Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tipster: Donnelly to Family Court

Former state representative Margaret Donnelly “is the new Family Court Commissioner for the St. Louis County Circuit Court.”

Jobs Trump Ideology for Jones in Boeing Deal

Speaker Tim Jones isn’t used to people being farther right than him.  But that was the situation he found himself in during the Boeing special session. 

It’s said that the early Republican House caucus vote count was in the 50s supporting the deal.  Some were those to the right of Jones, the free market right-wingers who objected to “picking winners and losers,” and “crony capitalism.”  But mostly it was legislators who didn’t have information about the opportunity, the potential and what the state was offering.

Jones insisted that Governor Jay Nixon come to their House caucus to help sell the deal, and in addition to the governor, staffers Jason Zamkus and Chris Pieper spend considerable time answering questions and allaying concerns.

Perhaps this is one of Jones’ first baby steps to the middle as he plots out an 2016 AG general election strategy.


There are some who think that the notion of hiring Ted Wedel for the House general counsel position (that is, hiring a known Democrat in that non-partisan position) is one more of Speaker Tim Jones’ baby steps to the middle. 

Nicastro is Latest Education Battleground

Chris Nicastro is new battleground of the trench warfare between the educational establishment and the reformers. 

Reformers feel like they have the Supreme Court decisions in their favor now, and with a change agent at the head of DESE, they finally have outflanked the stalemate that has characterized their legislative battles of the past few sessions.


The Kansas City legislative delegation issued a statement on Nicastro, asking AG Chris Koster to investigate her actions…

“Commissioner Nicastro has repeatedly assured lawmakers that no decisions had been made regarding the future of the district, but that apparently is not the case.  She told us she would keep us informed on the situation, but that has not happened. Instead, it appears the Commissioner set forth on a predetermined path, which may have included inappropriately influencing or rigging bidding procedures to ensure that an organization supported by the Kansas City business elite was awarded the contract to develop a long-range plan for the district.


“Commissioner Nicastro's deceitful and questionable actions, as documented by her own correspondence, raise concerns about her fitness to lead the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education….


“We call upon the Governor and the Attorney General to investigate these matters and report their findings to the legislature and the citizens of this state.”

Rupp’s Next Move?

Sen. Scott Rupp is a few weeks away from entering his final legislative session.  In his years as a state senator he’s amassed a remarkable portfolio of high-profile bills.  Last year it was the second injury fund fix.  But just a few years ago, he carried the senate side of the congressional redistricting bill.  Previously he spearheaded the autism insurance mandate, the anti-illegal immigration bill and the cyber-bullying legislative.

One rumor has Rupp looking at the St. Charles County Executive race.  It’s said that the landscape is favorable for Rupp because of an expected very low turnout – except in his Senate district where there will be a hot Senate primary and a few House primaries as well.

Together with his name ID and his ability to raise money, it might make sense for Rupp to take the plunge.  It’s an August primary, so if he did, the decision time would be sooner rather than later.  We’ll see….

James Rips Nixon’s “Side Deal”

The push-back on Governor Jay Nixon’s side-deal with Senate hawks to “slow down” tax credit approval has started.  Yesterday Kansas City Mayor Sly James posted his disappointment on his blog.  Read it here.


“When I agreed to support the St. Louis effort, there was no discussion or consultation about using or bartering Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to finance the Boeing deal.


“That’s why I was saddened to learn that one of the tools government has to promote ideas like community, giving, and compassion has been used to leverage political support for last week’s special legislative session.  LIHTCs are competitive, strategic State investments aimed at increasing the supply of safe, affordable housing units for local residents who otherwise would be, quite literally, left out in the cold.


“The City of Kansas City has three important projects that are now in question because LIHTC were bartered by the Governor and some members the Missouri General Assembly in negotiations to seal the Boeing deal.  Let me be clear about the impact of this deal: the City’s ability to add over 100 units of housing for the residents who need it most will be compromised.  I am perhaps most perplexed about how these elected officials, who never seem to miss an opportunity to pose for a photo with a veteran and who constantly beat the patriotic drum, can justify jeopardizing a housing program for homeless veterans at the St. Michael’s Veteran’s Center…”

Schweich 2009: Budget Chair Should Resign

Four years ago, Gary Nodler resigned from his spot as Senate Appropriations Chair to pursue a congressional bid.  Some wonder if Sen. Kurt Schaefer will do the same. 

One reason given is simply time.  Appropriations takes an enormous amount of time, and Schaefer might rather use that time running for attorney general.

But the other reason is a perceived conflict of interests from those who would donate to his campaign.  In a 2009 Columbia Daily Tribune article Tom Schweich raised this concern when his auditor primary opponent, Allen Icet refused to resign as the House Budget Chair.  Read it here.

“But Icet’s Republican auditor opponent, former Department of State official Tom Schweich, called on him to step down as budget chairman. ‘There is no way an appropriations or budget chair running for higher office can avoid the appearance of impropriety while accepting contributions from lobbyists and special interests who have business in the budget process,’ Schweich said.”



Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Dale Amick deleted Shelbina Economic Development Council; and added Terra Bioenergy, and Blue Sun Energy.

Kathryn Ann Harness deleted Missourians for Open and Accountable Judicial Selection; and added Worth Harley Davidson.

Stuart P Keating deleted Environment Missouri.

Peter S Levi deleted Energy Infrastructure Alliance of America LLC, and Infra Management Group.

Mary W Still deleted Schneider Electric.


Kraft U City - $6,000 from Stephen Kraft.

MO Society of Anesthesiologists Political Action Committee - $30,000 from Anesthesia Associates of Kansas City PC.

Missourians for Koster - $10,000 from Agxplore International LLC.


Happy birthdays to Rep. Noel Torpey (42), Celeste Banks-Rueter, Kelly Sarka (35), Sal Martinez, and  Sreenu Dandamudi (41).