Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Greitens Blasts Dissenting Senators… on Facebook

On Eric Greitens’ Facebook: Yesterday we saw one of the clearest demonstrations of how out of touch politicians really are. Politicians in our State Senate spent seven hours debating whether or not to give themselves a pay raise. That's right: seven whole hours...about a pay raise for themselves.  It was a pathetic display.  Seven hours of taxpayer time could have been spent doing just about anything. Maybe they could have talked about how to grow jobs in our state, increase wages, improve our schools, or clean up our streets. Nope. Instead, they talked about the reasons why they deserved more money….

Two Senators voted for this pay increase. Senators Paul Wieland and Denny Hoskins betrayed the people they are supposed to serve last night, by voting to raise their own pay. Senators Wieland and Hoskins owe the people an answer…


There’s an increasing distain for Greitens’ hypocrisy on ethics… See JC Elevator’s tweet here.

Rep #1: Gov. @EricGreitens won't let registered lobbyists in his office?

Rep #2: He's got 1.9 million reasons to prefer unregistered ones.


Delaying the Inevitable

SB 19, the right to work, bill which will likely be approved by the House this week, and head to Governor Eric Greiten’s desk contains a provision grandfathering in existing contracts between employers and unions.  “This section shall not apply… to any agreement between an employer and a labor organization entered into before the effective date of this section but shall apply to any such agreement upon its renewal, extension, amendment, or modification in any respect after the effective date of this section.”

Seeing the bill’s passage as inevitable, some unions are re-opening negotiations with the intentions of extending their contracts farther into the future to delay the bill’s impact.


Richard Changing His Tax Credit Tune?

Senate Pro Tem Ron Richard has been a long-time supporter of using tax credits for economic development.  However now come a few hints that he’s changing his position.

First, his SB 6 was changed yesterday in committee to lower the cap on the historic tax credit program down to $80 million – using the saving that result to fund the Capitol Complex Fund.

And second, the word is that he will be appointing Sens. Andrew Koenig, Will Kraus and Dan Hegeman to be the governor’s new tax credit commission.  These senators are seen are less sympathetic to tax credit programs.


It’s interesting to see Richard appoint three legislators.  When Greitens announced the commission I had assumed that they would be looking for some expertise from the private sector to serve.  We’ll see who Speaker Todd Richardson appoints.


Norquist OKs Grid Modernization Bill

Grover Norquist of the Americans for Tax Reform sent a letter to legislators telling them it was OK to support SB190 – the utilities’ grid modernization bill.

I write today in response to an inquiry regarding the impact of Senate Bill 190 and its companion House Bill 628. This legislation allows utility companies to begin recovering investment costs, once infrastructure investments are in service and being used by customers through the traditional rate review process… Throughout this debate, many have questioned whether or not regulatory reform efforts similar to SB 190 and HB 628 represent tax increases.  After reviewing this specific legislation and the December 29th fiscal note from the Committee on Legislative Research, Americans for Tax Reform concluded that this regulatory reform is not a tax increase… ATR remains neutral on the passage of the law…


Huff Leaving

Missouri Insurance Director John M. Huff says he’s outta here next week…

After assisting Governor Greitens’ administration with their transition, I will be leaving the Missouri Department in the coming days with my last day slated for February 6, 2017, eight years to the day since my appointment by then-Governor Jay Nixon as the 47th Missouri Director of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration.

Thank you for your support during my time with the Missouri Department.  I appreciate the opportunity that I have had to learn from you and be a part of the tremendous, U.S. system of state-based insurance regulation.  We are fortunate to have an extraordinary industry along with a talented group of appointed and elected commissioners, career state regulators and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners staff.

I am confident our paths will cross again….


Gubby Appointments

Today at 10AM the first of Governor Eric Greitens’ appointments will get a hearing before the Senate committee. (There’s no one yet named for Department of Insurance).

Carol Comer as Director of the Department of Natural Resources.

Anne Precythe as Director of the Department of Corrections.

Sarah Steelman as Commissioner of the Office of Administration.

Christine Chinn, as Director of the Department of Agriculture.

Charles Juden as Director of the Department of Public Safety.


Brooks Calls Greitens Secretive

Long-time capitol reporter Phill Brooks writes in the Springfield Business Journal that “a cloak of secrecy has descended upon Missouri government to a degree I never imagined in all my decades covering the statehouse… [Greitens] has not held an open-question news conference in the statehouse since his election…. On his first day in office, just minutes after his inauguration when he signed an executive order at a media event in the governor's office, he immediately walked out ignoring reporters who tried to ask questions about the order. I wish someone on his staff would advise him how damaging that appearance of arrogance of power or fear of reporters can be… I must confess, there are some difficult questions we statehouse reporters want to ask Greitens. At the top of the list would be how much money he has accepted from lobbyist clients for his inaugural celebrations held on the same day he signed the executive order prohibiting other state workers from taking lobbyist gifts… [R]eal political leaders I've covered had the courage to face difficult questions head on. And, I sense, they understood a much deeper issue — that transparency and accountability in government is at the heart of American democracy and our system of government….”  See it here.


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Credit Union Day at Capitol – Reception – The Millbottom – 5:30PM.

MTIA Legislative Reception & Dinner – JCCC – 6PM.


In the 3rd Floor Rotunda

American Planning Association MO Chapter – Reception / Displays.

Heartland Credit Union Association – Lobby Day.

The State Historical Society.


Lobbyists Registrations

Mike Gibbons and Trish Workman added Live Nation Entertainment.

Noel Torpey added Missouri Trucking Association, Missouri Automobile Dealers Association, University of Missouri System, and Missouri Primary Care Association.

Zach Brunnert and Richard McIntosh added Tableau Software Inc.

Richard McIntosh added Missouri Creditors Car Inc.

Noah Worcester added Associated Students of the University of Missouri.

James Gwinner added State Policy Network.


$5K+ Contributions

Find the Cures - $35,000 from Bradley Bradshaw.

Citizens Investing in J Plus C - $10,000 from Civic Progress Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce.

Majority Forward - $7,679 from Missouri State Democratic Committee.