Friday, October 27, 2017

Driving the Day: Rumors of Relief

Word is that Republican senators will be getting a polling memo today that shows Republican Rep. Mike Cierpiot’s numbers strengthening in the Senate 8 special election.

Just weeks ago, fears had jettisoned the usual complacency.  The Independent bid of Jacob Turk created concern of a split GOP vote, opening up the possibly that Democrats might take the seat.

Now, according to this memo, Cierpiot holds a seven-point lead in the polls, and his numbers are trending higher. Given the dollars flowing in support of Cierpiot, his campaign is expected to continue to build on this momentum.

For Republicans it seems the danger of losing Senate 8 has waning as the Turk threat – while still there – recedes.

Sneak Peek

MOScout Weekly Poll will have numbers on the race this weekend.


Q&A #1: How Goes Greitens’ Quest to Remake the SBOE?

Short answer: One step closer.


Last night Governor Eric Greitens appointed Tim Sumners, of Joplin, to the State Board of Education.  The board will meet on Tuesday (October 31).  Greitens has been itching to replace the current commissioner of DESE.  In fact the Post-Dispatch reported that Greitens recently brought his chosen replacement to Missouri for a visit.  However because the SBOE has hiring and firing power over the commissioner – not the governor – Greitens has so far been stymied.

Sumners joins Claudia Greim, Eddy Justice and Doug Russell as Greitens’ appointments to the board.  There are now four Greitens appointees and four holdovers on the eight-person board.

Sumner’s arrival was greeted with this statement from SBOE Board Member Justice: “Tim Sumners is a man of impeccable integrity that I have not only the extreme pleasure to serve out great state with but whose judgement I believe will benefit Missouri’s students in a way we can all be wholeheartedly proud of.”


From the first thing you’ll see if you Google Sumners… “Sumners wanted his 70th birthday on Tuesday to pass uneventfully, he said, but instead found himself center stage at the meeting of the Joplin City Council where he was presented a rare “key to the city” in honor of his 27 years of service to the program.”


Allen Exploring Senate 14

On Twitter Rep. Courtney Curtis announced that “I have enjoyed serving the #73rd District. I will not seek reelection. However, I am formally exploring a bid to represent you in the #14th.”   See it here.

Curtis has been controversial.  He has sometimes been the sole Democratic lawmaker to vote with Republicans on labor issues.  Additionally, he was fined $114,000 by the Missouri Ethics Commission for campaign finance violations.  Curtis has appealed that ruling.

Curtis reported $24,673 cash on-hand in August 2016, and since been filing “limited activity” reports.

Curtis joins Rep. Joe Adams and former Rep. Sharon Pace as those looking to replace Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal.  In a July 2017 MOScout poll of Democratic voters in Senate 14, Curtis placed third out of four possible contenders.

Q3: Possible candidates in the 2018 Democratic primary election for State Senate are Joe Adams, Courtney Curtis, Jeanne Dee and Sharon Pace. If the election were held today, for whom would you vote?

Joe Adams: 17%

Courtney Curtis: 6%

Jeanne Dee: 3%

Sharon Pace: 15%

Undecided: 59%


ACA premiums

A new study (see it here) shows Affordable Care Act insurance premiums rising in Missouri in the coming year between 34%-43%.  The study cites the elimination of cost-sharing reduction payments from the federal government as one of the factors driving the increase.


Richardson Creates Interim Committee on Stabilizing Health Insurance

From the press release: A newly-formed group of lawmakers will spend the coming months looking at the direction health care should take in Missouri. House Speaker Todd Richardson created the Interim Committee Stabilizing Missouri’s Health Insurance Markets for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of what changes at the federal level will mean to markets in the state.  Richardson selected state Rep. Justin Hill to chair the committee…

Hill said the committee will extensively look at how the rollback of the Affordable Care Act will alter the health insurance climate in Missouri. Hill and his fellow committee members will also work to determine if Missouri should pursue a federal waiver to sidestep requirements of the ACA and allow the state to have greater flexibility and stability for the health insurance market. Reviewing the state’s Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements law and looking at measures to stabilize small employer and individual insurance risk pools will be a priority for Hill and the committee…  

Serving on the committee with Hill will be state Reps. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann; Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove; Cody Smith, R-Carthage; David Wood, R-Versailles; Cora Faith Walker, D-St. Louis; and Martha Stevens, D-Columbia.


LG for MMJ?

In a Columbia Daily Tribune interview (see it here), Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson says “he doesn’t favor legal marijuana for recreational purposes but sees medical use in a different light. The participation of the Veterans Alliance for Compassionate Access doesn’t mean he endorses their views, he said, but he added that it is time to debate the issue. ‘The medical marijuana deal is not going away. The medical marijuana, I don’t have much problem with that.’”

What It Means

It’s one more data point in an ever-increase data set that medical marijuana is moving mainstream.  Parson is a sitting Republican lieutenant governor who, before his years in the House and Senate, was Polk County’s sheriff for over a decade.


Amoret Audit

From the press release: Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released a citizen-requested audit for the City of Amoret, located in Bates County… An alderwoman may not be qualified to serve on the board due to questions about her residency and the mayor may not have been qualified to file as a candidate due to delinquent city taxes.

The report also found the city lacks procedures to monitor or disconnect delinquent utility accounts of city officials, employees and family members. In one instance, the city meter reader did not reflect a past due balance on her own account, but then paid approximately six months' worth of accrued balances. In another case, the mayor and his son's utility accounts were delinquent for several months, but did not incur penalties or get disconnected. The audit also found a conflict of interest exists because a member of the board of aldermen is paid by the city to serve as city meter reader….

Amoret is represented by Sen. Ed Emery and Rep. Patricia Pike.

See the audit here.

By The Way

Wikipedia says Amoret’s population is 190.


New Committees

Boone County Young Democrats, a PAC, was formed.  Its treasurer is Delaney Catlettstout.

Committee Amendments

Matthew Freeman is the new treasurer for Missouri Independent Accountant Political Action Committee.  See the paperwork here.

James C. Thomas III is the new treasurer for Missouri Alliance for Freedom – Grace River PAC.  See the paperwork here.


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Rep. Shawn Rhoads Pheasant Hunt – Ozark Wings – Caulfield.

Saturday: Rep. Kevin Corlew Trivia – Coves North Clubhouse – KC – 5:30PM.


$5K+ Contributions

Missouri Energy Development Association Political Action Committee - $10,000 from Kansas City Power and Light.

Missouri Energy Development Association Political Action Committee - $10,000 from Empire District Electric.

Missouri Energy Development Association Political Action Committee - $10,000 from Ameren.

Majority Forward - $7,500 from Centene Management Company LLC.

Missouri Alliance for Freedom – Grace River PAC - $20,183 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $10,000 from Grow Missouri.

KC Transportation Transit and Tourism Committee (KC3T) - $10,000 from Cerner Corporation PAC.

KC Transportation Transit and Tourism Committee (KC3T) - $15,000 from Husch Blackwell LLP.



Happy birthdays to Rep. Jay Houghton, former Sen. Kurt Schaefer, Stacey Jones Preis, and Andria Danine Simckes.

Saturday: Katie Steele Danner.

Sunday: Reps. Gail McCann Beatty and Mike Henderson, KCPL’s Cara Hoover, Chip Casteel, and Ewell Lawson.