Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Follow-up on Sinquefield Contributions

MOScout reader: [Regarding] Rex Sinquefield 's contributions and your comments on how his allied groups will spend his largess: Overlooked by the press in SB572 (muni reform) is language lowering the thresholds for petitions to put dissolution of a municipality on the ballot as well as language lowering the threshold for the petition to be successful. Petition threshold is lowered from 50% to 25% of voters, and success on the ballot is lowered from 60% to 50%.  I don't think this language was by accident…

And

News hound Jason Hancock (KC Star) reports that since 2008, Sinquefield has contributed over $45 million since 2008.  See it here.

The reaction I usually get when these figures are thrown around is: what has he gotten for all his money?  Well there is the income tax cut (phased in over a decade if certain revenue targets are met), but additionally, Sinquefield’s millions have consistently kept several groups playing defense.  He has successfully defined the legislative playing field even if he hasn’t been able to get a whole slew of proposals across the finish-line.

 

SMRs Elsewhere

Remember small modular reactors (SMR)?  A few years ago the investor owned utilities were pitching legislation to make Missouri the hub for SMR technology.  It was a big idea with a big potential market and billions of dollars of economic development imagined for the state.

Now comes news as a sad reminder that of opportunity missed.  See it here.

NuScale, which is developing a 50 MW small modular reactor, provided new details this week on the timeline to having a first-of-kind commercial unit in operation….NuScale’s Chief Commercial Officer Mike McGough said the site selection process has narrowed down to four or five locations on the grounds of the Idaho National Laboratory outside Idaho Falls, ID. Unlike statements in the past, McGough did not list any other sites in any other states as possible sites for construction.

And the article also mentioned Westinghouse is partnering in the UK to move forward with their SMR plans.

 

So, what’s next for Missouri? It’s been years since meaningful utility legislation has passed. Fingers are pointed in every direction in the building.  Many blame the entrenched opposition – originally from Noranda and last session some blame Doe Run.  But others point the fingers back at the utilities themselves that seemingly offer a new proposal every year.

Is it possible that next year Missouri could break its lhave a second logjams and have a second go at the performance based rate proposal, aka 21st Century Grid Modernization and Security Act.  It had broader support in the business community than any previous proposal.  And if passed, it promises to hundreds of millions of dollars in grid upgrades and investment.  That would means thousands of jobs.  And it would also prove that the legislature is capable of passing big economic development legislation.

 

Spencer Takes Helm of CCM

Cara Spencer, the new executive director of the Consumers Council of Missouri, sent her first email blast.  Highlights…

Predatory lenders have poured more than a million dollars into the MO state capital creating some of the most lax laws in the country where a payday loan has an average APR of 450%. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is taking action and they are doing it here in Missouri. On June 2 CFPB will come to Kansas City to announce new rules to reign in the abuses of predatory lenders. CCM will be there supporting real reform…

 

MO issued a preliminary order against the $37B proposed Aetna-Humana merger which threatens to raise premiums for more than 300,000 Missourians who depend on Medicare Advantage. CCM attended the hearing, condemned the merger and we thank MO Director of Insurance John Huff for taking bold action to protect competition and consumers...

 

CCM would like to recognize the tenacious work of Senator Jill Schupp who has been a strong advocate for electric, gas and water consumers. She effectively opposed unfair surcharges for gas and water customers, and helped stop automatic formula electric rate hikes. Please thank Senator Schupp for standing strong for consumers…

 

Brunner Hires Sarah Huckabee Sanders

The Brunner campaign announced that the daughter of former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will join their campaign in the capacity of “senior advisor.”

“I am pleased to welcome Sarah Huckabee Sanders to our team. Sarah is an incredible political talent and brings a wealth of national and state experience to our campaign,” John Brunner said...

 

MO Insurance Coalition Against Limits?

In the non-committee expenditure reports (see it here), the Missouri Insurance Coalition lists spending $441 on legal expenses (to Stinson Leonard Street) to oppose the initiative petition 2017-007.  That’s the campaign contribution limits being pushed by Fred Sauers.

Stinson is where legal wizard Chuck Hatfield makes his office.  But at what I imagine Hatfield’s rates to be, that’d be about six minutes of his time….

 

Gray on Sabbatical

Polsinelli’s star lobbyist Rodney Gray is on sabbatical until August.  From his auto-reply email…. Every seven years, our firm allows equity shareholders to take a sabbatical leave for three months. I will be taking mine from June-August this summer. During this time, I will not be in the office and will generally not be available via email or cell phone…

 

Remington Branching Out Into Moneyball?

Look its Remington Research’s Titus Bond breaking down baseball on a slow Memorial Day weekend.  See it here.

Pull Quote: From the White Sox perspective, the Saturday loss was as ugly as it could get -- they couldn't protect a 7-1 lead in the ninth inning -- and the other two weren't much better... If they do bounce back from this to outlast the Indians, Royals and Tigers, they'll look back and laugh at everyone who wrote them off after they blew leads of 5-1 (in the sixth), 7-1 (in the ninth) and 4-2 (in the eighth) to the Royals.

The Royals wrap up a sweep of division foe White Sox by staging three straight comeback wins at Kauffman Stadium

What were the odds of that?

According to Titus Bond, head of polling for the Remington Research Group, the White Sox had win percentages of 93.8 percent on Friday, 99.9 percent on Saturday and 88.4 percent on Sunday. The chance of losing all three games, Bond concluded, was .0007 percent.

That's seven in 10,000, if my math is correct.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Keith Hazelwood added St. Charles County Government.

Mike Gibbons and Tricia Workman deleted Missouri Soybean Association.

Gina Hakenewerth deleted Ameren Missouri.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Koster for Missouri - $25,000 from Operating Engineers Local 101 PAC.

Local 41 Political Action Fund - $11,172 from DRIVE Committee.

Missouri Democratic State Committee - $10,000 from Missouri Realtors PAC Inc.

Missouri Democratic State Committee - $25,000 from Southwestern Bell Telephone LP DBA AT&T Missouri.

Missouri Realtors PAC Inc - $5,105 from Deana Wolfe.

Greitens for Missouri - $10,000 from Craig Estey.

MO Petroleum Marketers + Convenience Store Assoc PAC - $75,000 from Cheyenne International LLC.

MO Petroleum Marketers + Convenience Store Assoc PAC - $37,699 from LPC Inc.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Reps. Steve Lynch and Randy Pietzman, and former Rep. John Wright (40).