Monday, February 20, 2017

Richard Rule Change

Pro Tem Ron Richard implemented a significant change in the operations of the Senate last week.  He told committee chairs that they could turn in whatever bills they wanted.

For as long as I have been watching the Senate, the tradition has been that committee chairs only turned in bills that the Pro Tem’s office asked for.

If during Reports from Standing Committees a committee chair turned in a bill the Pro Tem’s office didn’t want, they would not accept it.

This allowed the leader of the Senate to control the flow of legislation onto the Senate calendar.  But more importantly it gave the leader a chokepoint at which he could kill any bill he wanted by simply not asking for it.  The bill’s death would happen quietly and without much fanfare as week after week it languished – even though it had been voted out of committee.

Richard has surrendered this very valuable power.

Those in favor of this change note that this “tradition” is not found anywhere in the Senate’s Rules, and the change is bringing the Senate’s operating procedures in line with the written rules.

There has been an ongoing tension within the Senate as some have felt that leadership was attempting to “centralize” power.  They were rebelling against this impulse.  Two significant procedural votes in the past two weeks have shown that a majority of the Senate wants a more decentralized power structure.

It appears that Richard’s actions were aimed to strike a conciliatory tone toward these concerns.

As a result of Richard’s change, Sen. Bob Dixon sent 20 bills forward from his committee on Thursday.


Otto to DED

Jefferson City News Tribune reports that Harry Otto will head to the Department of Economic Development.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Gov. Eric Greitens has tapped Harry Otto, one of Jefferson City's most well-known civic and business leaders, for the crucial slot as director of legislative affairs at the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED).

As such, Otto may be the highest ranking Jefferson Citian in the Greitens administration. He'll certainly be among the most well-known members of the team at work for the new governor in the next four years…

Otto was deputy state auditor under the late Tom Schweich and, most recently, was a tax fiscal analyst for the Joint Committee on Legislative Research in the General Assembly…


Walsh the Leaker?

Missouri-native Katie Walsh seems to be taking some heat from right-wing media as “the leaker” that has bedeviled the Trump administration.  Who knows if it’s true.  See the Gateway Pundit blog on it here. “The president and his allies have been deliberately feeding her fake information in order to find her network,” says a source close to the president’s family. “It’s been going well.”


McVey Out

A week or so ago there were a number of firing of old Nixon holdovers.  One of them was Hugh McVey in Labor and Industrial Relations.  Before joining the Nixon administration, McVey was the president of the Missouri AFL-CIO.


Correction on Soni Salary

One reader correctly noted that the salary I quoted for Greitens staffer Jimmy Soni was only for two weeks pay, not a full month… “Soni's salary is $4,583 X 2 per month ($9166, or $109,992 per year)… $4,583 per month would be difficult for the frequent plane tickets home to the West Coast…”


Post Endorses French

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsed Antonio French for mayor.  See it here.

Pull Quote: What most impresses us is French’s clarity of vision and ability to articulate exactly how he would use the mayor’s office to make much-needed improvements, particularly in minority-dominated, low-income parts of the city that have gone neglected for far too long. On that score, his goals and ours are the same.


Another lawsuit was filed against French’s North Campus Partnership. This one is from WCS Catering LLC. It follows the January 30 lawsuit by Vision Properties alleging that French and North Campus failed to pay $160K in invoices.


Silvey Vs Kraus This Week?

Over Twitter Sens. Will Kraus and Ryan Silvey prepped for what could be an epic floor debate this week.  With fears that non-Real ID compliant Missouri drivers’ licenses will start to become a travel hassle for folks, Silvey has proposed an accommodation: Missourians can choose is they want the Real-ID license or the non-Real-ID license.  Kraus thinks this is a bad compromise, calling it a privacy issue.

We’ll see…


Blackberry Market Share Hits 0%

Blackberry’s clientele has become more selective in recent years.  See it here.  Obviously they’re rounding down.  Fake news! Sad!


eMailbag: on SB204 Polling

Am I the only one surprised that the party that is afraid of big brother creating a national ID would so heavily support big brother taking DNA from people arrested (not convicted or even charged) with a felony to search for other potential crimes?


Lobbyists Registrations

Nancy Gidden, Quintin Hull, and Shannon Cooper added Kansas City Pet Project.

Jay Hahn added ABB Inc.

Jorgen Schlemeier and Sarah Topp added Missouri Association of County Developmental.

Aaron Baker and Kristin Starner added American Federation for Children.

Susan Swayze Liebel added Susan B Anthony List.

Ronald Leone added Continental Coal Inc.

David Klarich added 22nd Judicial Circuit.

Elizabeth Lauber deleted Strategic Capitol Consulting.


$5K+ Contributions

KCS Rail-PAC - $20,000 from Kansas City Southern.

AGC of MO PAC - $8,000 from Fabick CAT.

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America Political Account - $106,998 from Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.



Happy birthdays to Doug Galloway, former Sen. Matt Bartle, and former Rep. Kenny Biermann.