Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Senate Passes Real ID

It was a long day in the Senate without a lot of accomplishments.  But just after midnight, the body was able to check another big item off the list.  The Real ID compromise passed.

With a federal deadline looming that threatened to force Missourians to go scrambling for passports in order to board airplanes, and Governor Eric Greitens talking about calling a special session if the legislature didn’t act, the Senate worked its way to a vote.  The final amendment from Sen. Will Kraus requires that documents which the Department of Revenue collects from the issuance of Real IDs “shall be stored solely on a system not connected to the internet nor to a wide area network that connects to the internet.”  It was a 28-5 vote (Sens. Eigel, Emery, Kraus, Onder, and Wallingford voting against).

Hopefully the House can live with that, as they still need to pass this version…


A day after laying over HB292 (which allows banks to charge yet another fee), the Senate passed it.  Some saw it as a sign of deference to the bill sponsor, Rep. Sandy Crawford.  She will be replacing the Parson vacancy (Senate 28) this summer, and joining the body.  So various factions of the Senate are cultivating a relationship with her….


HCB3 Limbo

HCB3, the circuit-breaker which became the fund-sweep, remains an unresolved issue.  House Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick is reluctant (“There's no scenario that I'm going to pass that bill”) to do the sweep. His position is reinforced by multiple motivations: opposed to using one-time money to fund a recurring cost; thinks board sweep has constitutional problems; and wants to reform the circuit-breaker.

The House will try for conference with the Senate and look for a compromise.  The contours of the compromise would be sweeping some specific funds and a phase-in of the circuit-breaker or change in program (i.e. going from 65 to 70 on the age of the renters).

If the Senate doesn’t bite, Fitzy is playing like he’ll walk away.  And I think he will.  We’ll see…


Does Sen. Ryan Silvey get named to that conference committee?  I think so.


Soni Has Left the Building

KCStar reports…  Jimmy Soni, a former editor of The Huffington Post, is no longer employed by the governor’s office. His last day was April 30. In his time with Greitens, Soni worked on the governor’s transition team, helped craft the inaugural speech and state of the state address and served as a communications adviser in Greitens’ office… News of Soni’s hire had been publicly criticized by Democrats, who noted he’d resigned as managing editor of the liberal news website The Huffington Post in 2014 under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations. Five of Soni’s former Huffington Post colleagues interviewed by The Star in December confirmed that he was being investigated by the publication’s corporate parent AOL for sexual harassment involving interns. It was that investigation, they said, that led to his resignation from the website…


Kerr to Greitens: You Can Do This!

Pat Rowe Kerr‎ wants a veto of SB43, writing on Governor Eric GreitensFacebook page

Dear Eric,

What a blessing it has been to work with you and know you since 2007 so that we could make a difference for veterans! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the deposition you gave in my case when I had been discriminated against because of my sex and age. Your testimony helped me achieve justice…

Unfortunately, SB 43 will make it much harder for persons like the 50,000 plus state employees who may at some time be discriminated against to get a fair shake when their rights have been violated…  The new law will not allow the employee to sue the individual who engaged in the discriminatory actions.

This is contrary to the principle of personal responsibility that you and I believe in….and frankly, the Republican principle of personal responsibility. Gosh, Eric, you were the one that stood strong against the Navy Seals dealing with illicit drugs regardless of the negative impact on your career in the military. Stand strong for your own Missouri employees. I know you can do this!

Your strength of character is one of the reasons I allowed you to use my name on nearly every committee you had when you ran for Governor and one of the reasons I promised many Cole Countians and thousands across the state that you were the man for the job…

Meanwhile In the Building

Folks think the chance of Greitens not signing SB43 is somewhere approaching zero….


Amendment 2 Ruling

Super-lawyer Chuck Hatfield gives his clients an overview of the recent court ruling on Amendment 2…

The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri struck down as unconstitutional and permanently enjoined enforcement of certain provisions of Missouri's newly adopted campaign finance law.

(1) UPHELD $2600 limit on contributions to state candidates. The Court upheld the limits on contributions to certain candidates for office…

(2) STRUCK prohibition on Corporate or Labor Union giving to ballot measures…

(3) STRUCK ban on Foreign Corporation contributions to PACs….

(4) STRUCK ban on PAC contributions by Banks, Insurance Companies, Electrical Coops, etc… The Court found Section 23.3(12)'s outright ban on contributions to PACs from corporations not formed under Chapters 347 to 360, RSMo is unconstitutional. Therefore, under the Court's order, corporations may contribute to PACs no matter how the corporation is organized under Missouri law.

(5) STRUCK ban on PAC to PAC transfers. The Court found Section 23.3(12)'s outright ban on PAC to PAC contributions is unconstitutional, regardless of whether the PAC makes independent expenditures, contributions to candidates, or both. Therefore, under the Court's order, PACs may make contributions to other PACs.

The Court stayed enforcement of its order for 45 days to allow the Missouri Ethics Commission time to appeal. Therefore, the Court's order does not give protection from enforcement of the unconstitutional provisions until the end of the 45 day stay, which expires on June 19, 2017.


The next question is whether Attorney General Josh Hawley will appeal this ruling.  There are some folks who point to that fact there’s a Sauer serving as Deputy AG that would make an appeal likely.  We’ll see….


All Rumors Fit to Print….

Former Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder in line for a Trumpian White House appointment to be liaison to state governors?....


Sen. Ryan Silvey as possible candidate for regional director of the Transportation Security Administration?...


Instead of Sen. Will Kraus getting a Trump appointment, one building denizen winks that it might be a Greitens appointment….


Smith in Paperback

Former Sen. Jeff Smith’s book Mr. Smith Goes to Prison is out in paperback.  Buy it here.

Critic Applaud

“Partly funny, partly urgent and wholly unnerving—a mashup of 'House of Cards' and 'Orange Is the New Black'”

—The New York Post

“Part personal memoir, part academic treatise, part political polemic, "Mr. Smith Goes to Prison "is required reading for anyone interested in learning more about life on the inside, the history of crime and punishment, and the issue of criminal justice reform.”


“With empathy and insight, Smith’s book takes on one of the country’s most complicated and fraught policy issues while also providing a gripping memoir of an experience all of us would prefer to miss.”




Ozark Mountain Leadership PAC was formed.  Its treasurer is attorney Cole Bradbury.  In addition to his law duties at the Williams Law Firm, Bradbury is also a municipal judge in Iberia.


According to LinkedIn, Andy Briscoe, formerly with the Department of Insurance, is now the Central Region Legislative Director American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals


Dru Buntin has returned to the Department of Natural Resources, again as deputy director.  He held that position at the department for about a decade at the start of the century.  Then he went to be executive director at the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association in Minnesota.


Book-keeping pays pretty well… Former Rep. Caleb Jones – now with the governor’s office – still has his campaign committee from his time as an elected official. There’s about $120K in cash, and he’s paying $1,200 in book-keeping to Campaign Concepts despite little actual activity.


The mighty Jason Rosenbaum is in the building as Public Radio plays a full-court press defense during the final week of session…


Former Jane Cunningham staffer Courtney Lauer-Myers says on Facebook that she’ll be joining the attorney general’s office when she finishes law school.


How did the House manage to reject all the amendments on SB43?  Answer from the rotunda: “What the Chamber wants, the Chamber gets…”


eMailbag on Senate 20

[Lincoln] Hough is definitely in, and I wouldn't be so sure about Burly's "favorite" status. Lincoln out-raised him with local donors every single quarter they served together. Burlison's only advantage is his support from Humphrey's and the MO Chamber, both of whom will almost certainly opt out of "playing" in the primary... Mark this as my early favorite for 2018's most expensive primary. (Not counting federal stuff, of course)


eMailbag: Hungate, Watergate – and Trump

With President Donald Trump's firing on Tuesday of FBI Director James Comey, comparisons abound to Richard Nixon's October 1973 firing of Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre," in which his Attorney General and the deputy AG resigned rather than carry out Nixon's demands they fire Cox, who got sacked anyway, later figured in the second of three articles of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee. Article 2 was written by Missouri Congressman William Hungate, a Harvard educated attorney and Democrat who represented northeast Missouri's Little Dixie. As The Associated Press reported in Hungate's obituary: "He sponsored the second impeachment article against Nixon before the House Judiciary Committee in the Watergate case. Approved by the panel on July 29, 1974, it said Nixon had repeatedly failed to carry out his duty to uphold the law." Hungate's Article 2, in part, accused Nixon of "impairing the due and proper administration of justice in the conduct of lawful inquiries, of contravening the law of governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposes of these agencies. ..." The parallel between Nixon's impeachable mucking around in the Watergate probes was being compared Tuesday to Trump's firing of the FBI chief investigating his administration. The Watergate-weary Hungate announced in 1975 that he would not seek re-election the next year because politics had gone “from the age of Camelot, where all things were possible, to the age of Watergate, when all things were suspect.” Hungate later served as a federal judge in Missouri from 1979 to 1992. He died in June 2007 at age 84.


$5K+ Contributions

Regional Progress PAC - $10,000 from Anheuser Busch Companies.

XCaliber MOPAC - $7,500 from Lee Levinson.

XCaliber MOPAC - $7,500 from Bruce Taylor.

We Are Missouri - $10,000 from Missouri AFL-CIO.



Happy birthdays to former Rep. Ron Hicks.