Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kinder for LG Again

Strong source tells me, “The report you received on Peter Kinder is completely erroneous.  While it is very early, Kinder is committed to serving as Lt. Governor and is currently planning to run for re-election.”

My apologies to my readers.  I am not usually completely erroneous.

Senate Perfects Student Transfer Bill

The Senate finished a few days of hard work on their student transfer bill, SB 493.  After over twenty amendments offered and debated, they perfected the bill, clearing the way for passage today.

It’s a major accomplishment to have a bipartisan bill on a contentious issue out and on its way to the House before March.  Pro Tem Tom Dempsey has called this one of the Senate’s top priorities.  Education is an equally thorny issue in the House, so we’ll see how leadership there deals with the bill.  Will they prevent it from being loaded up and killed?  Will they move quickly or let it languish to a final week cliff-hanger?

See the Post-Dispatch article on it here.

Filing News

Still no one filed in House 55… Where’s incumbent Rep. Rick Brattin?  Everywhere else the House Republican Campaign Committee had a candidate in the slot on opening day.  It’s a solid Republican district, so maybe there’s no hurry, and maybe Brattin is taking his time…

In House 106, Rep. Chrissy Sommer who was already bemoaning a general election, drew a primary opponent yesterday as well: Erin Schulte will run as a Republican in that district.

Start your Opp Research engines, folks.  The early whisper on the Republican’s Senate 24 candidate, attorney Jack Spooner: start looking through all the clients he’s defended… For starters, there might be a mailer about his defense of the Cassidy family’s funeral company Prearranged National Services

What Sort of Year Is It?

The last decade has shown tremendous swings in voter sentiment – as measured by their support for the two parties.  In 2008, Democrats romps Republicans as fatigue with George W Bush trickled down the ballot.  In 2010, it reversed itself and Republicans trounced Democrats.

Take, for example, Rep. Ron Schieber’s House 14 district.  According to the Supreme Court’s redistricting documents, in 2008 it voted Democratic with 58%.  Two years later in 2010, it swung Republican voting GOP with 56.1%. Their 2002-2010 “blend” gave it slight Dem tilt, 51.4%.

Or Rep. Bill Otto’s House 70.  It’s voting index in 2008 was 55% Democratic. In 2010, it was 57.2% Republican.  The 2002-2010 “blend” was an imperceptible 50.3% Republican edge.

In these swing districts the largest unknown factor ahead of 2014 is: what sort of year is it?  Without the rallying cries of years past (Iraq war, Obamacare), where is the electorate?

Yesterday the New York Times and CBS published the latest poll.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Republicans are in a stronger position than Democrats for this year’s midterm elections, benefiting from the support of self-described independents, even though the party itself is deeply divided and most Americans agree more with Democratic policy positions, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows.  The independents in the poll — a majority of whom were white or male or under age 45 — continued to sour on President Obama’s job performance…

 

A majority of Americans surveyed also said they wanted both parties to do more to address the concerns of the middle class, reduce the budget deficit with both tax increases and spending cuts, and let illegal immigrants stay in the country and apply for citizenship. Mr. Obama shares those positions on the budget and immigration.  Those stances among voters have not translated into support for the president’s party, as 42 percent say they will back Republicans in November, and 39 percent indicate that they will back Democrats, a difference within the poll’s margin of sampling error.

SB 916: Religious Freedom to Discriminate?

A small firestorm has erupted over Sen. Wayne Wallingford’s SB 916.  It looked to me like another redundant bill saying what was already in the Constitution, the freedom of religion.  However critics contend the legislation (which apparently is making its way around other states as well) is nothing more than a way to enact a right to discriminate – against gays.

Wallingford, looking reactionary against the arc of history, was on the defensive yesterday. On Facebook, he wrote: I want to clarify why I sponsored SB916. This bill is simply a measure to improve the Religious Freedom Registration Act by allowing individuals to have access to RFRA protections in private lawsuits, rather than having to sue the state for relief after their rights have been violated.

 

This bill is meant to ensure that the government is not able to force individuals to violate their religious beliefs, and will provide protections to all.

 

This is not a bill about discrimination. Indeed, it specifically says that the law shall not be construed to provide a defense in discrimination cases.

Meanwhile PROMO’s leader, AJ Bockelman on Facebook urged his supporters to keep their eyes on the prize, writing: A few things to take away from the last couple of days:

 

1- Make no mistake, the discriminatory bill (SB916) will not pass.

2- Whatever the public messaging is in support of these measures is, ultimately it is designed to slow down the progress our community has made. It's intent is to throw us off game in pushing through on basic protections.

3- I believe Senator Wallingford to be a strong, principled statesman who was brought this bill by a 3rd party. He is a reasonable individual whom I respect and we are trying to work together.

4- Now more than ever we need businesses and individuals to send a POSITIVE message of support that basic protections are good for business. Sign up as an individual or business through the link below.

5- Buckle your seatbelts folks, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

And in Arizona, the governor vetoed similar legislation yesterday.  See it here.

Moving On

Jessica Podhola is joining the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 3 as the Political Director. She was formerly executive director of the Jackson County Democratic Committee.  Mike Hardin will take over for her as interim executive director.

Mike Palmer has retired from Empire District Electric.

eMailbag: On Team Changing Game Changers

One lobbyist cynically remarks on the move of Penman-Winton from StudentsFirst to the School Board Association: “Not a coup, but a cha-ching.”

$5K+ Contributions

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $10,000 from Romine for Senate.

Teachgreat.org - $31,000 from StudentsFirst.

Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc. - $25,000 from Herzog Contracting Corp.

A Better Missouri With Governor Jay Nixon - $13,000 from Clayco.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Rodney Boyd, Brian Grace, and Kelvin L Simmons added Aviation Technical Services, KP Development LLC, and Paric Corporation.

Scott Penman, and David Winton added Missouri School Board Association.

James B Gwinner added Telligen.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. Mike Lair (68) and Doug Crews.