Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Election Starts Today

Absentee voting is open as of today, six weeks before Election Day.


Ameren’s Infrastructure Investment Filing

Late last week Ameren filed a list of a billion-dollar of infrastructure projects they would undertake if they had an accommodative energy policy in Missouri.  See the list and timeline here.

Their filing with the Public Service Commission (see it here) explained the situation as they see it…

Missouri’s electric infrastructure was, to a large degree, built decades ago to serve rapidly increasing electric energy usage.  In particular, economic/industrial growth, the widespread use of air conditioning and larger houses in the suburbs fueled steady electric sales growth during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.  Much of Ameren Missouri’s generation, transmission and distribution system was built to serve our customers' rising energy needs, and paid for by the incremental revenues and cash flows that new electric sales brought.  Now these facilities are reaching the

end of their useful lives.  For example: Ameren Missouri’s four baseload coal generation plants are on average almost 50 years old; approximately half of Ameren Missouri’s substations are over 40 years old; and Ameren Missouri’s underground network serving downtown St. Louis has facilities that are 80 to 100 years old. 

 These aging facilities must be replaced and modernized to maintain the strong reliability that our customers have come to expect…

However, what has changed significantly from the past is that our customers’ electric energy usage has been declining since 2007, even without taking into account the recent loss of Noranda Aluminum, the Company’s largest customer….   The consequence of these declining electric sales is that there is simply no incremental revenue stream to timely pay for the replacement of these facilities….

If Missouri wants to facilitate the replacement of aging infrastructure and the modernization of the electric grid to provide the benefits that customers have come to expect, and to position Missouri for further economic growth, its policies must change…

[T]here are many options to address the issue of regulatory lag, from forward test years, to formula rates, to infrastructure riders, to plant-in-service accounting, to including CWIP in rate base.  But incremental steps, such as reducing discovery times in rate cases to slightly shorten the 11-month rate case process will not be sufficient to enable needed infrastructure investment…


Galloway Plans Rural Health Care Audits

The press release: Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has announced a series of audits of county hospitals, including Putnam County Memorial Hospital, Ray County Memorial Hospital and Pemiscot County Memorial Hospital… The goal of the reviews of these acute care hospitals is to identify key factors impacting facility finances, and offer solutions designed to improve business operations and bolster fiscal solvency…


Focusing on the financial health of rural hospitals is something that Chris Koster has been talking about on the stump – see Neosho article here, Rolla article here – and on social media.

Every 8 months in Missouri, a rural hospital will shut its doors, unable to bear the costs of the legislature's failure to expand Medicaid. This is a crisis, and our leaders need to treat it like one.


New Amendment 4 Endorsements

From Missouri REALTORS® 2016 President Miles F. Noennig’s email blast…

Amendment 4 is gaining new endorsements every day. Statewide groups recently signing on in strong support of The Taxpayer Protection Amendment include the Missouri Optometric Association, Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, Missouri Grocers Association and the Missouri Professional Auctioneers Association, among others.


Another Million from Humphreys Family

David Humpheys and his sister, Sarah Atkins, each gave $500,000 to Josh Hawley’s campaign yesterday.  This brings the total Humphreys family contribution to Hawley’s campaign this cycle to $3.5 million.


New Ad Contracts

It looks like Humphreys’ Accountability Committee is buying TV (see a contract here), starting mid-October and running through Election Day.


Abouhalkah Laid Off

On Twitter KCStarite Yael T. Abouhalkah ‏@YaelTAbouhalkah: Well, THAT'S quite a start to a Monday morning: Laid off at @KCStar after almost 37 years here. *Hmm, where's  that resume when I need it?*


eMailbag on Post Flip Flop Flip

I like to give credit when people change their minds when confronted with new evidence. The Dowd memo is standard legal fare. Its conclusion is obvious when you read the text of the amendment. There are a number of reasonable concerns with amendment three, but impact on stem cell research is not one of them. And

The Dowd memo was dated before their initial flip-flop.  See it here.


eMailbag: Why No  RTW IP

Yesterday I threw out the question, why is David Humphreys spending all this money trying to nail down a veto-proof majority when he could presumably finance an initiative petition and take it to the voters.  The short answer from readers: because it would lose.  Here are the replies I received...


Why not put it on the ballot? Because once it is explained to voters it doesn't poll well enough to get the victory.


RTW went to the ballot in 1978, and it was a disaster. It lost, it motivated heavy union participation, and hurt the GOP across the board. Sending it to the voters was discussed this year (I was not involved  in the issue) but it didn't happen.


Why wouldn't Humphries take RTW to the ballot? Several possible reasons: It would be much more expensive than what he's spending on a few races, even at $25-50k a pop; putting it on the ballot likely would increase national labor money into the state and thus Democratic turnout and hurt GOP candidates; it probably wouldn't carry.  Even in conservative Oklahoma, RTW was losing until the very popular governor went on TV and literally begged for it to be passed, which it was narrowly.  It's more likely that labor may try to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot some day to prevent legislatures/governors from having the option of going RTW than the GOP taking the electoral risk of putting it on the ballot.


Only makes sense if you first pass Paycheck Protection. Turn off the money spigot, then move in for the kill…


Auditor Action

Nicole Galloway released audits of Clark County and Benton County.  Both earned “fair” ratings which is just one step above “poor.”

Among the Clark County findings (see it here): The Sheriff also has not turned over commissary net proceeds to the county Inmate Prisoner Detainee Security Fund as required by state law, and the office does not have proper controls to ensure all civil paper service mileage fees are collected…. Road and Bridge department employees earned the incorrect amount of sick leave after a personnel policy change….  The deputy County Clerk's computer does not require a password. Security controls are not in place to lock computers in the County Clerk, County Assessor, County Collector, Prosecuting Attorney, or Public Administrator's offices after a specified number of incorrect logon attempts.

Clark County is represented by Sen. Brian Munzlinger and Rep. Craig Redmon.

Among the Benton County findings (see it here): The Sheriff charges a $20 flat fee for mileage when serving civil papers, which is not in accordance with state law.  The Sheriff's office did   not submit inmate transportation reimbursement claims to the Department of Corrections for the 2 years ended December 31, 2015…  The County Collector does not have a written agreement with the City of Warsaw to bill and collect property taxes, and the written agreement with the City of Cole Camp was negotiated in 1986. The County Collector improperly withholds and personally retains commissions on railroad and utility taxes collected for cities.

Benton County is represented by Sen. Mike Parson and Reps. Wanda Brown and Warren Love.


Today’s Events

Powered by Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Bill Eigel’s Bocce and Cigars – Aiello's Cigar Bar – St. Charles – 4PM.


$5K+ Contributions

Scott Sifton for Missouri - $24,572 from Missouri State Democratic Committee.

MBA Pony Express Region PAC - $5,206 from Citizens Bank and Trust.

David Humphreys - $25,000 from David Humphreys.

Hawley for Missouri - $500,000 from Sarah Atkins.

Hawley for Missouri - $500,000 from David Humphreys.

KCS Rail PAC - $25,000 from Kansas City Southern.

MO Petroleum Marketers + Convenience Store Assoc PAC - $7,500 from Naegler Oil Co Inc.

MO Petroleum Marketers + Convenience Store Assoc PAC – $10,000 from Midwest Petroleum.

MO Petroleum Marketers + Convenience Store Assoc PAC – $10,000 from MFA Oil.

Vote Yes on 3 for Kids - $265,000 from RAI Services Company.



Happy birthdays to Rep. Becky Ruth, Richard Moore, Dave Sweeney, Paul Wagner, and Koster’s Kristin Sosanie.