Thursday, February 6, 2014

Follow-Up on RTW Whip Count

I received some feedback on my blurb yesterday about the Republican House right to work whip count.


First, various sources with differing perspectives on the issue all said they thought the whip number of 85 was at or near where they saw the issue.


Second, one Republican agrees that there is little margin for error to pass it out of the House, but thinks the number is pretty firm.  Unlike other issues, folks know where they stand on the issue.  In other words, it will be hard for the labor lobbyists to erode the final few it would take to defeat the measure in the House.


Third, labor is concerned that if they are able to defeat right to work in the House, Speaker Tim Jones will shift his focus to moving a paycheck protection referendum out of the House.


And finally, an interesting observation: there’s probably more votes in the House for Medicaid expansion than there are for right to work.


Crazy Aug 8 Election

The special elections that Governor Jay Nixon recently called for August 8 could result in a strange situation.

In the race to replace Steve Webb, former Rep. Sylvester Taylor has started a campaign committee.  Larry Davis, a Department of Labor employee, is also mentioned as a possible candidate.  If both vie for the seat, one of them will win the committee support to be the Democratic nominee for the special election, and the de facto winner of the special in that heavy Democratic district.

But the Democratic primary for the November general election will happen on the same day, be on the same ballot.  And regardless of who wins the special, the winner of that primary will be the de facto winner in November. 

If one wins the special and the other the primary, the special winner will be the representative for veto session, but will be a lame-duck incumbent serving just a few months.

The primary is the race to win.

Keaveny Introduces Anti-School Spanking Bill

Sen. Joe Keaveny introduced a bill yesterday to “prohibit the use of corporal punishment and the use of spanking to discipline students in schools. Each school district's discipline policy must prohibit the use of corporal punishment and the use of spanking.”  See it here.

Concern About the Propane Fix

Earlier this week Governor Jay Nixon announced funding to help Missourians pay for the propane, the price of which has increased this winter.

But one Democrat worries that the money might be coming at the expense of urban claims that there is “a shortfall in LIHEAP funding.”  LIHEAP is the federal program (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) from which the governor is drawing $15 million to help poorer rural residents deal with the propane crisis.  LIHEAP also helps urban residents pay for their heat.  Their solution is to increase funding for a different program, Utilicare.

The letter concludes, “We are asking Governor Nixon and the Legislature of Missouri to appropriate $10 million for Utilicare to assist those facing hardship.  Missouri’s Utilicare  is a stop-gap for the elderly, disabled and income qualified Missourians to assist them with their winter utility bills.  We’d appreciate your support to fund the Utilicare program thru a supplemental appropriation.”

Big Future in Asteroid Mining?

From yesterday’s Politico Influence: “Planetary Resources has signed the help of Gephardt Group Government Affairs to work on private activities in space and space exploration. The Washington state-based asteroid mining company is in the business of harvesting resources from asteroids in the earth's orbit. To do so, they’re working on low-cost robotic spacecrafts. K&L Gates has lobbied for the client for about a year, and now they’re adding some science and technology muscle. Aside from former Rep. Richard Gephardt, Kyle Mulhall and Scott Brenner will also work on the account. Brenner formerly worked for the DHS, where he served as chief of external affairs for the Science and Technology Directorate.”

Bits from Senate

The Senate spent some time debating SB 518 which would have expanded managed care in Missouri.  Sen. Rob Schaaf led the opposition, but he had help.  It’s said that both “the hospitals” and “the doctors” have an issue with it.

In the Education Committee, two more student transfer bills were heard.  One from Sen. Paul LeVota, and the other a more expansive far-reaching bill from Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal.  Chairman David Pearce has said his plan now to find common ground and consensus among the various transfer bills. 

Although there has been some testimony in opposition it seems quite likely that Pearce will be able to move a bill out sooner rather than later.  The reform organizations, like CEAM and StudentsFirst, have been testifying in favor of these bills, including Pearce’s.  Since they haven’t always seen eye-to-eye with the chairman, that’s a pretty good indication that the coalition on this issue is broad.

And yesterday the Gubernatorial Appointments Committee voted on the Nixon’s nomination Michael Ponder to the University of Missouri Board of Curators.  He failed to advance when the committee split 5-5.  It was unusual since normally when an issue is raised a nominate is simply “held” – without a formal vote – pending the resolution of the concerns.


CVS to quit selling cigs… Read it here.

Why some districts seem to be quick to call off school with there’s a few inches of snow?  One theory is that the importance of daily attendance in winning or keeping accreditation makes officials wary of having a low attendance day with kids playing hooky in the snow….

Data points on the value of lobbying – a look at spending of defense firms in DC versus the amount of federal contracts they win.  See it here.  

Reps. Keith English and Brandon Ellington in a cage match to raise money for charity?  Let’s hope this rumor is not true…

Help Wanted

“Earn Big $$$ - Get paid next day- collecting signatures on TWO STATE WIDE PETITIONS. Looking for self motivated hard working individuals that can choose there own hours and locations… Compensation: $1.00 per signature”  See the ad here.

$5K+ Contributions

Supporters of Health Research and Treatments - $49,800 from John McDonnell.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Allan Clements deleted The Associated Students of the University of Missouri.


Congratulations to the mighty Jason Rosenbaum who welcomed a son, Brandon Todd Rosenbaum, Tuesday….  For those keeping score at home: 8 pounds, 7 ounces and 21 inches long.