Missouri Auditor

Missouri’s elk population appears to be settling into their new home state, according to state conservation officials.

Dr. Joseph Millspaugh of the University of Missouri -- Columbia updated the Missouri Conservation Commission today on the state’s elk herd, which he says seems to be doing well.

“(We have) evidence of survival rates (and) reproductive rates that are average to high," Millspaugh said.  "We see diet quality certainly within the range of what we would expect.”

The State Auditor’s Office is pleased overall with efforts by the Monarch Fire Protection District in Chesterfield to implement changes recommended in a recent audit.

In February, Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich (R) gave the Monarch Fire District a “C,” in part for its early retirement incentives package that violated the State Constitution.  Spokesman for the Auditor’s office, Spence Jackson, says their recommendations there have yet to be implemented.

“They told us that that’s not something that they’re going to have to deal with again for another couple of years," Jackson said.  "But they did indicate that they would apply more due diligence with how future retirement incentives are handled, and we’re pleased with that.”

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Six lawsuits involving three ballot initiatives were heard Monday by the Missouri Supreme Court.

At stake are ballot questions that would raise Missouri’s cigarette tax, raise the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, and cap interest rates on payday loans.  The fate of all three may turn on whether the State Auditor has the authority to estimate the financial impact of citizens’ petition initiatives.  Attorney Ronald Holliger argued that the High Court should uphold a lower court ruling supporting the State Auditor’s authority.

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

Two ballot questions going before Missouri voters in November won’t cost or save the state any money, according the State Auditor’s office.

One in particular would make changes to how appellate judges are selected.  The fiscal note for that measure was put together by Deputy Auditor Harry Otto.

“(We contacted) four statewide offices, 20 other departments/agencies, the House and Senate," Otto said.  "Out of those 24 places that we contacted we received comments from 16, and all 16 said ‘no costs associated with this measure.’”

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Missouri judge has struck down the State Auditor's authority to prepare financial estimates for ballot initiatives.

The ruling by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem comes in a challenge to a proposed tobacco tax initiative for which supporters are not gathering signatures. But attorneys who specialize in initiative petitions say the ruling ultimately could affect other initiatives.

(Missouri Dept. of Conservation)

A controversial Missouri Department of Conservation plan to reintroduce elk into southeastern Missouri is under fire from Republican state auditor Tom Schweich.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Missouri Senate committee heard testimony Monday on whether a state-created company needs more oversight, or has even outlived its usefulness.

Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Company was created nearly 20 years ago to help small businesses obtain workers’ compensation insurance.  Forrest Miller of the Missouri Restaurant Insurance Trust, testified that the Trust he chairs is shutting down, and that the state-owned insurance company may be partially to blame.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri auditor and the state's Division of Finance have an agreement about access to records.

Auditor Tom Schweich had subpoenaed records from the Finance Division, saying he needs access to the documents to determine if bank regulators are doing their jobs properly. The Division of Finance responded that it was barred by law from complying and that workers could be dismissed or prosecuted for releasing documents.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich says he’s issuing a subpoena to the Finance Division of the State Department of Insurance, in order to force them to release records on banks, savings and loans, and other financial institutions across the state.

Finance Division officials have so far refused to release documents on their reviews of financial institutions, saying that state law bars them from doing so.  But Schweich says the records are needed to see if banking regulators are doing their jobs properly.

(via Office of the Auditor)

Another auditor is criticizing Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's administration for billing a state agency over travel costs.

The audit released Thursday by Republican Auditor Tom Schweich found $1,630 was charged to the Division of Workforce Development, in the Department of Economic Development. Nixon and a labor department official promoted a program administered by the workforce division. The audit said documents for the flight showed no division staff came along.

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