Monday, July 3, 2017

Smart or Cowardly:  You Make the Call

Governor Eric Greitens’ team unloaded every piece of controversial news they could gather and shoveled it out the door late Friday afternoon.  The thought is that reporters have limited time to digest it all and report on it, and there’s a smaller audience – folks are already on the road for the long 4th of July holiday or in the backyard lighting the charcoal.  It’s a well-worn strategy and it’s smart.

However, here’s a typical reaction from a Democrat: [R]educing people's wages, signing a bill that makes discrimination easier, and kicking thousands out of nursing homes late Friday before the 4th of July is cowardly.

More bothersome, though, to Republicans as well as Democrats were the statements which accompanied each action.  Most all of them attack the legislature.  The old paradigm of partisan play – blame the other party – is gone, and Greitens is broadly blaming the legislative branch of the government for any piece of bad news.

 

Withholds

The governor withheld $251 million from the new budget. (See the list here).  His statement (“Politicians were trying to spend money we don't have…”) chafed one Republican who noted that the legislature’s budget actually called for less general revenue to be spent than the governor’s budget.

It’s interesting that Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick was estimating a $130 million shortfall, so the governor is being more aggressive on the withholds.  I tend to think this is smart - politically.  You can always put money back into the budget, and it sets up better news cycles down the road.

 

SB43

This was such a high item on the business agenda that there was no way that Greitens wouldn’t sign it.  Some Dems thought his previous reluctance to support SJR39 was reason to hope for a veto.  They were wrong.

 

HCB3 Sweep Vetoed

This Friday action dismayed Republicans and Democrats in the chamber.  Republicans felt blindsided that they didn’t hear any objection to the plan when it was center-ring during the legislative session.  It seemed Nixonian to let them expend hours of negotiating energy simply to face a gubernatorial veto afterwards.  With Nixon this behavior stomached with some measure of partisan understanding.  Nixon was a Democrat.  Of course he was going to play mind games with the legislature.  But why is Greitens, a governor of their own party, doing this?

 

Minimum Wage Bill

Probably the most infuriating of the governor’s statements was this one.  He’s letting it become law, but not signing it because “I disapprove of the way politicians handled this. That's why I won't be signing my name to their bill.”

One House Republican called it “chicken sh*t.”  Meanwhile one Senate Republican was bewildered.  Did the governor miss their PQ to make the bill happen?  Did he not see how that frayed the fragile Senate peace?  Would he rather an earlier PQ and blow up the Senate for the final two weeks?  They went out on a limb for the bill and this is the way he says thanks?

Remember – the Senate has still not reconvened to take up the abortion bill in this current special session.  Floor Leader Mike Kehoe has blamed scheduling conflicts.  But let’s be clear: the upper chamber has a supermajority of the governor’s party.   Every single member of that caucus is pro-life.   This is a consensus issue for them.  It should be a slam-dunk.  Yet here they are dragging out the special session.

Conclusion: no more specials.  The Senate will eventually return and finish this special, but they are signaling that even if the governor drops the needle again, the special session dance is over.

 

Tax Credit Commission

Finally, the least of the news on Friday, the governor’s tax credit commission issues their final draft.  The earlier draft that was leaked [EDITED. Story on leak to follow on Wednesday] was mostly shelved with little more than the tax credit portion making it to the final report.

 

Help Wanted

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education seeks Senior Policy Advisor - Governmental Affairs.  “Serves as primary legislative policy advisor for the Department; Formulates and coordinates legislative strategies and advises the State Board of Education, Commissioner of Education and executive staff on legislative and budget proposals affecting the Department; Assists with policy development/analysis and legislative review functions for the Department; Supervises and coordinates activities of the Department's legislative team; Coordinates and prepares required statutory reports and other communications to legislators and their staff; Works with the Department's General Counsel, and House of Representatives and Senate research staff in drafting legislation….  Salary Range: $59,688…”   See it here.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Steve Mahfood deleted The Nature Conservancy.

Kelsey Robinson deleted Steven R Carroll and Associates.

Michael McDermott added Verizon Communications and affiliated companies.

Joseph Miller added Missouri Primary Care Association.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Friends of Lincoln Hough - $5,200 from Mark and Valla Gardner.

Friends of Lincoln Hough - $5,200 from Ed and Carolyn Pinegar.

Friends of Lincoln Hough - $5,200 from William and Mary McQueary.

Friends of Lincoln Hough - $5,200 from John and Susan Gentry.

Friends of Lincoln Hough - $5,200 from Loren and Elaine Cook.

Friends of Lincoln Hough - $5,200 from William and Virginia Darr.

Friends of Lincoln Hough - $5,200 from Jack and Elizabeth Stack.

MO State Teachers Assoc Legislative Impact Co - $10,000 from Southwest Region Teachers Association Inc.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $20,000 from David Glarner.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $20,000 from Robert Glarner Jr.

We are Missouri - $5,473 from Teamsters Local #245.

New Approach Missouri - $10,000 from Missouri Essentials LLC.

New Approach Missouri - $20,000 from Missouri Essentials LLC.

We are Missouri - $20,000 from Eastern Missouri Laborers’ Educational and Benevolent Fund.

CLEAN Missouri - $100,000 from Eastern Missouri Laborers’ Educational and Benevolent Fund.

Mantovani for STL - $100,000 from Tim Fogerty.

Mantovani for STL - $10,000 from Chase McKeague.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Duane Simpson, Sara Schuett, and Rachel Payton.

4th of July: Courtney Cole, Victor Callahan, Jim Moody, Ron Richard, Joe Aull, Brian Millner, and Curtis Trent.

 

MOScout News

No MOScout tomorrow (Independence Day).  See you Wednesday…