Monday, April 24, 2017

Governor’s Political Non-Profit Attacks Schaaf

In a head-scratching move, Governor Eric Greitens political non-profit, A New Missouri Inc, launched digital ads against Republican Sen. Rob Schaaf.  The ads provided Schaaf’s cell phone number and implored folks to call him and “stop blocking term limits.”  When Schaaf tweeted that his voicemail was full due to the ad-induced deluge, Greitens aide Austin Chambers responded by suggesting folks should start clogging his cellphone with texts instead.

Since no sane person could possibly believe that this would persuade Schaaf suddenly embrace the governor’s agenda, a number of theories developed as to the motivation behind the move.

Theory #1: The governor wants Schaaf to dig in and blow up the Senate as much as possible to create a dysfunctional legislature that he can point to as a “corrupt culture of career politicians.”  Apparently Greitens has told legislative leaders what bills he wants to get to his desk, so the theory of blowing up the legislature is not widely believed.

Theory #2: The governor’s political people don’t know the building and view everything as a campaign.  They initiated this without consulting the governor’s staff in the building.  This could be part of a broader schism without the governor’s team – those trying to get things done in Missouri, and those with eyes on DC.

Theory #3: The governor is clueless about how the Senate operates.  He’s imagining that it’s him against Schaaf, and it’s a contest of power.  A lot of times in the building it’s not about brute force. The governor’s increased Schaaf’s position by attacking him.  Schaaf can now talk about the “dark money” that’s being used to give out personal cell phone numbers, and folks who previously weren’t sympathetic to him will listen.

Any other theories?....


Circuit-Breaker Compromise?

Sen. Andrew Koenig is floating a proposed compromise to the circuit-breaker tax credit change.  Instead of an outright elimination of the renters’ portion, Koenig is seeing if a phase-in would soften resistance.  By cutting the benefit in half the first year, the budget difference between the Senate and House versions would be a more manageable $25 million instead of $50 million.  And then they’d cover the other half the following year when its cut entirely.

Of course those opposed could still vote against it, and be on the record against the change, while accepting the compromise by letting it come to a vote.


Butler Requests AG Opinion

On Friday, Rep. Michael Butler sent a letter to Attorney General Josh Hawley asking for a formal opinion if Sen. Gary Romine’s sponsorship of SB 43 – which changes discrimination law – is a violation of state law, specifically 105.452 RSMo.  “1. No elected or appointed official or employee of the state or any political subdivision thereof shall... favorably act on any matter that is so specifically designed so as to provide a special monetary benefit to such official…”

Romine owns a company being sued under the discrimination law he would change.  See the letter here.


Rep. Jay Barnes offers a new blog post about why he’s opposed to SB 43.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Senate Bill 43 will likely come up for debate next week. While I believe it should be rejected completely, that likely will not happen. At the very least, the provisions eliminating pro-life protections, state employee protections, and ordinary contract claims should be taken out of the bill. Details matter. If the House refuses to fix clear drafting problems with the bill after it came out of the Senate, the House will be abrogating its responsibility as a co-equal chamber in the General Assembly.


White Preps Senate 32 Bid

In the large contributions (below) Rep. Bill White gives himself $50K.  It appears to be a start to his 2018 bid to replace termed Sen. Ron Richard.  This is expected to be a vigorous Republican primary.  Rep. Charlie Davis has already announced his intention to run for the seat as well.


Today’s News

Governor Eric Greitens will sign HB 130 at St. Charles Community College [at 11AM]. This new law will make it possible for ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate statewide without burdensome regulations. Senator Bob Onder and Rep. Kirk Matthews, the bill's sponsors, will attend…


State Treasurer Eric Schmitt to announce public education initiative for MO ABLE disability savings program with Todd Barry - Executive VP of External Relations and CDO, EasterSeals Midwest – and Michel Ann Kaiser - Parent of an individual with a disability and MO ABLE




Rumor says that Team Greitens will be announcing a new director of the Department of Social Services soon. Deputy director Jennifer Tidball has been covering the spot.  We’ll see….


Spotted: Flying first-class, and looking “sun-kissed” back from Charlotte this weekend, former Speaker Catherine Hanaway.  Her name is mentioned as a possible candidate for Congress if/when Ann Wagner announces her US Senate bid.


Spotted: Attorney General Josh Hawley in St. Louis making solicitations for the Republican Attorney Generals Association….


Interesting to see that in Texas some rural Republicans are balking at school choice.  See it here.


An in-depth piece in Politico about St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District’s enormously massive storm water infrastructure project.  Read it here.


In the new tax credits issued… Missouri Works Training and Jobs - $9 million to Cerner Corporation in House District 18 and Senate District 17.


MFFH Promises Direct Aid

Press release: Over the next two years Missouri Foundation for Health will be utilizing a three-pronged strategy to strengthen public health infrastructure in its service region, making it more sustainable and responsive to the region's needs. This work will include offering direct funding to local public health agencies, convening a workgroup of key public stakeholders to think about how to improve and update the field, and supporting new innovative ideas that strengthen public health infrastructure. These efforts will involve collaborating with a variety of partners, including the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Missouri Public Health Association, local public health agencies, academic institutions, private sector public health partners, and many others… Missouri ranks 50th in the nation for the amount of state funds dedicated to public health. The national median is $33.50 per person, but Missouri spends less than a quarter of that: $6. The state ranks 46th in the nation for public health financing by state and federal sources, spending only $41 per person in 2015. Average funding across the country amounts to approximately $92 per person.


Consumer Council of MO Cheers Stoll, Kenny

Press release: The PCS just approved a new rule that removes disclosure and notice requirements and eliminates the requirement for public representation by the Office of Public Council. What this rule effectively does is allow the commissioners to meet in private with utilities with no meaningful public oversight, eviscerating their code of ethics. This controversial measure was not a slam dunk at the Commission. Two of its five members voted against it. Both Steve Stoll and Bill Kenney voted to preserve the current ethical standards. Consumers Council of Missouri lauds these two commissioners for standing up for transparency and consumer interests in the Capital….


Judge Applicants

“[T]he Twenty-Second Circuit Judicial Commission releases the following information relating to applicants for the associate circuit court judge vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Thom C. Clark II as circuit judge… Deborah M. Bird, Michael A. Brockland, David A. Bruns, Mary Pat Carl, Suzette Carlisle, Francisco J. Carretero, Michael J. Colona, Madeline O. Connolly, Katharyn B. Davis, Katherine M. Fowler, Micah D. Hall, Bridget L. Halquist, Richard A. Harper, Heather J. Hays, Craig K. Higgins, Heather Highland, Teneil L. Kellerman, Patrick L. Mickey, Joan K. Miller, Scott A. Millikan, Deborah L. Price, David A. Roither, Ian C. Simmons, Larry D. Thomason Jr., Michael L. Walton, and Lisl E. Williams


Help Wanted

United Health Group seeks Director, State Government Affairs. “Develop state relationships to identify and accelerate opportunities for Medicaid and dual-eligible program development. Develop State relationships focused on key executive and legislative branch leadership and policy leaders (incl. Speaker and/or Senate President, key committee leadership – appropriations, health care, Governor’s office, Medicaid or DHS departments and budget office)”  See the ad here.


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Rep. Steve Roberts Reception – Gumbo Bottoms – JC – 6PM.


Lobbyists Registrations

Salvatore Panettiere added Fred Dreiling LLC, The Swain Group, and Verizon Wireless.

Derek Bush deleted Allergan USA Inc.


$5K+ Contributions

Elect Bill White - $50,000 from William White.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $8,000 from Missourians for Mike Cierpiot.

Find the Cures - $15,000 from Bradley Bradshaw.



Happy birthday to Sen. Brian Munzlinger.