Monday, February 3, 2014

MOScout Poll – Issues Facing Missourians

Last week Chilenski Strategies conducted a poll for me which surveyed Missourians about possible 2014 issues.  You can find the full report here in the Special Reports.

Sample

Four hundred interviews were conducted through Interactive Voice Response telephone interviewing to landlines.  One hundred interviews were conducted by trained, professional interviewers to cellular telephones.  Interviews were conducted during the evening of January 30.

The margin of error of the top-line responses displayed for the 500 respondents in this survey is +/- 4.38%. 

Right Track / Wrong Track

Question: “In general, are things in Missouri headed in the right direction, or are things off on the wrong track?”

Right Direction – 45.6%

Wrong Direction – 50.3%

Don’t Know / No Answer – 4.1%

This is a reversal from the last time we asked the question a year ago.

Prioritizing Issues 

Question: “Which of these four things is the most important problem facing the State of Missouri right now, unemployment and jobs, government spending, education or health care?”

Unemployment and Jobs – 40.3%

Government Spending – 20.6%

Education – 15.9%

Health Care – 22.9%

Don’t Know / No Answer – 0.3%   

While still the dominant issue, Unemployment and Jobs receives less attention than in our previous surveys. Interestingly, twenty-three percent now rate Health Care as the most important problem facing Missouri.  Perhaps this is a reflection of the focus on the fumbled Obamacare roll-out coupled with the ongoing battle to expand Medicaid in the state.     

Right To Farm

Question: “Would you support an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that protects the rights of Missouri citizens to farm or ranch without government interference?”

Support – 59.1%

Oppose – 19.4%

Don’t Know / No Answer – 21.5%

 

At the end of the 2013 session, the Missouri Legislature voted to put a “Right to Farm” amendment to the state constitution on the ballot.  A strong majority of voters (59%) are supporting this amendment. 

Minimum Wage 

Question: “Would you support an increase in the state minimum wage to $9.25 an hour?”

Support – 57.2%

Oppose – 37.9%

Don’t Know / No Answer – 4.9%

There are a number of petitions filed with the Secretary of State concerning a statewide initiative for an increase in the minimum wage.  For this survey, we picked the highest hourly amount among those petitions.

Campaign Contribution Limits 

Question: “Would you support a state law that establishes limits on campaign contributions for candidates for the state legislature?”

Support – 73.9%

Oppose – 17.3%

Don’t Know / No Answer – 8.8%

Currently, officials running for state legislature in Missouri can collect any size of contribution for their election efforts.  Support for limits crossed all ideological and demographic boundaries.

Right To Work

Question: “Would you support a right-to-work law that prohibits the payment of union dues as a condition of employment?”

Support – 48.2%

Oppose – 39.1 %

Don’t Know / No Answer – 12.7%

  

Right-to-Work legislation has been a hot topic this legislative session with the Speaker Tim Jones calling it is a top priority.  Although a plurality of voters support the notion, history from other Missouri ballot propositions shows that levels of support expressed at this stage typically is the ceiling for proponents.  Unsure or undecided voters normally collapse into the opposition. 

Fair Tax

Question: “Would you support a law that eliminates the state income tax and replaces it with a sales tax?”

Support – 43.9%

Oppose – 39.1%

Don’t Know / No Answer – 17%

Several petitions explore ways to eliminate the state income tax and replace it with other taxes.  Voters support this with a plurality, but as with the right to work question (above), it’s highly unlikely such a proposal would be successful at the ballot.

  

Legalizing Marijuana 

Question: “Would you support a state law that legalizes the sale and consumption of marijuana for those aged 21 and older?”

Support – 39.6%

Oppose – 55.5%

Don’t Know / No Answer – 4.9%

      

As you might expect, younger voters favor legalization, but older voters disapprove by a wide margin.

   

WHAT IS NIXON THINKING!!?!

On Friday, Governor Jay Nixon set August 5 as the date for special elections to fill the vacant House seats.  Two of them – Jason Smith’s 120, and Dennis Fowlers’ 151 – will be filled by Republicans; and one of them – Steve Webb’s 67 will be filled by a Democrat.

By calling the special election for August 5, Nixon is giving the House Republicans tow more votes for veto session in the following month.

One distraught Democrat explained: “I’m not sure if people get what happened yesterday: Nixon gave away his own veto.  110 vs 108 makes no difference during session, it only matters for veto session and he gave Republicans the only leverage Democrats had this year.  This changes the entire strategy for session and makes Democrats, including him, completely irrelevant.  Medical malpractice , prevailing wage, voter ID etc now come down to moving Republican, not just keeping Democrats together.  In the long history of Nixon hurting his own party, this might be the worst thing he has done.  And what did he get in return?...”

One theory is that Nixon’s team were convinced that they would lose the court case pending which sought to force the governor’s office into timely election calls.  But as my Dem correctly notes, “They could have lost the court case and still called it for November if they wanted.”

And

Voters in those districts will have odd ballots on August 5.  They’ll have the special election question which will determine who immediately becomes their representative.  But then they will also have the primary ballot for the same seat with another general election to follow in November.  Because the party committees will choose their nominees for the special election, the August 5 special winner and the primary winner wouldn’t necessarily have to be the same person.

Casey Drops Out of Senate 12

In an unexpected development, Rep. Casey Guernsey abruptly pulled the plug on his state senate campaign.  He was considered the favorite to replace term-limited Brad Lager.  Although no one had formally announced against him, there were voices of discontent with Guerseny.  He was criticized by Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan and portrayed as entitled and out-of-touch.  And recently sudden cancellation of an investigation after the governor appointed a family friend raised eyebrows.

Guernsey gave little explanation for the decision to the St. Joseph News-PressRead it here.  But the conventional wisdom was that having never had a tough race in his career, he found being a target as a future state senator discomforting.

The following day, Saturday, former state representative Dan Hegeman announced for the seat.  One lobbyist offered the prediction to me that Hegeman would be unopposed.  His announcement was given Axiom Strategies staffer Jason KlindtJeff Roe’s Axiom and Congressman Sam Graves are thisclose and have long been said to be the powerbrokers in that area of the state.  Indeed on Hegeman’s resume is a stint with as the “Associate District Manager” for Graves.   

 

His Linkedin profile lists his most recent employer as Kansas City Power and Light.

Transportation Taxers Target Legislative Route

Post Dispatch’s Ken Leiser reports this morning that the group pushing a 1% sales tax increase to fund highway improvements is suspending its signature gathering to focus on getting the question on the ballot via the legislature.  Read it here.

Pull Quote: Bill McKenna, a former member of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and treasurer of the Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, said the legislative route would be less costly and time consuming.  “It’s not completely dead but it is not as enthusiastic as it was when we first filed it,” McKenna said in an interview.

 

McKenna added that a legal challenge by the Missouri Association for Social Welfare to the proposed ballot language could negate any signatures gathered before the court rules on it. Should transportation funding bills begin to bog down in the Missouri Legislature, McKenna said, the group is prepared to resume its work to qualify the measure for the November 2014 ballot.

Hearings Ahead

Hearings of Interest - House

Monday

After adjournment, Hearing Room 6 - Crime Prevention and Public Safety            

Several red-light camera bills will get a hearing.

Noon, Hearing Room 5 - Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee

The assault on organized labor continues with Rep. Holly Rehder’s paycheck protection bill.

2:30pm, Hearing Room 6 – Rules Committee

The big tax cut bill is set to get exec-ed out.

Tuesday

8am, Hearing Room 6 – Higher Education Committee

Rep. Elijah Haahr’s HB 1232 is the “Show-Me Future” Tuition Program.  It “establishes a pilot program to replace traditional higher education tuition with a new system enabling graduates to repay higher education costs with a percentage of their income.”

Noon, Hearing Room 4 – General Laws Committee

Rep. Sheila Solon’s HB 1327 is the oral chemo parity bill.

Noon, Hearing Room 7 – Transportation Committee

Rep. Dave Hinson’s HJR 68 is a constitutional amendment to fund transportation projects with a 1% sales tax.

Rep. Mike Kelley’s HB 1215 would raise the maximum speed limit to 75 miles per hour.

5pm, Hearing Room 7 – Economic Development Committee.

Land assemblage tax credits and aerotropolis tax credits get hearings.

Wednesday

8am, Hearing Room 1 – Special Standing Committee on Emerging Issues in Health Care              

Rep. Todd Richardson’s committee will hear bills on limiting liability damages.

Hearings of Interest - Senate

Wednesday

1pm, Senate Lounge – Economic Development Committee

Sen. Ryan Silvey’s SB 635 which is his attempt to halt the “border war” between Kansas and Missouri’s economic development departments.

3pm, Senate Lounge – Education

Two more student transfer bills – one from Sen. Paul LeVota and a more wide-ranging one from Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal – will get their hearing.

$5K+ Contributions

Midwest Region Laborers’ Political League Education Fund - $5,435 from Laborers Supplemental Dues Fund.

Sanders for Jackson County - $10,000 from White Goss Bowers March Schulte & Weisenfels.

Sanders for Jackson County - $10,000 from Davis Ketchmark McCreught & Ivers PC.

Sanders for Jackson County - $15,000 from Burns & McDonnell.

Missourians for Koster - $25,000 from UAW Region 5 PAC.

Missourians for Children’s Education - $12,474 from Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Shannon Cooper and Nancy Giddens deleted Distilled Spirits Council of US.

Francis E. Flotron added Patrick Dougherty.

Jeff W Glenn deleted EZ Pay Missouri LLC, and Benton Hill Investments.

Sam Wiles deleted Associated Industries of Missouri.

Richard M Aubuchon, Rodney Gray, Tami Holliday and Susan Henderson Moore added Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs Inc, Design-Build Institute of America/Mid-America Region, and R.L. Polk Company, and deleted Missouri Transportation Alliance, and Construction Delivery Coalition         

Guy William Black deleted City of Harrisonville.

Jewell D. H. Patek added Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs Inc, and Cheyenne International LLC, and deleted Board of Police Commissioners of Kansa City Missouri, Prewitts HWY 54 Enterprises LLC, Trails Properties II LLC, and Missouri Transportation Alliance.

Daniel R. Pfeifer deleted MyMoneyPartner.com, Northside Regeneration LLC, Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors, and Accuity.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Reps. Kent Hampton (66), Warren Love (64) and Dave Hinson (42), former state senator Jason Crowell (42).