Monday, August 31, 2015

“No matter how old I get, I still live my life in semesters…”  My wife and I took the kids for a quick trip to Kansas City last week, a final hurrah at the end of summer.  They start school today, and I find myself itching a bit to “get back to work.”  Veto session just two weeks away now…


Axiom Recruited for Missouri’s Promise?

The rumor is that Jeff Roe’s Axiom Strategies is on the short list to potentially head up the so-called “Missouri’s Promise” campaign.  This is the tobacco tax increase proposal which would direct funds to higher education.

The possibility that Axiom would be running the initiative is intriguing because Axiom ran the campaign in 2012 which successfully opposed a cigarette tax increase.  It narrowly failed with 49.2% of the vote.  Furthermore, Axiom is a Republican house.  And Republicans have been less enthusiastic on the issue, as they are constitutionally disinclined to approve any new taxes.


Rizzo in Senate 11

With the conventional wisdom betting heavily that Governor Jay Nixon won’t be calling a special election in Senate 11, the jockeying for that seat has shifted toward a 2016 primary brawl.

Minority Whip John Rizzo is said to be on the move, moving into the district that is, to establish residency and pursue the seat.  Part of his current House district is within the Senate district, so it’s not a move which would elicit “carpet-bagging” charges.

Right now it appears his main rival is Jessica Podhola.  She does government affairs for the painters’ union, and previously was the executive director for the Jackson County Democrats.

This should be a safe Democratic seat, though some fear if the primary gets nasty it’s possible that Republicans could steal it.  Rep. Bill Kidd is the potential Republican candidate.

Rizzo has a fine record voting for organized labor, but Podhola’s direct ties might help her counterbalance that.  Regardless one assumes labor will sit on the sidelines as long as possible, so as not to antagonize Kidd, who had voted against right to work.

The gender of the candidates may play a role in this primary as well.  Some women advocates would like to see the seat in a woman’s hands, particularly considering the circumstances under which Paul LeVota exited.  Meanwhile Rizzo supporters will point to his voting record in the House as proof that he’s correct liberal candidate.

We’ll see….


Baker for Treasurer?

The Dems held their annual fundraising pow-wow last weekend.  It’s now names The Truman Dinner.  Here are a few bits…

Rep/Rev. Tommie Pierson slide a reference to his LG bid into the evening’s convocation…

Making the rounds was Judy Baker, whose name now seemed to pop up every two years for a statewide office.  But the day after the event, Gentry Trotter tweeted that Baker would be pursuing a treasurer bid.

Dueling AG candidates, Jake Zimmerman and Teresa Hensley were both shaking hands.  Hensley was being led around by Dem consultant David Woodruff.

Jo Mannies noted that Governor Jay Nixon was absent again this year.  See it here.

See Chris Koster’s speech here.  In a catch-all phrase, Koster says “we must fund public schools, expand access to college and support early childhood education…”  He’s gotten squirrely lately on whether he supports the Missouri’s Promise tobacco tax, or the Raise Your Hand tobacco tax.  Perhaps he’s trying to keep all options open at this point.


Soil and Parks Tax Renewal

Citizens Committee For Soil, Water And State Parks, a campaign committee, was formed last week.  This will be the vehicle to campaign for a renewal to the tenth-cent sales tax which is split between the state parks and a soil conservation program.

As in past renewal efforts, the backbone of the coalition for the tax is parks supporters and the Farm Bureau.

The treasurer of the committee is Ron Coleman, board member of the Missouri Parks Association, and Leslie Holloway, government affairs director for the Farm Bureau.

The tax was started in 1984 and was last renewed in 2006, passing with a 70% majority.


Graham to Centene

Former state senator Chuck Graham announced on Facebook: “It’s official.  I’ll be starting a new job on September 14 with Centene in St. Louis as their first Disability Advocacy Director…”


MEC Issues Letters

Ethics Commission issues “letters of concern” to seven lobbyists (Andy Arnold, Mike Gibbons, Susan Henderson Moore, Richard Moore, Jorgen Schlemeier, Tina Shannon, and Greg Swarens) for reporting a meal expense to a group instead of to individual representatives. It appears they had thought the entire group of legislators had been invited to the event, and mis-reported it as such.  They corrected their mistake in their following reports.  The amount each lobbyist mis-reported was $10.25.  See it here.


Moore’s Law

Lobbyist Richard Moore shakes a fist on Facebook… To all my legislator friends who helped pass SB 643 in 2014, which requires the Revisor of Statutes of MO to update the online version of the Revised Statutes of Missouri as new law become effective (for example - most of the 92 bills passed this year that became effective today) feel free to ask the Revisor of Statutes why the new laws are not online and Section 3.090 is not being followed. Citizens should be able to find the laws that they are expected to live under, especially when Missouri law requires it!


Help Wanted

HR Block seeks Government Relations Associate.  “As a member of the government relations team, this position is responsible for assisting with federal and state grassroots activity, political action committee (PAC) activity, and other projects in support of key policy issues. This person will also assist with state relations working with both national organizations and various statehouses across the country…. Assist with annual PAC solicitation; yearly DC fly-in for franchisees; annual franchise convention activities, and other PAC and grassroots events… Ability to meet with public, Members of Congress, staff, government officials, and senior H&R Block executives in a confident and professional manner….”  See the ad here.


eMailbag: on Rural Hospital “Consolidation”

Ironically, one will search in vain in the story you referenced on rural hospitals for a single mention of Medicaid funding. At the end of the day, isn't it a positive thing that the free market is incentivizing consolidation, sharing of resources, providing better care and reducing duplication and waste? 


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Reps.  Lynn Morris & Jeff Messenger Golf – Fremont Hills Country Club – Nixa – 11AM.


Lobbyists Registrations

Kyle Allen Olmstead added Office Of State Treasurer Clint Zweifel.


$5K+ Contributions

Koster for Missouri - $25,000 from The Simon Law Firm PC.

Koster for Missouri - $15,000 from Ameren Missouri.

Friends of Rob Vescovo - $10,000 from Jim Plunket Inc.

Friends of Caleb Jones - $10,000 from NP Assisted Health Fund LLC.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $12,500 from David Steward.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $7,500 from Cheyenne International LLC.

Missourians for John Brunner - $5,001 from Gary Chartrand.

Missourians for John Brunner - $5,001 from Ralph Crowley Jr.

Greitens for Missouri - $,5001 from John Wunderlich.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Patrick Sly.

Returning Government to the People - $42,000 from Fred N Sauer.

Slay for Mayor - $10,000 from Express Scripts Inc.

With Robin Smith in 2016 Committee - $10,000 from Sid Meridith.

Scott Sifton for Missoui - $10,000 from Simmons Hanly Conroy.



Happy birthdays to Chris Koster (51).