Thursday, May 18, 2017

Scooplette: Special Session Announcement Soon?

Rumor is that governor is going to be issuing the call for a special session very soon.

The best guess is that the call will be for mid-June, and the current rumor is that it will only be aimed at utility regulatory reform – to help Rep. Don Rone in his quest to land some jobs for the bootheel.

One ancillary benefit that the governor’s people might be seeing in such a call is that it would isolate some of the senators who have been troublesome for them.  Sens. Gary Romine, Doug Libla and Rob Schaaf have stood in opposition to this legislation in the past.  Perhaps they see a special session as a means to beat them on this issue?

Meanwhile

Press release: State Rep. Shamed Dogan today requested that in the event Governor Greitens calls a special session, the Governor should include the Hair Braiding Freedom Act (HB 230) and the Local Government Accountability Act (HB 229) among the legislation to be discussed. The two bills were both overwhelmingly passed in the House but failed to be voted on by the Senate.

 

The Talk: ESAs A Rex Money-Maker?

During session one of the whisper campaigns against the educational savings account proposal was that it was a giveaway to big donors.  Because Rex Sinquefield has long championed educational reform, his name was mentioned in the hallways.

Now comes a New York Times article pointing out that in several states with ESAs – including Arizona which many held up as an example – donors actually make money on their contributions.  See it here.

Pull Quote: In these states, individuals and corporations donate to nonprofit “scholarship-granting organizations,” which then distribute the funds to parents. The amount of the contribution can be subtracted dollar-for-dollar from the donor’s state tax bill. The state-level programs began in 1997, and in 2011, the Internal Revenue Service allowed taxpayers to deduct the contributions from their federally taxable income as well — a benefit that has largely been kept within the circles of wealth advisers and private school communities… Nine states that allow both a federal tax deduction and a state dollar-for-dollar credit are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia, the report said. In these states, the report found, donors can even make a profit.

In South Carolina, if taxpayers make a $20,000 donation to a scholarship organization, they not only get a $20,000 state tax credit, but a federal tax deduction valued up to $7,000. The donor could pay $27,000 less in taxes based on a $20,000 donation.

 

Indeed Sen. Andrew Koenig’s SB313 would have given donors a 100% deduction on their state taxes, meaning with the federal deduction that’d net positive for the contribution.

 

Follow-Up on Clean Missouri

I wrote yesterday about a $250K check from NEA Missouri to “Clean Missouri.”  Later Clean Missouri issued its first email blast…

You've seen the headlines coming out of Jefferson City lately — and they're not pretty.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

This week, we are formally launching our campaign to put the people of Missouri ahead of the lobbyists, big donors, and partisan politics that are holding us back….

Here's how we're going to clean up Jefferson City: Voter by voter, family by family, workplace by workplace, club by club, town by town, we'll collect the signatures we need to put the Clean Missouri amendment before voters next November…

Here's what the the Clean Missouri amendment will do:

Lower campaign contribution limits for General Assembly candidates — $2,500 for state senate campaigns, and $2,000 for state house campaigns; Eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in Jefferson City by banning any single gift worth more than $5; Make legislators wait at least two years before becoming lobbyists; Require that legislative records be open to the public, and ensure that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census, by asking a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps — which would then be reviewed by a citizen commission…

Your first chance to join the fight is this Saturday, when we'll kick off signature gathering work with trainings and canvasses in Springfield, Kansas City and St. Louis…

And That’s Not All

Another campaign committee has been formed which looks to be a sister vehicle…

Fight for Reform Missouri filed paperwork with the Missouri Ethics Commission earlier this month.  Its treasurer is Sean Soendker Nicholson.  Nicholson is the deputy treasurer of the Clean Missouri committee.  Nicholson was previously executive director of Progress Missouri, and is now with GPS Impact.

 

Bott to STL City Hall

Post-Dispatch editor Chris Ave announced that Celeste Bott would be taking over as their city hall reporter next month.  So they’re hiring for a new reporter in Jeff City.  See the ad here. “The St. Louis Post-Dispatch seeks a dynamite journalist for our two-person statehouse bureau…”

 

Announcements

Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr officially announced his candidacy for speaker.  He has long been considered a candidate – in fact the front-runner – for the job.  The Republican House caucus will vote on this position at their summer caucus.

 

And Floor Leader Mike Cierpiot announced for Senate 8, where Sen. Will Kraus is termed.  Cierpiot’s kick-off will be June 13 at the Stonehaus Farms Winery in Lees Summit.

 

Legislative Grades

Justin Alferman: A

Robin to Scott Fitzpatrick's Batman, he continues to earn kudos for his budget work and being the face of ethics reform is even better. A budget chairmanship and a senate seat await….

 

Dan Brown: D

Lost complete control of Budget process.  The first Appropriations Chair I’ve ever see lose when an amendment is proposed on the floor.  The salt on the wound is that the crowning achievement of this Republican budget – fully funding the foundation formula – was a House priority that happened over his objection.

 

Jon Carpenter: B+

Another good year on the floor, with extra point for leading the charge to kill the emergency clause on the minimum wage bill.  Dems are looking to him to be their best hope to take back the

 

Maria Chappelle-Nadal: B

She did everything she could to keep her chief issue in the spotlight and not let anyone forget what she was fight for.  Still she couldn’t will the House into passing her legislation to fund the money she’d fought to get in the budget.

 

Mike Cierpiot: B

A lack of PQs early on caused consternation but his quiet and effective leadership as floor leader helped Todd Richardson effectively pass every priority he had through the house without hiccup. He will likely be a popular senator soon.

 

Kevin Corlew: A-

The likely successor to Silvey in the Senate has become a vital voice for pro-business defense of tort bills.  Cool, calm, collected at all times and has a thoughtful approach to legislation as evidence in REAL ID.  Huge asset for biz community.

 

Robert Cornejo – B+

His work on the alcohol advertising bill was impressive. This issue has been around since 2014 when it was being pushed by Schnucks, yet they never made much headway. Getting it through the House and a hearing in the Senate in the face of hyperbole and fear mongering by the opponents is a testament to Robert's abilities as a legislator.  We’ll see if he can translate it into a credible campaign for speaker.

 

Shamed Dogan: B+

Dogan became a floor presence in the heated SB43 debate, putting himself on the line in a way few other Republicans did.  He lost that battle, but the fight did not diminish his standing. Also having his name mentioned as a possible county executive or congressional candidate didn’t hurt his session either.

 

Scott Fitzpatrick: B +

The ending of the budget was rough, but Fitzpatrick delivered huge wins on fully funding the foundation formulate and creating a budget full of House priorities. His last minute bringing up of HCB 3 for a vote, even though he disagreed with it, showed a good deal of maturity.  The only knock is whether this capitulation in the literal last minute of session will embolden them in future negotiations.

 

Bruce Franks: B+

Franks established himself as someone who quiets the chamber and people actually listen to.

 

Eric Greitens: C

There’s plenty to take credit for: right to work, and tort reform the most prominent.  Still Republicans control all levers of Government, they should have run the tables.  And maybe they’d have done better if not for the fresh-faced governor with an excellent biography.  His most memorable contribution this session was to set up a dark money operation.  It sank ethics reform; it created a talking point for anyone opposing his agenda; and it will likely be the source of his troubles in the future.

 

Elijah Haahr: B+

After winning the Pro Tem's position in a contested race, he showed all session his command of the dais. He put aside much of his legislative agenda in order to assist the caucus with theirs and is the front-runner in the race to become Speaker after Todd Richardson.

 

Jason Holsman: A

Holsman played a critical role in a pivotal moment in the Senate this session.  After Governor Eric Greitens berated and belittled senators in the pro tem’s office, Holsman rose on the Senate floor and denounced the behavior as inappropriate.  In doing so, he was defending the institution, but also demonstrating for the soon-to-become dissident senators that he had their backs when Richard didn’t.

 

House Freshmen: A+

From taking on highly publicized issues (DeGroot, Evans, Matthieson) to fiery floor speeches (Ellebracht, Quade) to effective behind the scenes committee work (Gregory, Merideth), the freshmen class stepped up in a big way.

 

Gail McCann Beatty: B+

It’s maybe the hardest legislative job in the building.  The minority leader in the House has no levers of power, no strings to pull.  Still McCann Beatty emerged this session as an effective jabber, counter-puncher, and poker of the inexperienced statewide Republicans.  She was just the voice Dems needed to pick themselves up off the mat and start believing in themselves.

 

Joe Don McGaugh: B+

Handled some tough pro-business legislation in the employment law bill, collateral source reform, and the overlooked Templemire fix which raised the bar to prove work comp discrimination. J.D. set himself apart from the GOP lawyers as unafraid to get his nose

bloody for the cause. Its cant be stressed enough how those three bills will shape the employment landscape in the state for generations. Business community has taken notice.

 

Bob Onder: B

While he was part of the floundering and dysfunctional Senate leadership team, the sense in the building was that he was in some respects a bug-eyed backseat passenger on the wild ride.  And despite the constant distractions, he did manage to pass two significant bills: Uber and PLA.  Does he win a Floor Leader or Pro Tem race in January 2019?  That’s really not the question now.  The question is: does he want it?

 

Holly Rehder: B+

Though her signature PDMP bill was once again derailed, Rehder can take some credit that she brought the governor on-board with the issue.  Also she can rightly crow that she was doing labor reform before labor reform was cool.  The jury’s still out on whether the caucus wants her damn-the-torpedoes spirit in the speaker’s office.

 

Shawn Rhoads: A –

Emerged from obscurity to be a Rules Chairman in mold of ShannonCooper/Mike Parson. He killed dozens of bills yet remains a popular member with caucus members and the lobbying corps.  Given a big step up in responsibility and power, proved he deserved both.

 

Ron Richard: C- 

Lots of MOScouters argued that Richard should get a D or F as the Senate imploded into chaos and his grip on power was loosened to the point of nearly being powerless.  But as one reader correctly noted “Here's the facts: the man ran to push pro-business changes and after the first 3 weeks of session the calendar was a Murderer's Row of right-to-work, tort reform ,labor reform and work comp priorities. The majority of those bills were passed out of the Senate.  He's never been a pro-life or 2A zealot so I really don’t think he gave a s**t what happened after those enormous business reforms moved out of the Senate.”

 

Todd Richardson: A

Compared to Greitens and Richards, Speaker Richardson proved he was the best Republican leader of the trio. Managed to get all the heavy GOP legislation out of the House, continues his effort to clean up the Chamber through even handed approach reminiscent of the era before term-limits. Let his talented Budget Chairman have enough free-reign to deliver the best House budget since Republicans take over. Even though he is the youngest of the GOP leaders he proved he is the adult in the room.

 

Gary Romine: B-

Certainly stepped up to pick a few fights but has he become damaged goods by making too many enemies?  His opposition to utility reform and charter schools is alienating some of his colleagues, and it’s rare to hear a senator get denounced on the House floor the way he was this session.  Obviously he and gov aren't workout buddies.  His best sessions may be behind him.

 

Caleb Rowden: B+

Hardly seemed like a Freshman. He took time on the dais.  He passed 3 tort reform measures: Time-Limited Demand, Reservation of Rights, and Employee Physician. Most importantly, he

led the epic takedown of Schaaf.

 

Rob Schaaf: C

Just as his reputation took a shot on the chin, the Governor's inept dark money organization made him a martyr. It saved his session, and helped make him the dominate force of the final month.  Still his only big win was once again stymieing PDMP.  Meanwhile he was on the losing end of his two highest priorities: managed care and ethic reform.

 

Ryan Silvey: A

After losing Approps by a vindictive Ron Richard, Silvey still found a way to leave his mark all over session: fully funds schools (against leadership); HCB3 (against House); Real ID (against Senate conservatives).

 

Gina Walsh: B+

Walsh played nice with the Senate majority, a role that served as a counter-balance to the rebels and probably helped play into leadership’s general confusion.  In addition to getting her zoo legislation passed, she forced Sen. Will Kraus’ ill-advised “NON-CITIZEN” stamp proposal into a quick retreat with one devastating inquiry.

 

 

Post-Session Sale

From the Facebook page of Sen. Caleb Rowden: HELP: I have some suits and dress shirts that I am trying to unload. If you need a nice suit or two or some nice white or patterned dress shirts, send me a private message and we can chat sizes and prices. These are all nice items that have only been worn regularly for six months or so. Let me know if you are interested.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Sherry Doctorian added AT Government Strategies LLC.

Andrew Linhares deleted Renew Missouri Advocates.