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Fitzpatrick talks 2020 plans, ‘proactive’ approach to unclaimed property

Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick has only held his statewide office for less than a year, but he hopes to continue in his role after the 2020 elections.

Appearing on This Week in Missouri Politics Sunday, Fitzpatrick said he’s been traveling around Missouri a lot while also spending “a good amount of time in Jefferson City,” getting a feel for how others operate.

Fitzpatrick praised House Budget Chair Cody Smith and Senate Appropriations Chair Dan Hegeman for working together to pass a roughly $30 billion budget Gov. Mike Parson signed last week.

“They really worked well together, and the governor’s wholesale signing of the budget is indicative of that,” Fitzpatrick, the former House Budget chairman, said.

As treasurer, Fitzpatrick said he’s focused on promoting MO ABLE accounts and taking a “proactive” approach to unclaimed property in Missouri. Unclaimed property, he said, can range from uncollected final paychecks to utility deposits after someone moves to estates from people who die without having a plan in place.

“We do proactive work in unclaimed property. That’s what we did in Joplin — we decided to take a proactive effort to return that property,” he said. “We started [in] March and returned over $330,000 in Jasper County in over 1,600 accounts.”  

Abortion and budget

Making up the show’s panel this week were: Rep. Tracy McCreery, former Reps. Bruce Franks and Jeff Roorda, and Victory Enterprises consultant Brett Dinkins. The group debated two major issues: abortion and the state budget.

McCreery, a Democrat, argued Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft was wrong to reject the referendum petitions seeking to put the sweeping abortion ban to a vote of Missourians.

Signed by Parson in May, the bill — set to go into effect in August — bans abortions after eight weeks with many “nestled” components to include restrictions at 14, 18, and 20 weeks should a court overturn a portion of the law. It also included an emergency clause which went into effect immediately; the provision requires both parents of a minor to be notified if she seeks an abortion.

“I don’t know why they don’t let voters overturn this extremism. It’s really bad for Missouri,” McCreery said.

Franks, too, propagated the referendum petition process as a way for “our constituents to have a say so even when we get it wrong.”

Furthermore, as the St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic — the lone abortion facility in Missouri — is ensnared in a legal battle with the state, Franks defended Planned Parenthood as a place where people in “economically distressed communities” can go for healthcare needs.

“A lot of folks who didn’t have access to certain services” where Franks grew up “went to Planned Parenthood,” he said. “Are you really going to use politics and this idea that Planned Parenthood is the bad guy to take away healthcare from these communities that rely on it?”

Dinkins, however, defended Republicans, saying they are focused on the issue of abortion, not trying to take away healthcare from anyone.

When it comes to the budget, Dinkins praised Parson for “trusting” the legislature in getting a comprehensive bill passed. Parson signed the budget without vetoing a single line item.

But McCreery said there wasn’t a reason to celebrate because it did not include enough funding for public transportation to schools.

Watch the entire This Week in Missouri Politics episode below.