Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Imagining Speaker Haahr

Yesterday the House Republican caucus elected Rep. Elijah Haahr to the Speaker-elect position.

He is currently the speaker pro tem.  He will become speaker in January 2019.  Republicans elect their speaker early to try to build continuity and reduce in-fighting during the election cycle.


I reached out to some folks to see what people expect Speaker Haahr to look like…

Style: Haahr is less likely to work as tirelessly as Speaker Todd Richardson to make sure all sides feel like they get something in a compromise.  Richardson was really driven to find common ground on issues, and make everyone feel like their concerns were heard. Haahr is more likely to listen, come to a quicker decision and be willing to have some people hate him.

One hall-walker says that Richardson has been a “bottom-up leader, more than any other speaker I’ve seen.”  They expect Haahr will be a reversion to the mean.  Not nearly as far as John Diehl in making his own deals, but less than Richardson’s approach.

There’s no indication that Haahr would make a vast realignment in the committee structure that Richardson put into place – with committees reporting to select committees and two Rules committees.  However Haahr will of course tweak it, adding some committees or consolidating some.  And he may look at other procedural items – one mentioned is a more formal vetting process for offering amendments on the floor.


On issues: Haahr embraces the ideology of a smaller, less intrusive government.  He’ll want to see fewer regulations, and be a champion for curtailing occupational licensing that goes beyond common sense.

Haahr has a trial attorney background, and was generally considered sympathetic to MATA.  But earlier in the year he made a high-profile change to leave a plaintiff’s law firm and go to Lathrop Gage as a symbol that he was not beholden to that constituency.  Still, I don’t expect Haahr to be itching to pursue greater tort reform.  Between last session and the upcoming session, tort reform will largely be a mounted trophy by the time Haahr takes the gavel in 2019.  And labor reform – with right to work passed and probably coming to a vote of Missourians – may be largely settled as well.

In fact, one guess is that next session – being in an election year – will see more “red meat” issues prioritized in the legislature.  All this would relieve pressure from Haahr to take on some of these issues: social issues, more tort and labor reform.

But it will put the spotlight on some of the thornier governance issues that get punted into Haahr’s opening session.

That means Haahr will confront some issues that have knotted the legislature in the past like transportation funding and regulatory reform that the utilities have been pushing.  Not easy stuff, and not stuff that Republicans are unanimous about.

On those specific issues: Haahr is unattached to any transportation plan, but will likely hustle to see if any proposal can break the stalemate.  And Haahr has generally been favorable to the utilities desire to update their regulatory structure.


Schaefer for Auditor Could Happen

Former Sen. Kurt Schaefer was making the rounds of Jefferson City last night, and it looks like he might pull the trigger on an auditor’s race based on support he’s encountering.

Schaefer ran unsuccessfully for attorney general last cycle, but supporters point to the millions he raised in that race as proof that he’d be able to put together a credible campaign.


The Undercard: Eric Schmitt on Pension

Most of the eyes will turn to the Senate when it convenes at noon to see if some senators stand and take point of personal privilege to register their disappointment in Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal’s assassination post.  But the most important news may come earlier in the day.  Here’s the press advisory from the State Treasurer’s Office…

“Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt will deliver a statement to the Missouri General Assembly's Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement about troubling new findings related to the state pension system…”  That’ll be at 9AM in Senate Committee Room 2.


Look for Schmitt to continue to pound the table as he has since becoming Treasurer.  In February he wrote in an op/ed in the Kansas City Star: “The rate of return our state currently assumes is significantly above what most financial experts would agree is reasonable… The bottom line is this: Our state has a serious pension problem, and we need to start talking about how it can be fixed before it’s too late.”

In April, Schmitt has called MOSERS the “single greatest threat” to the state’s AAA credit rating.


Schaaf for MCN Censure

On Twitter, Sen, Rob Schaaf says that “Ron Richard should follow my lead and substitute censure for expulsion.”


Southwest Senate Seats

I wrote the rumor of this yesterday morning.  Here are the press releases:

Caleb Arthur: [M]y wife, Rachel, and I have learned we are expecting our fifth child. I promised my wife when I started my business and again when I launched my campaign that our family would always come first.  We prayed about the challenges of running a demanding business, running a strong campaign, and being the father and husband I promised I would be.

God answers prayers. As I step aside to support my family and my employees, I believe our community is blessed to have a strong conservative like Lincoln Hough step up and enter the 30th District Senate race.

Lincoln Hough is a proven leader in our community and in Jefferson City. He is someone we can trust to put Springfield interests and Springfield values first. I am confident that Lincoln is the right person to lead our party to victory next November.

Lincoln Hough: “After talking with my family and supporters, I plan to announce for the 30th Senate District, currently held by term-limited Republican Senator Bob Dixon.  I have reached out to others looking at running and received their support for my decision. I hope my actions will strengthen the party and create greater Party unity.”

Sonya Anderson: “I support Lincoln’s decision to run in the 30th Senatorial Seat. I was encouraged to run for this seat, however, unity in our party is very important to me. With Lincoln willing to run, I will continue with what my plan has been all along, to finish my term in the House and look for other ways to serve my community here at home.”


Joint Ed Committee

At yesterday’s Joint Committee on Education Chairman David Wood asked for a moment of silence to honor longtime education champion Mike Lair and he make a few remarks on how special Lair was to the education community.

Wood also asked for witnesses to talk more about solutions and avoid the usual he said / she said (charters are bad / public schools are worse) comments.

Some charter supporters conceded that there needs to be reform to make charter sponsors more accountable and that some sponsors were a big part of the problem because they weren’t shutting down poor performing schools.

In demonstrating the awareness of the need to vet potential charters Robyn Wahby said the Missouri Public Charter School Commission has sponsored one new school and rejected eight applications.

Nugget: In Kansas City 50% of students are in charters and in St. Louis 34% are in charters.



Missouri Right to Life State PAC endorsed Rep. Mike Cierpiot in the Senate 8 special election to be held in November.


Governor Eric Greitens appointed five retired judges as members of a Board of Inquiry to investigate the case of Marcellus Williams.  Greitens issued a stay of execution of Williams last month.   “The Board of Inquiry shall have subpoena power over persons and things, pursuant to state law. At the close of its work, the Board will report and make a recommendation to the Governor as to whether or not Williams should be executed or his sentence of death commuted. The executive order appointing a Board of Inquiry can be found here:


Ryan Dillon, Democratic candidate for Senate 16 (Doc Brown termed) sent an email blast featuring an endorsement from Sally Field (Norma Rae, Mrs. Doubtfire). As one building denizen dryly put it: “Because every serious politician needs their own ‘Scott Biao’ moment.”


New Committees

Ryan Cantrell started a candidate committee (Citizens For Ryan Cantrell) to run for House 137 as a Republican.  The current incumbent, Lindell Fraker is termed.  This appears to be his twitter account.


Today’s Events

Powered by Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Sens. Bill Eigel & Andrew Koenig Breakfast – Downtown Diner – JC – 7:30AM.

Rep. Mike Cierpiot Coffee/Danish – Downtown Diner – JC – 7:30AM.

Majority Forward (Dems) Breakfast – Bone’s – JC – 7:30AM.

Reps. McDaniel & Roden Doughnuts w/ Cops – HRCC Ofc., 325 Jefferson, Ste. 100 -7:30AM.

Justin Brown Breakfast – Downtown Diner – JC – 7:30AM.

Reps. Lant & Reiboldt Coffee & Donuts – Mo School Bd. Assn. Ofc. – JC – 8AM.

Sen. Paul Wieland Breakfast – 223 Madison – JC – 8AM.

Rep. Diane Franklin Coffee – 107 East High, Ste. 201 – JC – 8AM.

Sen. Gary Romine Breakfast – JCCC – 8AM.

Sen. Dan Hegeman Breakfast – JCCC – 8AM.

Sen. Denny Hoskins Breakfast – JCCC – 8AM.

Rep. Mike Bernskoetter Breakfast – JCCC  - 8AM.

Ozark Mountain Leadership Coffee & Donuts – Cork – 8:30AM.

Master Key Silent Auction – 3rd Floor Rotunda – 11AM

Master Key Anniversary Reception – 3rd Floor Rotunda – 1PM.

HRCC Reception – 325 Jefferson St., Ste. 100 – JC – 5PM.


$5K+ Contributions

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Express Scripts.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield Of Kansas City PAC For Missouri.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $5,500 from Grow Missouri.

United Transportation Union Political Action Committee - $13,000 from United Transportation Union Political Action Committee.


Lobbyists Registrations

Dwight Scharnhorst added MTTA.

Randy Scherr added O’Reilly Auto Parts.

Eric Rosenhauer deleted Curators of the University of Missouri.



Happy birthdays to Congresswoman Ann Wagner, Sam Lee, and Senate 8 candidate Hillary Shields.