Friday, March 10, 2017

House Mulls Not Fulfilling MOSERS Request

The Missouri State Employees Retirement System has been feeling like a problem unfolding in slow motion.  Two summer ago, Jay Nixon’s right hand man, John Watson was appointed to run the organization despite no real background in finance.

Then in December they announced a shortfall, and they’d be asking the legislature for $50 million to cover the difference. On MOSERS website they explain the request for funding.  See it hereBy statute the Office of Administration puts in the board’s request in the governor’s budget recommendation.

Now it appears that the House is considering not fully funding this request, and a lesser amount will be in the substitute for HB5 that Chair Scott Fitzpatrick puts forward.

One observer moans, “Look at states that have not fully funded their obligations. It sends a bad message to credit agencies. See Illinois etc…”

We’ll see…


The Herzog Connection

Jason Hancock’s article yesterday reported on a new non-profit that’s been established as a parallel operation to the governor’s political organization.  The main difference is that the public won’t be able to see this set of books – its donors and expenditures. But maybe most intriguing was the revelation that Stan Herzog has entered the Jefferson City real estate business. Apparently in mid-December he created 105 High Street LLC – Todd Graves is his registered agent – to buy the building which will house the new non-profit.


Herzog Building Bits

Herzog gave the Greitens campaign $300K just before the Amendment 2 limits took effect.  Though Humphreys gave $1 million at the same time, one observer thinks that with the building buy, Herzog becomes the #1 ace for Greitens.


It seems that Jewell Patek – who appears to have good access on the second floor – is Herzog’s guy in Jeff City.  Patek now is poised to be a power player during these Greitens years.


It’s said that the Greitens campaign and the non-profit will share the building space.  If so, it cements the impression that this non-profit is just arm of the campaign.


And Herzog if does some renovations to the building that are above and beyond what a normal landlord would do, does he report that as an in-kind contribution?


Will New Missouri-ers Need to Register?

This approach of wrapping political activity in the veneer of a non-profit will raise all sort of questions.  One reader asks… “Hmmm, I must be missing something. Shouldn’t our lobbyist registration laws require Austin Chambers to be registered as a lobbyist for A New Missouri. He indicates they will be advocating and he will be paid for it…”

From that Hancock article: Direct involvement with a candidate would be considered political activity, for example, but advocating for legislation wouldn’t necessarily be. Chambers said the governor is not directly involved in the nonprofit’s day-to-day operations, but there will be coordination between the nonprofit, the governor’s campaign and the governor’s official state office. Chambers will be doing work for all three. Meredith Gibbons, the Greitens campaign’s finance director, will work out of the office of A New Missouri, as will Greitens’ sister-in-law, Catherine Chestnut. More people will be hired in the coming weeks. The nonprofit will be engaged on several fronts — from advertising to event planning to social media — to “make sure Missourians know what the governor is doing and what he’s trying to get passed,” Chambers said.


Wagner for Senate

Last week Rex Sinquefield hosted a fundraiser for Congresswoman Ann Wagner.  About 100 people were there, and the event is said to have raised about $175K. One attendee says that she’s “all in” for the Senate race.

The state of the Missouri Republican Party means that supporters are bracing for a primary because Wagner – being an elected official – is considered “establishment” by some factions of the MOGOP. Still it’s likely her primary will end up being more nuisance than troublesome. One factor which should buttress her position is that it’s likely Senator Mitch McConnell with his ginormous SuperPAC would like the idea of Wagner in the Senate and would come to her aid in any primary fight.


As soon as Wagner declares, looks for a free-for-all Republican primary for her congressional seat.  Folks who might join the scrum… Ed Martin, David Wasinger, Reps. Shamed Dogan and Paul Curtman for starters.


Senate Debates TNC

For a second day in a row, the Senate spent a fair chunk of time debating the Uber/Lyft bill without resolution.  Debate was often directionless.  It was laid over after with an amendment from Sen. Paul Wieland pending.  That amendment would prohibit ride-sharing companies from using any driver who had a reckless driving conviction on their record.

I wonder if the governor’s earlier interaction with the Senate, coupled with the lack of disclosure over how much Uber gave to Greitens’ inaugural celebrations fund has fueled some of the resistance.


House Passes Bill to Block Minimum Wage Raise

Post Dispatch reports“When the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a minimum wage increase in St. Louis last week, Bettle Douglas thought she was getting a raise. Douglas works at a McDonald’s in St. Louis, making $7.90 an hour — 20 cents above Missouri’s minimum wage of $7.70.  But citing concerns over an inconsistent patchwork of wage laws that could prove burdensome to businesses, Republican lawmakers promptly filed bills that would require all Missouri cities to stick to the statewide standard.  House lawmakers acted quickly to nullify the minimum wage increase in St. Louis and prevent other local entities from passing their own hikes, sending the legislation to the Senate on Thursday with a 112-46 vote…”


Franks to Run for Mayor

Rep. Bruce Franks announced his intention to challenge Lyda Krewson, the Democratic nominee for mayor in next month’s election.  Franks will mount a write-in campaign.  See it here.


Help Wanted

Missouri Foundation for Health seeks Government and Community Affairs Specialist. “Under the direction of the Director of Health Policy, the Government and Community Affairs Specialist is responsible for activities related to community and government outreach and shares responsibility and accountability for implementing the Foundation’s strategies for addressing health issues prioritized by the Board of Directors. This individual will serve as the principal liaison for Missouri Foundation for Health with Missouri federal, state, and local elected officials by being a conduit of information and research related to MFH through activities and through building relationships with elected officials, organizations, and targeted communities… Team Benefits:  EAP, free fitness center, Tea Time, coffee chats, Employee Appreciation Breakfast…” See the ad here.


AcariaHealth Pharmacy seeks Finance Director.  “ Position Purpose: Direct, negotiate and handle activities of the business unit’s finance department and aid in formulating and administering organization financial policies and procedures… Monitor legislative and political developments affecting the business unit from a financial perspective… Coordinate political contribution activity, interact with lobbyists, attend political fundraisers, and ensure compliance with political contribution statutes…” See the ad here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Sherry Doctorian added Planthaven Farms.

Roxsen Koch deleted KM-TEH Realty 5 LLC.

Jeff Glenn deleted St. John Levee and Drainage District.

Charles Miller deleted Truman Road Corridor Association, and Areterra 21 LLC.

Lana Ladd Baker deleted Alexian Brothers Community Services.


$5K+ Contributions

MO State Teachers Assoc Legislative Impact Co - $7,500 from Central Region Teachers Association.

Committee to Elect Christine Rhoades - $20,000 from Christine Rhoades.

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America Political Account - $13,348 from Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.



Happy birthdays to Treasurer Tishaura Jones, former Rep. Luke Scavuzzo, future Rep. Eddy Justice, and Matt Jessee.

Saturday: Jay Reichard.

Sunday: Kack Haslag.