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TheChat: Jay Nixon’s harshest critic finally cuts him some slack

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal
Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal

Reason to Live #325: It’s Super Bowl week!

▪ “The amount of time he dealt with Ferguson was appropriate.” — Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a University City Democrat, on Gov. Jay Nixon’s State of the State address last week.

Chappelle-Nadal has spent months criticizing Nixon up and down for his handling of Ferguson. But last week, she found a few good things to say about her fellow Democrat, although she pointed out that Nixon spent, “more time on trucks and cars being built in Missouri than Ferguson” in the speech. Still, this might be progress.

▪ “It’s important that we don’t lie down.” — Missouri state Treasurer Clint Zweifel disagreeing with President Barack Obama’s plan to begin taxing the earnings from 529 college savings accounts. (link via johncombest.com).

Zweifel, a Democrat, said it didn’t matter that the president was also a Democrat. Zweifel said it’s his duty to to stand up for families struggling to save enough money to send their kids to college.

▪ “Last session, we had some lobbyists who paid for committee lunches on the same day they were presenting their priority bills.” — Missouri Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard about his ethics bill that would require more disclosure on meals that special interests buy for lawmakers.

These days in the state Capitol, lobbyists often report the fact that they bought a meal for a lawmaker, but they don’t reveal which lawmaker it was. Richard is aiming to change that with his small-scale ethics bill, which would not cap donation limits or the amount spent on gifts.

▪ “It will provide more office space, more hearing rooms and, probably more important, get staff to where they have decent working conditions.” — Missouri state Sen. Mike Parson, a Boliver Republican, on the idea of converting the Missouri Transportation Department building adjacent to the Statehouse into an auxiliary home for lawmakers and their aides.

The conversion cost is $35 million. But as a veteran Statehouse correspondent, the idea ranks as a good one. Many legislative offices are stacked on top of each other. Working conditions are lousy. And handicapped access? Forgetaboutit.

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