missouri Republicans split on possible expert witness change

Blogodidact: The Breakfast Club 30 years ago, tomorrow the HB1490 Workgroup club. The world’s an imperfect place.

Fox 2: Student sues St. Louis school district over online classes

March 26th, 2015|Categories: The Blog, The Show-Me Report|Tags: |0 Comments

The Paradigm Shift: Medicaid Expansion Isn’t Moral, It’s Theft (Video)

I’m Duane Lester and this is the Paradigm Shift.

Medicaid expansion is a moral issue.

That’s what a sign I saw in the Missouri State Capitol said as it was held aloft by the loud, self-righteous shuffling masses being directed around the building by their orange vested union handlers.

How obscene.

Here’s the Paradigm Shift.

Medicaid is, at its root, immoral.

Now I know there are some of you out there who just clutched your pearls and gasped at what I said, but it’s true.

Think of it this way: Would it be moral for you to demand from me that I surrender my money so that you could give it to someone else to pay for their medical needs? Not ask for a donation, but point a gun at me and demand that I cough up a portion of my property?

Of course that isn’t moral. That’s called armed robbery.

So why is it suddenly moral when we vote to have someone else point the gun at us? Why is it moral for a law enforcement officer, at the direction of an IRS agent, to use force against me if I choose not to participate?

It seems to be upside down. Up is down. Bad is good. Theft is moral.

And that’s all Medicaid is at it’s foundation. Sanctioned theft.

Medicaid is nothing more than the government using force to take from one person, launder it through the federal bureaucracy, pass what’s left to the state government so they can launder it, until finally a portion is doled out to those who can’t afford to pay for their own health care.

It is the forced redistribution of wealth, not only to the poor, but to the permanent government, the bureaucracy.
You know, the folks who lose your paperwork and forget you’re even alive.

But Medicaid is compassionate, we’re told.

That’s a lie.

First of all, there’s no compassion at the point of a gun, and I’ve already made it clear that’s how Medicaid is funded. People aren’t “donating” to it. They are being plundered. You can’t be compassionate if you’re not given a choice.

Second, where is the compassion is a program that offers treatment, adding millions to the rolls, but can’t deliver because government intervention in medicine is creating doctor shortages across the country, especially where Medicaid patients are concerned? There’s no compassion in putting someone on a waiting list.

And third, Medicaid increases the cost of healthcare for everyone else. I’m not talking about the fact that we have to pay for our own health insurance, along with our own co-pays while at the same time paying taxes to fund Medicaid. I mean Medicaid causes my bill from the doctor to be bigger. This is because Medicaid payments are less than the cost of treatment, so what’s left over gets shifted to patients with private insurance.

How is that compassionate?

The idea that expanding Medicaid is moral is nothing but propaganda designed to make opponents look like heartless ghouls. It’s how the left operates.

They go for the heart.

Fine, I’ll play that game.

Causing the innovative, highly trained and effective health care system in the world to become a third rate shadow of its former self is heartless.

Turning the health care system my children will someday turn into an Americanized version of a dirty, roach-filled third world clinic isn’t compassionate. It’s cruel.

It’s not like we can’t see the difference between what America has done with medicine and what other, more socialist countries have done.

If you think I’m wrong, tell me a few of the medical innovations coming out of Cuba. That’s the Michael Moore gold standard. Where are the medical tourists flocking to get the latest, cutting edge procedures done in that medical utopia?

You want a good health care system that offers the most innovative procedures done by the most skilled doctors at the lowest price? The path to that system lies in capitalism, not in government.

That path is moral and compassionate, because it offers choice, charity and the best result for everyone involved.

That’s the Paradigm Shift. I’m Duane Lester.

March 25th, 2015|Categories: The Blog|Tags: , |22 Comments