Monday, October 2, 2017

Q&A #1: Is Regulatory Relief for Real?

There’s a growing concern that Governor Eric Greitens’ initiative to reduce red tape in Missouri is full of window dressing and may not produce much of substantive.

One Republican denizen of the building is distraught at the process.  “Our departments are going to waste months of work rephrasing things and deleting definitions from rules (because people don’t need the definitions in the rules supposedly but the important part is that will make the ‘rules less burdensome’ if make the reg books are smaller).”

What’s generating such pessimism? Rather than a rational review to ease burdensome regulations and lower their impact on Missourians, departments are targeting a how many reductions to make and working to get there by any means necessary.

For example: on page 9, of The DSS "Administrative Rule Review" PowerPoint (see it here) there’s a slide showing their target. (I am told all state departments have targets – to be 1/3 less “restrictive,” not just DSS).

Every agency shall answer: How many restrictive terms are in each rule? Includes words such as “shall,” “must,” “may not,” “prohibited,” and “required.” DSS has 8317 restrictive words currently in its regulations. The target number is 5489.

Notice that “shall” is included in the list of “restrictive” terms they’re trying to reduce. So what happens? This and this and this and others…

“Shall” is being deleted in proposed rule-changes and replaced with the word “will” and other such words that don’t seem to change anything about the regulations.

Here’s what that looks like:  Upon receipt of the request for hearing, the commission secretary [shall] will forward the request to the hearing examiner for the commission.

Any party [shall have] has the right of cross-examination….

Any party [shall be] is entitled to present oral argument at the hearing. If oral argument is presented, it [shall] will be preserved and transcribed in the record for the use of the commission in reaching a final decision.

Here are other examples of the reduction in regulations that will have no practical change in the regulatory environment:

This rule hasn’t gone away, it’s just changed where the authority for it comes.  It’s in Department of Agriculture not DNR.

And this rule doesn’t do away with the licensing of junkyards, it’s just that it’s been incorporated into statute so there’s no need for the rule anymore.


In the end, this process appears aimed to produce a Facebook video with lots of views.  You can imagine Governor Greitens showing the old stack of regulations and the newer smaller stack and  declaring the effort to cut red tape a success.  Meanwhile in the words of that Republican: “the games these guys are playing [will] just make people frustrated and confused.”


Rucker for  Senate

Martin Rucker II announced he’s running for Senate 34 as a Democrat.  See his website here.

From his email blast…

I’m running because it’s time for real change. It’s clear that last November’s election was a cry for change that we desperately needed, but it hasn’t been the outcome anyone bargained for. Now citizens realize that it’s not about one leader at the top but about real change at every level of government and in every part of their community.

Today is the is the first day of the new fundraising quarter and I'm asking you to help me get off to a great start….

Martin Rucker II lost last cycle to Rep. Kevin Corlew 52%-47% in House 14.  And by the way, his father, Rep. Martin Rucker ran for Senate 34 in 2010, losing to Sen. Rob Schaaf 57%-42%.

What It Means

The early line wouldn’t give Rucker too much of a chance to crack the Senate after losing in a Dem-leaning House district. However, there are a few reasons to keep an eye on this...

First, 2016 was a terrible year for Dems in Missouri with Donald Trump winning the top of the ticket by 19 points.  My latest polling showed Trump’s Missouri approval below 50%.  So if nothing else, 2018 won’t be a repeat of that.

Second, this is a swing district where Dems should be competitive.

And finally, Republicans are looking at a spirited three-way primary right now.  All the pieces are in place for Dems to make a run at Senate 34 next year.


Meanwhile… eMailbag on Senate 34 GOP Primary

Nick Marshall is not in the poll position… He has no money. Can't raise money. And hasn't campaigned since his first election.


Busch: Legislature MMJ “Futile”

Fox2 News reports on a letter from Adolphus Busch in support of medical marijuana reform.  See it here.

In the letter Busch reportedly writes, “For the last several years I quietly supported efforts to legislatively legalize Medical Marijuana in Missouri. But, I’ve found that attempting to get the Missouri legislature to understand, let alone act without endless revisions and self-defeating amendments, made these efforts futile. Even though 68% of Missourians approve of its use for medical needs, we have a legislative process that fails us."

Busch is among those giving up on a legislative path for MMJ and instead working one on of the numerous initiative petitions.

But one MOScouter notes: “[Busch] did not support Rep. Neely's HB 437 in 2017, so I think I don't think this statement is 100% accurate.”


Burly Golfy

Tipster says that Eric Burlison’s golf event last week had “over 60 in attendance. Of note were Reps. Lynn Morris and Curtis Trent who both gave strong endorsements.  Also of note were attendees Caleb Arthur (former candidate in Senate 30) and Ryan Cantrell (just announced candidate in House 137)….”


Follow-Up on Sykes for US Senate

In keeping with the narrative that Steve Bannon is behind Courtland Sykes’ insurgent U.S. Senate campaign, one reader points to a photo on Sykes’ Facebook page: it’s Sykes’ girlfriend hobnobbing with Bannon.


Help Wanted

Missouri Office of Public Counsel seeks Senior Counsel.  “The Missouri Office of the Public Counsel is a state agency representing the public and the interests of utility customers as a class in proceedings before the Missouri Public Service Commission and appeals. As a representative of utility customers, a Senior Public Counsel must possess a strong dedication to public service and consumer advocacy. A Senior Public Counsel must be able to perform, independently and promptly, advanced legal functions including: research and drafting, written and oral argument, preparation and examination of witnesses, and first-chair trial litigation….”  See it here.


Today’s Events

Powered by Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Reps. Peter Merideth & Bruce Franks Jr. Town Hall – Central Library, 1301 Olive, St. Louis – 6PM.


New Committees

James Klenc formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Klenc) to run for House 103 as a Democrat.

Phil Hendrickson formed a candidate committee (Citizens To Elect Phil Hendrickson) to run for Jefferson County Council District 3 as a Republican.

Benjamin Hagin formed a candidate committee (Hagin For Missouri) to run for House 112 as a Democrat.

Errol Bush formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Errol S Bush) to run for House 86 as a Democrat

Northeast Missouri PAC was formed.  Its treasurer is Nathan White.  He is the treasurer for several PAC formed in recent weeks.


Lobbyists Registration Changes

Noel Torpey, Andy Blunt, Angela Schulte, and Jay Reichard added Dell Technologies Inc.

Julia Brncic added University of Missouri Board Of Curators.

Rodney Boyd, and Brian Grace added Spire Missouri Inc, KIPP St. Louis; and deleted Laclede Gas Group.

Kelvin Simmons added Spire Missouri Inc; and deleted Laclede Gas Group.

Katherine Casas added KIPP St. Louis.

Jeff Altmann added Monarch Private Capital.

Guy Black added Phoenix Family.

Dave Abernathy, Joseph Thompson, and Larry Pleus added Spire Missouri Inc; and deleted Laclede Gas

Andy Arnold added Spire Missouri Inc.; and deleted Missouri Gas Energy.

Douglas Stone added Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate.

Shantel Smith added Missouri Dental Association.

William Ray Price Jr. added Avertest, LLC D/b/a Averhealth.

Jorgen Schlemeier, Sarah Topp, David Jackson, Kathryn Gamble, Bill Gamble, Cynthia Gamble, and Jeff Brooks deleted Saint Louis Zoo Association.

Kaley Graves deleted Missouri Right to Life.

James Gwinner deleted Opportunity Solutions Project.

Zach Brunnert and Richard McIntosh added Dell Technologies, and EMC Corporation.

Christopher Molendorp deleted W. E. Shoehigh, LLC On Behalf Of Apollo Education Group.

William Shoehigh deleted Apollo Education Group.

Jay Hahn and Rachel Treppler deleted ABB Inc.


$5K+ Contributions

Mantovani For STL - $7,500 from Julie Thome.

Mantovani For STL - $10,000 from Barrett Station Partners, LLC.

KC Transportation Transit and Tourism Committee (KC3T) - $100,000 from Heavy Constructors Association Industry Advancement Fund.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $12,500 from David Glarner.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $12,500 from Robert Glarner Jr.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $15,000 from Missouri Association of Career Fire Protection Districts.

Lyda Krewson for Mayor - $10,000 from Thompson Coburn LLP.

KC Transportation Transit and Tourism Committee (KC3T) - $15,000 from Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS.

KC Transportation Transit and Tourism Committee (KC3T) –$25,000 from The Builders Association.

KC Transportation Transit and Tourism Committee (KC3T) – $10,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.

Raise Up Missouri - $75,000 from The Fairness Project.

New Approach - $5,001 from Manon Herzog.



Happy birthdays to former Reps. Eric Burlison and Tim Remole (the big 6-0), and Teresa Wallace.