Thursday, March 10, 2016

The New Senate

I hate to write with hyperbole, but the mood of the future of the Senate is quite pessimistic. The reaction in the hallways was scathing.  Why did the Senate Republicans use the PQ now?! Don’t they see they’re jeopardizing the rest of session?  Some people have actual substantive matters to accomplish, none of this hypothetical anti-gay, cake-baker-freedom nonsense!

Lobbyist 1: I’m not happy. [Pro Tem Ron] Richard squandered the most important week of session last year and now he’s burning down the building before anything has been accomplished.  This is bad for business – his and ours.

Lobbyist 2: Is the majority willing to use the PQ daily going forward? I don’t think the PQ can be used rarely [now], it has to become a regular occurrence… It’s the new Senate.

 

Some blamed term limits for creating a Senate that’s comprised of members who are more concerned about higher office than preserving the institution they inherited.  Others blamed term limits for the churn in membership, creating a majority that views the virtues of an upper chamber – accomplishing less, and compromising more – as a vice.

 

Another suggested that the Republican Senate leadership had blundered in attempting to wait out the Dems.  Did the GOP assumed that the seven Democratic senators wouldn’t be able to organize, rotate and hold the floor?  Did they feel boxed in when the national media picked up the story, and felt they couldn’t be seen backing down?

 

So there’s damage in the building: a growing lack of confidence that the Republican Senate can be expected to do what they always have in the past – govern responsibly.

And the greatest damage might have occurred after the PQ when the Senate dais was suddenly transformed into a House-like theater where senators are not recognized according to the rules, and point of order are decided on what the majority is trying to accomplish not on the merits of the objection.

Has the ethos of the House, long derided  as the “fake legislature” by senators because the legislative process is usually a foregone conclusion rather than a true vetting of issues, now been transplanted to the Senate?

 

Next

Senate Dems are scheduled to caucus at 9AM this morning, and plot out their response.  Who knows, but I’d guess they’re going to slow down the Senate.  If things go that way, we’re all going to get a lot more familiar with the Senate rules.  One whisper in the halls was that maybe Richard and the Republican majority might re-write the Senate rules to prevent the minority from gumming things up.  That would certainly be more honest than the practice of having rules and not following them.

 

Also

See the NYTimes article about the filibuster here.

Pull Quote: A bill to give some of the nation’s broadest legal protections to opponents of same-sex marriage took a crucial step forward in Missouri on Wednesday, winning approval in the State Senate after Republicans used a rare procedural move to break a 39-hour filibuster by Democrats.  Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in June legalizing gay marriage, legislators in many states have introduced bills that they say would protect religious freedom and that opponents say would permit discrimination. In some respects, the Missouri bill would go beyond any law now in place, prompting challenges that could keep the issue before the courts for years.

 

KC Chamber Weighs Entering SJR39 Fray

Dear Chamber MSA member,

As you might have heard, the Missouri Senate just concluded a historically long filibuster debate on SJR 39, sponsored by Senator Onder. This issue is often referred to as the religious freedom bill and places on an upcoming statewide ballot a constitutional change that would prevent the state from acting against businesses who, on religious grounds, deny service or sales to same-sex couples' marriage ceremonies. The Democrats held the floor for 39 hours before debate was ended by Senate leadership through the rarely used tactic of PQ, i.e. Previous Question. In using PQ, Republicans ended the debate early this morning and passed the bill out of the Senate. The Senate is in recess for today but will return tomorrow.

You might recall a similar bill in Indiana caused an uproar and estimates are that as much as $60M in hotel bookings and other related benefits were lost. Many consider these measures as discriminatory and bad for business.

This measure is moving quickly...it will likely go to the House next week. Thus the Chamber requests that you weigh in immediately on SJR 39. Let us know if you agree the Greater KC Chamber be on record as opposing this bill….

 

Follow-Up on Brownback to Poach The American Royal

“Re: Brownback poaching American Royal.  No one cares. We’ll help them pack. Great event but not with public money.  Only in Brownback’s world would it make good economic sense to incentivize an economic dog like AR…”

 

Finally

Senator Roy Blunt is named by deranged shooter as a hypersexual Martian in disguise.  Read it here and draw your own conclusions.

 

Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

HRCC Reception – Boulevard Brewing Company – KC – 5PM.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Jarrod Forbes and Mandi Chancellor added Rockwood Management Corporation.

Jewell Patek added Center for Competitive Politics.

Steve Jackson added National Council of Jewish Women; and Steve Carroll / Xcaliber.

Jon Dolan added Burton & Liese Government Relations; and deleted Health Systems Inc., and National Health Corporation (NHC).

Sean Ostrow added FanDuel Inc.

Sherri Giorgio added Abbvie Inc.

David Sweeney added Twain Financial Partners LLC.

Martha Davis deleted Summit National Gas of Missouri Inc., and Summit Utilities Inc.

Michael Michelson deleted Corrections Officers Association, Harry Hill, and Moberly Surgery Center.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Koster for Missouri - $10,000 from Midwest Long Term Care Services LLC.

Vote NO on the E-Tax - $346,904 from Rex Sinquefield.

MEDA PAC (MO Energy Dev. Association Political Action Committee) - $50,000 from Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities.

Koster for Missouri - $10,000 from Richard DeStefane.

Professional Firefighters of Tri-County PAC - $6,500 from Rock Community Porfessional Firefighters Local 2665.

Professional Firefighter of Tri-County PAC - $5,850 from Rock Township Ambulance District.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Robert OBlock.

MO State Teachers Assoc Legislative Impact Co - $7,415 from Central Region Teachers Association.

Grow Missouri - $13,300 from Rex Sinquefield.

Progress KC PAC - $25,000 from Heavy Constructors Association Industry Advancement Fund.

Progress KC PAC - $10,000 from Bryan Cave LLP.

Progress KC PAC - $7,438 from Hamburger Gibson Creative.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to former Rep. Luke Scavuzzo (6-0), Eddy Justice, Tishaura O. Jones, and Matt Jessee.