Thursday, September 11, 2014

Veto Session

For full veto session coverage, just go to the peerless John Combest.  Go here.  Every morning he has all the headlines, it’s an easy way to see what all the real reporters have written.


The veto session highlights…

The legislature overrode 47 of the governor’s budget line item vetoes and another 10 non-budget bills.


Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal gave an impassioned speech on Ferguson to start off the Senate session.  Her rhetoric was colorful, often bordering on bombastic… as she moved from ‘what would Jesus do’ musing to angrily insisting that Governor Jay Nixon was personally responsible for every misdeed committed by the police during the days of unrest.

It was a fitting start to a day which seemed to demonstrate Nixon’s remarkably low popularity with the legislative branch.  He was attacked repeatedly on the floors of both chambers during the override debates. Dems offered little rebuttal to the barbs aimed at their governor.


The override of the governor’s veto of HB1307 ultimately became the marquee event.  HB1307 extends the waiting period for an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours.

The House had one of the most emotional debates I’ve ever heard…  Rep. Keith English talked about his ex-wife having an abortion; it seemed inappropriate for him to be sharing her personal information on the floor, but I guess she’s cool with him telling the world about it… and Rep. Holly Rehder reflected on the difficulty of being young and being confronted with enormous decisions.


In the Senate, Sen. Jolie Justus led a filibuster that was finally broken with the dreaded PQ.  PQ is a parliamentarian procedure to cut off debate, moving to the “previous question.”  It hasn’t been used in seven years; it’s considered an affront to the right of every senator to speak as long as they want on any issue.  Justus, who felt as though she’s spent eight years compromising on the issue, decided to stand to the finish.  It had to be disappointing to her that the respect she’d earned during her tenure couldn’t buy her a pass from her colleagues using the PQ in the final hours of her Senate career.  Republicans Sens. Bob Dixon and Rob Schaaf did break ranks and voted against the PQ.


The use of the PQ will have ripples during next session.  Having used it now, it will be easier to use.  It will undermine the trust between Democrats and Republicans.  And it now becomes the chief issue as Democrats choose their minority leader in November.


Next Year’s Budget

House Republicans say that after reading Attorney General Chris Koster’s opinion on the budget overrides they may change their calendar next year.  Instead of waiting until the constitutional deadline, they might put the budget on a faster track and get it to the second floor early enough that the governor’s line items could be overridden in session – during the final weeks of session.

That would change the dynamic of the final weeks of session…


Implications of Amendment 3

Despite the announcement from TeachGreat that they will be abandon their campaign to pass Amendment 3, the teachers’ groups say they are going to continue their organizing efforts.

That means a few things: first, it will help Dem turnout while there’s no corresponding obvious bait to juice Republican turnout.

And second, if because of an asymmetrical campaign effort you end up with a lop-sided result, it just might kill the issue for the foreseeable issue.  For example, a 65-35 vote might make legislators skittish from pursing this police area for the next decade because “the voters have spoken.”


Rumorville: Carnahan and French Meet

The rumor is that former congressman Russ Carnahan and St. Louis City Alderman Antonio French recently met.  Who knows what they talked about, but maybe, maybe Carnahan shared whatever information he had about his primary with Lacy Clay.  While Clay had a non-presence during the Ferguson crisis, French found his moment.  Could it translate into a 2016 congressional challenge?


PSC To Deny Overearning Charges

The Post-Dispatch reports that the Public Service Commission will rule in favor of Ameren in the overearnings complaint brought by Noranda.  Read it here.  Pull Quote: In a Wednesday hearing, Missouri Public Service Commissioners said they did not agree with an overearnings complaint filed by Noranda Aluminum, which had accused the utility of making $50 million in excess profits. That could have led to lower bills for Ameren customers, who have seen electric bills rise by about 40 percent since 2006.  While the PSC still must issue a final ruling, the commissioners said Noranda did not convince them that Ameren was consistently earning above the profit level they set.


Missouri Press Association Conference

MPA has assembled a panel of journalists and the superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol for a presentation about "The News from Ferguson, Missouri: What Lessons Can Be Learned?" as part of its annual convention program Sept. 26 in Columbia.

Panelists at the MPA's 148th Annual Convention will discuss the lessons from

Ferguson, a northwest St. Louis suburb, and the way forward for all concerned. The

panelists will provide opening comments about their personal experiences during the

days and nights of unrest in Ferguson, and then answer questions from journalists in

the audience.


Members of the panel are:

Paul Stevens, former Associated Press bureau chief in Kansas City, who will serve as moderator.

Colonel Ron Replogle, Missouri State Highway Patrol superintendent.

John Eligon, New York Times correspondent, Kansas City.

David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer.

Kenya Vaughn, St. Louis American reporter and website editor.

Lawrence Bryant, St. Louis American photographer.

Jim Salter, Associated Press correspondent, St. Louis.


Kinder on Caps Overturn

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder today released the following statement on the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision related to the Legislature’s limits on punitive damages.

Tuesday’s decision by the Missouri Supreme Court is yet another blow to Missouri’s tort reform law, which we passed in 2005 after years of hard work. In 2003 and 2004, while I was President of the Senate, I was a leader in this reform effort. That reform has been systematically attacked since.

By removing the caps on some punitive damages awards, this ruling once again opens the floodgates for frivolous litigation by encouraging speculative lawsuits aimed at getting quick settlements to avoid the potential threat of multi-million dollar punitive awards.

This is yet more evidence that trial lawyer control of the judicial selection process has damaged our courts. The 2012 Watts case, which this decision is based on, did away with two decades of precedent and destroyed our state’s medical malpractice litigation protections. Now the court has done the same with some punitive damages. Tuesday’s decision underscores the need for judicial selection reform. For the sake of Missouri families and businesses, we cannot continue to allow trial lawyers to exercise so much control over the composition of our courts.


Help Wanted

City of Raymore seeks Municipal Judge.  “The City of Raymore, MO is accepting applications for the position of a part-time Municipal Judge. Applicants must be a licensed member of the Missouri Bar and shall have been engaged in the active practice of law in the State of Missouri for at least three (3) years immediately preceding this appointment.  Raymore is a Charter City with approximately 19,754 residents. Currently Court convenes the first and third Thursday each month at 6:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month, with approximately 400 cases per docket. The Mayor with the advice and consent of ¾ of the entire Council shall appoint a qualified person to fill the office of Municipal Judge. The term of office is two years.”  See the ad here.


Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Reuben Shelton added The Missouri Bar.


$5K+ Contributions

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

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $10,000 from William G Cocos Jr.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $10,000 from Clint Zweifel for Missouri.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $10,000 from Simmons Hanly Conroy.


Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to A.J. Bockelman.