Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Greitens Names Chinn Ag Director

Governor-elect Eric Greitens named Chris Chinn as the new director of the Department of Agriculture. Chinn has a blog.  See it here.

Her mother-in-law is former Rep. Kathy Chinn, who was dinged in her races for her CAFO ties.

From the press release: Activists and bureaucrats have attacked our farmers and ranchers.  They’ve come after our family farms with crippling regulations (from Washington to Jeff City), reckless lawsuits, and political threats… Today I’m proud to welcome an outsider and champion for agriculture to our team… Chris is a fighter who cares deeply about our farmers because she is one.  She’s fought hard for her family farm and for the tradition it represents.  Now, she’s ready to fight for you…

MOScout reader 1: “Looks like [Wes] Shoemyer and [Joe] Maxwell got snookered.”

The two formerly elected Democrats and animal rights activists had endorsed Greitens believing that he would be more sympathetic to their cause than Chris Koster.

MOScout reader 2: “Good pick for Greitens, Missouri farmers and Victory Enterprises… bad pick for anyone living in the Munzlinger Senate district with political aspirations…”

 

SSM Changes

From Steve Hoven’s auto-reply email.... “I will be retiring on December 31, 2016… It has been a pleasure working with you on behalf of SSM Health over the past 19 years.

On January 1, 2017, Melissa Bowman will be assuming the role of interim System Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy. Jessica Pabst will be assuming the Illinois advocacy duties in addition to her responsibility as Advocacy Director for the state of Missouri…”

 

Riddle’s Tort Reform

Sen. Jeanie Riddle offers yet another possible angle on tort reform this session with her SB220.  That bill puts a ten-year statute of limitations on claiming damages for injury “by a defective or unsafe condition of a product or due to negligence in the design, manufacture, sale, or distribution of a product.”

Pick Your Poison Session for Dems?

Between the many tort reform bills pre-filed and the many labor reform bills pre-filed, the Republican supermajority has a full pipeline to rewrite these portions of the law.

In the past Senate Democrats have sometimes negotiated with the leadership of the Republican-dominated legislature to acquiesce to the passage of some legislation – if other bills are taken off the table.

This results in a “pick your poison” situation for Dems.

One benefit of this approach for Dems was that they weren’t steamrolled; they didn’t suffer catastrophic policy losses.  A benefit for Republicans was that they could mollify the both the far-right and the center-right in their party with both progress on issues, but not going to extremes.  Also, this approach helped to keep their donors engaged.  They made progress, but left room for more to gained in the future.

This session is different.  There is a Republican governor who can sign anything with a simple majority behind it.  You might not need the more moderate Republicans to get to 82 votes.  And with the passage of Amendment 2, it’s not clear what the future of fundraising in Missouri is.  But it doesn’t seem like it’s going to revolve – sun, stars and moon – around the two or three rich guys anymore.

So will it be a pick your poison session for Dems?  Or will it be to the mattresses with PQs early and often?

We’ll see….

 

The KS Situation

The NYTimes reports on Kansas politics.  See it here.

Pull Quote: For generations, Republicans have dominated Kansas politics, and that seems unlikely to change any time soon. Many voters here believe strongly in the party’s message on issues such as abortion and gun rights and want limits on government spending. But some of those same Republicans have grown frustrated during Governor Brownback’s six-year tenure with perpetual budget shortfalls, cuts to road projects, rollbacks to social services and, especially resonant here in Overland Park, perceived budget threats to public schools…

While Democrats picked up 13 seats in the Legislature, and several moderate Republicans beat conservatives in primaries, the practical effect of the state’s shift remains uncertain. Republicans held onto large majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, and conservatives kept the most influential leadership positions. Moderate Republicans and Democrats might pass some bills by voting as a bloc, though they may not be able to overcome a veto...

And What It Means for Missouri

Probably nothing.  But there is a chance that on certain issues the Republican supermajorities could become unwieldy.  A natural split would divide hard-right conservative from more moderate or “pragmatic” center-right Republicans.

It could obviously happen if leadership allows the Shiria law-type legislation to advance.  But maybe it could also happen where school funding is thought to be endangered due to tax policy.  Or could some Republicans stomach a tax increase dedicated to infrastructure?  Would there be enough defecting Republicans on this issue that they could join with Democrats to pass bipartisan legislation?

 

Koster Issues IP Opinions

It’s not clear that this is significant at all, but… Attorney General Chris Koster has been issuing opinions on the initiative petitions that have been filed.  IPs have been filed much earlier than usual.  And there’s perhaps some debate over what name to put on the form.  Koster seems to be saying it doesn’t matter.  And maybe folks want an opinion on it now so if the matter is litigated later they have something to point to.

In an opinion dated December 2, Koster writes: “We approve the petition as to form, but §116.332 gives the Secretary of State final authority to approve or reject the petition. Therefore, our approval of the form of the petition does not preclude you from rejecting the petition.

Although we do not suggest it is a basis for rejection, we note that this initiative petition uses the name of John (Jay) Ashcroft on the signature sheet. John Ashcroft is not the current Missouri Secretary of State and the results of the November 8, 2016 election have not been certified.

Because our review of the petition is simply for the purpose of determining sufficiency as to form, the fact that we do not reject the petition is not to be construed as a determination that the petition is sufficient as to substance….”

Similarly, an opinion dated December 5, Koster writes: “Although we do not suggest it is a basis for rejection, we note that this initiative petition uses the name of current Secretary of State Jason Kander on the signature sheet. Jason Kander will not be the Missouri Secretary of State when this sheet is distributed to voters….”

 

GOP To Put Pinch on McCaskill?

Politico reports on how the confirmation hearings of Donald Trump’s cabinet could impact 2018 elections.  See it here.

Pull Quote: [F]ive red state Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018 will find themselves in the cross hairs of an ad campaign pushing them to support Pruitt, Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.  Behind the effort is the conservative group America Rising Squared, an arm of the Republican opposition research group America Rising that is also launching a website, ConfirmPruitt.com…

The Democrats — West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, Montana’s Jon Tester, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly, and North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp — will face ads casting their votes on Pruitt’s nomination as a choice between farmers and regulators, working families and extremist environmentalists.

 

Koenig Pension Bill

If the discussion about pension reform gets going this session, expect Rep. Andrew Koenig’s SB228 to be in the mix of options.  See the bill here.

From the summary: “This act creates a new retirement plan for any person who becomes a state employee on or after January 1, 2018, excluding uniformed members of the highway patrol. Under the new retirement plan, the life annuity for a member will be calculated multiplying one percent of the final average pay of the employee and the years of service. The life annuity for a member of the General Assembly shall be an amount equal to one forty-eighth of the monthly pay for the member multiplied by the years of service. However, a member of the General Assembly cannot receive an annuity in excess of fifty percent of pay. For a statewide elected official the life annuity shall be an amount equal to one forty-eighth of the monthly pay multiplied by the years of service, and the statewide elected official cannot receive an annuity in excess of twenty-five percent of pay…”

 

Bits

Paula Medlin is no longer listed on the Senate webpage as working for the office of District 22 (Sen. Paul Wieland).

 

Progresswomen, a political action committee, was formed.  Its treasurer is Burt Newman, husband of Rep. Stacey Newman.

 

Help Wanted

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri seeks Staff Attorney for School to Prison Pipeline Program.  “This special project, which is funded through a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health, will focus on promoting racial justice in school discipline and combating the systemic issues that underlie the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ using a race equity focus to protect children’s civil rights, primarily through impact litigation and through the use of other systemic advocacy tools such as filing complaints with the Office of Civil Rights… The Staff Attorney will work closely with other LSEM attorneys to jointly identify and address significant systemic issues to combat the ‘school-to-prison pipeline.’”  See the ad here.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Angela Hoover added Walgreen Co.

Mike Whatley added National Restaurant Association.

Landa Mackenzie, Chelsea Spence, Adam Mire, Ardria Pugh, Alison Bonner, Natalie Butler, Jordan Lucas, Jordan McFarland, David Rudie Bippes, and Laitlyn Wallace added The Associated Students of the University of Missouri.

Mark Rhoads added Missouri Rising; and deleted Patriots Land Group LLC, and Multistate Associates, Inc. on behalf of Community Choice Financial, Inc.

Erin Hervey deleted Missouri Association of Realtors.

William Ray Price Jr. deleted R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

 

$5K+ Contributions

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Fitzpatrick for House.

Lyda Krewson for Mayor - $9,000 from Red Brick Management LLC.

Progress KC PAC - $6,181 from Teresa Hensley for Missouri.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Sue Entlicher, Michael Spreng, Renee Hulshof, James Harris, and LuAnn Madsen.