Friday, September 27, 2013

Walker: Tiff With Speaker Overblown

In a long interview with the Kirksville Daily News Rep. Nate Walker speaks…

On His Relationship With Jones

“A lot of things have been overblown. Last week, [House] Speaker Tim Jones and I had a little tiff, we had a little disagreement I suppose. We worked it out. We met last Thursday. We posed for a picture. We shook hands. We both agreed that we're going to work together to make sure that if we get a new bill that's similar to House Bill 253 that we can work together with it.

“Sometimes things just get blown out of proportion, but I feel very good. I've got a lot of respect from my House members and sometimes we have to do things that may appear to be not in the majority opinion of your own party, but actually is what helps your party develop better policy and better legislation.” 

“Well, I think it was harsh, but the Speaker and I had had harsh words throughout. I didn't leak any information and if you really know the truth, I don't know who leaked that but possibly it was leaked by allies of the Speaker.

“It was overblown, but I think the good part about it was it did bring out the opportunity for me to express myself and the Speaker to express himself. The Speaker is very compassionate, he's a good leader, he's my Speaker and I support him, but there are going to be times when we have differing opinions…”  See it here.

E-15 Battle Coming?

Ron Leone, executive director of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (MPCA), call of the legislature to pass a law next session protecting cars from higher ethanol gas formulas…

“Almost every gallon of gasoline sold in Missouri and across the U.S. is E-10 – a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% petroleum – primarily because of the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) law which mandates ever-increasing amounts of renewable motor fuel capping out at 36 billion gallons in 2022.

“The vast majority of cars on the road today are non-flex fuel vehicles which can safely use E-10. Flex fuel vehicles are a small percentage of cars and are specially designed to safely use any amount of ethanol up to E-85 - gasoline with 85% ethanol and 15% petroleum.

“In 2011, the EPA approved E-15 ­ gasoline with 15% ethanol and 85% petroleum – for all 2001 and newer cars but not for 2000 and older models. In contrast, every major car manufacturer responded to Congressional leaders that E-15 could not be safely used in most of their non-flex fuel vehicles and will likely harm engines and void vehicle warranties…

“MPCA members are small business owners who own and operate the majority of gas stations in Missouri. It will be our job to safely sell E-15 to the driving public. Since we don’t grow corn, distill ethanol, refine petroleum or manufacture cars, we believe our credibility on the E-15 issue is better than most...

“Almost all existing gas station equipment ­ tanks, pumps and piping - is not made or warranted to store or dispense E-15. Will the Department's E-15 rule ultimately force all retailers to spend tens of thousands of dollars per location to purchase new equipment that can handle E-15, costs that will be passed onto the consumer?..

“MPCA believes that permitting the retail sale of E-15 for use in non-flex fuel vehicles should not be accomplished unilaterally by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. Instead, an issue of this importance must be resolved by all Missourians through the Missouri Legislature and the passage of a law which addresses the comments and concerns of consumers and all interested parties.”

Dry Cleaners Closing

It was reported yesterday that the Department of Corrections is closing down its deeply discounted dry cleaning service for state employees.  See it here.

The service has attracted attention over the years, such as in 1997, when Scott Charton, then AP’s Jefferson City bureau chief, discovered it was being used and abused by lawmakers as an extra perk.   Here’s the excellent lede to his story…

State Rep. Martin "Bubs" Hohulin stood out in the Missouri House last week, wearing a white T-shirt under his necktie and suit jacket.


"I'm complying with the House dress code that requires a coat and tie, even if I don't have a dress shirt," said Hohulin, a Republican from Lamar


Why wasn't Hohulin wearing a dress shirt? "I didn't get out to the Department of Corrections in time to pick up my laundry," the lawmaker said with a grin…


An Associated Press check of four commercial cleaners in the capital found that dry cleaning and pressing that staple of a male legislator's wardrobe, a two-piece suit, ranged from $5.25 to $7.25.


At the Department of Corrections, the same suit may be cleaned and pressed for $1.10. Just want to have the suit pressed? That costs 70 cents.

A spot check of prices yesterday found the prison dry cleaner was now charging $1.75 to launder and press a dress shirt and $8 for dry cleaning a man’s suit. A commercial dry cleaner a couple of blocks from the Capitol was charging $2.25 per shirt and $10.40 per suit.

Arthur in House 18

Incumbent Rep. Jay Swearingen is vacating the seat to run for auditor next year.  The first person to start a campaign committee is Lauren Arthur.  According to a web search Arthur has $7K pledged so far, and the endorsements of Swearingen as well as former Rep. Trent Skaggs, and Rep. Jon Carpenter.


Arthur is a project manager at the Kansas City advertising firm VML.  Before that she spent two years with Teach for America.


Is Nieves Rifle Raffle Legal?

Putting aside the misplaced school-boy machismo of raffling an assault rifle, there appears to be a legitimate question whether Sen. Brian Nieves’ fundraiser raffle scheduled for October 12 is legal.  See the St. Louis Beacon’s article on it here.

According to an opinion by Attorney General Chris Koster (See it here) organizations allowed to hold raffles in Missouri are limited to religious and charitable organizations.  This is the result of a 1998 constitutional amendment.   His office suggests “great caution” in fudging this definition since “the penalties for promoting a raffle not covered by this section remain high.”

Next for Nixon?

Supposedly his dream job…  Baseball commish!  See it here.



House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $15,000 from Friends of Todd Richardson.


Happy birthday to lobbyist Richard Moore (middle-age, for sure).

Saturday: Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick (26), Tea Party talker Dana Loesch, and former Reps. Michael Brown (52) and Nathan Cooper (40).

Sunday: NFIB’s Brad Jones, and Rich Magee (60).