Thursday, February 20, 2014

Just bits…

Student Transfer Day

Today the Senate Education Committee is expected to convene after adjournment to vote on a student transfer bill.  Past comments from Chair David Pearce lead observers to expect a “consensus” bill among the many different ones filed by senators.  But the exact provisions remain a mystery.  Will Pearce’s statewide “Achievement District” be included?  What from Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal’s expansive bill will be included?  And of course the biggest mystery of all… does Pearce have the votes to get it out of his committee?

 

 

It’s said that Pro Tem Tom Dempsey has encouraged Pearce to move something out of his committee this week so that the Senate can start debate and hopefully get it to the House by Spring Break, the session’s nominal half-way point.

 

 

 

Schaefer Jumps Out on Death Penalty Debate

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, suggesting that the controversy over the lethal drugs in executions is a back-door way for death penalty opponents to put a de facto moratorium on the practice, field a bill yesterday.  SB 898 (see it here) would put the method of execution at the discretion of the director of the Department of Corrections.

 

Jones Cash Machine

Speaker Tim Jones is said to be looking at having $1 million cash on-hand in his 2016 campaign account by the end of March.

KC vs KC

Sen. Will Kraus’ SB 578 (see it here) would reconfigure the political party committees in Jackson County.  One observer explains, it would “tip the balance of power back into the eastern Jackson County areas and not so many being from KC…”

That means that Kraus has an ally in Sen. Paul LeVota, while the bill will likely be opposed by Sens. Jolie Justus and Jason Holsman.  Where’s Sen. Kiki Curls on this?  I’m not sure yet, but it would seem she’d side with Justus-Holsman.  We’ll see….

Senate 24

It’s said that Susan Benigas, even after her walk-around last week, is not likely the Republican candidate in Senate 24.  And Wes Jones whose name has been mentioned is having trouble deciding on the race.  But Republicans are close to lassoing a different candidate.  We’ll see…

The Daily AUE-Noranda Back and Forth

In a press release yesterday MBEF’s Irl Scissors pounced on a statement by Noranda’s CEO discussing their latest earnings figure, “We delivered solid fourth quarter performance in our key operating metrics. We generated positive cash flow, and made meaningful progress on key productivity projects.”

Scissors: “They can’t have it both ways. Noranda can’t tell the PSC that they’re in such desperate financial shape that they must be allowed to pay even less than they already do for electricity and pass those costs on to Missouri consumers, while telling their Wall Street Investors that they’re the picture of financial health with a bright future.”

But despite the CEO’s brave talk, the numbers were actually not so bright (see them here): a loss ($17.7 million for the quarter, $47.6 million for the year) on declining revenue.

Rumors Still Abound on Nieves

It’s hard to handicap whether there’s any truth – a nugget or a boulder worth – to rumors about Sen. Brian Nieves leaving the Senate for a job.  The thinking here is that Speaker Tim Jones would be able to fill Nieves’ spot, a place for the two years he has after his House term expires and his 2016 statewide race. 

Nieves recently railing against the NRA has fueled talk that he might be a spot with a different interest group that also involved in 2nd Amendment battles, one which is a rival to the NRA?  As with all rumors, we’ll see….

 

Politico: Hartley to Lobby for BJC

From Politico’s Influence: CLOAKROOM TO LOBBY FOR BJC HEALTHCARE: Former Cassidy & Associates lobbyist Gregg Hartley has signed another of his former employer's clients in an "of counsel" role. Hartley will work on health care funding, Medicare reimbursement and other health reform issues for BJC Healthcare. Hartley's new firm, Cloakroom Associates, now represents six clients on behalf of Cassidy, as well as independently repping AT&T.

Hartley is a former chief of staff to Roy Blunt.

Five Days from Filing

Filing opens five mornings from today, and there’s still no name from the Democrats to run against incumbent Auditor Tom Schweich.  One theory has General Chris Koster holding back big names so that Schweich is a strong obstacle to Catherine Hanaway.

If so, the question is how quickly can Schweich pivot?  Can he start talking about 2016 in a few months if he has no serious Democratic opponent?  Hanaway is right now – according to a business source – making calls to cut off 2016 money for Schweich…  It’s cold war stuff between them folks!

Ellebracht for House

As rumored months ago, Mark Ellebracht has started a campaign committee to run for House 17 as a Democrat.  That’s where Rep. Myron Neth is the incumbent.  See Ellebracht’s website here.

Lamping Still Skeptical on Angel Tax Credits

In the Senate’s Economic Development Committee yesterday Sen. John Lamping who presumably as an investment banker type has a fair amount of experience with early start-up financing, expressed his skepticism about the Angel Tax Credit.  Lamping voiced similar discomforts last year.  It is the number one priority for Kansas City Mayor Sly JamesSee the bill here.

Solar Folks In Building

Folks from the solar power industry were working the halls yesterday.  The main bills they’re focused on would give a statutory deiniftion of the one percent cap in solar rebates.  In the House, it’s Rep. TJ Berry’s bill (HB 1664) and in the Senate it’s Sen. Jason Holsman’s SB 801 (see it here).

Final Bits

House Education Appropriations Chair Mike Lair insert $8 line item for tin foil for Common Core opponents.  See AP article here.

Everyone wants it, but how to pay for Fulton State Hospital repairs.  Read it here.

Nasheed staffer carrying?   See it here.

And in case I don’t say it enough… every morning my thanks go John Combest for his invaluable website

$5K+ Contributions

MO Democratic State Committee - $50,000 from Claire McCaskill.

Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc – Industry Advancement Fund Heavy Constructors.

Fundraising Calendar

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Sen. Scott Sifton Reception – Shakespeare’s South, Columbia – 5:30-7 p.m.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to former senator Matt Bartle (49), and Centurylink’s Doug Galloway (61).