Thursday, March 5, 2015

Here Comes Brunner

A strong source says that John Brunner will be forming an exploratory committee to run for governor.

Clearly the landscape changed in the aftermath of Tom Schweich’s suicide, but it’s unclear exactly how it will settle.

Some believe that Catherine Hanaway’s campaign – which hadn’t mustered much financial support beyond her $1 million from Rex Sinquefield – will be hobbled by its association with the attack radio ad that preceded Schweich’s death.  But that’s pure speculation at this point.  The ripples are still moving and their impact is yet undetermined.

Regardless of how things shake out, Brunner is a credible candidate. He has the business resume; he can self-fund.  And he has the experience of a statewide campaign which he lacked the last time around.

Former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens also has an exploratory committee, and is expected to mount a vigorous campaign for the nomination.

The non-political background of both Brunner and Greitens should buoy their appeal especially after the Schweich tragedy when there’s a certain weariness of business-as-usual politics.

Finally, Sen. Mike Kehoe’s name has been mentioned for statewide office.  And again – with the turmoil right now, it had to predict whether there’s an opening for him or not.



Rep. Paul Fitzwater and others have joined in calling for John Hancock’s resignation.  Read Steve Kraske’s report on it here.


Ferguson Mess

The Department of Justice released a damning report about the Ferguson police.

The New York Times has a summary with links to the report here.  And the report is here.

It shows that African Americans subjected to an unjust judicial and policing system.  They were much more likely to be stopped, arrested, and jailed.

Use of force was disproportionately high against African Americans.  “The Ferguson Police Department used tasers and dogs in excess on black suspects.”

Traffic and court fines were seen as a way of funding municipal government.  For example, “In 2011, the police chief reported that fines in the last month “beat our next biggest month in the last four years by over $17,000.” The city manager responded: “Wonderful!”

Furthermore, “several police and court employees expressed racist views in emails and interviews. Messages between Ferguson officials compared African-Americans to chimpanzees and characterized a black woman’s abortion as an effective crime-stopping tool.”


Many commentators on Twitter were quick to point out that Ferguson’s problems are not theirs alone, but are pervasive in many of St. Louis County’s smaller municipalities.


House Perfects MedMal Changes

The House perfected HB 118 which would change the definition of medical malpractice in order to reinstate limits on damages.

Importantly, the vote had 101 ayes, short of the amount needed to override a gubernatorial veto.  That will give some impetus toward a compromise position during the final ten weeks as the bill is worked on in the Senate – something that the governor could sign, or that could muster the 2/3 votes in each chamber.


Brownback Speaks

Grow Missouri’s luncheon with Kansas Governor Sam Brownback took an unexpected turn.  While the governor reportedly reaffirmed his faith in his state’s tax cuts, the odd bounce came in a Missouri Times report that Brownback would be open to Medicaid expansion.  Read it here.  Probably not the message conservatives were expecting to hear.



While we’re talking tax cuts and Laffer Curve, please remember the theory here folks.  It’s not that every tax cut grows revenue.  There is no economic theory for that notion. It’s that the right supply-side tax cut when you’re at the right part of the curve can grow revenue.  And no one really knows what the curve looks.


Millner to Mizzou

Brian Millner deregistered as a lobbyist for the Nixon administration’s Department of Economic Development.  Word is that he’s taking a job as special assistant to University of Missouri’s R. Bowen Loftin.



ATT Prez John Sondag in the rotunda sporting the sneakers and suit yesterday….


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

This weekend… Missouri Democrat Days – Hannibal


Lobbyist Registrations

Juan Trippe added Indivior PLC; and deleted Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Sarah Nussbaum added Department of Economic Development.

Charles Miller added HRB Tax Group Inc.

John Costello added Costello and Associates Inc., and Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis.

Rodney Hubbard added Carpenter’s District Council Of Greater St. Louis And Vicinity.

Tom Carter deleted Red Development.

Brian Millner deleted Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Scott Marrs deleted Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Inc.


$5K+ Contributions

Missourians for Koster - $10,000 from IBEW PAC Voluntary Fund.

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America Political Account - $7,620 from Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.


Happy Birthday

Happy birthdays to Reps. Paul Fitzwater (56), Shane Roden (32), and Rochelle Walton Gray.