Monday, August 3, 2015

Smith for SOS

Robin Smith, a former St. Louis newscaster, announced that she’d be running for secretary of state as a Democrat.  See Summer Ballentine’s AP report here.

This fills a hole that Dems have had since Jason Kander announced his bid for US Senate.  Obviously telegenic and poised, Smith makes an intriguing first-time candidate.

Republicans have a primary between Jay Ashcroft and Sen. Will Kraus.

 

Leadership Bits

As expected, Rep. Mike Cierpiot was elected Floor Leader of the House at their summer.

 

At Veto Session, the House will elect Assistant Floor Leader.  The current folks in the running are Reps. Kevin Austin, Holly Rehder and Kathy Swan.

 

Meanwhile Rep. Elijah Haahr is well positioned to take the Speaker Pro Tem spot in January 2017.  Lobbyist: “With Caleb Rowden now running for Senate, Haahr is now in a one-man field to replace Todd Richardson as Speaker in three years…”

 

Change Remains:  All my prognostications for what a Dempsey Diehl pairing would mean and then... poof! Both gone.   So, it’s Richard-Richardson, at least in theory, for three years.

 

If the Ron Richard for Pro Tem bus rolls on unchallenged, Sen. Mike Kehoe for Floor may get a second look from some senators.  There’s a history in the Senate was nervousness about investing too much power in leadership, and one way that plays out is with the election of the two top spots from different factions.

 

And…. Take a look at Sen. Rob Schaaf thoughts on how the Senate should operate.  He’s not alone in this view.

 

Schaaf on Decentralizing The Senate

From: Rob Schaaf

Date: August 1, 2015

Colleagues,

Please consider these thoughts regarding Senate leadership.  Until the last few years, according to several former senators I have spoken to, the Senate functioned quite differently.  Power has become centralized.  The Senate is functioning much like the House, to the detriment of the power of individual senators.  Each of you has experienced this, and now is a good time to commit to returning to a decentralized power structure.

We do not need any 'leaders' in the sense that a leader is needed in the House.  Our Senate rules should be enough, but we do not follow the rules as they are written, nor as they were intended to be used.  This change has occurred mostly since term limits took effect.  Traditionally, no one senator "spoke" for the senate.  The office of President Pro Tem used to be a job nobody really wanted, because it did not carry much power, but the job did entail work.  We should return to that.

How many of you have suffered from delays in bills being referred to committee?  Have you had a bill die in committee because the President Pro Tem did not ASK for the bill to be turned in?  Our rules say that the chairman makes decisions on which bills to turn in or not turn in.  Or, were you dismayed as a chairman because the President Pro Tem DID ask for a bill to be turned in that you did not want to turn in?  (That is also not what our rules say.)  Did you feel obliged to turn the bill in because of the implicit threat that you would lose your chairmanship if you did not?

(This is how the House functions, but it should absolutely not be allowed in the Senate.)

This year, I felt compelled to challenge the ruling of the chair because of an egregious ruling on a point of order regarding a tax increase amendment, especially after we went into session quickly without a ringing of the bell (which was clearly done purposefully).  During the debate, I was threatened with losing my chairmanship.  Is that how you want the Senate to operate?  Is the need to protect the President Pro Tem from having his or her authority challenged on a ruling on a point of order more important than the right of an individual senator to challenge it?  Of course not!  It happened to me, and it might happen to you if we don't change the culture of our Senate.  I propose a remedy:  Allow chairmanships to be awarded according to seniority, and remove the power of the President Pro Tem to give them or take them away.  This needs to be done in order to allow chairmen to function the way they were intended.

How often have you had bills die because the calendar was "rolled"?  Why should the leadership decide that the bills of one senator are more important than the bills of another?  Our Senate rules allow for bills to be taken out of order with a vote, and that should be good enough.  I propose that we end the practice of rolling the calendar.  The bills of one senator are not more important than the bills of another.

Do you remember what it was like to have one of your bills brought up only to have it laid aside for a break and never returned to?  I propose that we decentralize the power of leadership and allow an individual senator to decide when to lay over a bill; when we break, we should immediately go back to a bill that was last under debate.

In summary I propose:

re the position of President Pro Tem:

  1. Chairmanships should be awarded either by seniority or by a method that does not allow one person to threaten removing the chairmanship. Similarly, committee membership should be chosen in rotation by seniority. For the remainder of this General Assembly, current chairmen should remain in place.
  2. All bills should be referred to committee within one legislative day, and according to the rules. If there is a question, a committee formed for that purpose should vote on which committee bills should be referred to. Chairmen should be trusted with decisions on what bills should be heard and when.
  3. Chairmen should decide which bills to turn in and which bills not to turn in, period. The rule allowing for bills to be taken from committee is there for a reason.
  4. The rulings of the chair are not perfect, so there should be an understanding that challenging the rulings of the chair is acceptable. The body of the Senate should decide in cases when a senator is aggrieved by a ruling.

re the position of Floor Leader:

  1. The practice of "rolling" the calendar should be ended.
  2. When a bill is laid over, it should be returned to after a recess or adjournment until laid over by the bill's sponsor, unless tabled by a motion that is already allowed for in our rules.
  3. We should return to the practice of following the order of business as allowed for in our rules.

I believe these changes decentralizing the power of leadership are sorely needed.  There is a perception among the citizens of our state that special interests are responsible for passage or non-passage of pieces of legislation.  These changes would go far in ending that perception. After five years, I am not satisfied with the way leadership has operated, and I would like to see it return to the decentralized power structure of the past.  I will support leadership candidates who agree to give up the power these offices have been exercising.

If you agree with me, I hope you will declare your support for my proposals.  If the candidates for our leadership positions don't support these changes, and you agree with me, either run for leadership, or draft me as your candidate for President Pro Tem, and I will show you how the job should be carried out.  I don't have any desire to be in any position of authority over any other senator.  I just want to have the authority that senators have traditionally had, and not cede it to others.  I would like the Senate to truly be a body of equals.

Sincerely,

Rob Schaaf

 
Senate 23 Committee Situation

Tipster: The Senate 23 committeepeople are pretty much all decided, and the majority are for anyone but Anne Zerr.  They see her as a moderate (video on the capitol steps..)… Bill Eigel will run in the August 2016 primary regardless of what happens.

 

Hinson

Rep. Dave Hinson does an interview with the Missouri Times to reiterate that even though he pled guilty to driving while intoxicated, he’s not guilty of anything.  He’s just the victim of “dirty politics.”  See it here.

Lobbyist: “So much for the party of personal responsibility…”

 

MOScout Weekly Poll

See the MOScout Weekly Poll here.

Interesting to note that support for St. Louis City’s $180 million bond issue falls below the 2/3 majority needed, but is slightly higher than the 4/7 majority it would have needed if it’d have been held next Spring.

It’s the only issue on the ballot tomorrow, and turn-out is expected to be in the single digits – maybe even the low single digits.  So polling is hard to model.  With so few votes, it’s a turn-out game.

eMailbag on Poll and Uber

This poll shows how out of touch St. Louis is. Ridiculous.

And

The Kanas City Star has an article on the challenges of polling.  See it here.

 

Bits

Washington Post on teachers “hot-footing it” out of Kansas. Read it here.

 

Politico has a story about state parties using Donald Trump as a headliner for fundraisers.  See it here.  Pull Quote: “I do not believe Donald Trump will be the nominee of the Republican Party in 2016,” said Missouri Republican Party chairman John Hancock, who said he hasn’t detected discernible support for Trump in the Show Me State. But he said Trump is as welcome there as any other candidate, even though he expects the businessman to flame out like other flash-in-the-pan candidates of cycles past. And some said that as long as he was helping the party raise money, there was no reason to shut down the idea of fundraising together.

 

Tom Dempsey unveiled a new twitter handle, @ThomasDDempsey.  He describes himself as “Husband and father. Stl Cardinals and Mizzou fan.”  One reader laughed at how that compares to someone else who’s no longer in the legislature… Tim Jones. Jones still uses the handle @SpeakerTimJones.

 

eMailbag: on the New Senate 1

Lobbyist: Tough blow for Marsha Haefner. She had an impressive kickoff for SD1 and had a good shot at winning the seat.  Scott Sifton has represented that district very well, at least in my opinion. He's been fiscally conservative, pro-labor and negotiated well across party lines…

 

eMailbag: on Hensley for AG

Lobbyist: Koster was also a former Cass County Prosecutor when he was elected AG. With all of this bad behavior by the men of Jeff City Teresa Hensley could make the case for needing a female AG, that has actually prosecuted cases, to police things in the state.

 

Help Wanted

General Assembly seeks Program Evaluator/Fiscal Analyst.  “Participate in the preparation of fiscal notes for the General Assembly, compile and analyze data, conduct research as needed and study background material relevant to the agencies being evaluated or reviewed, develop a working knowledge of state government agencies, their functions and interrelationships…”  See the ad here.

 

Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

August 3 – 6: NCSL Legislative Summit – Seattle, Washington, MO Night is Tuesday.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Zachary Brunnert added Adobe System Incorporated.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Citizens to Elect Kurt Schaefer Attorney General - $7,392 from Grow Missouri PAC.

Koster for Missouri - $10,000 from Richard DeStefane.

Missourians for Fair Wages - $10,000 from Missouri Restaurant Association.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Nicholas Sansone.
Citizens for Steve Stenger - $25,000 from Givco LLC.

Greitens for Missouri - $10,000 from Rivertown Enterprises Inc.

Greitens for Missouri - $10,000 from Kurt Hellweg.

Reinvest STL - $10,000 from BJC HealthCare.

Reinvest STL - $10,000 from The Laclede Group.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to former Rep. Larry Wilson (72), Beverly Randles, and Dan Engemann (34).