Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cunningham NOT for County Executive

Former state senator Jane Cunningham released a statement yesterday in which she said she had decided not to run for St. Louis County Executive.

Therefore, today I am announcing that I have chosen not to run for County Executive because others who can bring the same kind of best practices to the County that the new board has brought to Monarch, need to be reassured that they will not have to face a primary campaign against me in order to reform our wayward County Government.  At this time, I cannot share any further information, but stay tuned for very good news soon…

Does that mean a Cunningham for Senate 26 is coming?.. We’ll see…

Says one salivating observer, “Cunningham will run for the 26th and it will be epic. Cunningham is to Dave Schatz what matches are to gasoline. I can’t wait for the whole thing to start blowing up…”

Nieves for Recorder of Deeds?

And the seemingly never-ending (and almost entirely correct) rumor mill on Brian Nieves says that he’s looking at the Recorder of Deeds in Franklin County…

Funderburk for St. Charles County Executive

Utility Chair Doug Funderburk will challenge incumbent Steve Ehlmann for St. Charles County Executive. His statement…

“After receiving much encouragement over the past year from many friends as well as community and business leaders in St. Charles County and after thoughtful consideration and conversation with my wife and family, I've decided to ask the voters of St. Charles County if they would like to see new leadership in the Executive office of County Government…


“In the next few weeks, my team and I will develop and share what I believe will be a clear contrast between myself and our current executive. As that story unfolds, I am confident that you, the voters of St. Charles County, will see that we need new leadership in county government and that I plan to bring that renewed leadership to this office…”

Fair Trade Missouri Eliminates FAQ

After my blurb about the Fair Trade FAQ sections of their website which said the organization was interested in reducing the state income tax, the FAQs are gone…  Don’t see it here.

Jobs With Justice Hosts Hearing on Job Cuts

The email blast:

The St. Louis Workers' Rights Board of Missouri Jobs with Justice is hosting a hearing on The Reorganization of Missouri's Family Support Division at Overland Baptist Church, 9303 Midland Blvd, 63114, on Saturday, March 22 at 10am.


You are invited to attend this public hearing that will address the possible elimination of 170+ full-time positions that are currently unfilled. The staff who provide assistance to the most vulnerable families across the state, as well as those seeking services in a personal, efficient manner will be sorely affected by these changes. The decision-makers in the department need to know our community does not support these drastic changes…

Firefighters Getting Hot

From Politico’s Influence: “The International Association of Fire Fighters is preparing for an active 2014 cycle - with more than $20 million budgeted for independent expenditures in key House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns. The union held their annual legislative conference on Monday in Washington D.C. despite the snow. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross and former RNC chair Michael Steele spoke. IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger spoke to PI Wednesday…

“On the political side, Schaitberger expects the union to make direct PAC donations in almost all of the Senate races and many of the governor's races. The union is eyeing additional independent involvement in between 8 and 10 Senate races and the same number of governor's races…”

Rallo for Alderwoman

Former Rep. Cole McNary’s legislative assistant Linda Rallo is running for alderman in the St. Louis suburb of Town and Country.  See her website here.  McNary is reportedly out knocking doors for her.

Mid-Session Grades: Senate


Tom Dempsey – B – Dempsey has remained even-keeled as ever.  But his laissez-faire approach is almost bordering on agnosticism.  By starting without an opening day speech, Dempsey signaled no firm Senate agenda.  Perhaps this is the result of having been burnt by the House last session when the Senate sent an early economic development package over only to watch it be dawdled to death.  Likewise the House returned a transportations sales tax bill clearly vulnerable to its opponents.  If he’s ambivalent about whether to invest in major proposals this year, that bodes poorly for second half productivity.



Floor Leader Ron Richard – B – He would have otherwise earned an A, for keeping the bills moving while working well with both the majority and minority.  However his grade takes a hit for allowing Sen. Will Kraus to waste so much floor time on a flawed tax cut bill that can’t seem to get out of the Senate.



David Pearce – A- – Pearce wins high marks for moving the student transfer bill through the chamber as smoothly as he did.  It’s easy for education bills to get torpedoed or derailed between the reform and establishment agendas.  To find consensus, avoid the pitfalls, and pass it well before Spring Break was a major achievement.  



Dan Brown and Brian Munzlinger – A- – Brown and Munzy have each picked out areas of expertise and made their sphere of influence in those areas known.  But they get true high marks for navigating the politics of their districts to apparently have escaped any Democratic opponent.  Four years ago these were Dem districts, now they’re GOP and unopposed.  That saves the majority caucus’ campaign committee hundreds of thousands of dollars.



Eric Schmitt – B+ – Strong behind the scenes and influential with his colleagues, the EcoDevo ditch-digger of sessions past has been reborn into a happier warrior.  Freed from the bonds of pursuing the unachievable global tax credit reform, he’s been able to inject himself into the tax cut debate and the student transfer issue without jeopardizing any larger agenda.  In some respects he may just be taking his cue from Senate leadership.  That is, waiting for a change in House dance partners before swinging for the long ball again.



Gary Romine – B – Romine deserves praise for the way he and his staff have worked the Medicaid transformation issue. They have sought folks out, listened carefully to their concerns, and made several compromises. Not the bill will pass, but the demonstrated good faith will yield results in other areas in which Romine engages.



John Lamping – B- – He’s offered up nearly comprehensive ethics reform, taking on political consultants, lobbyists and as well as the legislators themselves.  The only hole was the convenient omission of contribution limits. No small detail, still he gets kudos for bringing the issue up – even if none of it will pass. Oh and then there’s the stinging rebuke of one observer: “He ran as someone totally different than the senator he became.  It’s hard to argue for ethics reform when you perpetuated a fraud on the voters of your district.”



Rob Schaaf – B- – It’s possible we’re witnessing a new Schaaf, one who’s willing to compromise on his big issues rather than just be a roadblock.  Only time will tell but he’s signaled his willingness to talk by filing his own versions on Medicaid transformation and prescription drug monitoring, as well as placing new items on his agenda like solar energy and changes to the death penalty process.



Brian Nieves – C – The – The phrase “first impressions matter the most,” isn’t really true.  It’s the last impressions that have the lasting power.  And Nieves’ exit has left an unfortunate taste.  “He created this massive fiasco of filing for his seat again, which he should never have done because he never intended to run for the Senate a second time, and was part of scam (that's exactly what it was, a scam) to hand Tim Jones his senate seat.”



Will Kraus – D+ – After carrying the tax cut last year, he walked into an ambush in his negotiations with Governor Jay Nixon.  He has made three attempts to perfect it.  All three were completely different strategies and all three failed miserably.  Kraus can pick up the pieces and salvage his session though if he successfully handles Rep. TJ Berry’s tax cut bill.





Jolie Justus – A – In the final year of her career, she’s achieved the stature of stateswoman in the Senate.  Her carrying the 1000+ page criminal code together with last session’s MONA vote may be her lasting legacy.  The final test: can her reasoned and calm voice temper any Republican lust for a PQ in the session’s closing days…



Maria Chappelle Nadal – A- – As she nears the end of her first term, Chappelle-Nadal appears to have figured the Senate out.  After proven she can dig in and have a major hand in shaping a major piece of legislation (the student transfer bill) from the minority.



Jamilah Nasheed – B+ – Nasheed created havoc with her “reporting stolen guns” amendment, she’s keeping the liberal flame alive with minimum wage and campaign contribution legislation.  And she passed out her caregiver consent bill as well.



Kiki Curls, Jason Holsman, Paul LeVota, Scott Sifton, Gina Walsh – B- – Who will take Justus’ spot as minority leader?  Someone needs to break out…


Filing News

Three Republicans filed in seats they won’t win…

In House 67 – Steve Webb’s old seat – Dwayne Strickland filed to run as a Republican. 

In House 82 – Rep. Michele Krakty for re-election – Jake Koehr filed to run as a Republican.

In House 83 – Rep. Gina Mitten for re-election – Jeremy Buckingham filed to run as a Republican.

MEC Fines

The Missouri Ethics Commission fined several folks.  None of them appeared to be major violations…

St. Louis Alderman Antonio Frenchsee it here.

St. Louis Committeeman Damon Jones (son of former state senator Robin Wright Jones) – see it here.

Ruth Thompsonsee it here.

Help Wanted

State Tax Commission seeks attorney… salary range: $40,000 - $53,000…. See ad here.

Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan seeks compliance counsel.  “Experience in health care, HIPAA, and administrative law preferred…”  See ad here.

eMailbag: The A+ List

How do you leave Stephen Webber and Jeff Roorda out of your Democratic mid-session grades?


Webber has done an excellent job in committee, asking the tough questions. In particular he did well against another prevailing wage bill in the Workforce Development Committee.  He then destroyed the opposition on the house floor during the Med Mal debate.


Despite proving once again that he is a fundraising juggernaut and leaving his lone Republican opponent on the ropes in the eyes of the lobbying corps, Jeff still manages to do a ton of heavy lifting for Democrats on the House floor and keeps the Republican supermajority honest when it comes to time-consuming procedural matters.  All the while, he demonstrates to the entire Democratic caucus that they can be relevant and that you don't have to have your name in big letters on your door to be a leader in the caucus.


A+ to both

Fundraising Events

Sen. Scott Sifton – Bartolino’s South, St. Louis – 5:30 – 7pm.

Sen. Paul LeVota – Tim’s Pizza, Independence – 5:30 – 7pm.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Rodney Boyd, Brian Grace, and Kelvin Simmons added Diggs Construction.

Stanley Shurmantine added Stanley Shurmantine.

Jacqueline M Bardgett, John Bardgett, John Parris and Kim Tuttle added Logisticare Solutions LLC.

$5K+ Contributions

Friends of Lincoln Hough - $10,000 from Mark Gardner.

Citizens for Fairness in Missouri - $10,000 from Herzog Contracting.

Stuber for State Senator Committee - $15,000 from Robert Stuber.

Lewis & Clark Northern Missouri Forum - $10,000 from Mid-America Peterbilt.

Missouri Farmers Care - $50,000 from Missouri Pork PAC.

Friends of Ray Weter - $8,000 from Ray Weter.


Happy birthdays…

Friday: Trent Summers (35) and former Rep. Thomas Long (46).

Saturday: Sens. Paul LeVota (46) and Will Kraus (41), former Sen. Yvonne Wilson (85), lobbyists Nancy Giddens and David Jackson, and former Rep. Steve Hunter (65).

Sunday: Former Rep. Tom Loehner (57).

My Spring Break

No Daily Update tomorrow, or Who Won the Week.  The Weekly Summary is attached.   See you all Monday…