Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Senate Leadership Mulls Narrower Pro-Life Bill?

Those watching the tea leaves in the Senate wonder if leadership is preparing to pare back the special session’s pro-life bill.  Sen. Bob Onder’s bill is the most wide-ranging.  But it’s been placed third on the Senate calendar.

Sen. Andrew Koenig’s bill is first.  One Senate observer says that Koenig – while very strongly pro-life – doesn’t have the same firepower on the floor as Onder who understands both the legal background of the court case, as well as being able to speak about the issue from a medical standpoint.

You’d expect that Dems will talk and ask lots of questions on the bill.

Meanwhile the Senate has a retirement party scheduled for long-time staffer Marga Hoelscher. That’s at 2PM.

So one possible path is that they’ll use that break to go to a narrower bill – second on the calendar – that of Sen. Bob Dixon.  It would roll back the St. Louis City ordinance, but nothing more.

This could all be part of a compromise with those who are privately grumbling about Governor Eric Greitens’ calling special sessions for theatrical reasons.  Or maybe they will pass multiple bills.  We’ll see….


Scooplette: Bunten to United Health

MOChamber’s Brian Bunten has been tapped by UnitedHealth Group as their new Vice President of State Government Affairs.  He’ll be covering Missouri and Oklahoma. Before joining the Missouri Chamber, Bunten had served on Peter Kinder’s staff.


Greitens Team Cirles Wagons

Following Sen. Jason Holsman’s resolution seeking an investigation into Governor Eric Greitens’ sketchy campaign finance behavior, KC Star’s Jason Hancock ran a story delving again into the fall-out of the governor’s Missouri Ethics Commission fine.  See it here.  The case Hancock lays out: with Greitens’ admission that his campaign used The Missouri Continues donor list for fundraising, there are only two possible scenarios.  Either The Mission Continues gave their fundraising list to the Greitens campaign, and has an IRS problem. (They have denied this.)  Or someone took it from the non-profit, and committed a crime.


Between the Holsman investigation talk, and the Hancock article, the wagons started circling around Governor Greitens. MOGOP Chair Todd Graves offered this bewildering statement in Greitens’ defense: I’m deeply disturbed by the resolution put forward by a few Missouri state senators calling for an “investigative committee” to look into the Governor and private individuals and groups who support him. This is nothing more than a political stunt that the senators lack the legal authority — or basis for that matter — to conduct…. Thankfully, our constitution and laws do not permit a group of senators to “investigate” political colleagues or private citizens simply because of disagreements…

I’m pretty sure the legislature doesn’t want to embrace this view that they have no authority to investigate.  It would have prevented them from investigating Chris Koster’s actions with the 5-Hour Energy case (which then-candidate Eric Greitens made a commercial about); or investigating Jay Nixon’s actions/inactions in Ferguson.  And looking ahead, it’s a safe bet that Missouri will have a Democratic governor again before it has a Democratic legislature. Do they really want to say they lack the authority to investigate?


Spotted: Hawley in DC

Tipster sent this pic of Attorney General Josh Hawley in DC airport waiting for his return flight to St. Louis. “Two observations: 1. US Senate gear up?  2. No socks with tennis shoes….”


More on Mantovani

Businessman Mark Mantovani’s much-discussed campaign committee is up on the Missouri Ethics Commission website.  It’s an “exploratory” committee.  Mantovani seeded it with $250,000.  (One Steve Stenger supporter was quick to note that the incumbent county executive had $1.4 million sitting in the bank as of the last quarterly report.)

The word is that Republican consultant David Barklage tried to recruit Mantovani to run for county executive as a Republican.  The guess is that Mantovani is basically non-partisan. But at some point Mantovani must have realized that the county’s continuing trend toward blueness made a Republican bid a longer shot than a Democratic one.  Thus he’s running as a Dem.

He will get dinged, though, for his Republican donations.  As one observer muses: The biggest constituents for Democrats in STL County are labor and African-Americans. He gave Greitens all that money and then Greitens signed Right to Work…  Then he gives money to Republicans for President in 2008 & 2012 and not President Barack Obama?  One Lacy Clay robo call will wipe him out…

Plus, there are screenshots circulating already – like this – of former tweets bad-mouthing Dems or praising Republicans.


Silvey on Special Session

Sen. Ryan Silvey is becoming the quote machine… From Missourinet: Silvey says the session is a waste of time and money. “While the political rhetoric and the soundbites are that this is saving lives and this is pro-life, I think the reality is whatever we pass, we’ll probably get sued over, a judge will probably put an injunction on it, and it probably won’t be resolved by January. When January rolls around, my prediction is we won’t have saved any lives,” says Silvey… “I’ve got a 13 year legislative record that shows I’m pro-life. That’s not a question,” says Silvey. “But I also think that we should respect our constitution and I don’t believe that we should be called back on every whim.”

eMailbag On Silvey

Sen. Ryan Silvey’s public comments are starting to remind me of Chris Koster circa 2007 – right before he switched parties to run for statewide office…



Rep. Mike Cierpiot kicked off his Senate bid with a big crowd.  See a twitter pic here. One Cierpiot supporter: The event had the who's who of Eastern Jackson. Very strong start to his campaign.


Kander does Iowa.  See the tweet here.  One MO politico says: “This is like the Pulaski County Dems dinner…”


Question of the Day: Was Missouri one of the 39 states that the Russians attacked?  See the Bloomberg article here.


Centene into the gap?  See it here. Centene Corp. said Tuesday that it would expand into more Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges next year, offering coverage in Missouri, Kansas and Nevada… The move comes as some major insurers have announced plans to withdraw from the exchanges in 2018, including Missouri’s, citing losses. Unlike those insurers, Centene has been able to thrive by piggybacking off its existing core business of providing health insurance to low-income individuals who qualify for Medicaid. At the end of March, Centene had 1.2 million Americans enrolled in exchange plans, almost all of whom are eligible for financial assistance.


St. Louis Business Journal reports that attorney Jerry Schlichter lasoed another huge settlement.  This one for $16+ million.  “Schlichter's ongoing efforts to challenge excessive fees in 401(k) retirement plans have secured $334 million in settlements for clients since 2010…”  Schlichter is a Democratic donor, but not on the scale of a Rex Sinquefield or David Humphrey.  He’s considered the author of the historic tax credit legislation, and was founder of St. Louis’ “Arch Grants.”  There’s no doubt he’s civic-minded.  If Dems could convince him that large political contributions could be effective game-chaning, they could potentially have a counter-weight to those scale-tipping heavies.


Post-Dispatch reports that “St. Louis philanthropist, political megadonor and education reform advocate Rex Sinquefield met privately Tuesday with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Sinquefield was joined by his wife, Jeanne, and Travis Brown, chief executive officer of First Rule, Sinquefield’s media organization…”


Help Wanted

Beyond Housing seeks Municipal Affairs Coordinator. “Municipal Affairs Coordinator assists Beyond Housing’s Government Affairs Manager with the work of the 24:1 Municipal Government Partnership (MGP). An ideal candidate would be highly organized, detail focused,

possess strong interpersonal skills, be computer literate and would have a passion for serving in a fast-paced and mission-oriented non-profit organization. The focus projects and tasks for the next 12 months of the 24:1 MGP include collaborative street and sidewalk repairs, an opt-in trash services contract, strategic code enforcement & inspections, TRIM grant and other collaborative projects for our municipalities. This is a 12-month grant-funded full-time position with possible extension up to additional 12-months…”


Lobbyists Registrations

Clinton McBride added Laborer’s International Union of North America Local 110.

Michael Talboy added Burns & McDonnell Engineering.

Keith Antone Willis Sr. added Flotron & McIntosh LLC.

Jason Zamkus added Missouri Energy Initiative.


$5K+ Contributions

Civic Progress Action Committee - $13,000 from Anheuser-Busch.

We Are Missouri - $20,000 from Construction & General Laborers’ Local Union No.660.

Holly PAC - $10,000 from Herzog Contracting Corporation.

Mantovani for STL - $250,000 from mark Mantovani.

Ozark Mountain Leadership PAC - $10,000 from Carey & Danis LLC.

Ozark Mountain Leadership PAC - $10,000 from Gori, Julian & Associates.



Happy birthday to Judi Roman.