Monday, April 25, 2016

Three more weeks of session….

 

PRB OK with MO Voters?

Are you ready for the latest acronym in utility regulation legislation?  It’s PBR… Performance Based Rates bill (SB 1028).

Supporters say that this acronym, compared to past ones (CWIP, ESP, ISRS), is easier to explain – and understand.  People understand rate caps and profit caps.

To that end, the investor owned utilities are distributing a statewide poll to lawmakers done by Remington Research (back in February) that shows the elements of the bill with broad popular support across all demographic, regional and ideological lines. After hearing about the bill, 58% of Missourians believe their lawmaker should support the bill. The strongest demographic in terms of support is the 50-69 age group with 63% support the bill.

See the poll here.

And

Post-Dispatch reports that Monsanto may be dropping their opposition to the regulatory change bill (now aka PBR).  See it here.

Pull Quote: Opposition to utility-backed legislation in Jefferson City appears to be softening after one of the bill’s main opponents offered to cut a deal with electric utilities last week.

Creve Coeur-based Monsanto, one of Ameren Missouri’s largest customers, is willing to stop fighting the bill in exchange for what appears to be a special electric rate for large power users and other changes, according to emails obtained by the Post-Dispatch.

 

Public Integrity Alliance Makes TV Buy

Public Integrity Alliance, who says their mission is to “promote integrity in the behavior of government officials and institutions,” has bought airtime in multiple markets.  So far I’ve seen ad contracts in Springfield (here’s one) and Columbia (here’s one).

It appears they’re pushing ethics reform.

I haven’t seen the commercials.  See a one-minute video they produced that’s one YouTube here.  It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a trimmed 30 second version.

See their website here.

 

Post Reverses on Tobacco Tax

The Post-Dispatch editorial board, which never met a tax increase they didn’t like, amazingly reversed itself on the tobacco tax to help kids.  See it here.

Pull Quote: The group Raise Your Hands for Kids touted this initiative as a way to raise money for young children by increasing the state’s cigarette tax, the lowest in the nation, from 17 cents to 77 cents a pack. The poisonous part involves language stipulating the new tax revenue cannot be used for abortions, abortion services or for “human cloning or research, clinical trials, or therapies or cures using human embryonic stem-cells.”

The stem-cell language has sent Missouri Cures, a coalition that successfully campaigned for a constitutional amendment protecting stem-cell research in 2006, running from this initiative. Likewise, Washington University has withdrawn support and is now lobbying against it.

 

First the stem cellers, now the Post, put a little crony capitalism tobacco companies working the legislature to keep their carve out and pretty soon you have a tax increase that cultural conservatives might be fond of.

 

Potsequences

Observer: Representatives who voted against HB 2213 because they want to prevent medical cannabis in Missouri (as opposed to representatives that voted against because they thought the bill was too watered down) should consider that in this election year they won't be able to dodge the issue on Election Day. If, as expected, New Approach Missouri qualifies their IP, it's likely that some representatives in contested races (like Rep. Nick King from Liberty) will have to answer to constituents taking the issue into consideration. With popular support for medical cannabis in Missouri somewhere in the 65%-80% range, opponents may be on the wrong side of the issue.

 

2018 Watch

From Politico’s Huddle: WAGNER VS. MCCASKILL? The Hill’s Scott Wong has the scoop: “What’s next for Rep. Ann Wagner? Possibly a Senate bid in 2018. The Missouri Republican, Bush family loyalist and former top Republican National Committee official is said to be mulling her next steps even with the 2016 presidential race still underway. And while no final decisions have been made, several Missouri GOP insiders say the most likely possibility is that Wagner runs for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Claire McCaskill.”

--“‘She’s immensely beatable,’ Wagner said of McCaskill, ‘but we’re going to take it one election cycle at a time. We’re focused on the ‘16 race.’ … ‘I’m running,” McCaskill declared as she headed to a Senate vote. When told Wagner might be looking to unseat her, McCaskill replied enthusiastically: ‘Bring them on!’”

 

Bits

Lobbyist Rodney Boyd’s radio show Insider Talk had Dr. Gary Kremer on yesterday.  Listen to it here.  Kremer, the head of the State Historical Society recounts Missouri’s history in dealing with issues of race.

 

Peter Merideth in House 80 announced endorsements from Sen. Jamilah Nasheed and St. Louis alderman Steve Conway.

 

The Missouri Ethics Commission ordered Wayne County Commissioner Brenda Seal, Brian Polk, Chad Henderson, and James "Bill" Hovis to repay the $1,748 of public funds they used to produce a flyer advocating for a use tax.  See it here.

 

eMailbag on Senate 19 Developments

Lobbyist #1: I had not thought about this until I read your post this morning. I am thinking the social conservatives are going to be furious with the Senate Republicans if they give [Rep. Caleb] Rowden hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Lobbyist #2: Rowden knows he has no chance at winning 19th if he supports SJR 39.

 

eMailbag on Senate 5 Poll

Maybe you think boring but I find it interesting that in the areas where Jamilah Nasheed does poorly - those are places where the current representative is white. Just underscores that St. Louis is a community divided by race.

 

New Committees

Great St. Louis was formed. It’s a political action committee.  See the paperwork here.  Its deputy treasurer is Joe Wilson using an address that corresponds to the Pelopidas world headquarters.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Danny Pfeifer, Greg Porter, Alex Eaton and Rebecca Lohmann added Breathable Baby.

Yancy Williams added Zarren Properties.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Koster for Missouri - $25,000 from Wagstaff & Cartmell LLP.

Friends of Michelle Walker - $19,684 from St. Charles County Association of Realtors PAC.

Midwest Region Laborers’ Political League Education Fund - $5,102 from Laborers Supplemental Fund.

New Approach Missouri - $20,000 from New Health Solutions LLC.

Hawley for Missouri - $10,000 from Crossland Construction Company.

UAW Region 5 Midwest State Political Action Committee - $6,000 from UAW Region 5 Exchange Account.

Hill for Missouri - $5,001 from JQP Properties LLC.

New Approach Missouri – $65,000 from Drug Policy Action.

New Approach PAC - $65,000 from New Approach PAC (Washington DC).

Citizens for Stephen Webber - $10,000 from CWA-COPE PAC.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Ed Finkelstein.