Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ellinger Succumbs

Rep. Rory Ellinger died yesterday.  Read the Post-Dispatch article here.

Nixon Statement

"Rory Ellinger dedicated his passion, his energy and his career to helping lift all people up to their highest potential, and ensuring that we can all stand on equal ground and move together toward a brighter future," Gov. Nixon said. "In one of his last official acts, just days ago, Rory joined me and his colleagues as I signed into law legislation he sponsored that will improve the health of countless Missouri mothers, children and their families. It was a testament to a life well lived that even as his own health declined, he worked to improve the health of the people of the state he loved so much…”

In honor of Ellinger's passing, Gov. Nixon has ordered that the U.S. and Missouri flags at government buildings in Cole County and St. Louis County be immediately lowered to half-staff until the date of his funeral.  In addition, the Governor ordered that the U.S. and Missouri flags at government buildings statewide be lowered to half-staff on the date of the funeral.

RTW Limps To Perfection

Right to Work was perfected in the House yesterday by a vote of 78-68.  Opponents were vocally very happy with 78.  While it was a majority of those voting and therefore advancing the legislation, it fell short of the “constitutional majority,” 82 votes, needed for the next step.

Minority Leader Jake Hummel spoke on the bill – Is there anyone is this chamber that can stand up here on this floor and say “I was elected to make to make sure my constituents got a pay cut”? – but overall there was not too much debate. 

Despite the rah-rah from opponents, this game is not over.  Five more weeks, and there are folks on the No or Absent list who I could imagine being a Yes vote.  So far organized labor has done a superb job of massaging and messaging, but it’s not over until it over.

For example, Rep. Jeff Grisamore was absent, but I bet if House Republcians got within one, he’d hold his nose and do leadership’s bidding on the vote. 

The expectation is that Floor Leader John Diehl now puts the onus on supporters, in effect saying, “I’ll bring it up for a vote when you have the 82nd vote, go get it.”  That means no third-read vote today or in the immediate future, but it also means that the issue is not dead just because the perfection vote was 78.


Speaker Tim Jones Statement

“Today my colleagues in the Missouri House joined me in taking a groundbreaking step toward true worker freedom in Missouri.  This is an enormous victory for working Missourians as Freedom to Work legislation has now been approved in the Missouri House for the first time.  We know this is an important component, as it has been in so many of our bordering states, to our efforts to attract new employers and compete for new jobs that Missouri families need.”

Governor Jay Nixon Statement

“Today, a bipartisan coalition of legislators rejected Right to Work, marking a victory for Missouri working families and a setback for the out-of-state ideologues and special interests trying to attack them. At a time when we should be focused on policies that create jobs and move our state forward, this misguided political maneuver would take us backward by undermining workers and weakening our economy.  I will continue to stand on the side of the hard-working men and women of Missouri as we work together to build a brighter, more prosperous future for our state.”

Grisamore Walked and Tweeted

Some legislators took a walk rather than vote… Rep. Jeff Grisamore 30 minutes after being absent from the RW vote, tweeted this picture of the Capitol…

Leaked Whip Count

Eli Yokley wrote an article yesterday on his blog PoliticMOsee it here – about outside groups targeting Republican legislators who were against RTW.  The targeting appeared to based on a leaked whip count from the House Republican Caucus.

Last night an anonymous website was circulating – see it here – which showed an email between pro RTW political consultant James Harris and a business group lobbyist Brad Jones.  I had a Republican and a Democrat send it to me independently, both with the same reaction.  They thought this spelled bad news for House Republican Caucus.

The Dem: “To have outside groups come in and do your dirty work and leave your members swinging in the wind is unconscionable.”

The Republican: “I would never talk to my whip again.”

AFL-CIO Endorsed Reps Who Voted For RW

See the AFL-CIO’s endorsement list here.

Reps. Mike Cierpoit, John Diehl, Nick Marshall, Rocky Miller, Ron Schieber and Ken Wilson were all endorsed by AFL-CIO last cycle, and voted for RTW yesterday.

One Dems lament:  “The progressive’s dilemma with Labor is that Labor will now help elect more Rs because of their votes today. More and more right wingers will be elected and they will continue to walk or maybe vote with Labor once while continuing to vote for tax cuts, pro-gun bills and anti-choice legislation. Depressing.”

Swearingen for Presiding Commissioner

Rep. Jay Swearingen, late of the auditor race, has filed for Clay County Presiding Commissioner.  Filing re-open when the lone Democratic filer withdrew. 

The GOP primary is between former Rep. Jerry Nolte and incumbent Pam Mason.

Backer In House 49

With the recent withdrawal of Larry Brown in House 49, one strong Democratic source says to look for a new Democrat to file… Gracia Backer.  She’s a former state representative from that area (see her old member bio here), who recently clashed with the Nixon administration during her tenure as director of Division of Employment Security.

This is the Jeanie Riddle seat.  Riddle’s running for state senate.  Travis Fitzwater is the Republican nominee.  It’s a 60-40 Republican seat, so Backer’s odds are still long.  However it will force Republicans to spend some attention and resources now on what previously a gimme seat.

Ashcroft Launches

Jay Ashcroft in Senate 24 started his roll-out.  Here’s the twitterHere’s the website.  Hardly anything there, but clean and professional.

He also announced his campaign co-chairs and his finance team… heavy hitters.  The Ashcroft Machine is about the steamroll primary opponent Jack Spooner.  Will Spooner drop in the face of this shock and awe press release, or will he be flattened?

“Former United States Senator Kit Bond and St. Louis Republican leader Bucky Bush have been named Co-Chairs of Jay Ashcroft’s campaign for State Senate. Former St. Louis County Executive Gene McNary will serve as campaign treasurer.  Ashcroft has also announced his finance committee, with the support of key finance leaders, including Ambassador Sam Fox

Other members include: Tom Fowler (Former Chair of Missouri Republican Party), Woody Cozad (Former Chair of Missouri Republican Party), Roy Pfautch, Ray Wagner and Rich McClure.

Seals Out in House 61

Allan Seals told supporters via Facebook that he’d be dropping from House 61.  He’s a Republican, and leave Justin Alferman as the only Republican there now.  This is the Schatz seat.

Dear friends and neighbors,


I want to thank you for your support of my campaign. Your contributions as well as your words of encouragement have meant so much to me and my family. So it is with a heavy heart that I’m announcing my withdrawal from the election.


On Monday, I suffered a small stroke and have been in the hospital recuperating. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s in the best interest of me and my family to take it easy for awhile.


So once again, thank you, for believing in me and supporting me during my time running for State Representative. I won’t soon forget this.

Holsman, Chapelle-Nadal Tiff – Day 2

It’s said that since their blow-out over the words “irrational sensibilities” Sens. Jason Holsman and Maria Chappelle-Nadal haven’t spoken.  Sen. Jolie Justus is trying to act as a mediator to keep the caucus without riffs heading into the final stretch.  Two sources said that Justus was so frustrated with their behavior that she submitted a tongue-in-cheek, mock letter of resignation to Senate Secretary Terry Spieler


Sen. David Sater joined the Government Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee.  He takes the place of Sen. Jay Wasson.

The Senate debated tort reform for hours yesterday without coming to resolution.  One hallway observer said that it looks like the strategy is to wear Dems down to the point of bringing out a better compromise from MATA.  Five weeks left, we’ll see…

Transportation tax moved out of the House yesterday with 96 votes, a little lower than folks were expecting.  But again – five weeks – plenty of time left to make final passage.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Douglas S. Stone added Blue Forest Land Group LLC; and deleted Sulgrave Regency Condominium Association Inc, Farmer Holding Company, Ideker Inc, Bierstation LLC, Loki Asset Group LLC, Heartland Regional Medical Center, First Community Bank, WU Building Investors LLC, Harrison Management LLC, Lighthouse Properties LLC, Red Principles LLC, BKD LLC, MO-KAN Teamsters Apprenticeship and Training Fund, The Mission Bank, BK Properties LLC, and WSHI LLC.

$5K+ Contributions

Lewis & Clark Regional Leadership Forum - $12,000 from Ameren Missorui.

Branson Area Regional Tourism - $7,000 from Silver Dollar City LLC.

Lewis & Clark Northern Missouri Forum - $10,000 from T and N Inc.


Happy birthday to Judy Baker (54).