Monday, February 15, 2016

Noranda Not Interested in PSC Rate Cut

In a letter to the Public Service Commission, Noranda says that they are looking to the legislature – not the PSC – for help:

I write you today on behalf of Noranda Aluminum, Inc. (Noranda)… the Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers (MIEC) filed a complaint with this Commission… asking this Commission to direct Ameren Missouri to reduce the electric rate charged to Noranda to a rate of $30/MWh.

We acknowledge that many of the concerns that underlie MIEC's complaint are legitimate. Due to policies adopted domestically and internationally and other issues beyond Noranda's control, Noranda's current energy costs are not competitive in the global aluminum market, putting hundreds of good paying manufacturing jobs at risk in an economically-depressed part of the state. MIEC is correct that all consumers would pay more for electricity absent the smelter's operation and contributions to Ameren's cost of service. Nonetheless, though we appreciate the intent behind MIEC's filing, we do not believe that an order from this Commission granting MIEC's requested temporary relief to Noranda would provide the long-term certainty that the current circumstances require. In light of several events and issues both local and global beyond Noranda's control, Noranda believes that a long-term, sustainable rate will be best achieved through coordinated legislative action.

Accordingly, please be advised that Noranda will be focusing all of its efforts on finding a long-term solution to this issue through the Missouri legislature, and does not intend to intervene or participate in Docket No. EC-2016-0199…

Layle K. "Kip" Smith

President and CEO Noranda Aluminum, Inc.


Brightergy Goes Big

In the large contributions over the weekend, there’s a $600K check from Brightergy to their campaign committee, Missourians for Renewable Energy.  This comes on the heels of last week’s million dollar check from the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives into their committee, Consumers for Energy Fairness.  The two will be dueling over initiative petitions concerning renewable energy.

The only sure outcome of this brewing war is that people like me will spend hours googling net metering solar and photovoltaic and who knows what else….


Greitens Response

Eric Greitens appears to be mounting a full counterattack against the video slighting his military service.  Friday he sent a 450-word email, produced a seven-minute video with a point-by-point fact check, and announced a 1PM press conference for today to release military records further rebuttal.

Some questioned whether it’s a bit of overkill.  One politico explained, “First rule of political attacks: always respond in the medium you were attacked, never make the story bigger than it has to be by responding with a bigger microphone.  This looks like the Brunner/Hanaway people are getting Grietens to do just what they want.

(The original attack video now has over 14K views; it was about 2K when I wrote about it Thursday morning).

Another saw it as a sign of the candidate himself, “NOT smart. It happens when a candidate is his own campaign manager…

Meanwhile LG Peter Kinder brilliantly comes to Greitens defense (see it here).  As the Republican gubernatorial candidate who leads the polls and trails in money, he has every incentive for to encourage a gentle primary.  Negatives attacks have the potential to diminish his lead, and he doesn’t have as much fire power to respond.

eMailbag on Greitens’ Accusers are No SwiftBoaters

The swiftboaters who came out against John Kerry in 2004 were people who actually served on swiftboat teams. We know this because they had the courage to speak into a camera and tell us who they were. Eric Greitens isn't defending himself against swiftboaters. These attacks are coming from someone who apparently doesn't want the same scrutiny and accountability they are demanding from Greitens.


Jami, McSpadden for Body Cam Lobby Day

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed and Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, posted a video on Youtube inviting folks to come to Jefferson City on Wednesday to lobby for police body camera legislation. See it here.  See Nasheed’s body camera bill here.


A body camera recording (see it here) of controversial Mizzou professor Melissa Click, already in hot water, have her being boiled despite enlisting an image consultant.


Meanwhile Ferguson’s Prospects Remain Dim

From the Sunday New York TimesSee it here.

Pull Quote:  When the City Council took the defiant gamble last week of challenging parts of an agreement it had negotiated with the federal government to overhaul its Police Department and courts, it argued that the costs of the deal would drive the city into bankruptcy. But now the Department of Justice has responded with a civil rights suit against this municipality, outside St. Louis, which was shattered by violence in 2014 after a police shooting of an unarmed black man. And the city faces the specter of a lengthy, costly legal battle that has left many here worrying whether their community is hurtling toward ruin… With a budget of $14.5 million, Ferguson faces a roughly $2.5 million operating deficit. Because of the unrest, police overtime and legal costs rose. At the same time, the revenue from traffic fines and fees fell after a report from a Justice Department investigation released last year accused the city of running a law enforcement system that regularly violated constitutional rights in this predominantly black city. Ferguson used its Police Department and court as moneymakers for the municipal budget, the report said…


Hensley’s “Email Error”

Democratic AG candidate Teresa Hensley made the mother-of-all-mess-ups on Friday.  She sent a scorcher email… Scott Tucker became a multimillionaire running predatory payday lending businesses.  He was arrested in Kansas City this week.  Through his businesses, Scott Tucker is a major political contributor to Missouri State Senator and Republican Candidate for Attorney General, Kurt Schaefer… Tucker was indicted on several federal conspiracy counts and charged with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.  He is facing a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. And Tucker is already a convicted felon, sentenced to prison in the 1990's for fraud. After accepting contributions from felon Scott Tucker, Senator Kurt Schaefer voted against The Missouri Senate Payday Reform Bill, which would cap interest on payday loans - and put a dent in Tucker's revenue…. "Elected officials like to talk about transparency, and Kurt Schaefer's lack of ethical standards are clear," said Teresa Hensley, Democratic Candidate for Attorney General.  "Senator Schaefer will serve anyone with an open checkbook…

Then a few hours later came the WHOOPS….

From: Teresa Hensley

Subject: Email error.

Today my campaign sent an email accusing Senator Kurt Schaefer of accepting contributions from Scott Tucker, a convicted felon and payday loan businessman.

That email was incorrect. Senator Schaefer has not accepted contributions from Mr.


Mr. Tucker's CLK entity is a Kansas-based business and we identified a Missouri-based LLC by the same name.

I apologize to Senator Kurt Schaefer for the error and to anyone adversely affected by it….


Observer: Awful…  Not ready to be the state's top law enforcement official.  Also can't jump to Sec State, because unable to read registrations.


Curtis Files Reports

Rep. Courtney Curtis finally filed his last two quarterly finance reports.  Both were “Limited Activity,” meaning less than $500 was raised or spent.  But despite the non-existent fundraising, these filings clear the way for him to file for re-election, should he so choose.


Barnes on Pay Raises

Rep. Jay Barnes on his blog writes that he will oppose a pay raise for legislators.  See it here.

“This year, Gov. Nixon recommended a two percent raise for state employees and politicians. Gov. Nixon deserves credit for putting a raise in the budget for state employees. Politicians are a different story. On Monday, I plan to offer an amendment in the House Appropriations Committee for General Administration to take the politician pay hike out of the budget. If successful, I’ll attempt to put the money into state employee health care. It won’t be a huge amount, but everything helps.”



Also on Barnes blog he writes down a few more reasons he’s opposed to the prescription drug monitoring program.  See that post here.


Look for a letter from the Missouri Pharmacy Association urging the House members to proceed with “this important piece of legislation.”


Meanwhile one conservative huffs at MOScout, “How is not passing a left wing issue (PDMP) a failure for the GOP? Especially when there is a viable and responsible alternative (Barnes' bill). Ridiculous…”


SAB on SBOE Agenda

On tomorrow’s State Board of Education meeting agenda is what appears to be the continuation of the Special Administrative Board in the St. Louis City District.  See it here.

“After thorough review of the district’s governance, leadership and student performance, the Department has determined that it is necessary for the transitional district to continue to accomplish the statutory mandate. Pursuant to Section 162.1100 (12), the Department recommends the Transitional School District of St. Louis be authorized to continue operations through June 30, 2019.”

This would give Superintendent Kelvin Adams the board stability he’s sought as he continues his turnaround efforts.


Next Round from Accountability Committee

News that David Humphreys’ Accountability Committee – funded with hundreds of thousands of dollars from the donor – would be broadening their agenda to include the legal reform brought a groan from those who have defended Missouri’s non-partisan court plan in the past.

It’s not entirely surprising as Humphreys has funded previous attempts to rewrite the way judges are picked in Missouri. Still strategically I wonder if it might be mistake on Humphreys’ part.  Some in the Republican House caucus already bristle at what they perceive as Humphreys’ heavy-handed approach to telling them what constitutes being a “real” Republican.  Now instead of the labor Republicans being the sole targeted group, this feeling will be spread to the law Republicans are well.  Humphreys is giving them a support group.


Here’s a look at one of the Accountability Committee’s recent TV buys.  See it here.


Eigel’s Event

Speaker Tim Jones servers as master of ceremonies at a small-dollar fundraiser for Bill Eigel over the weekend.  Eigel’s running for Senate 23 in the Republican primary against Rep. Anne Zerr.  One source put the attendance at “more than 125 locals” and included Reps. Andrew Koenig, John Wiemann and Mark Parkinson.

Rumors have former Rep. Joe Smith mulling a bid as well.  It’s thought his candidacy would hurt Eigel by splitting the “conservative” vote, though how much support Smith could rally is questionable.


JC to be in JC

Tipster says that former Congressman J.C. Watts will be in Jefferson City on today.  He’s speaking at the Cole County Lincoln Day Dinner this evening, but look for him to be introduced in the House and maybe the Senate when they go into session.


eMailbag on Wannabe Judges

Regarding the associate judge applicants, I knew the legal market was tightening, but that seems like a lot of applicants for a fairly low level government job. Must be tough out there in private practice…


Lobbyists Registrations

Kathryn Ann Harness added Centerpointe Hospital.

L.P. Hamilton added Missouri Clean Energy District; and deleted Hudson Group, and Haberhill.

Jim Farrell and Sherri Durk-Ferrell added Harris-Stowe State University.

Frank Plescia added Horizon Pharma.


$5K+ Contributions

Koster for Missouri - $25,000 from Right CHOICE Managed Care Inc.

MBA River Heritage Region PAC - $6,373 from The Bank of Missouri.

Hawley for Missouri - $5,500 from Wayne Laufer.

Access Clean Energy - $9,000 from Save Our Lawfully Authorized Rebates LLC.

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America Political Account - $90,051 Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Emerson’s Missouri Responsible Government Fund - $14,000 from Emerson Electric Co.

Progress KC PAC - $25,000 from JE Dunn Construction Company.

Progress KC PAC - $25,000 from Shook, Hardy & Bacon.

Friends of Fred Wessels - $7,961 from Leadership Committee.

Missourians for Renewable Energy - $600,000 from Brightergy LLC.

New Approach Missouri - $10,000 from Elguka LLC.

New Approach Missouri – HMP LLC.

New Approach Missouri - $15,000 from Ronald Stenger Revocable Trust.

New Approach Missouri - $9,000 from Dan D Cobb Revocable Trust.

With Robin Smith 2016 Committee - $10,000 from SHIPP Political Account.



Happy birthdays to former Rep. Tim Flook and Hannah Kelly.