Monday, May 16, 2016

Brown Returned Humphreys Money

Sen. Dan Brown returned the $250,000 contribution he received from David Humphreys the day after he withdrew from the state treasurer’s race.

He was not legally bound to do so, and several other politicians have retained donor contributions after scuttling their plans.


MOScout Poll

Be sure to check out the recent MOScout poll on the Republican statewide primaries.  See it here.  It shows LG Peter Kinder still in the lead of the gubernatorial field, but John Brunner starting to make a move.   He’s recently started to buy some television time, and that may be having an impact.  Eric Greitens who has been the strongest fundraiser remained in fourth place in the poll.


Consequences of the Paycheck Vote

Perhaps the most consequential vote in session came last Thursday when the Senate attempted to override the governor’s veto of “paycheck protection.”

They failed, and so there was no change in policy.  Still I think there are some inescapable consequences from these labor battles.

First, it seems unlikely that Sen. Ryan Silvey will ascend to be chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee in January.  The current chairman, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, is termed.  Not long ago Silvey was thought to be the obvious replacement.  Silvey is currently vice-chair.  And when he was a state representative, he was chairman of their equivalent committee, the House Budget Committee.  In other words he’s probably most qualified for the role.

But Silvey has been a pro-labor legislator his entire career.  And that’s not a popular position right now in the Senate Republican caucus.   So while it’s not extraordinary that Silvey defected from Republicans to side with Democrats against the override, it won’t win him favors from Senate Pro Tem Ron Richard who will appoint the next Appropriations chair, and the guess among the lobbyists in the capitol hallways now is that Sen. Dan Brown will head that powerful committee next.

Second, the stakes for the few targeted Senate seats just went up.

Heavy GOP donor David Humphreys has been writing big checks, both to candidates and to his “Accountability Committee” with its focus being on labor and legal reform.

Many expect that Rep. Stephen Webber is the favorite to win Senate 19.  Schaefer has been an Aye vote on paycheck and Webber would be a No.  That puts them one vote farther away from the needed override votes.

This will put even more of a spotlight on Senate 23 where pro-labor Republican Rep. Anne Zerr is being challenged by a more conservative businessman, Bill Eigel.  Humphreys gave Eigel $50K just a week ago.  It gives you the sense that he won’t lack in resources when it comes to that race.  But with labor behind Zerr, she won’t either.

Finally, there’s some frustrations among Republicans with the never-ending quest to win a couple more seats to add to their super-majority. The feeling is: why are we spending all of this money trying to win another legislative seat here or there and cobble together a veto-proof majority on labor issues, or legal issues, or education issues, when they continues to be pockets of Republicans on each issue who will not be with us?  Let’s just win the governor’s mansion and be done with it all.

So despite the fact that Dem gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster has been raising money at a record pace, and the Republican candidates will have to spend their money to win a fiercely contested primary, there no doubt that big money will roll into his Republican opponent’s campaign account quickly and he will face a very well-funded opponent in November.

Republicans realize the governor’s race is where it’s at this cycle.


Missouri Right to Life Shakes Fist at Senate

While the House passed multiple pro-life bills, the Senate chose not to pass what the House sent over to them. HB 2069, a substantive bill ensuring that babies' bodies and body parts from abortion are not being sold for profit was never taken up for discussion. HB 2069 passed the House with a bi-partisan veto proof majority of a 120 votes. There is no reason for the Senate not to have sent HB 2069 to the Governor….


McCaskill on Working with a President Trump

From Politico –  see it hereEven those Democrats who could entertain working with Trump sounded strong notes of skepticism: They think he’s got a bad habit of rewriting his policy platform on the fly from one day to the next. In the words of Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Trump’s policy portfolio seems “very schizophrenic.”  “I don’t know if he’d send one piece of legislation over in the morning, and then send the exact opposite legislation that afternoon,” McCaskill said. “You go down every single issue, he is all over the place. So I have no idea. I don’t think he knows. It’s clear to me he’s kind of making this up as he goes along.”


Session Grades

I’ll do the always-popular legislative grades – tomorrow the Senate and Wednesday the House.  Please send along your thoughts and input on this very important matter.  Thanks –


Lobbyists Registrations

Salvatore Panettiere deleted Armstrong Teasdale LLP, Missourians for Local Asset Governance, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Fred Dreiling LLC, and Restart Inc.

Randy Scherr deleted American Board of Cosmetic Surgery Inc., McDonalds Corporation, Colin Bailey, and American Progressive Bag Alliance.

Irl Scissors added Armstrong Teasdale.


$5K+ Contributions

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $10,000 from Thompson Coburn LLP.

Koster for Missouri - $25,000 from Carey & Danis LLC.

Koster for Missouri - $10,000 from R Stribling Koster.



Happy birthday to Deanna Hemphill.