Friday, April 8, 2016

House Passes Noranda Rate Relief Bill

The House overwhelmingly passed HB 2689 (see it here) by a vote of 142-4.  It would give troubled aluminum giant Noranda the ability to get a lower electrical rate.  That’s a huge margin. And the bill also gives the vague outline for the new regulatory framework that Ameren and the public utilities have been pushing this session.

The guess is that this bill could be amended with the detailed regulatory language in the Senate.

We’ll see….


Senate Passes Budget

The Senate worked through the budget yesterday.  See the Post-Dispatch article on it here.

Next comes the conference committee meetings with the House to reconcile their versions.


What dominated the hallway conversations was not the budget, but the ads that were run against Senate leadership for legislation to close the tobacco tax “loophole” against “Little Tobacco.”  It supposedly irked some senators, and was maybe having the opposite impact for which it was intended.


House Passes Sports Fantasy Exemption

HB 1941, which would exempt sports fantasy websites from gambling regulations, passed 104-38 with 20 absences.

That’s a strong vote. We’ll see how it fares in the Senate.


April Quarter Filed Early

The April campaign finance reporting deadline is still a week off, but a few folks have filed their quarters early.

Unopposed Sen. David Sater reported $0 raised and $122,358 on-hand.

Unopposed Sen. Gina Walsh reported $625 raised and $172,897 on-hand.

Sen. Wayne Willingford reported $8,000 raised and $74,462 on-hand.

Sen. Dan Brown’s committee for Treasurer reported $15,600 raised and $14,017 on-hand.  His Senate campaign committee hasn’t reported yet, and that was the committee to which David Humphreys gave $250K last month.

Running for Jake Hummel’s House seat, Fred Wessels reported $32,691 raised, and $32,475 on-hand.

Treasurer Clint Zweifel reported still having $124,875 on-hand.


Some big PACs…. Carpenters’ “CHIPP” PAC reported $1,612,141 on-hand.

Ameren Missouri PAC reorported $212,742 on-hand.

Major Brands PAC reported $85,582 on-hand.

Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity reported $307,374 on-hand.


Zimmerman Whisper Number

Look for Jake Zimmerman – running for attorney general – to put up another $200K+ quarter.  If true, that’s a pretty huge number considering he only banked on $5K+ check this quarter.  It shows he’s been working the grassroots, rank-and-file donors.


NYTimes: Making Way for Wind Power

Earlier this week, the New York Times editorial board champions the Grain Belt Express.  See it here.

Pull Quote: If the United States is going to get serious about cutting carbon emissions from oil and gas, it will have to find ways to scale up its use of renewable energy. Converting wind and solar power into electricity is, in some ways, the easy part. The bigger challenge is developing the infrastructure to transmit that electricity across the country.  In the case of wind, most of that power is generated far from the urban centers that would use it. Transmission would require a new nationwide system of power lines reaching from the windiest parts of the country… But some residents in those areas don’t want power lines crossing their property. One project, called the Grain Belt Express and intended to run from Kansas to Illinois, is on hold after being voted down by the Missouri Public Service Commission….

But the country won’t be able to make a swift transition to renewable energy if landowners and local regulators stand in the way.


Today’s Events

Powered by Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Former Rep. Vicki Englund Reception – Colona’s home, 3927 Hartford St.  – STL – 5:30PM.

Saturday: Rep. Elaine Gannon Trap Shoot – Leadbelt Gun Club – Bonne Terre – 9AM.

Rep. Rochelle & Alan Gray Brunch – Down Home Elegance – STL – 10:30AM.

Robert Butler Mouse Racing – Knights of Columbus – Arnold – 7PM.


Lobbyists Registrations

William Ray Price Jr. added R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Sarah Vatterott added Renovate America.

Greg Beck added MODOT and Patrol Employees’ Retirement System.


$5K+ Contributions

Missourians for John Brunner - $10,000 from Marilyn Fox.

New Approach Missouri - $30,000 from Luke Sinquefield.

Citizens to Elect Mike O’Mara - $10,000 from UA Political Education Committee.



Happy birthdays to Mike Sutherland, and Mike Thomson (the big 7-0).

Saturday: Matt Lieberman.

Sunday: Judy Baker.