Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Protests Continue, FranksArrested

In St. Louis, Stockley verdict protests have continued almost nightly.  Last night Rep. Bruce Franks was among those arrested.  See it here.

 

Q&A #1: Who’s To Blame for Shall-Will Shenanigans?

The Greitens administration’s pursuit of trying to show some drastic reduction in “red tape” has led them to consider replacing “shall” with “will” in various rules.  The willingness to adopt cosmetic changes and pretend that they are substantial led one dismaying Republican – who would love real deregulation – to call it “governing by Facebook.”

Who’s to blame for this type of shenanigan?

I spoke to folks from across the spectrum about this situation.  They say that every single governor has had an internal divide in their administration between the political folks and the policy folks.

The political people largely come from the campaign. Sometimes they are on the government payroll in an official capacity but still maintain and perpetuate a campaign type mentality.  Often times though they say on the campaign payroll, and exert influence by whispering in the governor’s ear.

The policy folks are more likely to have in-the-building experience or be career Jefferson City types who have served in a variety of capacities in the past.  They have seen the political mistakes of the past and tend to view governing as a noble calling.  Whether Republican or Democrat, they work to make government work.  They usually don’t – even Republicans – have a “government is the problem” or “starve the beast” mentality.

In the Greitens administration, this tension seems even greater than previous administrations.  This could be due to his obvious positioning for a higher national office.   Perhaps it’s created an atmosphere where political theater is celebrated, and political advice is given greater weight than policy experience.

But it may self-correct.  When these clever games go wrong, they can have a negative political costs.

 

GM Goes Electric

The NYTimes reported that General Motors announced its long-term plans to shift its production from gas-powered cars to electric cars.  See it here.

Pull Quote: China has said it will eventually ban gasoline-powered cars. California may be moving in the same direction. That pressure has set off a scramble by the world’s car companies to embrace electric vehicles. On Monday, General Motors, America’s largest automaker, staked its claim to leadership. Outlining a fundamental shift in its vision of the industry, it announced plans for 20 new all-electric models by 2023, including two within the next 18 months… “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark L. Reuss, G.M.’s global product chief… In the first eight months of 2017, even with federal tax incentives, Americans purchased only about 60,000 battery-powered electric vehicles, and about the same number of plug-in hybrid models, according to Hybridcars.com. That amounts to 1 percent of the market….

What It Means

This is worth taking time and thinking about on your next walk.  We are poised for an enormous upheaval in the next twenty years as gas is replaced by electricity, and drivers are replaced by self-driving cars.

For the past couple of years the legislature has been hung up on transportation infrastructure funding.  That problem – transitioning away from reliance on the gas tax to a new taxing platform – seems like the simplest of the public policy problems we’ll be facing.

Last spring the Public Service Commission took the first step into this new world as it ruled on Ameren building a vehicle charging station.  See Commissioner Scott Rupp’s blog (here) as he dissects the issue.  He was the lone dissenting vote in the ruling.

 

September Numbers

We should get official numbers from the Office of Administration today, but it looks like September state revenue numbers finished slightly negative compared to September of 2017. That would have brought the Fiscal YTD number around +3% at the end of September.

But “Fiscal Year 2018 has one more working day in October than Fiscal year 2017.” So we may see a recovery this month.

 

Special Elections

Missouri SOS Office‏ tweets: UPDATE: Writ of Elections received for Missouri HD97, HD129 & HD144 special elections. Election Day will be Feb 6, 2018. #moleg

Post Dispatch’s Jack Suntrup looks at the races.  See it here.  In particular House 97 (McCaherty) and House 144 (Fitzwater) once were considered Democratic.  But those days have passed.

 

Schupp Sitting Pretty

Word is that no Republican names are firming up to take on Sen. Jill Schupp in Senate 24.  This has been a hotly contested – and expensive race – in past cycles.  And certainly Republicans will put someone up.   But the absence of an early top-tier candidate chopping at the bit to run is a very good omen for Schupp.

Tipster: “No one seems interested. Most people assume that district will over perform for the Democrats in 2018 due to President Trump. Educated voters do not like Trump.”

What It Means

Some folks following the upcoming midterm elections closely think that President Donald Trump’s tenure is leading to a more engaged electorate.  Some Americans are eating up his unconventional style and others are disgusted at his unpresidential behavior.  This may lead to higher than usual mid-term turn-out, helping both Republicans (in rural places like House 97 and 144 for example) and Democrats (in St. Louis County suburbs like Schupps).

 

Bernsy Pork Steak Dinner

Rep. Mike Bernskoetter, running now for Senate 6 in 2018, held his annual pork steak fundraiser last night,  In previous years they’ve served 600-700 people.  This year he finished with almost 850 pork steak dinners served.

 

People Moves

Former Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development Mike Downing has been named Jonesboro Unlimited’s Vice President for Economic Development… Jonesboro Unlimited was formed in 1986 to advance economic development in Jonesboro and Northeast Arkansas. About 100 local businesses joined to create the organization and it came at a time when food processing was identified as a good fit for the region. It is part of the Jonesboro Economic Development Corporation (JEDC), a non-profit organization.  See it here.

 

Former Rep. Zach Wyatt-Gomez announced on Facebook that he’d joined “the Missouri Department of Revenue, Tax Division, as their Legislative Coordinator!”

 

Roe and Axe

Jeff Roe is interviewed by David AxelrodListen to it here.

 

New Committees

Michael Fagras formed a candidate committee (Fagras For Judge) to run as a Republican for circuit judge.  His treasurer is William C Hardin IV.

Jacob Turk formed a candidate committee (Jacob Turk for State Senate) to run as an Independent in the Senate 8 special election.

Lisa Middlebrook formed a candidate committee (Citizens To Elect Lisa Middlebrook) to run as a Democrat in the St. Louis City Ward 2 Aldermanic special election.

 

Lobbyists Registration Changes

Katherine Casas added Spire Missouri Inc.; and deleted The Laclede Group.

David Cleveland deleted UAW Local 249.

Nancy Giddens and Shannon Cooper deleted Metropolitan Community College.

Luana Gifford deleted AFT Missouri.

 

$5K+ Contributions

House Victory Committee - $10,000 from ATT.

Missouri Early Voting Fund - $111,241 from Missouri Jobs with Justice Voter Action.

KC Transportation Transit and Tourism Committee (KC3T) - $25,000 from John Sherman.

Committee to Elect Vic Melenbrink - $63,000 from Victor Melenbrink.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to former Reps. Randy Asbury and Jerry Nolte, and John Scott.