Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Catalyst Reps For Sporting Sites

In the lobbyist registrations below, Catalyst signed up fantasy sports websites Fanduel and DraftKings as clients.  (See the Catalyst website here).

These sites have been under fire lately across the nation.  I haven’t heard of any rumblings in Missouri, but the hiring might represent a defensive maneuver by the companies.

Here’s a recent story about Massachusetts’ AG recent regulatory proposal.

Pull Quote: The multibillion-dollar daily fantasy sports industry is getting scrutinized by powerful lawmakers, and Massachusetts is the latest. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey on Thursday proposed a set of regulations…  The proposal represents a much lighter touch than most of the regulators who've taken a shot at the industry in the past month — especially the current legal challenge from the New York attorney general's office, which has adopted the most hard-line approach yet towards shutting the industry down.


Follow-Up on Senate 11

Jessica Podhola kicked off her bid for Senate 11 on Facebook (See it here) making it officially a contested Democratic primary.

I asked around a bit yesterday about how folks handicap the race, and here’s the best response I got… “JJ Rizzo is a nice guy. Even a good guy. But he's a terrible candidate on paper.  [In other words, he’s] the better campaigner, but the worse candidate. I'm honestly at 50/50 on this one.”

Rizzo is the better campaigner in that he’s affable, well-organized, and smart.  But he’s the worse candidate because he just moved to the district – and the circumstances surrounding his first election.

Referring to the latter, one observer remarked that it’s “one of those rare nasty hits that happens to be true.  Rizzo’s aunt and uncle were convicted of vote fraud in an election that he won by one vote.”  See it here.

Those mailers write themselves.

And – this person continues – “Whoever the Dem nominee for SOS is, they won’t be pleased by the possibility of Rizzo being on the ticket” because it gives fuel to the Republican cry for Voter ID which has been mentioned already by both Jay Ashcroft and Sen. Will Kraus.  If the national conservative press seizes the issue (like the National Review), it could bring national money into that race.


Danforth to Headline Parson Fundy

Former United States Senator Jack Danforth headlines today’s fundraising luncheon supporting Sen. Mike Parson’s LG campaign. The luncheon is being co-hosted by Husch Blackwell and Kansas City civic leader Warren Erdman


Zerr Fundy Boasts Big Names

Wednesday night at Old Hickory Country Club, Rep. Anne Zerr is having a fundraiser.  The invite shows her broad base of support including Reps. Kathie Conway, Ron Hicks, and Chrissy Sommer; former Reps. Sally Faith, Doug Funderburk, Chuck Gross, and Bruce Holt; politicos Keith Hazelwood, Nick Guccione, and Patti York; As well as developer duo Paul & Midge McKee, ATT’s John Sondag, and Bank of Washington’s L.B. Ecklekamp.


MOPromise Ends Effort

The Missouri Promise initiative has gone dark.  AP has the story.  See it here.

Pull Quote:  Missouri higher education leaders have dropped plans for a potential 2016 ballot measure that would have raised cigarette taxes to fund college scholarships… The proposal would have raised cigarette taxes by somewhere between 70 cents and $1 a pack, with the proceeds going to scholarships for students maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA.

This leaves a duel between the Raise Your Hand for Kids folks trying to raise the cigarette tax by 60 cents a pack and the anti-tax folks coalescing behind the convenience store lobby and PAC which has yet to commit to a strategy.  They may oppose the RYH4K proposal outright, or they may offer a lesser alternative.

MOPromise Statement

Statement from Dudley McCarter, President of the Missouri Promise, and Paul Wagner, Executive Director of the Council on Public Higher Education in Missouri:

“The Missouri Promise board has decided to cease its efforts to raise the cigarette tax and create a new scholarship for high achieving Missouri students to use at Missouri colleges and universities.

The board did some in depth public opinion research and believes that the fundamental proposition would be popular among voters… The board is confident that voters would be receptive to the question that was being considered.

However, considering time constraints and the competing ballot initiatives that would create difficulties in funding the effort, we have realized that 2016 is not the right time for us to move forward…”


Sales Tax Numbers

Going into the holiday weekend Missouri sales tax receipts were about 7% above the same month last year.  We’ll see whether Black Friday and all the special deals juiced that number even higher when the final numbers are released later this week.


It will be interesting to how much the “tax amnesty” program which ended yesterday brought into the state’s coffers.


Nixon Kroenke Meet

Post-Dispatch reports that a high-level meeting took place.  Beyond that, not many details.  See it here.

Pull Quote: On the eve of a key NFL owners meeting in Dallas, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon met with Rams owner Stan Kroenke on Monday at Rams Park, multiple sources told the Post-Dispatch.  Dave Peacock, co-chair of the St. Louis stadium task force, also was at Rams Park on Monday, although it's not believed that Peacock took part in the meeting.



Lobbyist Kristian Starner talks about Uber in Missouri for “Grow Missouri Minute.”  See it here.  The Grow Missouri Minute is the latest in a franchise of “minutes” being produced by Pelopidas.  There’s also the How Money Walks Minute with Tim Jones behind the desk.  See it here. And the original, the First Rule Minute featuring Travis Brown (see it here).


Prefiling Starts Today

December 1 means… Pre-filing of bills begins today… Session starts January 6…

Look for the avalanche of press releases for legislators’ pet issues being prefiled.  The first one to hit my in-box was from Sen. Bob Onder at 5:07AM.  In Onder’s legislative package: An ethics bill banning lobbyists’ gifts and instituting a two-year waiting period before legislators can lobby; a  pro-life bill requiring “a physician who performs abortions to have both admitting and surgical privileges as opposed to simply clinical privileges at a nearby hospital;”  and a bill to “redirect a percentage of the state sales and use tax over a five-year period to the state road fund.”


Current GOP Doomed By Demographics?

An opinion piece by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg in the Washington Post offers an interesting take on the demographic and cultural trends tiding against the Republican Party base…  See it here.

Pull Quote: [There’s an] emergence of a new America… A majority of U.S. households are headed by unmarried people, and, in cities, 40 percent of households include only a single person. Church attendance is in decline, and non-religious seculars now outnumber mainline Protestants. Three-quarters of working-age women are in the labor force, and two-thirds of women are the breadwinners or co-breadwinners of their households. The proportion of racial minorities is approaching 40 percent, but blowing up all projections are the 15 percent of new marriages that are interracial. People are moving from the suburbs to the cities. And in the past five years, two-thirds of millennial college graduates have settled in the 50 largest cities, transforming them. Shifting attitudes were underscored in this year’s Gallup Poll when 60 to 70 percent of the country said gay and lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, sex between an unmarried man and woman, and divorce are all “morally acceptable.”

Further, these revolutionary transformations have accelerated the growth of a new majority coalition of racial minorities, single women, millennials and seculars. Together, these groups formed 51 percent of the electorate in 2012, but our analysis of census survey data and exit poll projections indicates that they will comprise fully 63 percent in 2016. With these growing groups each supporting Hillary Clinton by more than 2 to 1 in today’s polls, it is fair to say that the United States has reached an electoral tipping point…

This battle has left the Republicans with mostly married voters, as well as the oldest, most rural and most religiously observant voters in the country. That creates formidable odds against its winning an electoral college majority…

It is easy to imagine, then, that after the coming shattering election, some Republican leaders will repudiate this campaign’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim appeals and actively embrace the United States as an immigrant nation. Other leaders might accept the sexual revolution and the new gender roles and work to help the modern working family. Others might embrace again the need for national investment in education and modern infrastructure.

That would allow a different kind of debate within the Republican Party and, perhaps, a different kind of politics in the country.


Kid Killed Rummaging Through A Car

Post-Dispatch reports on the latest frontier of the “Castle Doctrine.”  A 13-year old kid killed while rummaging through someone’s car.  See it here.

Pull Quote: The shooting could test Missouri’s laws regarding a homeowner’s right to protect himself.  Prosecutors said Monday they are reviewing the case, though authorities released only a broad outline of the facts: a 60-year-old man shot Martinez Smith-Payne after catching him and two other boys searching his unlocked car… A prepared statement from Jennifer Joyce called the case “a terrible tragedy,” adding that “Missouri law regarding a homeowner’s right to protect himself and his property is complicated.”


Brunner Announces Endorsements

Sort of a stray pair of endorsements…

John Brunner today announced the endorsement of Major General James E. Livingston, USMC, (Ret). Maj. Gen. Livingston is a Medal of Honor recipient who served active duty in the United States Marine Corps for 33 years. The Medal of Honor is the highest honor awarded by the military.

The announcement follows the endorsement of Julius Schweich. Schweich, father of the late State Auditor and Gubernatorial candidate Tom Schweich, served 31 years in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve. Among Schweich’s awards include the Missouri Meritus Service Award and the Distinguished Service Medal. Schweich retired in 1987 as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Missouri Air National Guard.

"I am incredibly honored…" Brunner said….


Drug Price Debate

Wall Street Journal reports on the high price of prescription drugs in America. See it here.

Pull Quote: Drug prices in the U.S. are shrouded in mystery, obscured by confidential rebates, multiple middlemen and the strict guarding of trade secrets. But for certain drugs—those paid for by Medicare Part B—prices are public. By stacking these against pricing in three foreign health systems, as discovered in nonpublic and public data, The Wall Street Journal was able to pinpoint international drug-cost differences and what lies behind them….Throughout the developed world, branded prescription drugs are generally cheaper than in the U.S.  The upshot is Americans fund much of the global drug industry’s earnings, and its efforts to find new medicines… The reasons the U.S. pays more are rooted in philosophical and practical differences in the way its health system provides benefits, in the drug industry’s political clout and in many Americans’ deep aversion to the notion of rationing… Medicare, the largest single U.S. payer for prescription drugs, is by law unable to negotiate pricing….


Politico says it’s a tough issue for Republicans.  See it here.

Pull Quote: What the 2016 GOP presidential candidates don’t say is that Medicare should negotiate drug prices or that the government should limit drug maker’s profits, steps that might dramatically shake up the marketplace. For the most part, they’re not even making modest suggestions to stem rising costs, focusing instead on hammering a few headline-making companies that they portray as bad actors.  Even as they try to address an issue that polls show is voters’ No. 1 health concern, the candidates are caught in the box of Republican free market orthodoxy — and also, of long-standing relationships with the pharmaceutical industry, a lobbying powerhouse on the Hill. In the 2012 election cycle, more than 60 percent of PhRMA’s spending went toward Republican candidates, compared to 25 percent of contributions to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics…


Claire McCaskill on Drug Prices

The high cost of prescription drug prices is on the minds of Missourians… Prescription drug prices increased by 13 percent just last year, and are up 76 percent over the past five years-more than eight times the rate of inflation. ..

And it seems as if every week we read about another drug company that has increased the price of a prescription drug by five hundred-or five thousand-percent overnight… What's alarming is that the price increases often come after corporations acquire drug companies or drug marketing rights and make no improvements or changes to the drug other than to its label-and its price tag.

After hearing from so many Missourians and seeing these dramatic price increases, I decided to act by opening the first bipartisan Congressional investigation into prescription drug prices this year, and scheduling a series of public hearings on the issue. I've always believed the best work is done when we set aside our differences and work together across party lines. Along with my Republican colleague and friend, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, we've requested documents from four pharmaceutical companies that are responsible for some of the biggest recent increases in prescription drugs…


New Committees

Stan Whitehurst started a campaign committee to run for House 141 as a Republican.  This is Rep. Tony Dugger’s seat.  He’s termed.  See Whitehurst’s website here.


Federal Filings

Ann Wagner for Congress’ October quarterly filing showed receipts of $232,700, and $1,951,340 cash on-hand.

Gordon Christensen started a committee to run for Congress (District 4) as a Democrat.  See his website here.


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Sen. Mike Parson Luncheon - Husch Blackwell – Kansas City – 12:30PM.



Lobbyists Registrations

Gregory Porter, Rebecca Lohmann, Alex Eaton, and Daniel Pfeifer added Draftkings Inc., and Fanduel Inc.

David Jackson, Dave Berry, Katherine Casas added E-cell Inc.

Michael Middleton added University Of Missouri Board Of Curators.

Erika Leonard, John Bardgett, Kim Tuttle and John Parris deleted The Bank of Washington, and Northside Regeneration LLC.


$5K+ Contributions

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from William Draper III.

MO Freedom - $7,500 from Mark Bronson.

Safer Families for Missouri - $7,500f rom Mark Bronson.

Ashcroft for Missouri - $50,000 from David Humphreys.

MBA Capitol Region PAC - $6,542 from Hawthorn Bank.

Koster for Missouri - $5,001 from Pfizer Inc.

Koster for Missouri - $10,000 from William Thompson.



Happy birthdays to Charlie Dooley, Stacy Steen, Joe Knodell (the big 7-0), and Frank Plescia.