Friday, April 4, 2014

House Passes Paycheck Protection

Paycheck protection passed with a vote to spare, garnering 83 Ayes.  Republicans who voted No: Rep. Jay Barnes, TJ Berry, Doug Funderburk, Elaine Gannon, Ron Hicks, Galen Higdon, Jeanie Lauer, Nick Marshall, John McCaherty, Chris Molendorp, Donna Pfautsch, Caleb Rowden, Ron Schieber, Sheila Solon, Chrissy Sommer, Noel Tropey, Paul Wieland, and Anne Zerr.  No Democrats voted in favor.

The bill was then first read in the Senate. With six weeks left, there’s plenty time for it to pass the Senate – if it’s a priority there.


The sales tax for transportation came up for debate in the House, but was laid over.  The calendar is now starting to loom on these bigger issues…

Republican: Boooo on Berry

“Several caucus members have had it with Rep. TJ Berry.  They feel his no vote on RTW is retaliation on those who would not support the override on the tax cut last year, since most of (“the flimsy 15”) are now supporting RTW.  He claimed that tax cuts were an easy Republican vote - well so is Right to Work!”

Speaker Fatigue

It seems like it’s happens to every speaker recently by this time in the cycle.  A general weariness within the Republican caucus.

For Tim Jones, it’s these votes.  Teacher tenure, then the override session of HB 253, and now right to work.  Some say that they’re all doomed to fail, and yet the speaker is pushing them.  Why push them when there’s little hope for passage?  To demonstrate to the donor base the direction and willingness to advance their agenda, seems to be the answer.

And the speaker’s motives are always suspect by this point in the cycle.  Rod Jetton’s village law debacle created a near mutiny; Ron Richard was derided for an inability to follow through on any course of action; Steve Tilley’s Home Rule for St. Louis City Police was thought to be part of his machinations aimed at the lieutenant governor’s office.  Now Jones is subject to the same skepticism. 

Another Hodges DWI

Rep. Steve Hodges has apparently had another drinking and driving incident.  One lobbyist says that it happened Tuesday night.  And I have other independent source corroborating that it did occur, though it hasn’t shown up on the “Casenet” website yet.  I expect it will soon.

Hodges, a term-limited Democrat from the bootheel, had a DWI about two months ago.  At the time of that incident, Hodges said he was going through a tough time, divorce etc.

House First Guess

I eyeballed the 163 House districts and have arrived at my initial guess for the 2014 outcome: GOP +2.

My methodology was this thin: look at the swing district, attempt to assess the relative strength of the candidates and guess.  My guesses have a bias towards the Republicans since recent history has shown that they are better funded and have a well-oiled organization in place.  Also, 2014 is probably a modest Republican year.

House 14 (Schieber retiring), 20 (Mayfield facing Lasater again), and 29 (Torpey in a huge Dem district) are all ones to watch.

Democrats will take a run at House 51 (Rep. Dean Dohrman), but may well give surrender House 41 (Schieffer for Senate).

Democrats have a great chance to take House 90 (Stream termed), but have a tough defense in House 94 (Englund).

Jefferson County could be the determinant in the overall picture.  Republicans won these seats in their big year of 2010, only to yield many back in 2012.  It’s said that Jefferson County is trending in the Republicans’ favor.  If they can pick a few up there, they will have a good year.

I think it’s possible for Republicans pick up House 149 (Hodges termed), but give up House 150 (Hampton retiring).

Source: Catherine is a Rex Hedge?

One supporter of Attorney General Chris Koster is confident that Rex Sinquefield has not abandoned their man for Catherine Hanaway.  The $150K that was deposited into her coffers is more of an affront to Tom Schweich, and if Sinquefield ends up with two gubernatorial candidates all the better…

Perhaps Sinquefield is “playing chess while others are playing checkers.”  But also sometimes the game is actually as simple as checkers, and the chess-players out-smart themselves…


The Springfield News Leader gets angry with Rex Sinquefield for messing with the Nixa School District’s bond issue.  See the editorial here.

Pull Quote:

When a businessman from St. Louis spends his money to stop the Nixa school district from getting funds to expand its facilities and offerings, that begins to look a lot like meddling where he has no business.


That is what St. Louis billionaire Rex Sinquefield did last week when his Missouri Club for Growth sent fliers to Nixa voters urging them to vote against an extension of the district's bond debt in the April 8 election.


Sinquefield has used his wealth in attempts to influence Missouri politics for years. As the main funder of Missouri Club for Growth, he has pushed for tax cuts for businesses, backed candidates and opposed others. That is his right as a citizen.


But this is a step beyond. What is Sinquefield's interest in whether Nixa students get the best education possible?


How does a man from one of the worst school districts in the state come to believe he has any business influencing one of the best districts?


We don't know the answer to those questions. But we do know that Nixa residents have every right to be outraged….

Coalition Thankful for Utilicare in the Supplemental

Press release: “On behalf of thousands of struggling Missourians, we would like to extend our sincere appreciation for the efforts to date by Missouri legislators and Governor Nixon to fund UTILICARE in the Supplemental and FY 2015 budget.   Hopefully, those critical funds will be available soon to assist financially strapped citizens pay their utility bills after this bitterly cold winter, thanks to outstanding efforts to fund the Utilicare program this year.  These special measures were also made possible by the efforts of House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Rick Stream of Kirkwood, Senate Appropriations Chairman Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia, House Majority Floor Leader Rep. John Diehl of Town and Country, Senator Jamilah Nasheed of St Louis, and the bipartisan support from legislative leadership and members of both the Missouri House and Senate.”

Coalition members include: AARP, Consumers Council of Missouri, Community Action Agency of St. Louis County, MEDA, United Services Community Action Agency, Mid America Assistance Coalition, MASW, Economic Security Corporation of SW Area, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation, Community Services, Inc., Weatherization Program, Phoenix Family, Central Missouri Action Agency, MACA, and Catholic Charities of St Louis

Filing News

Krystal Hargis, a Democrat, withdrew from House 113.  This is Jeff Roorda’s seat.  Hargis’ withdrawal leaves Sean Fauss as the Democratic nominee.  Republicans have two candidates filed for this seat.

House Convenes at 7pm Monday

The House will push back its start time next week from 4pm to 7pm on Monday, perhaps to allow folks to enjoy the St. Louis Cardinal home opener?

Fundraising Calendar

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

Rep. Bryan Spencer Trivia Night – 115 McMenamy Dr., St. Peters – 6 p.m.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Kimberly Akin, Heath Clarkston, and Harry Gallagher added Ami Kids.

Francis E. Flotron added Catapult Learning LLC.

Jewell D. H. Patek deleted Roeslein Alternative Energy.

Neal English and Mark Habbas added Realm of Caring Foundation.

Notes on Registrations

Realm of Caring is a Colorado non-profit that advocates for medical marijuana.

$5K+ Contributions

Slay for Mayor - $10,000 from Express Scripts.

Lewis & Clark Regional Leadership Forum - $12,000 from HTH Companies Inc.

Lewis & Clark Regional Leadership Forum - $12,000 from David Spence.

Citizens to Elect Mike Kehoe - $15,000 from Citizens for Brad Lager.

Friends of Zoe Gilbert - $18,000 from Missouri Republican Party.


Happy birthdays to Theresa Garza Ruiz.

Saturday: Bill Phelps (80).

Sunday: Rep. John McCaherty (49) and Mark Jones.