Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Country Club Committee Meetings To Stop

Last night the Republican House majority held another committee hearing at the Jefferson City Country Club.  A live twitter feed chronicled the spectacle (see it here) and journalists questioned the practice.

See a news story here including a brief interview with Chairman Bart Korman.

Reporter: Why meet here?

Korman: It was a place to do it that we could find some time as well as have a meal to go with it.

Reporter: It’s being paid for by the telecommunications industry?

Korman: Probably so yeah.

Reporter: Those are the guys you’re supposed to be regulating.

Korman: Yeah.

Reporter: So is there an impropriety here with you guys taking dinners from these folks trying to get policy through your committee?

Korman: I don’t know.

 

Look for an announcement SOON from the Republican Caucus that off-site committee hearings will be no more…

 

Share the Wealth

The Rick Stream campaign is still working to pay off debt from its close, but failed, St. Louis County Executive race.  The question of who should give how much is the source of some contention among Republicans.

The debt is owed to former Sen. Jane Cunningham’s campaign.  She gave Stream’s campaign $75K.  It was initially reported as a contribution. Two weeks ago, though, the reports were amended (for a second time) to change the reporting of that contribution to a loan.

It’s said that Cunningham needs the cash to fund her ongoing battles with the union I the Monarch Fire District wars.

Who will pay? 

The most recent filing shows about $63K still outstanding on the debt. Last week Sen. Tom Dempsey gave $7,500.  Other potential donors are:

Eric Schmitt has $1.7 million cash on-hand.  For some context about how high that pile is… that’s about what State Treasurer Clint Zweifel’s entire budget was in his last re-election campaign.

Tim Jones isn’t even running in 2016, and he’s sitting on about $900K.

Speaker Steve Tilley has a thriving lobbying practice, huge campaign account, and no political future on the horizon.

And Speaker John Diehl (who paid a $65K bill for Stream earlier) has nearly $300K on-hand and has sworn off higher office.

Come on guys… share the wealth…

 

Schweich Announcement Today

State Auditor Tom Schweich is expected to announce his candidacy for governor today.

It sounds like Republicans have resigned themselves to a primary at the top of the ticket; the hand-wringing over it has stopped and the shoulder shrugging has started.

And one former Republican had a little wider grin last night, and a little extra bounce in his step as he left the Democratic Party’s “birthday party” at the Doubletree Hotel last night. “Schweich announcing tomorrow?” Chris Koster asked, like a kid who knows what’s in the present before he unwraps it.

 

And the ever-witty Richard Callow tweets out off possible announcements Schweich could be making instead… @publiceyestl: Schweich Announcement: 1) "It was all a dream," 2) Auditing the NFL, 3) Auditing Rex, 4) Running for mayor of Cape, 5) Something else

 

English The Independent

Rep. Keith English dropped the D from behind his name and became an Independent yesterday, clearing the way for him to be appoint to committees by Speaker John Diehl.

One lobbyist noted to me that despite the change in designation, nothing prevents English from running in the Democratic primary when he’s up for re-election in November 2016. Though another observer gaming out that scenario says that the Democratic Party could decide to reject the fee.  At that point the courts would likely become involved.  We’ll see if it ever gets to that.

 

Bits

Missouri Alliance for Freedom polls St. Louis residents who overwhelming oppose using taxpayer money for a new stadium for the Rams.  18% support the plan.  See the poll here.

 

Bob Watson covers yesterday’s Judiciary Committee in which some prosecutors bristle at Sen. Bob Dixon’s restructuring plans.  Read it here.

 

Missouri is one of many states looking at requiring a citizenship test to graduate high school.  See the New York Times article here.

 

eMailbag on Zweifel Tobacco Tax for College Idea

“For what it's worth, I think you may be underestimating Clint's proposal. I think the scholarship proposal has real legs.  It's an idea that speaks more directly to Missourians than anything else out there associated with tobacco. It's simple, direct and deals with an expense that most parents are worried about.  You get to tell families that if your kids do well in school, they earn a tuition scholarship to Missouri colleges. That's a big deal to people and is a great benefit to the state…”

 

eMailbag: Wedel to MHA

“Ted (Wedel) is a huge loss to the House, best legislative legal mind in the state.”

 

Committee Changes

Sen. Paul Wieland was added to the Joint Committee on Education.

Sens. Jill Schupp and Jeanie Riddle were added to the Missouri Children’s Services Commission.

Rep. Mike Moon was removed from the Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education and Rep. Becky Ruth was added.

Rep. Mike Moon was added to the Committee on Professional Registration and Licensing.

Rep. Jim Neely was added to the Children’s Services Commission.

Rep. Tim Remole was added to the Southern State Energy Board.

Rep. Nate Walker was added to the Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement.

Rep. Kevin Engler was added to Joint Committee on Legislative Research.

Rep. Todd Richardson was removed from the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and Rep. Joe Don McGaugh was added.

Rep. Donna Lichtennegger was added to the Select Standing Committee on Budget.

Rep. Holly Rehder was added to the Committee on Utility Infrastructure.

 

Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Springfield Salute to Legislators Reception – Capitol Plaza, Jefferson City – 4:30-6:30 p.m.

 

Lobbyists Registration Changes

Steven Tilley, John Bardgett, and Kim Tuttle added Mercy.

James Nikolai added US Bancorp.

Mary Mosley added Missouri Women’s Network, and Missouri National Organization For Women.

Sarah Wood Martin added Protect Missouri Workers.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to former Rep. Van Kelly (50).