Friday, May 9, 2014

Tesla’s Troubles

In a blog post on its company website Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, cries foul about a bill moving in the state legislature.  See it here.

The Post: We have just become aware of a last-minute attempt by the auto dealers lobby, via pressure on legislators, to bar Tesla from selling its vehicles direct to consumers in the state. This extraordinary maneuver amounts to a sneak attack to thwart due process and hurt consumer freedom in Missouri.

 

In the last week before Missouri’s legislature ends its current session, dealers proposed new language in an existing bill that would force Missouri consumers to purchase new vehicles only through middleman franchised dealers. The bill, HB 1124, has been in circulation since December 2013. It was passed by the House on April 17 without the anti-Tesla language. Last night, the bill with the new anti-Tesla language passed the Senate after zero public consultation and could soon move to the House floor for a final vote, essentially without debate…

Tesla has no registered lobbyist in Missouri.

Legislature Passes Budget

The legislature moved quickly through the final budget process yesterday, allowing lawmakers to depart Jefferson City instead of spending today there as well.  See the Post-Dispatch article here.   

Pull Quote: In both chambers, the budget debate lacked the drama that usually characterized the process. The spending plan, which takes effect July 1, includes funding increases for public K-12 schools and higher education institutions and sets out a plan to restore the aging Fulton State Hospital.

Nixon Statement

“From making college more affordable to expanding services for Missourians with developmental disabilities, this budget includes many of the priorities I laid out earlier this year. These smart, strategic investments in our future are made possible by an economy that continues to pick up steam.

 

“While making progress in many areas, in other respects the legislature missed the mark by failing to make K-12 education the priority and refusing to strengthen Medicaid.  Quality public schools are vital to the strength of our communities and the health of our economy, but many in this legislature simply don't agree.  For example, the legislature has chosen to subject K-12 education to a conditional funding mechanism that creates uncertainty for local school districts. In the coming days and weeks, this budget will get a careful, line-by-line review to ensure we maintain fiscal discipline and keep the state moving forward.”

Talk: Bond Floated Deal

One rumor making the rounds of the Senate side of the building is that Kit Bond – working the Medicaid expansion effort – floated a possible deal between Republicans and Democrats in which Dems would allow the 72 hour wait abortion bill to come to a vote on the floor of the Senate, in return for getting a vote on Medicaid expansion.

Expansion supporters believe they have the votes in both chambers if they could just get the legislation – and we’re talking about Silvey-Barnesesque reform/expansion legislation – to a vote.

Bits

The Kansas City Council voted last night to clarify that ride-sharer Lyft was operating illegally in their jurisdiction.  Read it here.

Word is that Jay Ashcroft raised over $70,000 at his Springfield fundraiser last night.  It’s been pretty quiet meanwhile from Ashcroft’s primary opponent, Jack Spooner.

Biden Coming to St. Louis…  The White House press release: Washington, DC – On Tuesday, May 13, Vice President Biden will travel to St. Louis, Missouri for an event on the economy. Additional details about the Vice President’s trip are forthcoming.

The Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police (see their website here) have formed a political action committee.  Ron Orr, former KCFOP and current sergeant at arms, is the treasurer of the PAC.

eMailbag: Follow Up on Utilities War

Reader #1: “You may recall that early this session KCPL’s idea was to divide and conquer leaving the other utilities to fend for themselves, pushing their own SB702, thinking they could swing their own deal with FERAF and avoid any pitfalls.  They even brought their CEO down, but haven’t heard a peep from this bill since February…”

Reader #2: “Rep. Tony Dugger’s name is also in the mix for House Utilities chair.”

That would make sense from a seniority stand-point, and also as an early and loyal supporter of Speaker-designate John Diehl.

Teasdale Passes

Former Missouri Governor Joe Teasdale passed.  Jo Mannies writes about him here (my thanks of course to the peerless Combest).

Pull Quote: Former Missouri Gov. Joseph P. Teasdale took the state by storm in 1976, when he trekked Missouri on foot during his campaign, earning the moniker “Walkin’ Joe’’ as he ousted a seemingly invincible incumbent Republican, then-Gov. Christopher “Kit” Bond.

 

Teasdale’s young, charismatic and colorful personality appeared to signal a long political career and a boon to fellow Democrats.  But within four years, he was out of office when Bond  reclaimed the governor’s mansion during the GOP resurgence in 1980.

 

The outsider image that Teasdale had cultivated as a candidate -- and which may have clinched his 1976 victory -- didn't appear to be a help in Jefferson City, where he and his administration often found itself at odds with many of the better-connected politicians in both parties. That included some of the Democrats then controlling the General Assembly…

 

But after that loss, Teasdale simply went back home.  He set up a private law practice in Kansas City, and represented some notable clients.  He also embraced a very private life – eschewing all politics and rarely giving interviews.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

John E Bardgett Jr added Missouri Auto Dealers Association.

James C. Bowers, Jr. added Chris Valentine.

Patricia R. Jensen added Valley Speedway, and Westport Today / St. Luke’s Foundation; and deleted Hun Martin Materials.

Charles F Miller added Total SA.

William B. Moore added Edwards Management Group, and City of Maryville Missouri.

Michael T. White added Enterprises Lakewood LLC.

Ralph E Bellar Jr deleted Peners Mens Wear, Pulte Homes of Greater Kansas City Inc, and Tri-Jen Partners LLC.

Keith Hazelwood deleted Thomas Yaeger, Lombardo Homes of St. Louis LLC, Schaefer Family, Nicolo Serra, and Stone Chapel LLC.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to John Ashcroft (72), game-changer Scott Penman, Don Hicks and Gregg Keller (37).

Saturday: Rep. Ron Hicks (42).

Sunday: Abram Messer (33).