Monday, October 30, 2017

Q&A #1: How Far Has MMJ Come?

Short answer: Legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes has become the consensus position across party lines.


Forget the news out of St. Louis City with the latest aldermanic bill to prevent enforcement of marijuana laws.  The city can be leading the progressive charge or extra noise obscuring a larger trend.  The data point here is in suburban Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit where the Senate 8 special election is occurring.

In that recent candidate forum all three candidates (Republican, Democrat and Independent) agreed – with some nuances – in the principle of medical marijuana reform.  Listen to it here at the 42-minute mark.

That’s why there are three different initiative petitions fighting for ballot space.  It’s ripe for voter approval.

The real mystery is why no one has figured how to achieve the goal through legislative action at a fraction of the cost of an IP.


Platooning Trucks: Safer, Faster, Cheaper?

Two years ago Governor Jay Nixon vetoed legislation to allow “platooning” trucks.  Last year the Senate and House bills didn’t go anywhere.  But maybe they’ll be back again this year?  Washington Post reports on the technology.  See it here.

Pull Quote: If you look to the next lane and see two 18-wheelers roar past at 70 mph with just 10 yards between them, you’ll probably think they are dangerously close. In this high-tech age, that may no longer be true. In fact, it might be just the opposite, and it might even end up saving you money.

A wave of new technology intended to make trucks safer — using radar, cameras and reflective light scanning — is sweeping the industry. By next year, much of it may be combined to put pairs of trucks on the road at a distance that before would not have been possible or safe… Trucks are involved in 11 percent of fatal crashes, although they make up just 4 percent of vehicles on the road, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Ten percent of truck fatalities are rear-end crashes — three times as many as rear-end collisions between two cars….

Trucking companies spent about $90 billion on diesel fuel last year. Firms spend the most paying drivers, but buying diesel often is the second-biggest expense, sometimes amounting to 20 percent of operating costs. A truck tucked in the slipstream of another tractor-trailer can save 10 percent on fuel. But the truck in front also will burn about 5 percent less fuel. Why? Part of the drag on a truck plowing into the wind is caused by turbulent air that tumbles off the top and sides of the trailer. When two trucks pair up closely, the air flows more smoothly from the first to the second, reducing that turbulence….


Congressman Billy Long gets on-board with self-driving cars.  See it here.

Pull Quote: In 2015, there were 35,092 traffic fatalities and more than 2 million people injured in the U.S. In 2016, this number increased by 6 percent resulting in 40,200 fatalities. This is the highest number of traffic fatalities in a single year over the last decade. What was the primary cause for all of these traffic fatalities? Human error. Self-driving cars, with the help of cutting-edge technology, work to eliminate human error, such as blind spots, slow reactions times and unpredictable driving behaviors. These cars would have 360-degree awareness and advanced collision avoidance systems, which would drastically cut traffic accidents and fatalities.


St. Onge: Vigilante Fireman?

Oh boy.  KMOV reports on an altercation between former Rep. Neal St. Onge and the Lake Saint Louis Police and Fire Departments.  See it here.

Here’s St. Onge’s side of the story (from his Facebook): Under the Category that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. I was driving home this afternoon, saw smoke from Lake St.Louis Blvd. I pulled in the subdivision, told Brenda to call 911, then ran in the home and evacuated two adults and one child. I then went to back of home, hooked up a garden hose and had the fire about 90% knocked down when a policeman arrived and ordered me to leave that I was in danger. I replied that I was a former firefighter and I wasn't in danger. A fellow in short pants turned my hose off and I asked him if he was f---king crazy? That did it, I was put in cuffs and spent about 40 minutes in the back of a police car. For you older timers, Leroy and Capt. Behrens would have been proud. Please help this go viral!

And here’s the police version from their Facebook: On 10/26/2017 at approximately 4:00 PM Lake Saint Louis Police responded to the area of Foxbridge Court for a report of a fire. Upon arrival police officers made contact with a male subject who was standing on a rear deck of the villa which was burning. The subject was utilizing a water hose in an attempt to extinguish the fire which had spread to the attic of the home and the deck area on which he was standing. As the entire residence was evacuated, police officers made numerous requests for the subject to come down from the deck for his own safety, to which the man refused. A firefighter on scene also requested the subject to step down for his own safety and to prevent him from interfering with other fire department personnel who were attempting to fight the fire. The subject again refused. A firefighter on the scene turned off the garden hose that the man had been using, in another attempt to get him to comply and step away from the burning villa. The subject became angry, shouted obscenities and ran toward the firefighter aggressively. A Lake Saint Louis police officer grabbed the man’s arm in an attempt to stop him from assaulting the firefighter, at which time the man pushed the officer. The subject was then briefly detained to prevent him from assaulting the firefighter and entering back into the fire scene. The fire was extinguished by the Lake Saint Louis Fire Protection District and nobody was injured.


Who Will Audit the Auditor?

State RFP: Pursuant to section 29.351, RSMo, (, the contractor shall conduct an audit of the accounts, functions, programs, and management of the Missouri State Auditor’s Office for the Missouri General Assembly, in accordance with the provisions and requirements stated herein.

The contractor shall conduct an independent financial and compliance audit and an economy and efficiency audit of the Missouri State Auditor’s Office, which shall consist of, but not limited to, an audit of the following: A review of the procurement procedures for acquiring goods and services including the hiring of outside contractors; An analysis of travel expenditures, employee expense accounts, and oversight of departmental purchasing cards;         A review of the accuracy and completeness of the annual Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) survey responses…


Randians in Jeff City

Speaker-elect Elijah Haahr and Director of Revenue Joel Walters name Atlas Shrugged as a book that “changed their life.”


Chamber Warns of “Slack Fill Cases”

Missouri Chamber’s new general counsel says “slack fill” cases are on the rise.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Think of the bag of potato chips in your house or a box of candy you purchase at the movies.  The “slack-fill” is the empty space or air that is included in the carton for spatial or packaging purposes.  While a slack-fill lawsuit can take a variety of forms, for the most part a hungry trial attorney will seek out a consumer who purchased a food item in some type of bag or carton packaging.  The lawyer advertises and gathers additional clients who purchased the same food item.  That lawyer then files a lawsuit seeking class-action certification alleging that the packaging of a particular food item did not contain enough actual food inside and all of these consumers were somehow damaged by the extra space in the container…


Greitens Appointments

Governor Eric Greitens appointed Dr. Chuck Ambrose and Dr. David Knes to the Midwestern Higher Education Commission, and Dr. Kevin Wallace to the Missouri Dental Board.


New Committees

Victor Allred formed a candidate committee (Missourians For Vic Allred) to run for House 13 (Nick Marshall termed) as a Republican.

Sean Smith formed a candidate committee (Missourians For Sean Smith) to run for House 35 (Gary Cross termed) as a Republican.

William Heisse formed a candidate committee (Citizens To Elect Bill Heisse) to run for House 92 (the current incumbent is Rep. Doug Beck) as a Republican.

Robert Revis formed a candidate committee (Citizens For Mike Revis) to run House 97 (McCaherty district) as a Democrat.


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Rep. Bryan Spencer Dinner – Bandanas – Wentzville – 6PM.


Lobbyists Registrations

David Sweeney added Mission: St. Louis; and deleted Sweet Potato Project.


$5K+ Contributions

Raise Up Missouri - $250,000 from Sixteen Thirty Fund.

Find the Cures - $50,000 from Bradley Bradshaw.

Missouri Alliance for Freedom Grace River PAC - $102,000 from Liberty Alliance.

Living Well PAC - $20,000 from MO Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.

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

MO Cattlemens Association PAC - $52,169 from Missouri Cattlemen’s Association.

Midwest Region Laborers’ Political League Education Fund - $7,608 from Laborers Supplemental Dues Fund.

MOCable PAC - $10,000 from Charter Communications.

KC Transportation Transit and Tourism Committee (KC3T) - $20,000 from Burns & McDonnell.

KC Transportation Transit and Tourism Committee (KC3T) - $7,500 from Plumbers Local Union No 8 PAC.

Freedom Incorporated - $15,000 from Clark Construction Group.

Freedom Incorporated - $7,500 from The Weitz Company LLC.



Happy birthdays to Rep. Bruce DeGroot, former Rep. Mark Parkinson, former Mayor Vince Schoemehl, Kyna Iman, and Jessica Podhola.