MOScout Daily Update: Schmitt Gets AG - Treas Names - Transportation Talk and more...

Schmitt Named AG

Eric Schmitt was named attorney general by Governor Mike Parson.  See coverage of the appointment here.

The second floor said that Schmitt was picked because he was already vetted by the voters, and has experience running a statewide office. But the Attorney General’s office is much bigger than the Treasurer’s office in every respect.  It has many more employees, wider scope of operations, and many, many more moving parts.  And the stakes are considerably higher.

Schmitt is said to have a good relationship with Senator-elect Josh Hawley which should ease the transition as he determines staffing and assesses the office’s on-going activities.

 

Treasurer Names

There’s a hole in the statewide offices that burning up the chatter.  Yesterday a few new names were brought up in conversations to me, but that doesn’t mean they’re being brought up on the second floor.  The new names are again largely women.  It’s said that Governor Mike Parson is moving in that direction.  It would help the optics of the Party slate, but also – one Republicans winked yesterday – so that a statewide woman (instead of a man) could attack Nicole Galloway in a hypothetical 2020 guv race.

·         Southeast legislators Holly Rehder and Kathy Swan – Both bring the statewide slate some “geographic diversity” as well.   

·         Sarah Steelman – The former treasurer only served one-term, so would be eligible.  Lots of reasons this makes sense, but mostly because she’s qualified beyond question.  The downside is needing to find a new OA Commissioner.

·         Shamed Dogan – Has been supportive of Parson’s agenda, and would bring appeal to the critical suburban voters.

And

Lots of people saying to drop the notion of Bev Randles.  They say, after their 2016 primary, Parson is not a fan.

 

Transportation Talk

I figured that transportation funding talk would hibernate for at least a year or two, but…

·         Exiting Rep. Kevin Corlew in the Post-Dispatch says “assigning to road projects some of a big increase in state revenue considered likely to occur following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last June that widened the reach of state taxes on online purchases.”

·         Sen. Wayne Wallingford, in SEMissourian, says “lawmakers could consider raising the fuel tax incrementally and keep it under the Hancock Amendment threshold. A 2-cent increase in the fuel tax could generate an estimated $80 million annually.”

·         Also in SE Missourian, Rep. Rick Francis says “lawmakers should consider raising vehicle license and registration fees. Such a move would not only help fund road and bridge projects, but also make it easier to maintain license offices in rural areas.”

·         And Kathy Swan suggests, “the Legislature should consider going to voters with a transportation tax that includes a sunset provision.”

What It Means

Despite the latest tax rejection from the voters, it sounds like this issue will be in the mix again this year.  And the governor’s office is likely to be neck-deep in the discussions as it remains a priority for Parson.

 

Count Hoskins In (the Renegades)?

This tweet from Sen. Denny Hoskins yesterday was being passed around as evidence that he might be part of a minority Republican faction willing to tie the Senate in pretzels at some point in the session.  We’ll see….

Just staying in shape to filibuster non-conservative bills this legislative session! Looking forward to January! #moleg

 

Graves Exiting As Party Chair

Republican Party Chair Todd Graves won’t stand for re-election.  It’s quasi-traditional for chairs to serve one term and then exit (though some, like Ann Wagner, did more than one tour).

I spoke to a couple folks who say his tenure at the party was successful, though overshadowed by the Eric Greitens scandals. 

Critics have tagged Graves as a Greitens stooge who was quickly emmeshed the GOP civil war that erupted earlier this year.

However, the state party in Missouri is largely an instrument of governor’s office.  So it’s not clear, short of resigning, how else Graves could have played it.

And one Republican puts it in the context of a party in near constant turmoil for years… Starting with Ed Martin’s time at the helm when fundraising sank, through the Tom Schweich suicide and the subsequent finger-pointing, into the Greitens Era which quickly imploded into a spawning of scandals, these have not been easy times to head the organization.  In that context, this insider says Graves should be praised for keeping the party apparatus focused on defeating Claire McCaskill during an unsettled time for the Missouri Republican Party.

Ultimately another Republican says, the election results are a vindication of Graves.

 

Peters Baker Won’t Charge MJ Cases

It appears that the passage of medical marijuana will be accompanied by a general loosening of marijuana prosecutions.  Kansas City Star reports that “Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Tuesday that her office will stop prosecuting most marijuana possession cases. The policy change, which will affect charging decisions at the state court level in Kansas City, Independence and throughout Jackson County… Jackson County prosecutors are not the first to make the move. In June, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced that her office would no longer prosecute people for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Prosecutors in other large cities, including Philadelphia and in the New York borough of Manhattan, have also announced similar policies in recent months…”

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Jamie Birch added Missouri Public Service Commission.

Jay Hahn added Gateway Air Conditioning Contractors.

Sarah Johnson added Missouri State Public Defender System.

Ann Mattingly deleted Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.

 

New Committees

Tonya Finley-McCaw formed a candidate committee (Tonya Finley-Mccaw For 22nd Ward Alderwoman) to run for St. Louis City Alderwoman as a Democrat.

Fred Kratky formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Fred Kratky) to run for House 82 in 2020 as a Democrat.

 

$5K+ Contributions

SaferMo.Com - $12,500 from Missouri Construction Industry Advancement Fund.

Chouteau PAC - $6,000 from Missouri Alliance for Freedom Grace River PAC.

Uniting Missouri PAC - $10,000 from Gold Rush Amusements Inc.

Uniting Missouri PAC - $10,000 from Ameren Missouri.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Mayor Lyda Krewson.