Thursday, May 4, 2017

Senate Comedy

It was another day of nothing doing in the Senate. The Senate did not take up the circuit-breaker.  Rather Sen. Bob Dixon recounted various US Senate stories to try to put into context the long struggle of making the legislative process more civil.  It culminated in a verse of Kumbaya with Sen. Kiki Curls.  See video of that here.

Meanwhile Sen. Rob Schaaf and his band of rebels circulated a list of House Bills on Third Read that they thought would help the Senate “maximize productivity.”

And once Floor Leader Mike Kehoe attempted to move through some rudimentary business, Sen. Ryan Silvey made procedural objections which dead-ended any progress.  No reports from committees, no referral of bills, no debate. Pro Tem Ron Richard wasn’t on the floor during the proceedings.

Today, the expectation is that the Senate will take up the “dark money” legislation, and then start working on the budget conference committee reports. But after yesterday’s inability to do even the most simple tasks, there’s no guarantee.

 

Budget Conference Committee

House Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick and Senate Appropriations Chair Dan Brown slogged through the spending bills.  It was a process of most shrugging and saying “look no one’s getting everything they want.”  And Fitzpatrick – more than once – told senators if House Bill 3 was passed in the Senate, things could be different.

Two notable changes… After Sen. Gina Walsh pointed out that the proposed cuts to the number of Administrative Law Judges would include cutting the only African American judge, the conference made a slight revision to prevent that from happening.

And Sen. Jamilah Nasheed shook her fist about cuts to Harris-Stowe.  It seemed we might be headed to a special session on the budget when she wasn’t accommodated, but later they found

$250,000 for the university.  It was a lesser amount but not nothing, and as a gesture showed they were not unsympathetic.

 

Greitens Team Not Talking About Mission Continues Donor List

KC Star reporter Jason Hancock tries to get a comment from the Team Greitens about how it is that they came to possess the Missouri Continues donor list.  They don’t answer.  See it here.

Pull Quote: It’s still unclear how Gov. Eric Greitens’ campaign acquired a list of donors to a veterans charity that last week resulted in a $1,000 fine by the Missouri Ethics Commission… Neither the governor’s campaign spokesman, Austin Chambers, nor his official spokesman, Parker Briden, responded to repeated requests for comment.

The questions surrounding the donor list began last fall, when the Associated Press obtained an Excel spreadsheet showing the names, email addresses and phone numbers of people who gave at least $1,000 to The Mission Continues. The spreadsheet’s properties showed it was created by a Mission Continues employee May 6, 2014, shortly before Greitens stepped down as CEO. It was last saved March 24, 2015, by an employee of the governor’s exploratory committee…

 

Long Flips Back on Healthcare

Congressman Billy Long is back on board with Trumpcare.  NYTimes reports (see it here, Long’s in the photo) “A breakthrough came earlier Wednesday thanks to an amendment proposed by Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, with the support of Representative Billy Long of Missouri, to add the money to the bill. The two Republican lawmakers had come out against the health care legislation, warning that it did not do enough to protect the sick, but they threw their support behind it on Wednesday…”

And

If you want a laugh… take a look at this awkward three-minute interview that Sarah Steelman did with Billy Long back when he was running for Congress.  See it here.

 

Hubrecht’s Heartburn

Rep. Tila Hubrecht on Facebook: I will be honest, this bill, the "circuit breaker", upset me greatly and still does...it does hurt some of our senior citizens, I voted yes for it in the House because a no vote would have hurt even more Senior Citizens. I chose the one which would cause the least amount of harm… I am ashamed of the overall conduct of the General Assembly. We are passing a budget which is in many aspects balanced on the backs of disabled senior citizens. This is due in part to the unexpected drop in General Revenue last year, a corporate tax cut rate bill that had a fiscal impact more than expected and an unexpected increase in the number of individuals dependent upon Medicaid and other state assistance programs… This has been the hardest session I have endured thus far in my service to my district and our state. I will admit I have been incredibly angry over various bills and actions taken by the General Assembly and have even had to go to my office and have a good cry after votes I have taken. I have thrown fits about things and have talked many peoples heads completely off--I am sure there are some who will be glad to get a break from me… To all my constituents, I apologize in the areas I and the General Assembly have failed. Please know that I have done my best to advocate for what is best for our area and I have negotiated in good faith on bills which have given me "heartburn". I will continue to serve you to the very best of my ability.

 

Bits

We Are Missouri was formed.  It’s a campaign committee for the effort to overturn the right to work law that was passed.  Its treasurer is Tom George, who is on the Missouri AFL-CIO executive board.

 

The Twenty-First Circuit Judicial Commission announced the panel of three nominees for the circuit judge vacancy in St. Louis County created by the retirement of Judge Tom DePriest. Those nominated by the commission are: John N. Borbonus III, Mary B. Schroeder, and Dean P. Waldemer… Borbonus received four votes, Schroeder received three votes, and Waldemer received five votes.   Greitens will now pick the judge.

 

KC Star reports (see it here) that former Koster aide, Joseph Dandurand, “will head the Kansas City office of Legal Aid of Western Missouri. As executive director, Dandurand will lead more than 50 attorneys and 100 total employees in the office, which provides legal assistance to people with low income. Dandurand succeeds Gregg Lombardi, who retired after nearly nine years in the office and has opened a law firm dealing with housing and urban-core issues….”

 

The Missouri Alliance for Freedom may be shutting down.  There hasn’t been a tweet in about seven weeks, and its executive director, Ryan Johnson recently deregistered the organization from his lobbying clients.  The organization was a champion for conservative issues within the building, but was criticized by some because the source of their funding was never disclosed. Johnson did recently register for Exemplar Public Affairs LLC, indicating that he may be hanging out a shingle to take on new clients.

 

eMailbag on SB313

The bill specifically says the receiving school does not have to "hire additional classroom teachers", the school is not required to "exceed the number of students provided by its approved policy", the school is not required to "construct additional classrooms" and the "sending school has to provide the transportation of the students to the receiving school."  Finally, if the student from the sending school is a special services student, then the sending school has to pay for the "excess costs" to educate this student to the receiving school. This essentially means that receiving schools are not required to expend any additional funds on the students they receive from the sending school. So, any revenue the receiving school gets from the sending school is "icing on the cake."  They can use the revenue from the sending school to supplement any program, purchase instructional materials or equipment, etc...

 

Help Wanted

City of Saint Charles seeks Digital Media Specialist.  “The purpose of this position is to oversee and maintain the City’s social media outlets and website.  This position will be responsible for creating digital content for online outlets City-wide, including, but not limited to, videos, graphics, infographics, web banners and written content….” See it here.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

David Sweeny added Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets Inc.

Michael Kapocius added Takeda Pharmaceuticals America.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Jason Kander.