Friday, March 17, 2017

MHDC On Ice?

There are no Missouri Housing Development Commission meetings scheduled until June.  The March meeting has been “postponed.”  See it here.

The change in administration – and the Republican sweep of statewide – has brought new voices to the table, most importantly of course Governor Eric Greitens who has expressed disdain for tax credits.  So far his criticism has been vague and not levied at any specific tax credit programs or recipients.  But his tax credit commission is scheduled to release its report in June, so perhaps MHDC is on hold until that is issued.

The elections also brought LG Mike Parson, AG Josh Hawley and Treasurer Eric Schmitt to the table.

 

Spring Break

The legislature is now on Spring Break and will return on Monday, March 27.

The first half of this session has been characterized by discipline on the part of the Republican super-majorities.

Last year at this point the Senate was limping through the aftermath of the SJR39 debacle which pitted the business wing of their party against the social conservatives and ended by creating a rupture in the Senate.

There have been no great distractions this session.   Sure the Senate had some beneath the surface drama on procedural motions and how it conducts its business, but it never upset their worksman-like mindset to show up at Jefferson City every Monday with a priority piece of their agenda and have it third read by Thursday.

The amount sent to the governor’s desk is small, but impactful: right to work and the expert witness bill.

But the pipeline of Senate bills dealing with their twin priorities of labor reform and tort reform is impressive.  They’ve left the Senate and are sitting in House committees now.  In the coming weeks after Spring Break, they’ll be teed up to send to the governor’s desk:  changes to project labor agreements (SB11, Wasson and SB182, Onder), workers compensation (SB66, Schatz), collateral source (SB31 Emery), changes in discrimination law (SB43, Romine), arbitration modification (SB45 Romine), change to personal injury in health care (SB237, Rowden), and a little sales tax exemption (SB16, Kraus) as a kicker.

In the House meanwhile, Speaker Todd Richardson finished the first half with a big victory in education – an issue that has bedeviled many a Republican speaker for the past few decades.  It was a squeaker vote, and it will certainly face its challenges in the Senate, but the charter school expansion was a big win for the education reform groups.

 

HCB Update

For those following the House Committee Bill production, Speaker Todd Richardson authorized the Regular Standing Committee on Corrections and Public Institutions to introduce a HCB on legal expenses of state agencies, the Regular Standing Committee on Judiciary to introduce a HCB on civil proceedings, and the Regular Standing Committee on Judiciary to introduce a HCB on criminal proceedings.

 

Moon, Marshall Object to HB662

In the House’s Journal Rep. Mike Moon and Nick Marshall offer formal objections to HB662 on the basis that it is unconstitutional.

From Marshall’s objection: “WHEREAS, Article I, Section 31 of the Constitution of the State of Missouri provides: "That no law shall delegate to any commission, bureau, board or other administrative agency authority to make any rule fixing a fine or imprisonment as punishment for its violation;" and WHEREAS, Senate Committee Substitute for House Committee Substitute for House Bill No. 662  violates the Missouri Constitution…[because it] authorizes the Missouri Department of Agriculture to assess a civil penalty of up to $25,000.00 per violation…”

 

Bits

In the large contributions below, see another big check ($300K) from St. Louis’ soccer civvies into the campaign account to pass Proposition 1 & 2 next month.

 

The rumor of former Rep. Mark Parkinson is apparently true, as the Senate website now lists him working for District 23 – Sen. Bill Eigel.  Parkinson had initially launched a campaign for Senate 23, but backed out and supported Eigel to help conservatives coalesce around a single candidate and beat Rep. Anne Zerr who was too close to labor for their tastes.

 

Auditor Nicole Galloway has started a new webpage showing the daily flows in and out of the state coffers.  See it here.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Christopher Molendorp added W. E. Shoehigh, LLC on behalf of Apollo Education Group.

 

$5K+ Contributions

AspireSTL - $300,000 from SC STL LLC.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to former Rep. Tom Self, lobbyist Todd Smith, Patrick Lynn, Earl Simms, and Joe Maxwell.

Saturday: Mayor Francis Slay and Tod Martin.