A look ahead to November ballot initiatives

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1 among several issues to be decided

State Rep. Tom Hurst shared the following information on Amendment 1, the so called “Clean Missouri” proposal voters will be asked to decide on Nov. 6.

“When Missourians head to the polls in November, they will cast their votes to decide a number of ballot issues that could make changes that will impact areas ranging from the price of gas to the minimum wage to the use of medical marijuana,” according to Hurst, a Republican from the Meta community, who represents the 62nd House District.

Amendment 1 — “Clean 

Missouri”

Commonly referred to as “Clean Missouri,” Amendment 1 is heralded by proponents as a way to improve government transparency and fairness, but criticized by opponents as nothing more than an attempt by out-of-state billionaires to change the Missouri Constitution for partisan gain.

If approved by voters, Amendment 1 would:

• Change the legislative redistricting process so that it is overseen by a state demographer appointed by the State Auditor, and then reviewed by a citizen commission. The current process calls for a bipartisan panel selected by the governor to oversee the process. Legislators do not have a fiscal analysis for this, so it is not known what it will cost to implement.

• Set campaign donation limits at $2,500 for the state Senate and $2,000 for the House. The current state law, as set forth by Constitutional Amendment 2, which passed in the November 2016 election, sets the mark at $2,600.

• Create a two-year revolving door ban against legislators becoming lobbyists.

• Eliminate the majority of lobbyist gifts worth more than $5.

• Limit the ability of individuals and organizations to circumvent the contribution cap limits by counting the money from single-source committees toward the totals for the actual original donors.

• Put an end to legislative fundraising on state property.

• Require legislative records and proceedings to be open to the public. Legislators are unsure on whether or not it will mean that you will have any privacy if you contact your legislator.

Proponents say the changes would ensure that neither political party is given an unfair advantage during the redistricting process; limit the influence of big money and lobbyists in state government; eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts to members of the General Assembly; and make government more transparent by making legislative records open to the public. 

Opponents say the measure is an attempt by billionaire outsiders to decide who represents Missourians in their state legislature, and note the $325,000 in “dark money” donations the initiative has received. They say the redistricting change would put the process in the hands of an unelected political appointee who could manipulate legislative districts so that neighborhoods and communities are divided into multiple districts. 

Opponents also say that while transparency in government is good, it’s important that the communications between citizens and their elected officials remain private so that the health, financial, or legal issues of citizens will not become public knowledge. This is a way for the politicians to choose the voters, not the voters choose the politicians.

 

Amendments 2, 3, Prop. C all propose legalization of medical marijuana

Missourians will have the opportunity to decide on three initiatives dealing with medical marijuana.

All three initiatives, which received enough signatures to make it on the ballot, would allow patients with cancer, HIV, epilepsy and some other conditions to have access to medical marijuana. Where the proposals differ is in how medical marijuana would be regulated and taxed, and where the tax dollars would be allocated.

Amendment 2 would change the state constitution to tax marijuana at 4 percent and allocate the $18 million in annual taxes and fees to veterans programs. The measure would cost the state $7 million in annual operating costs. It would also generate $6 million annually for local governments.

The proposal would give regulatory authority for licensing the cultivation, testing and sale of marijuana to the Department of Health and Senior Services. The state would be responsible for a “seed-to-sale” tracking system
 to ensure marijuana only goes to qualified patients.

Amendment 3 would change the state constitution to tax marijuana at 15 percent and generate approximately $66 million annually in state revenue. The funds would be used to establish a state-run institute to research cures for incurable diseases. The proposal has an annual operating cost of approximately $500,000. It would impose fees on licenses and tax the cultivation of medical marijuana. 

Proposition C would change state law to tax marijuana at 2 percent and generate annual revenues of at least $10 million to the state and $152,000 to local governments. The funds would be used for services for veterans, drug treatment, early childhood education and public safety in cities where medical marijuana facilities are located. 

The proposal would have an initial cost of $2.6 million and then an annual cost of $10 million. Oversight of medical marijuana would be placed in the hands of the Department of Health and Senior Services and the Department of Public Safety.

Proponents say medical marijuana is less addictive than opioids and overuse will not lead to death. They say the measure would give patients with debilitating conditions the opportunity to work with a doctor to obtain the most appropriate medical treatment option. They point out that 30 states have already legalized marijuana, either recreational or medical. 

Opponents say legalizing marijuana for medical use would allow more people to access it illegally. They also note that cannabis would remain illegal at the federal level where it is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance alongside heroin and many synthetic opioids. They say it should be up to the FDA to determine if marijuana is medicine.

If all three measures were approved by voters, the Secretary of State’s Office says the constitutional amendments would trump state law, and whichever amendment received the most votes would overrule the other.

Voters tasked with deciding minimum wage proposition, ‘CleanMo,’ bingo amendments on length Nov. 6 ballot

On Nov. 6, Missourians will head to the polls to cast their votes for numerous candidates and important issues, including four proposed amendments to the Missouri Constitution.

On this page you will find a description of the three remaining proposed ballot measures, including each measure’s official title, fiscal note, fair ballot language and any potential impact it may have on your taxes. For more information about the upcoming election, including where and how to vote, please visit the secretary of state’s website at www.sos.mo.gov.

To view proposals we’ve examined previously, see The Republican’s website www.GasconadeCountyRepublican.com. Letters of support and opposition to ballot issues are found on page 2 of this week’s edition.

Proposition B — Do you want to amend Missouri law to:

• Increase the state minimum wage to $8.60 per hour with an 85 cents per hour increase each year until 2023, when the state minimum wage would be $12.00 per hour;

• Exempt government employers from the above increase; and, 

• Increase the penalty for paying employees less than the minimum wage? 

State and local governments estimate no direct costs or savings from the proposal, but operating costs could increase by an unknown annual amount that could be significant. State and local government tax revenue could change by an annual amount ranging from a $2.9 million decrease to a $214 million increase depending on business decisions.

Fair Ballot Language: 

A “yes” vote will amend Missouri statutes to increase the state minimum wage rate as follows:

• $8.60 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2019;

• $9.45 per hour beginning Jan.  1, 2020;

• $10.30 per hour beginning Jan.  1, 2021;

• $11.15 per hour beginning Jan.  1, 2022; and

• $12.00 per hour beginning Jan.  1, 2023.

The amendment will exempt government employers from the above increases, and will increase the penalty for paying employees less than the minimum wage.

A “no” vote will not amend Missouri law to make these changes to the state minimum wage law. If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

Amendment 1 — Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

• Change the process and criteria for redrawing state legislative districts during reapportionment;

• Change limits on campaign contributions that candidates for state legislature can accept from individuals or entities;

• Establish a limit on gifts that state legislators, and their employees, can accept from paid lobbyists;

• Prohibit state legislators, and their employees, from serving as paid lobbyists for a period of time;

• Prohibit political fundraising by candidates or members of the Legislature on State property; and,

• Require legislative records and proceedings to be open to the public?

State governmental entities estimate annual operating costs may increase by $189,000. Local governmental entities expect no fiscal impact.

Fair Ballot Language: 

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to change the process and criteria for redrawing state legislative district boundaries during redistricting.

Currently, bipartisan House and Senate commissions redraw boundaries, and those maps are adopted if 70 percent of the commissioners approve the maps. This amendment has a state demographer, chosen from a panel selected by the state auditor, redraw the boundaries and submit those maps to the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri Senate commissions. 

This amendment would then allow changes to the demographer’s maps only if 70 percent of the commissioners vote to make changes and do so within two months after receiving the maps from the state demographer. The amendment also reduces the limits on campaign contributions that candidates for state senator or state representative can accept from individuals or entities by $100 per election for a Senate candidate and $500 for a House candidate.

The amendment creates a $5 limit on gifts that state legislators and their employees can accept from paid lobbyists or the lobbyists’ clients and prohibits state legislators and their employees from serving as paid lobbyists for a period of two years after the end of their last legislative session. The amendment also prohibits political fundraising by candidates or members of the Legislature on state property.

The amendment also requires all legislative records and proceedings to be subject to the state open meetings and records law (Missouri Sunshine Law).

A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding redistricting, campaign contributions, lobbyist gifts, limits on lobbying after political service, fundraising locations and legislative records and proceedings. 

Amendment 4 — Do you want to amend the Missouri constitution to:

• Remove language limiting bingo game advertising that a court ruled unenforceable; and, 

• Allow a member of a licensed organization conducting bingo games to participate in the management of bingo games after being a member of the organization for six months instead of the current two years? 

State and local governmental entities estimate no costs or savings from this proposal.

Fair Ballot Language:

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to remove language limiting bingo game advertising that a court ruled was unconstitutional and not enforceable. This amendment would also allow a member of a licensed organization conducting bingo games to participate in the management of bingo games after being a member of the organization for six months. Currently, the constitution requires two years of membership.

A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding bingo games.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

Gov. Parson urges support for Prop. D

Voting “YES” on Prop D for Safer Roads, Safer Streets, is “The Right Thing To Do.”

 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson wrapped up a 14-city Infrastructure Week tour Oct. 18 promoting Proposition D for Safer Roads and Safer Streets by urging voters to “do the right thing” and vote YES On D on Nov. 6 to provide new resources to fix roads and bridges.

“I think this is the right thing to do,” Parson told a St. Joseph rally supporting Prop D. He declared at West Plains: “As the governor of the state of Missouri, you have to make tough decisions and what’s truly in the best interest of the State of Missouri and that’s why I’m here today.”

Prop D would provide a historic 66 percent increase in state funding going directly to cities and counties across Missouri — and that will create jobs and it will have vast positive economic impact, Parson said during every tour stop.

In its first decade, Prop D would pay for about 46,000 lane miles of highway pavement and repair more than 2,000 bridges that are in poor condition or have weight restrictions.

“You have to have infrastructure in place to draw new businesses,” Parson told a Prop D rally in North Kansas City. “You have to have infrastructure in place for people to want to retire here and to move here.”

Along with West Plains and St. Joseph, the governor visited St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Jefferson City, Columbia, Poplar Bluff, Springfield, Joplin, North Kansas City, Blue Springs, Sedalia, Rolla and Hannibal.

Parson urged voter approval of Prop D, which would gradually phase in a constitutionally designated, regularly audited annual 2.5 cents per gallon motor fuels user tax increase over four years. Each 2.5 cents would cost the average motorist about $1.25 a month — about the price of a cup of coffee.

Missouri’s state motor fuels user tax was last set at 17 cents per gallon for both gas and diesel in 1996. Parson noted that 22 years of inflation make the 17 cents worth just 7 cents. That represents a 60 percent loss of purchasing power, even as costs for road and bridge materials such as concrete, steel and asphalt doubled and tripled over the same 22-year period.

“I think after 20 years we really have to face the reality,” Parson said in Jefferson City as his Prop D tour began. “We have some problems out there and we need to get them fixed.”

Missouri’s motor fuels user tax is the 49th lowest in America, but the state has the nation’s seventh-largest state highway system, more than 34,000 center-line miles. 

“We don’t run a business that way,” Parson told Prop D backers in Columbia.

And in Joplin, he reminded his audience: “It’s our obligation as leaders in this state to really focus on what’s best for the state of Missouri. And when you talk about our transportation system, that is our responsibility as government.”

Missouri cannot wait to provide better funding to fix roads and bridges, the governor added during his Prop D stop in the capital city. “You can’t keep kicking that can down the road and expect it to get better…it’s important for me to go out and make sure the people of Missouri know what we’re facing and know what those issues are — and then let them decide at the ballot box what they want.”

Parson said a major selling point of Prop D is that an estimated 25 percent to 30 percent of the tax will be paid by drivers from out-of-state traveling on Missouri highways.

A St. Louis event was attended by hundreds of labor union members from across the region. In Sedalia, Parson was joined by Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe for a community rally supporting Prop D.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson welcomed Governor Parson to St. Louis, noting that Prop D has support across the political spectrum: “It’s not often that all of us are together on one issue.” SaferMO.com is a statewide coalition that has grown to more than 70 member organizations, from governmental and business associations to labor and agricultural groups.

Jeff Glenn, executive director of the Mercury Alliance, a statewide organization focused on long-term transportation needs, commended Parson for pushing a solution to Missouri’s critical road and bridge funding situation.

“Proposition D is an opportunity to address the state’s infrastructure needs,” Glenn said of Parson’s leadership on Prop D. “He has been laser-focused on infrastructure and work force development.”

(Learn more about Proposition D by visiting SaferMO.com).

Senate leader urges conservatives vote to support Prop. D for Missouri roads

I am writing to explain why conservatives should support Proposition D on Missouri’s Nov. 6 general election ballot.

I write as a committed fiscal conservative, one who has worked for years in Jefferson City to cut government waste, hold state agencies to account and oppose tax increases. But I support the gradual 2.5 cents per gallon state motor fuels tax increase in Prop D. Here are my reasons:

1). Over its four-year phase-in and when fully implemented, the extra 10 cents per gallon will fix our roads and bridges, create jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into our local communities for roads and bridges. That new money will allow Missouri to move to the head of the line to return federal tax money we have already paid to Washington, to fix our roads and bridges back home. If we don’t provide the matching money, other states will do so and receive our money. I’m for Missourians’ money coming back to fix Missouri roads and bridges.

2).  Prop D is a user tax on those who buy fuel to use the roads, not a general sales tax increase. True conservatives prefer targeted user taxes to broad tax hikes. In the case of Prop D, for example, senior citizens who don’t drive won’t pay at the pump. Those who cause wear on our roads will pay.

3).  Our state motor fuels user tax is required by the Missouri Constitution to go into the State Road Fund. The Constitution only allows the State Road Fund to be used for two things — road work by the Missouri Department of Transportation and our cities and counties, and the specific cost of road law enforcement by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. That’s it — unlike general revenues, nobody can mess with this money. It goes where it is promised to go:  roads, streets, bridges and enforcement of safe road laws.

4). Missouri hasn’t raised our state motor fuels user tax since 1996. Inflation has eaten away at that basic 17 cents tax, which only has 7 cents of purchasing power today. While steel, concrete and asphalt have doubled and tripled in cost over the last 22 years, the state motor fuels user tax has lost 60 percent of its value. Any true fiscal conservative knows you cannot stay in business for long with that scenario. MoDOT has slashed its overhead spending, laid off employees, shut down offices and reallocated its dollars to roads and bridges. As one who is suspicious of government, I am convinced MoDOT has its house in order and its leadership is committed to prudent stewardship of this constitutionally protected, regularly audited road and bridge money.

5). There is no more basic function of government than taking care of our roads, streets and bridges. There aren’t Republican roads or Democrat roads, just Missouri roads that we all rely on to get to work and to allow safe, efficient travel for school buses, fire trucks, ambulances, police and shipping goods. This is why leading Missouri conservatives, including Governor Mike Parson, Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe and U.S. Senator Roy Blunt have publicly strongly endorsed Prop D.

6). In addition to being the only Missourian to serve as both Senate President Pro Tem and House Speaker, I am proud to have served as Joplin’s mayor. So I understand what Prop D’s major 66 percent boost in state funding for our counties and cities will mean to local street, road and bridge priorities set by local leaders to address local priorities. For Newton and Jasper counties and the cities within the counties, it means about $2.4 million in new road and bridge funding, every year, when Prop D is fully phased in.

My conservative friends know the old country saying: “You can’t eat your seed corn.” That means it’s penny-wise and pound-foolish not to protect and take care of your basics, and there is no better example of the basics than roads and bridges.

That is why this conservative is for Prop D, and why every conservative should vote YES on Prop D.

Ron Richard

Joplin

 

Editor’s note: University of Missouri School of Journalism students examined statements made by U.S. Senate candidates during their debate Oct. 18. This is their report which was originally prepared for use in The Columbia Missourian and its related online platforms. It was shared with members of the Missouri Press Association.

 

KANSAS CITY — An Oct. 18  U.S. Senate debate between incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and her challenger, Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley, began with a question about civility in the campaign.

Hawley said he’d never attacked McCaskill personally. The senator objected.

And so it went.

The two candidates spent most of the hourlong debate at KMBC television station battling over their public service records and their views on immigration, gun control, gay rights, health care and the economy, among other topics.

What’s personal is in the eye of the beholder, but facts are not. We looked into many of their statements during the debate, some of which were new, some of which they’d said previously, in an attempt to offer a full and honest picture.

McCaskill: Says Hawley “said four-year degrees are worthless at one point.”

Hawley’s stump speech typically includes the word “worthless” to characterize four-year colleges.

“I never said that degrees were worthless. I said that four-year colleges increasingly turn out degrees that can be worthless,” Hawley said when McCaskill quoted him.

Hawley has been quoted calling four-year degrees “increasingly worthless” many times, including in The Kansas City Star on Sept. 2, the Columbia Daily Tribune on May 10 and on KTRS’ “The McGraw Show” on May 29.

During the Oct. 18 debate, Hawley proposed an alternative to the four-year system, which both candidates agreed incurs too much debt. “I think we ought to allow federal student loan dollars to follow people into apprenticeships and job training programs,” Hawley said. “I don’t think you have to have an expensive four-year degree to get a good job, or to get some respect in this country.”

— By Theo DeRosa

Hawley: “Senator (McCaskill), you called the middle-class tax cuts scraps. Missouri families are saving $1,200 more, average Missouri families.”

She did use the word, in the context of saying Missourians deserved more. In a statement she released after voting against the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, she said, “working people in Missouri deserve better than to get scraps, while corporations and wealthy business owners make out like bandits.

The Hawley campaign did not respond to our inquiry about the source of the $1,200 savings. PolitiFact rated a similar statement from House Speaker Paul Ryan about the average family’s savings as “Half True.”

Ryan’s estimate was based on a plausible calculation but glossed over some context. It didn’t factor in several itemized deductions that would disappear and that could have a significant impact on at least some typical families. Finally, the savings would only come in the first year, and then the benefits start to shrink before turning into a tax hike.

In evaluating Hawley’s claim, John Buhl of the Tax Foundation pointed us to a state-by-state breakdown of estimated after-tax income changes due to the tax plan for a middle-income family. For Missouri, that estimated increase was $605.

Buhl also pointed us to a report along the same lines from the conservative Heritage Foundation that shows the average savings for 2018 for all Missouri filers at $1,014.

— By Theo DeRosa

McCaskill: “Zero felonies in Missouri have been filed” from search warrants looking for human trafficking evidence in Springfield massage businesses.

McCaskill portrayed Hawley’s tenure as attorney general as ineffective, spotlighting a July 2017 multi-state human trafficking investigation. We could not find any felony charges filed from his office through a search of online court records.

Hawley’s team executed search warrants that July of 13 massage businesses in Springfield, looking for evidence of human trafficking.

A day after the search, nine people were charged with a misdemeanor for not having the proper license to operate a massage business, according to online court records. These seem to be the only criminal charges filed from Greene County.

The Springfield News-Leader, about a year later, reported that there still haven’t been any felonies charged as of Feb. 18. Hawley’s office told the News-Leader then that there would be “further action in days to come.”

But a search through online court records in the later weeks revealed nothing. Neither Hawley’s office nor his campaign responded to a request for comment by deadline.

In Louisiana, the state attorney general filed human trafficking charges against Bingbing Li and Linan Tian, who also owned Palm Spa in Springfield.

— Titus Wu

Hawley: Says McCaskill “voted to raise taxes or fees 200 times in her 12-year career in the United States Senate.”

The figure Hawley cites double counts votes and includes votes against tax cuts, which is not the same as raising taxes.

The website ClaireMctaxall.com, paid for by Hawley’s campaign, contains a list of supposed instances where McCaskill voted to increase taxes. When we reached out to them for comment they only replied with a link to this website.

The website includes 19 votes for tax increases we could identify. Here are some examples:

• The Consumer First Energy Act of 2008 that “impose(d) a windfall profits tax on major integrated oil companies.”

• The FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act that “excise(d) taxes on aviation fuels and air transportation of persons and property” to raise revenue for the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.

• The Middle Class Tax Cuts Act that taxed individuals “3.25 percent of so much of their modified adjusted gross income as exceeds $1 million.”

It’s important to note that most taxes cited were on things like corporations, oil companies and airlines, as opposed to the typical American.

The list includes many instances where McCaskill voted against tax cuts, voted against renewing a tax, or voted to make it more difficult to repeal taxes. None of these are the same as raising taxes; they would instead maintain or decrease the amount of taxes.

The other issue with this list is that several bills are counted twice, because that legislation required multiple votes and revisions to reach a majority. Of the 19 votes McCaskill cast to raise taxes on this list, six were repeated measures.

— By Dylan Sherman and Hannah Archambault

McCaskill: “The Republicans had it backwards. They made the rich people’s tax cuts permanent. They made the middle-class tax cuts temporary. I’d like to flip those.”

To get around Senate rules and pass the tax cut in 2017, Republicans had to set several of the tax bill’s provisions to expires.

An analysis by the nonpartisan think tank Tax Policy Center, released shortly before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December, found that the bill would reduce taxes on average for all income groups.

However, the center also found that “higher income households receive larger average tax cuts as a percentage of after-tax income, with the largest cuts as a share of income going to taxpayers in the 95th to 99th percentiles of the income distribution.

The Tax Foundation’s analysis also found that “the majority of individual income tax changes would be temporary, expiring on December 31, 2025.”

Some of the changes that will remain permanent, as reported previously by PolitiFact, are the reduction of the corporate tax rate, the lower pass-through business income tax rate and the repeal of the estate tax. Those tax changes typically affect higher earners.

— By Morgan Keith

Hawley: McCaskill “has repeatedly voted against border security funding, she has voted for amnesty for illegal aliens, and she is currently sponsoring the most radical open border bill ever introduced in the United States Congress.” 

Hawley also said McCaskill called President Trump’s border wall “embarrassing.”

Voted against border security funding: Sometimes. In 2010, McCaskill and Sen. Chuck Schumer fought for $600 million in supplemental money for “1,500 new border personnel, a pair of unmanned drones and military-style bases along the border,” according to Politico. McCaskill voted for 700 more miles of fencing to be built along the Mexican-American border in 2009, thereby increasing funding. And in 2018, McCaskill was a proponent of a plan that sought to allocate $25 billion for a border wall. But she voted no on a similar bill supported by Trump soon after.

Voted for amnesty for illegal aliens: This is not the whole truth. In 2013, McCaskill voted yes on a bill that would have provided immigrants who lived in the country without documentation a path to citizenship. But the bill, which included border security dollars, involved a $500 fine and an application for six-year provisional status. Permanent legal status could only be achieved after 10 years, a $1,000 fine and learning English.

Supporting radical open borders bill: We rated this False in an earlier fact-check. The Keep Families Together Act does not reduce border protection, nor does it offer special protection to immigrants who cross the border without documentation.

She called Trump’s border wall “embarrassing:” At a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting last year, McCaskill said: “The sooner we stop this, ‘we’re going to build a wall from sea to shining sea and the Mexicans are going to pay for it’ — it’s embarrassing,” McCaskill said. “It’s not going to happen. Everybody in Congress knows it’s not going to happen.”

— By Sten Spinella

Hawley: “We have a national background check system that currently has a huge loophole, it does not include mental health records …Sen. McCaskill has voted against that.”

This talking point is misleading. Hawley was referencing McCaskill’s vote against a 2016 amendment (SA 4751) to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, would have incentivized states to submit relevant mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

McCaskill joined a majority of Democrats against the measure, which failed to get the 60 votes needed to pass.

That vote doesn’t tell the full story of McCaskill’s actions on legislation involving background checks for gun purchases.

McCaskill did vote for another amendment to the appropriations act (SA 4750) co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., known as the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2016. Its purpose was to ensure “all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale,” and it gave specific provisions for defining mental health records. The Murphy amendment did not pass, either.

Over 12 years in the Senate, McCaskill has also favored other legislation aimed at strengthening the background check system and the inclusion of mental health records, including votes for the 2007 NICS Improvement Act and the failed Manchin-Toomey amendment of 2013 and co-sponsorship of the 2017 Fix NICS Act.

— By Kathryn B. Palmer

McCaskill said that the “Border Patrol agents have endorsed me in this race.”

There’s a slight difference: The Border Patrol agents union has indeed endorsed McCaskill. As the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing around 18,000 border patrol agents, wrote in a September 2018 op-ed: “In 2018, we endorsed Donald Trump for president because he was tough on borders and strong on enforcement. We’re endorsing Claire McCaskill now for the exact same reasons.”

Hawley: “We don’t have to have the 159 new agencies under Obamacare. You don’t have to have the 20 new federal taxes for it.”

These talking points are old and misleading. Hawley’s campaign did not respond to a request for evidence.

Hawley is correct that Obamacare resulted in the creation of “dozens of new entities to implement the legislation,” according to a Congressional Research Service report from 2010 looking at just that.

But the same report explicitly debunks an article “which lists 159 ‘new boards and commissions created under the new health care law.’ Many of the listed ‘boards and commissions’ are actually grants, demonstration or pilot projects, and programs,” CRS said.

As for the 20 taxes, PolitiFact investigated a similar claim about in 2012. We found then that characterizing these price hikes as “taxes” is misleading. Some are fees on health insurance providers proportionate to their share of the market, as well as fees for importers and manufacturers of branded drugs.

But others are mandates or penalties, such as penalty for companies with more than 50 employees who do not offer “adequate” health insurance.

— By Andrew Withers

McCaskill: “I know the tax cut has not produced what they promised. It hasn’t paid for itself. Our deficit is up, our revenues are down in a strong economic climate.”

McCaskill’s statement holds some truth. Since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the nominal dollars, or the actual amount of money spent in a period of time, have increased by less than half a percent, one of the weakest increases since World War II. When factoring in inflation, tax revenue actually decreased by 1.6 percent

— By Matthew Hall

Prop. D does not increase taxes on residential propane, according to state association director

JEFFERSON CITY — On Tuesday, the executive director of the Missouri Propane Gas Association released a statement clarifying that the Proposition D ballot measure to increase the state’s motor fuel tax will not affect residential propane.

The Republican received one telephone call Tuesday from a reader asking about the ballot language and expressed concerns about how this might impact those who use propane and other fuel sources for heating.

“Missouri marketers may be getting questions from customers regarding language contained in the Proposition D ballot question,” said Steve Ahrens, the executive director of the Missouri Propane Gas Association. “This is the proposed change to state law to increase motor fuel taxes to generate an estimated $288 million for road repair and other uses.  

“The measure will bump the current 17-cent state fuel tax on gas and diesel in yearly increments until it reaches 27 cents per gallon in 2022. Alternative fuels used to propel motor vehicles, such as compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas and propane, will also see a corresponding increase. Our understanding is that the current decal system will continue to be an option for state-based fleets that use alternative fuel.”

Ahrens, addressing these concerns about home heating fuel sources, concluded his statement, noting, “In any case, there will be NO state tax on propane for domestic (residential) use under Proposition D.”

Gasconade County Clerk Leza Lietzow said this week she is expecting 4,000 ballots to be cast in the county which would translate into a 35-percent turnout.

“I hope it’s higher than that,” she said. “I always hope we have a good turnout.”

Lietzow said training seminars where held over the past couple of weeks in Hermann and Owensville for election judges. She said all positions at each of the county’s precincts are filled. “Right now, all the judge’s spots are filled,” she said on Thursday. “All positions are filled at this moment. Lietzow said the county has an ongoing need to train and find substitute judges in case of an unexpected illness or emergency absence among precinct judges from both parties.