Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tobacco Tax

Post-Dispatch’s Nancy Cambria reports on Washington University joining the fight against a tobacco tax increase to support early childhood programs.  See it here.

Pull Quote: It all comes down to wording added to the proposal in November in hopes of bolstering the chance that the tobacco tax would pass.

The ballot measure now includes a ban on using any of the tobacco-tax money on abortion or stem-cell research…

In fact, [Linda] Rallo said organizers got the idea for the funding restrictions from WU in a 2013 study undertaken by the Center for Public Health Systems Science based out of the school’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

The study said Prop B in 2012 appeared to have lesser opposition from anti-abortion groups than a previous 2006 tobacco-tax attempt. The study alluded to the measure’s restriction on abortion and stem-cell funding as a possible factor.

Missouri has the lowest tobacco tax in the nation at 17 cents per pack of cigarettes. Neighboring states have significantly higher rates: from 22 cents per pack in Tennessee to 76 cents in Oklahoma.

In a prepared statement, WU said it supports early-childhood education, but it won’t support the initiative unless the stem-cell funding restriction is removed because it “is in direct conflict” with Amendment 2 and “erodes protections for promising medical research involving stem cells.”


In the large contributions recently stem-cellers Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, Inc. donated $75,000 to We Deserve Better Inc. which is opposing the measure and opposing Raise Your Hands from getting their signatures.


Signatures are due to secretary of state’s office May 8.  Buoyed by strong turnout in the presidential primaries, the consensus is that they’ll hit their signature target if they haven’t already.


Breaking Down the House SJR 39 Fight

From a building denizen… There are four types of members in the House when it comes to SJR 39.

The smallest group is those who passionately believe that religious freedoms are under attack.

The next smallest are those who are passionately against it (folks like Reps. Mike Colona and Stephen Webber).

Then there are those who don’t want to vote on it, but will against it if it comes to the floor.

And the biggest group is those who will vote for it if it comes to the floor, but think it is a distraction and do not want to vote on it.  This last group is close to a majority of the chamber.  And they know that those who are passionate about the issue have enough of a soup box in primaries to paint them as weak conservatives if they vote 'no', so they lack the courage to vote their conscious.

This is where House leadership earns their keep.  They can kill the issue and protect the membership at large, making three-quarters if the chamber happy in the process.

Unfortunately the group that really thinks their freedom is under attack is the most vocal group.



The press release: During a visit to Rock Bridge High School, Gov. Jay Nixon voiced his strong opposition to pending legislation that would cut the state's public school funding model and shift the burden for funding public education onto local taxpayers. Senate Bill 586 would cut the amount of funding needed to fully fund Missouri's K-12 foundation formula by approximately $418 million….


And from the other day, Kurt Erickson reports that Nixon is “cool” toward the utility framework change bill.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Gov. Jay Nixon is not yet backing a bid by Ameren and other utilities to change how electric rates are set in Missouri. At a press conference Thursday, the Democratic governor said any changes to the rate-making process must ensure Missouri’s rates are competitive for businesses. He also wants a plan that would keep the power grid updated and ensure residential rates remain affordable. “I haven’t seen legislation yet that has hit the sweet spot of balancing all that,” Nixon said.


Bad News for Sifton?

In the large contributions below, the Republicans’ senate campaign committee tosses $75K to Randy Jotte in Senate 1.  I expect Scott Sifton to hold the seat, but as one observer notes, “[The] Ds really screwed Sifton with their lack of recruiting. I'm hearing that the Rs are writing some big checks for Jotte this week. In 2012, they split their cash five different ways. This year, they can focus and saturate two seats…”  The other seat is Senate 19 where Democratic Rep. Stephen Webber faces Republican Rep. Caleb Rowden.


St. Louis Bits

Rep. Courtney Curtis filed Limited Activity for his April quarter.  He therefore has cash on-hand between $1-2K.


Mayor Francis Slay endorsed Peter Merideth in House 80, running to replace Rep. Mike Colona.


Cora Faith Walker running to succeed Rep. Sharon Pace in House 74 has added Bree Bowen as campaign manager.  Bowen was recently the St. Louis grassroots leader for Hillary Clinton.


Dan Brown Conspiracy Theory

Sen. Dan Brown transferred over $15K from his Senate campaign committee to his treasurer campaign committee.  But why only $15K?  David Humphreys donated $250K back in February.  Some folks think that Brown will withdraw from the treasurer’s race, and that he’s only “in” right now to anchor Sen. Eric Schmitt from moving too early to the middle for the general election.

We’ll see….


Candidate Withdrawals

Democrat Angela Malone withdrew from House 30.  That leaves Floor Leader Mike Cierpiot unopposed.

Democrat John Farmer de la Torre withdrew from House 133.  That’s termed Rep. Eric Burlison’s seat.  There’s a four-way Republican primary, and now no Dem running.


Neither of these seats were competitive for Dems so it’s no great loss on that account.  However, it does take pressure off, and allow someone like Cierpiot to focus his full attention and money on helping other Republican candidates.


eMailbag on the April Quarter

John Brunner spent almost as much last quarter as Peter Kinder has on hand….


Count me among the Capitol insiders that doesn't think Eric Greitens can win the primary but, as Donald Trump has taught us, Capitol insiders don't always have their pulse on the electorate...


Help Wanted

Missouri Foundation for Health seeks Government and Community Affairs Specialist.  “Under direct supervision of the Director of Health Policy, the Government and Community Affairs Specialist is responsible for activities related to community and government outreach. Serves as the principal liaison for MFH with federal, state, and local elected officials…  Oversees advocacy capacity building and local policy change work related to the Health Policy agenda in targeted communities throughout our service region…”  See it here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Marjorie Lewis and Daniel Simon added Brown Willbrand PC.


$5K+ Contributions

Committee to Elect Randy Jotte - $75,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee.

MO Republican Party - $25,000 from Emerson’s Missouri Responsible Government Fund.

Stand Up Missouri - $7,800f rom Tower Loan of Mississippi LLC.

Stand Up Missouri - $12,000 from World Acceptance Corporation.

Stand Up Missouri - $7,200 from Brundage Management Company.

Koster for Missouri - $50,000 from Red-Card Systems LLC.

Dr Dan Brown for Treasurer - $15,000 from Dr. Dan Brown for Senate.

The Committee to Elect Steve Butz - $10,000 from Steve Butz.



Happy birthdays to former Sen. Bill Stouffer, former Reps. Bert Atkins and Sylvester Taylor (the big 5-0), and Jean Peters Baker.