Friday, May 27, 2016

Hensley in the Field

It sounds like Democratic attorney general candidate Teresa Hensley is polling.  In the poll various positive and negatives are being tested.  This gives an early peek into the possible campaign narratives and messaging we’ll be hearing about over the next two months.

According to various sources, here are some of the negatives tested on her primary opponent Jake Zimmerman:

Spent years in Jefferson City as a politician.

Overcharged residents in St. Louis County as assessor.

Never stepped in front of a judge as a prosecutor.

And here are some negatives tested on Hensley:

Never stepped into a court room as a prosecutor.

Mismanagement of prosecutor’s office with high salaries.

Represented bad people in private practice.

Also of interest was the gathering of favorable/unfavorable feelings on some polarizing individuals and groups like St. Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, and the Black Lives Matter movement.


Kinder on the Big Issue of the Day: Bathrooms

You never know where the search for a wedge issue will lead you?  For some social conservatives, it’s in the bathroom.  That’s because the recent Barack Obama position on transgender folks using the bathroom of their choice has created outrage.  Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has jumped on the issue.

From his latest funding email:  This week, I wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to rescind his recent “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students” from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to public schools across the nation. The “Dear Colleague Letter” attempts to dictate how Missouri public schools must run their facilities and programs to accommodate students who might claim transgender status. It is an unconstitutional abuse of authority by the Obama Administration and infringes on the lives and liberties of Missourians.

Today, 108 Missouri state senators and representatives have joined my fight against Obama’s abuse of power and signed their names onto the letter… Thank you for joining my fight for Missouri.


Fighting for Missouri,

Peter Kinder


Hartzler on Catfish

Politico’s Morning Ag (See it here): HARTZLER TO CHAMPION CATFISH INSPECTION CHANGE IN HOUSE: The Senate’s 55-43 vote Wednesday on a joint resolution to nullify the Agriculture Department’s new catfish inspection rules may not erase the provision contained in the 2008 farm bill that tasked USDA with the job, but it would give the responsibility back to FDA regardless, assures a staffer in Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s office and other proponents of the effort. The Missouri Republican has agreed to champion the measure in the House, taking the baton from Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)…. The catfish inspection rules have been the source of controversy since long before the USDA attempted to implement them in March.


MO Aetna Merger Ruling to Lead Reg Response?

From Politico Pulse (See it here): WHY MISSOURI RULING COULD BE BAD NEWS FOR AETNA-HUMANA MERGER — The state's department of insurance on Wednesday rejected the two companies' planned merger, saying that the deal would be anticompetitive. It's giving Aetna and Humana 30 days to submit a plan to remedy that.

The regulators' key point: That Medicare Advantage should be considered a distinct market, separate from the traditional fee-for-service program, in terms of analyzing competitiveness. Combined, Aetna and Humana would control 70 percent of the Medicare Advantage market in 33 Missouri counties; they'd also become the largest Medicare Advantage plan in the nation.

What's next: One state's decision won't sink the entire $37 billion merger, experts tell Pro's Paul Demko. But Missouri's ruling could be a template for other states' actions and even the Department of Justice, too.

David Balto, a former antitrust official with both DOJ and FTC who’s organized opposition to the mergers, was exultant over the aggressive action of Missouri regulators. “Today’s the day the deal starts really cratering,” he told PULSE. “It’s a clarion call to other states and to the Justice Department about why this merger is clearly anticompetitive.”


Rumorville: The Most Twisted IP Ever

The Raise Your Hands for Kids initiative petition has created some of the oddest bedfellows in recent time, as well as strange gymnastics for some lobbyists with multiple clients some of whom would benefit and others which would lose if the IP passed.

In actuality, the question of whether it’s good public policy to raise cigarette taxes and fund early childhood programs has become secondary to the Armageddon battle between “Big Tobacco” and “Little Tobacco,” that is the brand name cigarettes and value brands.

Big Tobacco would accept high taxes in order to hit their Little Tobacco competitors with even higher taxes.  And Little Tobacco – in a fight for their life – is finding every interest group they can to convince them that there’s some terrible danger in the IP.

That fear brought Washington University – the towering icon of the importance of education in St. Louis – to oppose an IP with the potential to send hundreds of millions of dollars into early childhood education is remarkable.

Similarly, yesterday’s news that public education groups MNEA and MARE were opposed is stunning.

Now comes a rumor that the strange bedfellows is even more remarkable – one source says that MNEA and Little Tobacco have considered an alliance where they could both support a future tax increase without the “loophole” provision hitting Little Tobacco harder, and sending the funds to general revenue to fund early childhood.

Who knows if the rumor is true, but it would indicate that the strange bedfellows scenario is not a one-time episode but a potential on-going alliance.

We’ll see…


Help Wanted

State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts seeks General Counsel.  “Open opportunity for an individual with knowledge of state and federal laws, regulations, policies, and procedures. Successful candidate must have the ability to communicate, negotiate and cooperate with varied individuals; exercise good organizational and time management skills; show self-motivation and initiative.  Individual must possess good legal research skills and the ability to multi-task and work under pressure with minimal supervision…”  See the ad.


EducationPlus seeks Director of Communications.  “The mission of EdPlus is to provide member school districts with high-quality and cost-effective services, resources and leadership to achieve educational excellence for all students.  The Director of Communications develops and leads the EducationPlus communications strategy, and coordinates the work of Communications Department staff in their goal to serve internal and external customers…. Candidates must have the means and ability to travel throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area and the state.  There is periodic travel required for statewide meetings and training programs, which often requires overnight stays…. EducationPlus offers a competitive salary (minimum $69,760), depending on qualifications and experience, with an excellent comprehensive benefits package….”  See it here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Andrew Weber added Caplaco Fourteen Inc., and 1960 II, LLC.

Ari Matusiak added Renovate America Inc.

Richard Wiles deleted Associated Industries of Missouri.


$5K+ Contributions

SITE Improvement Association of Missouri PAC - $13,400 from SITE Improvement Association.

Greitens for Missouri - $10,000 from Joseph Bianco.

Eastern Missouri Senate PAC - $10,000 from Committee to Elect Ron Richard.

Raise Your Hand for Kids - $10,000 from RAI Services Company.

Raise Your Hand for Kids - $12,331 from RAI Services Company.

Fulnecky for Springfield - $10,000 from Gerald Cook.

Koster for Missouri - $25,000 from IUOE Local 513 Political and Educational Fund.



Happy birthdays to Sen. Bob Dixon, Becky Lohmann, Scott Leiendecker, and KMOX’s Debbie Monterrey.

Saturday: Rep. Elijah Haahr.

Sunday: Reps. Cloria Brown and former Rep. Glenn Klippenstein, Budget staffer Chris Dunn, and Damon Porter.

Monday: Rep. Galen Higdon, and Stacy Reliford.


MOScout News

No Weekly Poll on this holiday weekend, and no Update on Memorial Day (Monday).  See you Tuesday…