Friday, January 20, 2017

In or Out: First Responders?

Folks are already looking beyond right to work now.  While it’s assumed there will be a big battle and filibuster in the Senate, it’s also assumed that it will end with a PQ and with passage.

The next labor battles include paycheck protection and prevailing wage, and bills like Sen. Bob Onder’s SB 210 that put farther regulations on public unions.

In the past, some of these bills have exempted first responders (at their request).  But those were in the days when Republicans were trying to count to a veto-proof number, not a simple majority to get it to the governor’s desk.  Perhaps this time they won’t feel the need to exempt first responders?

If firefighters and police aren’t taken out, there’s the prospect of seeing them pack the hallways and galleries in opposition.  That probably isn’t the visual that Republican legislators want – or the new governor….


Tax Credit Reform Will Wait?

One of Governor Eric Greitens’ agenda items is tax credit reform.  What Greitens means by tax credit reform is still a mystery – perhaps even to himself.

He has yet to name one tax credit program that is part of the insider cronyism, fat-cat, corrupt culture he talks about.

And instead of laying out some guidelines for tax credit reform, his state of the state speech called for an audit by “outsiders” together with legislators.

This could go in any direction.

And the slow start – an audit by folks so far unnamed – makes it good bet that this is not happening this session.


Lager Spotted

Former Sen. Brad Lager was spotted both at Governor Eric Greitens’ inauguration and his state of the state speech, leading to speculate that he might be returning as a new power player in the administrations.

Word is that Lager’s closeness with the Graves tribe is bringing his orbit back into the Jeff City as they watch with anticipation the passage of labor and tort reform…


Many Tort Bills

It looks like the pro-tort reform forces have settled on a few key pieces of strategy.  First, push a lot this session.  They think it will improve the business environment, so they’re not waiting or pacing the pipeline.  In previous session, they’d picked one important bill and marshalled their efforts to pass it. Now they’ve got six or seven.

Similarly, they’ve decided to run all the bills separately.  There won’t be an omnibus “tort reform” bill.  They fear that a judge would be too quick to strike something like that down due to multiple subject matters, so they’re going to do each piece individually.


Dems Take Aim at Ashcroft Pick

Dems keep hitting Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on his pick to be the new head of the Securities Division.

David Minnick was general counsel for Stifel Financial, and that company was investigated by various regulatory bodies.

To make their point, Rep. Tracy McCreery filed a bill (HB663) prohibiting a person employed by an entity that has been investigated by state or federal authorities from being appointed as the commissioner of securities.

The bill is absurdly broad.  You could make the case that if someone’s in a high-level position and the company is engaged in systemic fraud, that would be disqualifying.  But the blanket prohibition would eliminate an awfully lot of well qualified, and highly ethical, people from serving.

There might not be a major bank or investment firm that hasn’t been investigated at some level.


McCaskill for Truckers

The press release: U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today received a commitment from Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee to be Secretary of the Treasury, that if

confirmed, he will meet with Missouri truckers, as well as other Missouri workers and retirees who are facing the threat of deep cuts to their retirement benefits because of the instability of the Central States Pension Fund…

"I have 32,000 people in my state that worked hard for decades, most of them driving trucks, and they planned their lives around their pensions. My question to you is… Will you commit to meet with some of the truck drivers from my state so they can look you in the eye and explain to you that the guarantee of their pension? You know, your new boss did an amazing job connecting with people like these Missourians all over the country. He looked them in the eye and he said to them, 'I'm not going to leave you behind.' I want to hear from you that you're not going to leave these people behind."

Mr. Mnuchin responded, "What I will say is I will commit to meet with them, and I will commit to working with your office on us figuring out what is an appropriate bipartisan solution to this issue that I appreciate-the pension issue we've talked about several times today-is a significant issue."


Sifton, Hummel File Bill to De-Gun Domestic Violence Offenders

The press release: State Senators Scott Sifton, D-Affton, and Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, introduced Senate Bill 318 prohibiting domestic violence offenders from obtaining firearms.  The bill also applies to individuals who are subject to domestic restraining orders…. Senators Sifton and Hummel cited last year's gun bill as part of the impetus for seeking the change this year.  Last year's SB 656 eliminated many restrictions on purchasing guns and maintaining concealed-weapon permits….




Daly for Krewson

The press release: The Krewson for Mayor campaign announced today that St. Louis City Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly has endorsed Alderwoman Lyda Krewson for Mayor...

Daly believes that the key to the growth of our region is to create an environment that supports and nurtures small and mid-sized businesses and attracts young professionals to make St. Louis their home. He’s frustrated over efforts to lure big corporations with tax incentives that are used against us.


Corlew Files Press Freedom Bill

The press release:  The Cronkite New Voices bill, named after the famed CBS news anchor and St. Joseph native, would prevent teachers and administrators at public high schools and state universities from censoring school-sponsored media, except when content would be libelous, invade privacy, violate the law, or cause a disruption at the school.

"The freedoms of expression and of the press are central tenants of the First Amendment liberties we enjoy in the United States," [Kevin] Corlew said….  A similar bill was filed last year by Representative Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield), who has recently taken a leadership position in the Missouri House...


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

US President Inauguration in Washington D.C.


Lobbyists Registrations

Evan Rosell, Ryan Cross, Rachel Hassani and Daniel Hartman added Missouri Attorney General's Office.

Jessica Petrie, David Winton, and Scott Penman added Summit Utilities Inc.

Jacqueline Wood added Madsen-Wood LLC.

Charles Eric Lobser added Spire Inc, and Laclede Gas Company

Jeremy Milarsky added Missouri Child Care Association DBA Missouri Coalition of Children’s Agencies.

Paula Barba added AARP.

Bailey Baker added Nicklas Lobby.


$5K+ Contributions

Ameren Missouri Political Action Committee - $5,690 from Ameren Fed PAC.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $12,500 from Robert Blitz.



Happy birthdays to Farrah Fite (Saturday).

Sunday: Reps. Lynn Morris and Andrew McDaniel, Jay Hahn, Mike Lodewegen, Michelle Colbert and Anne Marie Moy.