Friday, March 14, 2014

Nieves Officially Drops

Yesterday Sen. Brian Nieves withdrew his filing for re-election, the latest move in the drama which has captivated the denizens of the hallways of the capitol.  The next step is expected to be Speaker Tim Jones to file, perhaps when the legislature returns after their Spring Break next week.

Jo Mannies scored a quick interview with Nieves.  Read it here.

Pull Quote: Jones said in a statement, "Based upon these developments, I will now take these next several days to discuss this opportunity with my family, my closest friends and supporters." Nieves said that, contrary to rumors, his decision not to seek re-election had nothing to do with new career prospects.  “There is no type of new job or new opportunity,’’ Nieves said.  He added that he is continuing to operate a management consulting firm and a leadership-development company, both of which he created several years ago.  Nieves also is contemplating writing a book.

The Game of Chicken

The Schatz camp says that Rep. Dave Schatz has “burned the ships behind him,” meaning there’s no retreat from Senate 26.

Spring Break

The legislature takes off for a week.  They’ll return Monday March 24.  2014 candidate filing closes March 25, by the way.

See the Post-Dispatch summary of the first half here.  I’ll put together some “mid-term” grades for MOScout next week.  Feel free to send your thoughts (dave@moscout.com, or text 314-255-5210)…

Gate Way Group for RJR

For all the talk of the Gate Way Group (nee Pelopidas) doing Rex Sinquefield’s bidding on the Tobacco War comes this nudge… Gate Way Group is registered to lobby for Reynolds American (aka Big Tobacco).

Adams to NOLA?

Could St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams be on the short list for the New Orleans super job?  He’s listed here….

Torpey’s Conservative Medicaid Vision

Governing Magazine calls Rep. Noel Torpey’s Medicaid expansion plan the “most conservative vision yet.”   Read it here.

Pull Quote: “Tucked into a 30-page bill that proposes significant changes to Missouri health care is a Medicaid expansion plan that would be the most conservative in the country if it passed the legislature and met federal scrutiny. But experts say there’s little chance of that in the bill's current form, which includes cost-sharing and work requirements that have been rejected by the federal government in past cases.  Missouri legislator, Rep. Noel Torpey, is pitching a plan that borrows from other states that have needed a waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services, but it goes further than any existing proposal by demanding work requirements of most patients and premiums from low-income earners. Efforts to expand the program without restrictions or a privatization model in a state where Republicans control the legislature have gone nowhere, but the state's Democratic governor and lawmakers haven't stopped pressing for it.”

Red Light Legislation Green Lighted in House

Rep. Rep. Dave Hinson’s bill (HB 1557) restricting the red-light camera, cleared the House this week, 84-67.

The vote was never about “allowing” red light cameras in Missouri – if the bill failed, cities could simply require face shots and impose points, which no lawmakers wanted to do.

Rep. Mike Colona even asked for a show of hands on the House floor if any colleagues wanted to impose penalty points for camera violations – he didn’t spot any. “As a simple country lawyer from the rolling hills of urban Tower Grove Park, I want to make this easy for the body: if you don’t like red light cameras, vote for this bill. If you like red light cameras, don’t vote for this bill.” Colona, who loves to mention he has a law license, also gave critics of lawyers something to support while making his point that red light cameras decrease violations: “Intersection collisions are big business for personal injury lawyers.”   Red light cameras reduce red light running which means “fewer and fewer clients came through the door…”

Utility Wars

AP reports that “Missouri's official consumer advocate wants regulators to publicly release information that could show whether Ameren Missouri has earned more than it's entitled to from its electricity rates.  The request by Public Counsel Lewis Mills to the Missouri Public Service Commission deals with a report filed last November by the St. Louis-based utility company that has been kept confidential…” Read it here.

Meanwhile MBEF, the pro-utility group, sent a letter to Speaker Tim Jones and Pro Tem Tom Dempsey taking aim at Noranda’s recent Public Service Commission filings, and requests that the legislature gets involved.  “As leaders of the Missouri General Assembly, we ask that you consider the extreme nature of this issue and investigate this matter appropriately.”

eMailbag on Jones Schatz

“Jones has everything to lose, losing a winnable election for State Senator, relatively small potatoes for someone who has aspirations of being governor.  A loss could easily put him on the ‘PSC track’ of government service.  A win would only put him in the same place as he is now, looking to get to statewide office.  Big risk, little reward for Jones. I have no idea what the end game is for Schatz…”

$5K Contributions

Progress KC PAC - $7,500 from Burns and McDonnell.

Yes 4 Clayton Committee - $17,500 from Centene Corporation.

Missourians for Koster - $10,000 from Western Missouri and Kansas Laborers’ District Council PAC.

Lynda Banwart for Joplin School Board - $13,400 from J Christopher Banwart.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Michael R Gibbons and Tricia Workman added Aberdeen Heights; and deleted Certainteed Corporation.

Michael Gibbons deleted Utility Service Co Inc.

Joseph P Bednar Jr deleted Crossland Heavy Contractors Inc., and Crossland Construction Company Inc.           

Doyle Childers, Frac Flotron, Kent Gaines, and Richard McIntosh deleted Missouri Clean Energy Funding LLC.

Richard A McIntosh, and Larry Rohrbach deleted Jasper County 911 Emergency Services Board.

Trent Watson deleted US Travel Insurance, and United Rentals.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Sara Howard, and Mark Bruns (53).

Sunday: Jon Dolan, Tom Villa (69), and Melissa Randol.