MOScout Daily Update: Parson's Bonding Proposal - Parson's Gov Restructure Proposal - Senate Committee Chairs - No Jan Quarter from Gardner and more....

Jason Hancock’s lede (see it here) nails the big takeaway: new debt issuance.   Gov. Mike Parson wants lawmakers to borrow $351 million to help mend the state’s ailing bridges, his latest attempt to repair state infrastructure after his gas tax proposal was beaten back at the polls last fall.

That kind of talk unnerves some. 

·         We all like workforce development and infrastructure! And some of the others he mentioned. But the only real plan I've heard to "pay" for it is to put $350mil on a credit card. If we can't afford it now in a good economy, how exactly can we afford to pay it off, with interest, when the next recession hits?..

MOScout Daily Update: House Chairs - Top COHs - Gepford New Dem ED - Vescovo Contra Fraker? and more...

January Quarters: Top COH

Missouri campaign committees had over $27 million in the bank at the end of the year.  Here are the top campaign committees by cash on-hand.

Hawley For Missouri - $1,057,029

Greitens For Missouri - $977,648

Eastern Mo Laborers Education & Benevolent Fund - $869,657

Carpenters Help in The Political Process (CHIPP) - $757,462

Friends of Gregory FX Daly - $605,221

MOScout Daily Update: Ruth Gets Transportation Chair - Early January Quarters - Galloway Starts public Corruption Unit and more...

Ruth Gets Transportation

Rep. Becky Ruth has been appointed chair of the House Transportation Committee.  House Bills 206 (Murphy) and 448 (Pike) were referred to her committee.  The two will likely be merged and becomd the first bill that the House passes.  The bills rename part of Interstate 55 for the late Rep. Cloria Brown.

MOScout Daily Update: 4 Things to Watch This Week - Behind Senate's First Filibuster? - 2020 Prep Begins and more...

2020 Positioning Starts… Now

A tipster reports seeing Axiom-ites meeting with Rep. Holly Rehder last week.  The implication is that consultants are already busy lining up their 2020 roster, pitching possible state senate candidates.

In this case, Rehder is expected to face Rep. Kathy Swan in a Republican primary for Senate 27 where Sen. Wayne Wallingford is termed.

MOScout Weekender: Korte to Treas? - Poll: Deep Partisan Divide - Hallway: Trump Threatens 2020 - Who Won the Week and more...

Inside the Numbers

As might be expected, this poll shows huge partisan divides among Missourians.

·         70% of Republicans think the country is headed in the right direction while 85% of Democrats say it’s on the wrong track.

·         84% of Republicans approve of Donald Trump’s job performance, and 87% of Democrats disapprove.

·         51% of Republicans think illegal immigration is the country’s biggest problem, but Democrats (35%) worry most about rising healthcare costs.

·         79% of Democrats agree that the federal government should be acting to reduce the threat of global warming, while only 32% of Republicans agree.

What It Means

In Jefferson City, Republicans and Democrats will find greatest success in working together on technical issues and pragmatic problems, but once ideology enters the frame, it gets real hard.  The bases of the two parties have two different worldviews.

MOScout Daily Update: Meet Stateline Strategies - House Rules to Curb CLEAN? - The Coming Fight Over Testing and more...

Pearce Chairs Fitz Transition

The press release: Incoming Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick today announced his Transition Team. This team will provide guidance and expertise on policy priorities and initiatives… Advisors: Sarah Steelman, Former State Treasurer; Clint Zweifel, Former State Treasurer; Wendell Bailey, Former State Treasurer; Sen. Bob Onder, R-St. Charles; Paul Curtman, Former State Representative, Financial Advisor; Sarah Mills, Clay County Public Administrator; Rick Holton Jr., Investor & Founder, Cultivation Capital; Brian Milner, President, Missouri Community College Association; Mark Milton, Tax Attorney; Locke Thompson, Cole County Prosecutor; and Mark C. Thompson, Vice Chairman, Country Club Bank… Chair David Pearce will continue as Senior Policy Coordinator in the Treasurer’s Office, a role he has held since 2017. Prior to his work in the Treasurer’s Office, Pearce worked as a banker at the First Community Bank of Warrensburg and served in the General Assembly for 14 years.

MOScout Daily Update: Lembke Back in Building? - Barnes on GOP's Cult of Trump - More Greitens Misdeeds Coming? and more...

Barnes Signs Off

On his blog (see it here), Rep. Jay Barnes offers some final thoughts as he’s termed out.… “In the Trump era, the national Republican Party has become dangerously close to a cult – with followers willing to throw aside policies, foreign and domestic, that had defined the party for decades, ignore reams of outright lies from the leader, and stand quietly aside as basic human decency is tossed away as a fundamental principle of presidential leadership.

MOScout Weekender: State Approval Numbers - Bond's 2020 Weighting - Price to Dep. Treas and more...

MOScout Poll: Approval Numbers

Survey conducted January 2 through January 3, 2019. 812 likely 2020 General Election voters participated in the survey. Survey weighted to match expected turnout demographics for the 2020 General Election. Margin of Error is +/-3.4%.

Q: Do you think Missouri is heading in the right direction or do you think it is going off on the wrong track?

Right direction: 36%

Wrong track: 40%

Not sure: 24%

Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the job Mike Parson is doing as Governor?

Approve: 43%

Disapprove: 27%

Not sure: 30%

MOScout Daily Update: Dem Names in 2020 - Committee Talk - Fitz Seeks GC - STL Drama - One Word: Hemp and more...

I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Hemp.

Cannabis advocate Eapen Thampy posts on Facebook: Today I drove to Warrensburg MO to meet some large landowners and speak about hemp agriculture...tomorrow I'll be in Brookfield/Chillicothe doing the same thing. In the last several months I've been to Dexter, Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Saint Genevieve, Vandalia, Arnold, Hallsville, Harrisonville, Marshall, Sedalia, St. Joseph, Fulton, Lexington, and a dozen other places with the same message -- Hemp is here to shake things up. The amount of acreage that will transition from other uses to hemp agriculture in Missouri is millions of acres. It's unreal thinking about what's coming.

MOScout Daily Update: Meet Prospects for Missouri - The Big Budget Fear - Kurt to Children's Division and more...

Kurt to Take Over Children’s Division

Word is that David Kurt will be the new Director of the Missouri Children’s Division.  He’s from Kansas.  According to his LinkedIn, Kurt has been at the Kansas Department For Children and Families for the past seventeen years.  His most recent job title was “Interim Director, Child Support Services.”

One MOScouter says “This is big news in child welfare world, and for policy related to kids...”

MOScout Daily Update: Clinton Gets "Poor" Rating - Ashcroft on IP Reform - Regulating the New Economy and more....

Clinton Depletes Reserve Fund

Auditor Nicole Galloway released an audit of Clinton County (see it here) showing that “the cash balance of the county's General Revenue Fund went from $512,000 at the end of 2016 to a projected balance of only $264 at the end of 2018…”  Yikers!

Clinton County is represented by Sen. Dan Hegeman and Rep. Jim Neely.

MOScout Daily Update: Readers' Poll Day Three - Thomas Files IPs - Schmitt Hires Stevens and more...

Schmitt Hires Stevens

The press release: “[I]ncoming Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Cristian Stevens will serve as Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Litigation.  Stevens also previously served as an assistant United States Attorney for 15 years.  As an assistant U.S. attorney, Stevens prosecuted violent crimes, including homicides, as well as narcotics, white-collar and civil rights violations, from the earliest stages of investigation through appeal.  Currently, Stevens is a partner at Armstrong Teasdale…

In 2014, Stevens spearheaded the federal investigation of the high-profile officer-involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.  The investigation’s report has become the definitive account of the shooting.  For his work, Stevens received the U.S. Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service in 2015…. As Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Litigation, Stevens will oversee the criminal litigation divisions of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, including Medicaid Fraud, Criminal Appeals, and Public Safety.”

What It Means

This is the second big hire from Schmitt, nabbing a lot of experience from the US Attorneys’ Office.   It bodes well for the professionalism that he’s attracting to the office.

MOScout Daily Update: Readers' Poll Day Two - Rex Hearts Parson - Brooks on Session and more...

Venue Tops Tort Reform Wish List

Among the legislative items that didn’t get passed in the Republicans’ landmark session last year was “venue reform.”  It’s considered to be a top prize for this session among those with tort reform on their agenda.  MOChamber’s Dan Mehan hits the issue in the latest publication of their magazine.  See it here.

MOScout Daily Update: MOScout Readers' Poll Day One - Smith Gets Budget - Taste of JCity Cancelled and more...

Smith Gets Budget

Short-circuiting any prolonged speculation over who would replace Scott Fitzpatrick as House Budget Chair, Speaker Elijah Haahr named Rep. Cody Smith to the post on Friday. 

What It Means

Smith may have a six-year reign in the powerful position. It would provide the House with great stability and increasing expertise and experience, potentially improving their negotiating outcomes with the Senate on budget matter.  But of course, it’s not set in stone.  Some already imagine Smith serving four years as Budget Chair and then hopping over to become speaker…

MOScout Daily Update: The Next Budget Problem - House Committee Chair Talk - Talent for DoD? and more...

The Next Budget Problem

Some market watchers believe that the flattening yield curve is signaling vulnerabilities to continued economic growth.  Regardless, the next recession is not a matter of “if,” but “when.”  And the state’s tepid tax revenue collection during these times of solid GDP growth have stirred fears that the next downturn will be particularly difficult on the state budget.

It’s worth revisiting Auditor Nicole Galloway’s “Stress Test” audit from a year ago, January 2018.  See it here.

MOScout Daily Update: Fitz to Treasurer - Who Gets Budget Gavel? - Arnold to Travelers - Greitens Dark Money Filing - Carnahan for Alderman and more...

The Next Domino – House Budget Chair

Talk immediately shifted to the prospects for filling the Budget Chair position.  Rep. Cody Smith was named vice-chair earlier this year, setting him up to take over AFTER Fitz was termed in 2020.  The consensus among Budget Committee watchers I spoke to is that Smith is still the favorite for the job. But other names mentioned are: David Wood, Robert Ross and Kathy Swan.   

Here’s one insider: “Smith probably gets the nod to replace Fitzpatrick [but Wood’s] experience will make Elijah Haahr’s decision tougher than most realize.”