February 8, 2017

Senate Rejects Resolution

Senate Pro Tem Ron Richard presented SR 197 to change some Senate rules which has created a snafu last week.  Sen. Jason Holsman offered an amendment to keep the change from shifting power to the Senate leadership.  Holsman’s amendment carried with nine Republicans joining the Democrats.  The Republicans were largely – not entirely – the same ones who backed the right of Sen. Ryan Silvey last week to recuse himself as he saw fit.

Voting for Holsman’s amendment were: Sens. Chappelle-Nadal, Curls, Dixon, Eigel, Holsman, Hoskins, Hummel, Koenig, Libla, Nasheed, Rizzo, Romine, Schaaf, Schupp, Sifton, Silvey, Walsh, and Wieland.

This is the second time that a clutch of Republican senators has broken with their leadership.  It’s interesting to note they haven’t done so on ideological grounds.  Rather the votes have been to maintain senatorial rights based in the traditions of the institution.


Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal gave a warning we should all be aware of – the drinking foundation on the 4th floor near her office has suspect taste and may not be safe for consumption.


Looking for the Next Supreme

Here are the folks who have thrown their hat in the ring to become the next Missouri Supreme Court Justice…

Jason O. “Jay” Barnes, Jon E. Beetem, Alan M. Blankenship, Dennis J. Capriglione, R. Craig Carter, Timothy S. Davis, Kirk H. Doan, David A. Dolan, Steven E. Ehlmann, Richard A. Gartner, Douglas D. Gaston, Jack A.L. Goodman, Lisa White Hardwick, Larry D. Harman, Joseph L. Hensley, Michael D. Hodge, Benjamin A. Lipman, Gary W. Lynch, Shaun J. Mackelprang, Edward R. Martin Jr., Jeffery T. McPherson, Terrence M. Messonnier, John B. Morthland, Stephen J. O’Brien, Timothy W. Perigo, W. Brent Powell, Sherry A. Rozell, Richard L. Schnake, Erwin O. Switzer III, Robert E. Tucker, and Paul N. Venker.

A few thoughts…

Lots of judges on the list.  But also some less orthodox choices.

Obviously after what Ed Martin did to the Matt Blunt’s administration, the Missouri Republican Party and the Phyllis Schlafly group, only an anarchist could vote for him to be elevated to the Missouri’s top court.

Denton’s partner Stephen O’Brien is on the list.  See his bio here.

I think most people were surprised to see St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann on the list.

Rep. Jay Barnes as one of the first legislators to endorse Greitens’ gubernatorial candidacy last could have a shot if he makes the panel.  He’s also well-regarded on both sides of the aisle as straight-shooter.

The Appellate Judicial Commission will narrow this list to a panel of three from which Governor Eric Greitens will choose one.


Pieper to Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch

Nixonite Chris Pieper is joining Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch.  His “practice will focus primarily on government affairs, economic development, real estate, administrative law, litigation and regulatory compliance…”


eMailbag: Governors’ Budgets

Give the New Governor a Year – The real governor’s budget to look at is next year. The budget process starts in the summer.  By the time a new governor takes office, very little can be changed, and most changes (except cuts, of course) are marginal matters of emphasis not substance.

The Governor's Office Budget – When I looked at the fiscal 1993 budget I was surprised to see that it was just a little more than $1 million for the governor's office, including the governor's salary (it was less than $100k). The real reason: Governor John Ashcroft had people working in the governor's office who were on payrolls of OA, Social Services, etc. Ashcroft probably did not invent that trick, and I am pretty sure that he was not the last one who used it.

Another trick: A department director in the Ashcroft administration told me that, shortly after taking the job, he was surprised and honored to be invited to fly to Cape Girardeau with the governor for some announcement, an event that seemed to have nothing to do with his department.  He also was surprised shortly after the trip to get a bill for use of the plane billed to his department. Quite an honor. I am willing to bet other department heads have been similarly honored.


Follow-Up on COO and Greitens’ Code of Ethics

One MOScout reader says to forget about the new COO taking a “nominal” amount of compensation.  The real question is what other contracts a COO might have. Because he is not a cabinet level official, he will not have to file personal disclosures.

Governor Eric Greitens’ executive order doesn’t seem to prohibit his staff from having outside contracts (the prior John Ashcroft order on which Greitens’ is based arguably did so). Moreover, it doesn't even prohibit the COO from having a separate contract with the State of Missouri or some state agency. It only says one cannot have those contracts if they conflict with your duties.

In theory, the COO could work for the governor and then also bid on and receive contracts with state agencies, such as lottery, MoDOT, etc.  He could have outside contracts with companies that do business with the state – and we would never know…


Rumorville in Hallways

Is that the new DHSS director who’s been seen around the building… Randall Williams.  He’s a physician who was previously State Health Director in North Carolina.  See his bio here.


It’s said that DNR is closing the new “Jay Nixon” park….


Some say that Governor Eric Greitens’ policy of no contract lobbyists meeting in the governor’s office is very literal.  They do meet with the governor’s folks – just not in the governor’s office…


Schmitt Warns About Pensions

Writing in the Kansas City Star Treasurer Eric Schmitt writes about the looming trouble in Missouri’s public pensions.   See it here.

Pull Quote: Our public employee retirement programs are severely underfunded — a fact that too few decision-makers in Jefferson City are willing to discuss. At the end of the most recent fiscal year, the non-judicial portion of the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS) was only 64 percent funded, and the MoDOT & Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS) had fallen to 53 percent. Compare that to the retirement system used by Missouri’s counties and cities, which is currently 95 percent funded.  The MOSERS and MPERS figures are sobering, and the situation is even worse than the numbers imply…


Nursing Homes Down on Greitens Budget

Post-Dispatch reports on the nursing homes pushing back on Governor Eric Greitens’ budget. See it here.

Pull Quote:  As part of his $27.6 billion spending plan, the political newcomer is calling for the rollback of a 3 percent Medicaid reimbursement rate increase that first went into effect more than a year ago under former Gov. Jay Nixon.  In addition, Greitens has proposed raising eligibility requirements for elderly and disabled people who now receive services in their own homes or in nursing homes, potentially leaving 20,000 of the 80,000 served by the program without care.  The effect of both moves is alarming, said Nikki Strong, executive vice president of the Missouri Health Care Association.  “This is going to be utterly devastating for this population,” Strong told the Post-Dispatch Monday.


Follow-Up on Lamping Family Farm

Former Sen. John Lamping is the recipient of the Wine and Grape tax credits assigned to the Lamping Family Farm.  He received $5,157 in 2017; and $3,009 in 2016.  Lamping says “This is same credit I tried to eliminate in 2013-14 while others voted to expand. I would have done project with or without the credit. My opinion on this credit and all others hasn't changed, they shouldn't exist…”


Ashcroft Wants More $$$ For Voter ID

Post-Dispatch reports that Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft wants more money to implement Voter ID.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who is tasked with letting voters know about those changes, estimated it would take between $1.1 million and $1.5 million to do so in the next fiscal year.  That's a far cry from the roughly $5.2 million former secretary Jason Kander, a Democrat, requested over two years. It's also far more than the $100,000 the governor proposed for his office's role in the law's implementation….


Kander Forms Let America Vote

Former Secretary of State Jason Kander announced a new organization, Let America Vote, focused on voter rights.

Let America Vote, a 527 organization, will also team up with groups that share the mission of preventing voter suppression. iVote President Ellen Kurz will join Let America Vote as a member of the Board, and Kander will join iVote's Board. Kander will also be joining the Board of Priorities USA in support of Every Citizen Counts, their initiative focused on voting rights litigation and statehouse lobbying….


I missed this from the other day.  Kander endorsed Tishaura Jones for mayor.  See it here.


STL County Kicks Off Prop P Campaign

The press release: County Executive Steve Stenger, St. Louis county Police Chief Jon Belmar will join law enforcement officials on Wednesday, February 8, 2017, at 10:15am, at the St. Louis County Police Communications Center to kick off the campaign for Proposition P… a half cent sales tax which will benefit the St. Louis county Police.  The tax will generate 80 million dollars annually.  Approximately 46 million will go to St. Louis county, and 34 million will be divided amongst law enforcement departments in each municipality using a population-based formula…


Maybe He’ll Take Questions If There Are No Reporters There…

The press release: Tomorrow, Governor Eric Greitens will announce two new members of his public safety team, the State Emergency Management Agency Director and Fire Marshal, at the St. Louis City Fire Academy. The governor will arrive at the Fire Academy at 1:30 PM… Then, he will briefly address the press and announce the names of his appointments. After that, the governor and his picks for SEMA Director and Fire Marshal will participate in training exercises with city firefighters. Limited space will be available for still and video photographers at the training session.



MDP Chair Stephen Webber recalls on Twitter a day in the life of his time in Iraq.  See it here.


Help Wanted

Vision for Children at Risk seeks Executive Director.  “The long-time executive director of Vision for Children at Risk will retire at the end of 2017.  Following is a position description for the person who will fill that position. It is anticipated that this position will be filled by November 1, 2017 to allow some overlap and transition with the current ED.

The executive director of Vision for Children at Risk is responsible for the overall operations of the agency, including strategic plan implementation, fiscal management, staffing and human resources, program development and operations, advocacy, financial development and community relations…” See it here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Jeff Grisamore added PG Partners LLC.

Thomas Robbins deleted The Britton Group LLC.



Happy birthdays to Rep. Kathie Conway and former Rep. Terry Swinger.



To the peerless John Combest and wife Monica on the birth of their first child, John Lee Combest, who arrived one recent morning at 4:59AM – one minute before papa’s normal wake-up time…