Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Jobs for SEMO?

A plan currently under consideration to bring a steel mill to New Madrid could result in 200 new, permanent jobs and millions of dollars of new investment in a region recently devastated by the closure of the Noranda facility.

A major corporation is currently considering a handful of locations around the country and finds the New Madrid location appealing because of the already existing skilled workforce of steelworkers. A determining factor in whether to open the steel mill at the New Madrid location will be the price of energy and the collaboration between providers (municipalities, cooperatives, and Ameren Missouri) to make it work.

However it’s said the plan may hinge on necessary legislation: a change to give the Public Service Commission the authority to set a competitive, economic development rate for the steel mill. The most readily available bill to achieve this is the Missouri Economic Development and Infrastructure Investment Act, Senate Bill 190. Without action, the economic development will be significantly more difficult to bring to realization.


Senate Gets Snagged on Circuit-Breaker

The Senate finally adjourned about an hour ago at 5:30AM after going all night debating House Committee Bill 3 which would change the “circuit-breaker” tax credit, removing renters from it.  The bill was laid over without resolution.  HCB3 provides a chuck of money that the House uses in its budget, so if the Senate declines to pass this bill, it will some significant reworkings of the budget.

These types of nights can be dispiriting for the chamber as some wonder whether the final finals of session will be bogged down.  But there’s no easy answer when divisive issues appear other than use floor time.  Let people slowly tire until both sides see the need for a compromise.

The Senate has always been less partisan body than the House.  Still there’s a pattern this session of various Republicans joining Democrats in debate.  Because it’s generally assumed that the Republican majority wouldn’t employ the debate-closing maneuver of “calling the previous question (PQ)” on members of their own caucus, this allows debate to ramble on without the threat of using the nuclear option.


It looks like the slow-moving Senate will be in session on this Friday as they try to stay on track with preparing the budget and advancing the legislative flow


Greitens Dinner for Women Leaders

Earlier this week Eric Greitens and his wife Sheena hosted 30 or so women at the mansion for dinner. The guest list included among others Chief Justice Patricia Breckinridge, Justice Mary Russell, Justice Laura Stith, OA Director Sarah Steelman, Supreme Court Clerk Betsy Aubuchon, Senate’s Adriane Crouse, House’s Dana Rademan, Wendy Doyle from the Women’s Foundation, as well as female department heads (AG, Ed, Corrections, DNR and others).  Greitens highlighted the fact that his administration has hired more women in top roles that any other in Missouri history and how they looked beyond the borders of the Show-Me State to find “the best and brightest.”


Meet John DeStefano

The Washington Post profiles Kansas City native John Destefano.  He’s brother to Melissa DeStefano Furey who staffer Scott Rupp when he was in the Senate.  Melissa is married to Shawn Furey, who staffed Eric Schmitt in the Senate, and now works for Centene.

See the profile here.

Pull Quote: DeStefano is the president’s official headhunter, responsible for filling up to 4,000 political jobs — about 500 of which are really important jobs — in a government that his boss promised to clear of the permanent class of capital insiders to drain the Washington swamp… He’s the man bringing the president the names of candidates who must get Senate sign-off after Cabinet secretaries and a long line of senior White House aides have weighed in. The competing powers in the inner circle often can’t agree, and DeStefano nudges them to consensus or starts over…  DeStefano and his team ensure that candidates pass the ultimate test in this administration: loyalty. (Never Trumpers or those who said something unflattering about the candidate on Twitter or Facebook are almost always disqualified.)… He and his team are also the gatekeepers, culling thousands of résumés — the White House won’t say how many — in the personnel office’s database to create a list for lower-level posts that don’t require Senate confirmation. Few of the top jobs are filled from that list; instead they emerge from a more chaotic process by which an adviser, family member, senator or the vice president will hand DeStefano a name and tell him to take a look. He has to tell Cabinet secretaries when their picks aren’t going to fly with the White House.


Hough in the Building

Former Rep. Lincoln Hough, now Greene County commissioner and rumored as a future state senate candidate, watched the Senate debate Sen. Bob Dixon’s SB264.  It would enable a sales tax for early childhood.  Dixon’s argument was simply: “Let my people vote.”  But things got funky when Sen. Will Kraus offered an amendment to put a 10-year sunset on the Kansas City Zoo tax, and as debate labored (some see the enabling legislation as equivalent to voting for a tax; others see it as a matter of local control), Dixon laid the bill over.


Schmidty to MCLC

In the lobbyist registration Brian Schmidt deregisters his previous clients with MOWonk, and registers for his new organization, Missouri Children’s Leadership Council.  Schmidt is their new executive director.  See the website here.


Gates Day Cancelled

Email from Sen. Kiki Curls office….

Dear Sponsor,

Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support for the 9th District's Annual Gates BBQ day at the Capitol.

In response to recent changes in campaign reporting guidelines, we have made several good faith efforts to find the best solution to help alleviate the additional burden the bill places on our sponsors.  After much aforethought, we find that it's likely best that we cancel the event…

The Ninth District Senator has hosted Kansas City BBQ in our Capitol for nearly 30 years.  It has been my pleasure to have continued that tradition of those that came before me.  If you have any questions regarding the cancellation of the event, please don't hesitate to contact us at the number below.

Thank you again for all of your past support!


Press Releases

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has announced her office has begun an audit of the Hazelwood School District in St. Louis County. Residents of the district requested the audit through the petition process… The Hazelwood School District includes 29 K-12 schools and covers areas of Hazelwood, Florissant, Black Jack, Spanish Lake, Ferguson, Bellefontaine Neighbors and Bridgeton in St. Louis County. The petition audit required 5,000 signatures, which were certified by the St. Louis County Elections Board.


The Missouri Department of Economic Development recently announced that Missouri’s unemployment rate decreased to 3.9 percent in March, the lowest it’s been since September 2000. The states seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased by two-tenths of a point and has now been below the U.S. rate for 24 consecutive months.  Despite Missouri's nonfarm payroll employment dropping by 13,400 from the February level, the Show-Me State gained significant jobs from one of its top industries. In March, manufacturing grew by 1,900 jobs.


Today, the Missouri Department of Economic Development announced that Dollar Tree will invest approximately $110 million to build a 1.2 million square foot distribution facility in Warrensburg, Mo. Dollar Tree expects to create 375 new jobs within three years, and the facility will support Dollar Trees retail store network in the Midwestern U.S. The facility will see 150-200 inbound/outbound trucks per day… The company expects the distribution center to be operational in May 2018. The project is contingent upon the approval of local incentives.


Trinity Lutheran Case

First Assistant and Solicitor General John Sauer announced yesterday that the AG’s Office is recusing itself entirely now in the Trinity Lutheran case before the Supreme Court.  “Office recusal is now important to preserve the Attorney General's ability to vigorously defend the Governor's policy. Jim Layton, former Missouri Solicitor General under Chris Koster, will represent the Department of Natural Resources going forward in this case and in the oral argument on Wednesday.”

See a primer on the case here.


New Committees

Friends of Michele Kratky – formed to run for Alderperson Ward 16 in 2019.

Baker for Missouri – Judy Baker’s new committee was formed to run for statewide office in 2020.


eMailbag: Asbridge’s Classmates

Fun fact: There is a hidden caucus in JC power circles, it's called the Class of '08! Here is a current roster of Capitol players who all graduated together from Mizzou Law in 2008: Ryan Asbridge (now at Department of Revenue), Darryl Chatman (former Dep. Director of Ag, and current appointee to University of Missouri’s Board of Curators), Reps. Elijah Haahr, and Robert Cornejo, Julie Baker (who runs House Drafting), Greitens staffers Jennae Neustadt and Caleb Jones, and lobbyists Jay Atkins and Shawn Furey.


eMailbag on Hawley 2018

Ann Wagner is the new Kurt Schaefer.  [Look for] Outsider Halwey to run against Obama DC Insider McCaskill…


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Sen. Gina Walsh Birthday Bash Breakfast – Bone’s – JC – 7:30AM.


Lobbyists Registrations

Andy Blunt, Jay Reichard and Noel Torpey added Bayer US LLC; and deleted Bayer Corporation.

Brian Schmidt added Missouri Children’s Leadership Council; and deleted Husch Blackwell LLP, Collaborative for a Low Cost Digital Future, Northside Regeneration LLC, and Missouri Wonk LLC.

Charles Ballard deleted Agape Boarding School.


$5K+ Contributions

Ameren Missouri Political Action Committee - $5,083 from Ameren Fed PAC.



Happy birthdays to former Sen. Bill Stouffer, and former Reps. Bert Atkins, Sylvester Taylor, and Jean Peters Baker.