Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rumorville is a Crowded Town This Morning

At the top…. Word is circulating out of southeast Missouri that we’re looking at a Mr. Smith Going to Washington….  It’s said that Rep. Jason Smith is expressing high confidence in his vote commitments – both first round and subsequent round.  Two others from down there (without a dog in the fight) are inclined to agree.  I’m not going to leap CNN on this and call it early, but I do believe Smith should be considered the favorite at this point.



Meanwhile, that House bill of Smith’s which would codify elections to fill a statewide vacancy has garnered some attention on the Senate side.  There is an impulse to amend it – and open up the nominating process as well with primary elections.  No idea if that’s where the will of the body is, but certainly the will of a senator or two.



And House Dems are still hot under the collar… A fair number (even a clean majority of the caucus?) want to expel Penny Hubbard from the Democratic caucus



Insider: Nelson is Gold

“The smartest thing last week – Sen. Kurt Schaefer withdrawing Doug Nelson’s nomination.

Nixon’s team will act like they don’t care but Jay wants Nelson more than any appointment.  By far. They can get a king’s ransom if they want or let this twist for at least one legislative session.”



Scratch Poll Question 6

It was brought to my attention that our poll (see yesterday’s MOScout) misstated Missouri law as it relates to unions and therefore the result is an unreliable indicator of public opinion regarding changes to Missouri law.


We told respondents that “currently, Missouri law allows employers and labor unions to enter agreements that require all employees to join the union and pay dues as a condition of employment.”


In fact, the law only allows a contract whereby non-member employees who the union is required to represent, contribute to the cost of their representation; an amount less than dues. No employee is ever required to be a member of a labor union or contribute to a union’s political, charitable or philanthropic activities.



Speeches Last Night

Read the texts of the speeches – Nixon’s here – and Jones’ response here.


Here’s the heart of Nixon’s appeal for Medicaid expansion:

This isn’t the time to re-open the debate or reargue the merits of the President’s health care plan. I had some problems with it, and I know many of you did as well. But Congress passed it – the President signed it – and the Supreme Court upheld it. It’s the law of the land. And it’s not within our power to rewrite federal laws, even if we wanted to.


It is within our power – it’s our responsibility – to now do what’s right for Missouri. And the question before us is a narrow one. Will we bring the tax-dollars that Missourians send to Washington back home to strengthen our Medicaid system here in Missouri? Or will we let the tax dollars that Missourians send to Washington be spent in other states instead? Other states would get the benefits, and we’d get the bill.  The answer is clear: the people of Missouri deserve to see their tax-dollars come back to their communities.


Friends, let’s put the politics of health care aside for just a moment and look at this as a business decision for the state of Missouri.


The Missouri Chamber of Commerce supports the Medicaid expansion – not because they’re big supporters of this President and his agenda – but because it’s the smart thing to do. They know that bringing billions of dollars back to Missouri is good for our state’s economy.


The Kansas City Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the Medicaid expansion. So have the chambers in Independence, Springfield, Lee’s Summit and St. Louis. So have the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, Kirksville REDI, and our friends at the Associated Industries of Missouri.


Would the leaders from these business organizations who have joined us tonight because of the importance of this issue please stand? Thank you for your leadership on this critical issue. For these business leaders, this is not a political decision. It’s an economic one. And we shouldn’t let last year’s politics get in the way of next year’s economic growth.


Moving forward with this plan will bring a total of $5.7 billion to Missouri for the first three calendar years – at no additional cost to the state.  The University of Missouri estimates this will generate an additional 24,000 jobs – and that’s just in 2014. We’re talking about good jobs – for nurses, doctors, pharmacists, therapists and medical technicians.


Strengthening Medicaid will strengthen our economy. Without question, it’s the smart thing to do.


Now I know there are some who have voiced concern that Washington will not live up to its commitment. Let me address that directly: I support including a provision that rolls back the Medicaid expansion if Washington doesn’t honor its financial commitment.



Jones’ Rebuttal on Medicaid

A prime example is the governor’s call to expand the welfare state by adding 300,000 Missourians to the Medicaid roles. It’s a call that has come courtesy of Obamacare and Washington, D.C. It’s a call the Republican-led legislature will not answer.


Eight years ago, Republican leadership made the difficult but desperately needed decision to reign in a welfare system that was growing at an unsustainable rate. It was a decision that saved the state billions of dollars and staved off almost certain bankruptcy.  Today we are faced with a similar decision.


On one side we have a governor and a federal government that believes bigger government is the answer. They want to take us down a fiscally irresponsible path that will saddle future generations of Missourians with a bill they cannot afford. It’s a path Republicans will not follow.


Why should we pour billions of dollars of your hard-earned tax money into a broken system? That would defy basic economic sense. We will not follow the lead of out-of-touch bureaucrats whose reckless spending has pushed our nation to the brink of financial disaster.


Instead, Republican leadership will propose a plan to transform our Medicaid system, to repair a broken system so that it works as intended by providing quality care to the neediest Missourians.


Republicans have always stood for providing opportunity to those who are truly in need. And that is where your hard earned tax dollars should be spent. Our commitment is to stay true to the will of the people who have consistently voted with large majorities against the economy-crippling provisions of Obamacare, to find ways to keep the size of government small and to steer our state away from the same kind of fiscal cliff our federal government cannot seem to avoid.


We also call on Governor Nixon to stand in support of the many Missouri hospitals that provide care to the un- and underinsured. The federal government’s decision to cut the dish payments that reimburse hospitals for the care they offer is one that we must oppose together.


This ploy by the White House to force the hands of states like ours to expand Medicaid must be rejected, and we must develop a Missouri solution that will allow hospitals to continue to provide care, one that doesn’t require a massive expansion of government that Missouri taxpayers simply cannot afford.



From Yesterday’s Senate Session

Gruff Floor Leader Ron Richard is setting the expectations for his body admonishing them to be on time or miss the opportunity to introduce their legislation… And maverick Sen. Rob Schaaf helped the Senate weave itself into a spaghetti ball over a proposed rule change.  In the end, it was untangled, but one wonders if this is going to be a long year eventually testing the patience of Pro Tem Tom Dempsey.


Too early to prognosticate about the Senate’s capacity to digest and produce legislation…



Claire for Francis

Mayor Francis Slay continues to land all the big endorsements in his re-election bid.  The latest comes from Sen. Claire McCaskill.



Cunningham, McNary

The Post-Dispatch reports on the brewing battle between former senator Jane Cunningham and former rep Cole McNaryRead it here.


One legislator quips, “Remember that Cynthia Davis after losing a bid to stay in the Capitol ran and lost for ambulance board.  Will Cole or Jane switch to an obscure third party after this?”




Today is Transportation Day at the Capitol.  See it here.  But Wait!  It’s also Cable Day in the Capitol.   And the winner is….  Well, it depends who you are I suppose but I suspect the Cable folks will win the popularity contest as they’re bringing in Baseball Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog.



New “Newsmakers” interviews are up at www.comcastnewsmakers.com.



Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:


Jeanette Mott Oxford added Missouri Association for Social Welfare.

Ginger Steinmetz added Missouri Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, and Missouri Victim Assistance Network.

Steven M Stone added Northside Regeneration LLC.

Bill Stouffer added Allen C Harper, Control Technology and Solutions, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Air Methods Corporation, K12 Inc, Bethesda Health Group, Strack Excavating LLC, Missouri Dump Truckers Association, Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System, The BIO2 Solution.

A Louis Vaughn Sr added Office of Citizens Concerns Headquarter, and Obstruction of Due Process Center LLC.



$5K+ Contributions

Committee to Elect Reed – $5,001 from ETI Inc.

Stand Up Missouri – $5,875 from Security Group Inc.




Happy birthdays to MOWonk’s Schmidty (the Big 3-0), Reps. Tommie Pierson (67) and Craig Redmon (54), Allison Bruns, and Wayne Bledsoe.