Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Koenig Makes His Bones

Sen. Andrew Koenig – together with Sen. Rob Schaaf and Bill Eigel – held the Senate floor yesterday for several hours in opposition to Sen. Jay Wasson’s SB10, a work training bill they characterized as big government.

Some lobbyists had wondered how the conservative – but shy – Koenig would fare in the Senate.  And yesterday showed that he’s willing to stand up and do some debating to get what he wants.

After a recess – midwifed about by a procedural misstep – Wasson returned with a substitute bill which was acceptable to the trio, and the bill was perfected and is set to be third read tomorrow before Spring Break.


About Last Night

The Senate debated for hours and hours HB251 – the same bill they’d debated the day before.  It’s the paycheck bill with a lot of union regulations loaded onto it.  So far Dems are mounting a full defense.


The House worked last night, rolling through the consent calendar as part of a pre-Spring Break ritual to clear out the calendar…


Off the Consent Calendar

Sen. Ed Emery knocked Holsman’s SB392 (hours to serve alcohol) and Hegeman’s SB404 (wine sales) off the consent calendar.  And Sen. Jill Schupp knocked Rowden’s SB384 (utilities regulations) off as well.


For those watching the House Committee Bills… Speaker Todd Richardson authorized the “Regular Standing Committee on Health and Mental Health Policy to introduce upon report a House Committee Bill relating to the prevention of controlled substance abuse.”


Second Floor Reaches Out to Fifth Floor

After months of unreturned phones calls, unanswered emails, and standard no comments, the governor’s team has apparently decided to engage the capitol press corps.  Not with an actual news conference, but instead an off-the-record lunch with top advisor.  Thus came the email to many of the state’s reporters in Jeff City… I'm in Jeff City today -- y'all want to get together for an off-the-record lunch to catch-up? Noon at Arris Bistro?...

I’m told that the Post-Dispatch’s Kurt Erickson was the only one to accetp Austin Chambers’ offer.


Smart Roofing Regulation

In the Trump Era, and after Governor Eric Greitens’ six-week freeze on regulations, it’s not a particularly hospitable environment for new regulations.  Perhaps that’s why bills requiring registration for roofers aren’t moving.

There are two languishing:  Rep. Robert Cornejo’s HB425 and Sen. Mike Cunningham’s SB216.  One building denizen describes them as “the quintessential example of how to do regulatory policy in a non-intrusive way.”  That is, this is how Republicans imagine regulations: no board, no red tape, etc.

One wonders where Republican uber-donor David Humphreys is on the issue.  Given his position as one of tort reforms biggest champions (and his business being a shingle-maker), it would seem he’d embrace any approach to reduce litigation in his industry.


MOSERS Follow-Up

Jason Hancock reports on the MOSERS situation.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Its board of trustees requested an additional $45 million from the state to help cover costs in the fiscal year that begins July 1.  House Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, a Shell Knob Republican, says that big a funding boost isn’t possible. The budget proposal he’ll lay out Wednesday would still increase MOSERS funding, but by only $15 million.  In the long term, both the House plan and the MOSERS plan project to pay off the pension system’s debt in 28 years. But the House plan calls for the state’s portion of the fund to be roughly the same every year, while MOSERS wants the funding to spike in the early years before tapering off over time.

The pension system is already underfunded, said Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt, a Republican who serves on the MOSERS board. With that in mind, he said, the House plan would be “extremely foolish.”

“If (Rep. Fitzpatrick) moves forward with his plan, it presents a risk to the state in future years,” said Steelman, who also serves on the MOSERS board. “We’ve seen other states go down that path, and we don’t want to follow. Rating agencies watch pensions very closely. That’s what I’m worried about.”

“If I had a dime every time someone tried to dangle the credit rating over my head,” Fitzpatrick said, “I’d be a rich man.”


Supreme Court Doesn’t Address Population Question

The legislature often tailored bills for St. Louis County by using its population (over a million residents) as a definition. As its population has declined and no longer fits that definition, do the laws still hold?  That big question has been looming.  This case before the Missouri Supreme Court was supposed to put the matter to bed.  It didn’t.  The court said: “Interesting as this issue may be, this Court cannot reach it.”

Not yet maybe, but one assumes that another challenge to another law will come at some time, and this issue will have to be decided.


Ellebracht Writes Richard

A few days ago Rep. Mark Ellebracht charged that the tort reform Pro Tem Ron Richard is pushing “looks an awful lot like pay-to-play politics.”  Richard responded saying that Ellebract could “kiss my ass.”

Ellebracht is back.  Now he’s sent a letter (see it here) to Richard asking for transparency in the sausage-making process.  “Please list any individuals with whom you discussed SB5 prior to the drafting… Please any individuals who are not Senate employees whom you authorized to directly or indirectly consult with Senate Research analysts concerning SB5… Please provide an account of any discussions that took place between you and Mr. Humphreys, or anyone acting on his behalf, concerning SB5…”



In the spirit of unity, Sen. Jamilah Nasheed – who endorsed and spent thousands for Tishaura Jones – has endorsed Lyda Krewson in the general election for St. Louis City mayor.  Nasheed is said to be prepping a run to take on another mayoral candidate, Board President Lewis Reed.  If she would win that race, she and Krewson would serve together on the city’s powerful Board of Estimate and Apportionment.


Missouri State Highway Patrol is looking for a few new law enforcement motocycles.  They want “Latest Model Year (2017 Or Newer) • Color: Police Dark Blue • Motorcycles shall be equipped with all standard equipment for the model proposed, as well as the following miscellaneous accessories (included in the base price): - Heated Hand Grips… Saddlebag Guard Rails… 15” Profile Windshield MANDATORY MAKE/MODEL: Harley-Davidson FLHTP…”


In the Joplin Globe’s article about Auditor Nicole Galloway’s new project auditing the state budget, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft throws some shade her way.  See it hereAshcroft implied that the audit series was partisan maneuvering by the sole Democratic statewide elected official.  “It’s important to have an auditor that is not partisan,” Ashcroft said. “I know she is.”


eMailbag on Blaine Amendment

I hope proponents know that if the Blaine Amendment is repealed the feared Muslims will be able to get money for their schools. You won't be able to discriminate. Sometime you have to be careful of what you wish for…


Lobbyists Registrations

Sam Wiles and Richard Wiles added Sam Wiles.

Sam Wiles deleted Project Elysim LLC.

Aaron Baker and Kristian Starner added Upper Mississippi Illinois Missouri River Association.

Kristian Starner added Leo P’Laughlin Inc.

Scott Dieckhaus added US Term Limits, and Cory Kraft.

Sherry Doctorian added SirenGPS Inc.

Brian Grace and Katherine Casas deleted Voices for Children.

Rodney Gray deleted Treanor Architects PA.

David Sweeney deleted International Association of Fire Fighters, Paramedics, EMTs and Dispatchers of St. Louis, Local 73.

Michael Schler deleted Missouri Beer Wholesalers Association.


$5K+ Contributions

AspireSTL - $14,700 from Drury Displays Inc.

Progress KC PAC - $10,000 from Herzog Transit Services, Inc.

Progress KC PAC - $10,000 from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.



Happy birthdays to Adam Gresham and Gary McElyea.