Wednesday, February 11, 2015

RTW in House

The House will vote on “right to work” today.  It’s expected to pass without trouble, though the range of vote counts varies depending on the observer.  Look for passage to come in somewhere in the 90s.  No one expects it be outright defeated, and no one expects it to show a veto-proof majority.

I think this is a savvy move on the part of Speaker John Diehl, as it clears the divisive item from the House’s deck, and hands it off to the Senate to deal with.

Because it’s not a referendum – which would bypass the governor’s desk – and the House won’t have the ability to override, the Senate Republicans will have to decide whether to prioritize the measure.  It may simply languish on the Senate side if Republicans decide the cost – time and goodwill – isn’t worth simply teeing it up for a gubernatorial veto.

Some might like to pass it anyway so Republicans can draw a clear contrast with Democrats for 2016.  Attorney General Chris Koster would maintain Nixon’s position of vetoing RTW while a Republican governor would sign it.  This distinction could motivate the Republican donor base, especially national money, to see the stakes in the upcoming gubernatorial race.



It looks like there’s a battle about to boil between the Nixon administration and Kansas City over the state’s obligation to pay on the debt service of Jackson County Sport Stadium Complex. On page 463 of the Office of Administration’s budget recommendation (See it here.  Note: page 463 shows up around page 481 of the browser) the state’s contribution is zeroed out for the upcoming year.  It had previously been at $3 million.  Apparently there’s a dispute whether the state agreed to pay on the complex for 25 years or for 30 years.

Send in the lawyers…


File Under Huh?: Asbury for Gov

Former Rep. Randy Asbury sent out an email yesterday inviting folks to his announcement event tomorrow (Thursday, February 12) when he will declare himself a Republican candidate for governor.  See the email here.


MADA Pitches Eco Impact

In their contest with Tesla to win the hearts and minds of the legislature, the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association is visiting with legislators showing them the impact of dealerships all across the state.  On an average year, their combined Missouri payroll is over a billion dollars, they spent about $140 million on advertising, purchased $480 million in parts, and pay $950 million in various taxes.


Senate Chugs Along

The Senate perfected Sen. Eric Schmitt’s SB 5 limiting the amount that municipalities can collect from traffic fines.  Rural senators sought and won a compromise that smaller counties’ threshold will be 20% while the larger more urban areas will fall all the way to 10%.


And the Senate perfected Sen. Mike Parson’s SB 149 to create incentives for data centers to open in Missouri.  On concession was to remove the “catch-all” from the bill, making the incentives available only to centers which employ ten people or invest $25 million.  Critics contend this limits the bill “for the big boys only,” while supporters of the change were worried that without it, the credits could be abused.



Seen walking the halls yesterday was Conservation Commissioner Don Bedell, perhaps helping make the case for Governor Jay Nixon’s newest nominee to that commission, David Murphy.


The Missouri Supreme Court appeared to hand a victory to the solar energy advocates yesterday in a decision (see it here) which ruling that the Prop C passage overrules the statutes by virtue of being passed afterwards.


Sen. Joe Keaveny resigned from the Joint Committee on Legislative Research and Sen. Gina Walsh was added in his place.


Columbia is ground zero for the emerging paper, plastic, or BYOB debate. Consumer choice or environmental stewardship, you make the call.  Read it here.


Help Wanted

Missouri Department of Conservation seeks News Service Coordinator. “Respond to media inquiries and assist media to obtain facts, interviews, photos, video, and other material needed to publish or broadcast conservation news. Work with communications team on story ideas to advance the Department's mission and monitor news coverage. Work with regional media specialist staff to enhance media opportunities and coverage statewide. Respond to, write, and monitor Department messages on social media. Post news and write content for Department website. Develop short videos and take photos to enhance social media efforts… Salary: $40,000 to $45,000.”  See the ad here.


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Sen. Wayne Wallingford Breakfast – Grand Café, Jefferson City – 8:30AM.

Missouri Arts Council performance & awards – Capitol Rotunda, Jefferson City – Noon to 3PM.

Reps. Kathie Conway, Diane Franklin, Marsha Haefner & Shelia Solon Reception – Mo Credit Union Assn.  – Jefferson City – 5:30-7PM.


Lobbyist Registrations

Jeffery Brooks, Bill Gamble, Jorgen Schlemeier and Sarah Topp added Engagepoint Inc.

Eddie Trower added Charter Communications.

Steve Tilley added JG Foundation.


Happy Birthday

Happy birthdays to former Reps. Don Wells (56), and Steve Brown (48).