The editorial "Missouri's new agenda" (Nov. 13) lauds Gov. Mike Parson's and new Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz's desire for conciliatory politics. But Schatz's record on workforce development, for example, is well-defined by his support for "right to work" and lowering Missouri prevailing wages.
Also of concern is Schatz's dislike for the "Clean Missouri" amendment. The editorial noted that Schatz "has made clear he's no fan of the ... proposition to reduce lobbyist influence and revise the way legislative districts are drawn." This is not surprising, given his leadership in accepting lobbyist gifts; he's currently No. 2 on the list.
According to the Missouri Ethics Commission website, Schatz has garnered $12,400 in gifts, including $800 to see the Missouri vs. Illinois basketball game last year and $450 for two Cardinals games and $400 for three rounds of golf just this year. Two years ago, he took a nearly $4,000 all-expenses-paid trip to Israel on the cuff of a St. Louis religious organization. Nice work if you can get it.
According to the Post-Dispatch ("Challenge likely for ethics overhaul," Nov. 12), Schatz said of the "Clean Missouri" initiative, "I think it's a major concern." The article noted the amendment would "limit lobbyist gifts to no more than $5." So, unless he takes immediate action, it looks like Schatz will be watching the Cardinals next year from the bleachers instead of the executive suites.
While Missouri amendments are guidelines to craft laws, the Legislature also has some authority to undo them. Remember the gambling revenue that could only go to schools? They found a way around that. Now, some legislators (like Schatz) and lobbyist groups (like the Missouri Chamber of Commerce) are ready to undo the "Clean Missouri" amendment.
Terry Beckmeyer • New Haven