Thursday, January 26, 20 17

Romine Down on Grid Modernization

The utilities’ regulatory reform bill had its hearing yesterday.  Post-Dispatch reports on the chilly reception from some senators.  See it here.

Pull Quote: In the end, it was described as the equivalent of a tax hike that would hurt consumers. “It’s taking money from my constituents to pay for infrastructure,” said Rep. Gary Romine, R-Farmington.

But remember we’re still in January.  There is plenty of time to work through objections, make changes and win over skeptics.  The larger question for utilities is whether this legislature – full of labor and tort reform, and thorny issues like ride-sharing regulations and educational saving accounts and an out-of-balance budget – has capacity for one more big issue this session.

And…. the elephant in the room, or donkey-turned-elephant in the room, where is the governor on this issue?


Senate Perfects RTW

BOOM!  Right to work, which would have been the marquee fight of any previous session, was perfected yesterday in the Senate.

As I wrote a few days ago, there was an air of inevitability to this.  Democrats, while staunchly opposed to the legislation, were feeling the impact of democratic accountability. Republicans ran on this issue and they won; elections have consequences.

Now what comes next on the labor front?  Having given up a pound of flesh will Democrats draw a line in the sand with paycheck protection?  Or will they wait to go to the mattresses over prevailing wage?

We’ll see….


Goguen Drops Brunner Case?

On Casenet it looks as if Michael Goguen has dropped his case against John Brunner

01/25/2017 Notice of Dismissal           

Notice of Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice; Electronic Filing Certificate of Service.




Jolie for Mayor?

Former Sen. Jolie Justus, now a councilwoman in Kansas City, was in the building this week meeting with House and Senate leadership to discuss KC’s priorities.

One source says to look for her to make a mayoral run in 2019 when Mayor Sly James is termed.


Edwards for Senate?

Motorsport reports that Carl Edwards is mulling a US Senate run in 2018… See it here.

Pull Quote: The former Joe Gibbs Racing driver shocked the NASCAR community when he announced earlier this month he was stepping away from full-time competition.

Although he’s hinted around about a political career, that day may be closer than we expected.

KBIA, the National Public Radio station in Edwards hometown of Columbia, Mo., published a column by Terry Smith with a throw-away line at the bottom: “One more unrelated thing, and remember where you heard this first. Carl Edwards, the recently-retired NASCAR driver and hometown hero, will run against Claire McCaskill for the Senate seat in 2018.”

Edwards, 37, finished fourth in the NASCAR Cup standings last season after qualifying the Championship 4 round for the first time since the format was introduced in 2014. Edwards scored 28 wins, 124 top fives and 220 top 10 finishes in 13 seasons on NASCAR’s top tour.…

Perhaps politics is in the genes. Edwards does have presidential bloodlines. He told  last June he was the great, great, great grandson of Rutherford B. Hayes, the nation’s 19th president….


One Republican operative told me emphatically that he doesn’t believe McCaskill will be a candidate in 2018, while others believe that even if her polling is uphill, she’d be pressed into a campaign by national Dems looking to shore up their map.


Committee for Simple, Fair, and Low Taxes Taxes

The press release: Today, Governor Eric Greitens directed a team to fix the broken tax system that is hurting Missouri's budget and killing jobs… For decades, special interests and lobbyists have received billions of taxpayer dollars in the form of tax credits. The people taking the money make big promises about jobs-but their performance hasn't lived up to their pledges. Every year, more money flows out of this shadowy system into the pockets of insiders-and no one asks hard questions about how the system works, or doesn't work, for the people of Missouri. If special interest tax credits made for a prosperous economy, Missouri would be thriving.

Governor Greitens officially establishing the Governor's Committee for Simple, Fair, and Low Taxes.

What our people want is a tax system that is simple, fair, and low. What we have instead is a tax system that is complex, corrupt, and high. So today, I signed an executive order to put an end to our broken tax system once and for all…


The executive order establishes a committee to “compare Missouri's tax credit programs and its tax rates to those of its peer states; assess the economic impact of existing state tax credit programs; assess the possibility of financing cuts to overall state tax rates with cuts to tax credit programs; and recommend comprehensive tax reform legislation to the Governor no later than June 30, 2017.”

The committee will be appointed by the governor (4), Speaker Todd Richardson (3 members) and Pro Tem Ron Richard (3 members).


So bottom-line: no action on tax credits this session.  Or, in the words of one MOScout reader: “basically another tax credit commission…”


KC Also On Trump’s Infrastructure List

I wrote yesterday that St. Louis had a project on a list of top Trump infrastructure projects.  So does Kansas City.

That brought one observer to wonder: Will Congressman Sam Graves continues to argue against a modern terminal in his own district despite the Trump Administration support and the airlines offer to build the airport and back the debt, and therefore have the space to add more flights that the current 40+ year old configuration can't accommodate?


Grain Belt Express Push Again

Press release: Yesterday, groups representing ratepayers ranging from Missouri households to the state’s largest businesses announced their support of a new electric infrastructure project in Missouri, the Grain Belt Express Clean Line.

These organizations, which sometimes oppose big energy projects, filed testimony with the Missouri Public Service Commission advocating for the approval of this new infrastructure project, citing millions of dollars in lower energy costs to Missourians instead of the typical rate increases associated with new projects…

The Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission, a group of 68 municipal utilities, expressed their support citing $10 million in annual savings to their wholesale customers through their agreement with the Grain Belt Express…. Missouri is the last state were regulatory approval is needed. Kansas, Illinois and Indiana have approved the project….



Peter Stiepleman, Superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, and nephew of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, tweets: I called both @RoyBlunt and @clairecmc to ask them to vote no on Betsy DeVos. We need someone who actually knows something about education….


Mayor Sly James was praised on the House floor by the Uber-Lyft bill sponsor, Rep. Kirk Matthews.  Kansas City was successful in their negotiations with Uber to allow the city the ability to audit their drivers and ensure the public’s safety.


Speaker Todd Richardson formed a subcommittee to looks at the allegations that have arisen in the press about a hostile work environment at the Department of Corrections. Rep. Jim Hansen will head the House Subcommittee on Corrections Workforce Environment and Conduct. From the press release: Hansen has already been in talks with corrections employees regarding their workplace environment, and has scheduled a meeting with new department director, Anne Precythe. He said he plans for the subcommittee to begin its investigatory work immediately.


eMailbag on Hawley’s Residency Problem

Hawley’s options: A) move his family to Jeff City; B) get a small cheap apt in Jeff City for $250/month where you can sleep most weeknights; C) get a small cheap apt in Jeff City for $250/month where you can pretend to sleep most weeknights; D) do nothing, decline comment, and hope/pray that the press moves on; E) draft a 1000-word legal memo so preposterous, weaselly, and convoluted that it makes Kerry's "I voted for it before I voted against it"‎ sound candid and forthright, and is as likely as Kerry's infamous line to become the one thing people remember about him… I mean who wouldn't choose E right…


Help Wanted

Missouri Attorney General's Office seeks Assistant Attorney General-Government Affairs Division.  “This attorney will represent state agencies, boards, and commissions in litigation involving their administrative powers and actions, and will appear before administrative tribunals, circuit courts, and state appellate courts….”  See it here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Jane Dueker added Missouri Fraternal Order Of Police, and Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters.

Lindsey Reinholdt added Missouri Secretary Of State's Office.

Caitlin Whaley added Missouri Department of Social Services.

Mark Siettmann added Missouri Department of Revenue.

Melissa Bowie added Shire.

Ryan Bangert added Missouri Attorney General’s Office.

Joshua Carr added Missouri Division of Professional Registration.

Kathryn Gamble and Sarah Topp added Signature Medical Group.

Patrick Fucik added Sprint Corporation.

Sarah Topp, Kathryn Gamble and Bill Gamble deleted Ticketnetwork.

Sarah Topp deleted Goff for Polaris Industries.


$5K+ Contributions

Right to Vote - $83,107 from Missouri Jobs with Justice.

Right to Vote - $10,349 from Missouri Jobs with Justice.

Progress KC PAC - $10,000 from Mark One Electric Company Inc.



Happy birthday to Ken Franklin.