Aug 17, 2017 – Weekly Capitol Update

RENEWED QUESTIONS ABOUT AG’S COMPLIANCE WITH LAW

Questions have resurfaced regarding whether Attorney General Josh Hawley is complying a with a state law that requires him to live in Jefferson City after he voted earlier this month in a special legislative election in Boone County.

Shortly after taking office in January, Hawley, a Republican, said he would continue living in his home just outside of Columbia despite a state law that says: “The attorney general shall reside at the seat of government and keep his office in the supreme court building,” both of which are in Jefferson City.

After initially attempting to argue that the law doesn’t mean what it says, Hawley ultimately caved to pressure agreed to rent an apartment in Jefferson City to establish residency in compliance with the law. However, the legitimacy of his compliance was called into question when the Jefferson City News-Tribune reported on Aug. 15 that Hawley voted from his Boone County address during the Aug. 8 special election to fill a vacant House seat.

The attorney general is the only Missouri statewide elected official required by law to live in the capital. After the issue originally was raised earlier this year, legislation was filed to eliminate the requirement, but it gained no traction in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

 

PSC REJECTS CONTROVERSIAL CROSS-STATE POWER LINE

The Missouri Public Service Commission on Aug. 16 rejected a controversial proposal to build a high-voltage power transmission line across northern Missouri. The Columbia Daily Tribune reported that although four of the commission’s five members expressed support for the proposal, they felt compelled to reject it due to a recent state appeals court ruling.

The proposed 780-mile Grain Belt Express line would run from winds farms in western Kansas, across the width of Missouri and Illinois and end in Indiana. All the other states involved have approved the proposal, which has been opposed by some of the affected Missouri landowners through whose property the line would cross.

The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District ruled in March that power companies must get the permission of the county commission in every county through which a power line will run, and some of the counties affected by the Grain Belt line haven’t yet done so.