Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nixon Vetos SB 673

Governor Jay Nixon vetoed SB 673.  Sen. Mike Kehoe was the sponsor.  The bill would have reduced the amount of time that an individual could receive unemployment benefits based on the unemployment rate.  The current duration – 20 weeks – would only be in effect when the unemployment rate was 9% or higher.  But anytime the unemployment rate was 6% or lower, benefits would only be available for 13 weeks.

Silvey Fundy

A day after his golf tournament, Sen. Ryan Silvey held a fundraiser with Kit Bond and Jack Danforth as the headliners.  Sam Fox, among other heavy donors, was in attendance.   It’s said that Silvey collected around $50,000 from the event.  But what made some folks chirp about the event was that it was “held smack dab in the middle of S-24.”  That is, Sen. John Lamping’s district.  The two warred on the Senate floor over Medicaid expansion during the last session.

Latest on Noranda Ameren Fight

Yesterday at the Public Service Commission hearing on the Noranda rate reduction request, Noranda appeared to offer that they would maintain their workforce at 880 full timers if they received their relief, though there was some disagreement whether such a promise could be enforced.

What’s the Matter With Kansas?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Kansas’ tax cut policy hasn’t been yielding the promised returns.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Two years ago, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback laid out an aggressive program of tax cuts to turn this slow-growing state into a Texas-like economic powerhouse—and serve as a model for Republican leaders in other states.

So far, the results are serving as more of a warning than a beacon. Employment growth is below the national average, while Kansas faces plunging revenue, dwindling reserves and a rare debt downgrade…

"It's like going through surgery. It takes a while to heal and get growing afterwards," Mr. Brownback said in his office, a painting of Ronald Reagan hanging behind him. "The left in the country desperately wants this to fail. They want to say, 'You can't cut taxes and grow your way out of things.' "

Mr. Brownback has steered away from deep government cuts to balance the state budget. Lawmakers, in fact, are increasing spending on general operations by 5% to $6.3 billion for the fiscal year starting July 1, restoring some cuts to state colleges and putting more money into K-12 education to comply with a court order.

As a result, Kansas is on pace to drain much of its $700 million in reserves by the middle of next year, fueling criticisms here of the tax cuts. Early polling shows Mr. Brownback facing a competitive race for re-election this fall in one of the nation's most Republican states. Some in the GOP watching from across state lines are skeptical of what Mr. Brownback calls a model for red states...

Senate 2 Talk

Bob Onder issued an “open letter” to Vicki Schneider chiding her for missing a recent candidate forum for a “golfing event.”


One wonders if Onder’s shot at Schneider means that she is viewed as his most credible threat.  Previously it was thought that Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger – with established name ID as the current state representative – would be a greater challenge.


However with all three candidates having anted in $200K+ into their campaigns, the private talk is that Gatschy is least likely to use his loan.  Therefore, Onder’s folks may think Schneider is the opponent they need to worry about most in the home stretch.


Labor Tribune’s Stenger Endorsement

Organized labor long ago abandoned St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.  The current issue of the Labor Tribune endorses Stenger and recalls how things ever got so far.  Read it here.

Pull Quotes: Saying that Dooley had abandoned his friends in the labor movement, Building Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Aboussie reminded the overflow crowd at Local 1’s meeting hall how three weeks before the last election Dooley’s campaign called him and several other labor leaders pleading for help because Dooley was behind in the polls.  “We went to work,” Aboussie said.  “The North and South County Labor Clubs rallied more than 250 volunteers to knock on doors, work phone banks and on Election Day put Dooley’s re-election over the top. You made a difference,” Aboussie said.

Shortly thereafter, Aboussie said, “We saw the relationship deteriorate” and major country projects began going non-union. “Once he won, he felt he didn’t have to deal with our needs anymore” even though many members were without work. Since then, the county has let more work non-union, Aboussie said, and taxpayers are suffering because some of that work has to be redone.

“Electing Steve Stenger will set us on a new path,” Aboussie said. “He has a proven record of being a friend of working people, a friend of Labor. He won’t do it by words alone, but by his actions.”


Transport Money

In the large contributions below, there’s a big check, $160,000, from the Heavy Constructors.  But with about six weeks left until the ballot is before voters, there should be many more of these checks coming in.  The supporters are thought to need to raise millions to be have a shot at passing the tax increase and so far we’ve just seen a fraction of that.


Lawsuit Against Tenure IP

Two teachers filed a lawsuit against the “anti-teacher tenure” initiative petition headed to the ballot.  See the press release here“The lawsuit asserts that the amendment attempts to limit educators’ right to bargain for quality student and teacher accountability measures, a clear violation of the plain language of the Missouri Constitution’s amendment process. Specifically the initiative attempts to deceptively amend multiple articles of the Missouri Constitution violating the well-established ‘single-subject’ provision. The measure also fails to state the full and correct text of the Constitutional amendment.”



Seattle Seeks Exit From Uber Fight

The City of Seattle is proposing tightening the regulations on ride-sharing companies, while expanding the supply of taxi licenses to accommodate their entry.  Read it here.

It’ll be interesting to see if this compromise holds.  This seems like an attempt to stretch the current regulatory framework rather than a scraping and rewriting according to new technologies.




Good News, Bad News for Dems in New Poll

The Wall Street Journal and NBC report on a new poll showing President Barack Obama increasingly unpopular.  That’s bad news for Dems as they head into the mid-term elections.  The silver lining appears to be that although Americans are down on Obama, they generally favor the policy issues of the Democrats.  Read it here.


Pull Quote: As clouds gather abroad, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Mr. Obama's job approval rating at 41%, matching a previous low. Approval of his handling of foreign policy hit a new low of 37%. Both numbers are driven in part by conflicts largely outside the president's control, including a new wave of sectarian violence in Iraq.

This latest dip in Mr. Obama's approval runs contrary to signs Americans agree with his policies on climate change and education, and as a divided Republican Party remains far less popular than the president and his party. Despite misgivings toward Mr. Obama, the survey showed the public sides with him and his fellow Democrats on a range of issues, including immigration, education and the environment.




Ceselski Contra Vowell

St. Louis City 7th Ward Committeewoman Marie Ceselski disputes Natalie Vowell’s claim that she should be on the ballot in a blog post which among things appears to have a photo of Ms. Vowell snapped from someone’s flip-phone.  Read it here.

Fundraising Calendar

Today’s fundraising events from Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger Reception – Old Hickory Golf Club, St. Peters.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Marilyn Bush added Bank of America N.A.

Gary Wheeler added Missouri Soybean Association.

$5K+ Contributions

United Food & Commercial Workers Local #655 Elect Political Action Fund - $19,502 from United Food & Commercial Workers Local 655.

Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc - $160,000 from Industry Advancement Heavy Constructors Association.

Friends of Tom Schweich - $5,100 from Patrick Finneran Jr.