Thursday, May 1, 2014

Transfer Passes House

The House passed the Senate student transfer bill.  See the Post-Dispatch article here.  Now comes the hard navigation of working a compromise between the two versions with one eye on avoiding a veto from the second floor.  It’s possible that the House’s “private option” version would be more acceptable to Governor Jay Nixon as it requires a public vote first, and it requires private school receiving students follow the same rules and standards as public schools.  The veto pen is an important ingredient here as the House vote, 91, was well below an override majority.

Normandy Gets Assurance

Rep. Clem Smith attached an amendment to prevent Normandy from being dissolved into another district as it teeters on the brink of financial fragility.  The Black Caucus was seen outside the Speaker’s office the day before, with one lobbyist speculating that they were preparing to negotiate on this bill.  Perhaps bill handler and St. Louis County Executive candidate, Rep. Rick Stream, was attempting to broaden support.  However in the end, only two Black Caucus members in the House to vote for the bill: Reps. Courtney Curtis and Penny Hubbard

Senate Debates Common Core

The Senate spent hours debating HB 1490 – an attempt to derail the “common core.”

One flashpoint was between Sen. Ryan Silvey and Sen. John Lamping.  The two previously tangled regarding Medicaid expansion.  Silvey has proposed a “Missouri version,” and Lamping has drawn a sand in the line against any kind of expansion. 

Lamping is a leading proponent for scrapping the common core.  And Silvey offered an amendment to ban outright the possibility of the common core becoming Missouri’s standard.  It was a poke aimed at Lamping, who didn’t take the bait and said he supported the amendment, applauded Silvey’s “courage.”  However he then voted with the vast majority of the Senate against the amendment.

Silvey took to twitter as he has done lately: @RyanSilvey: “Very strange that @JohnLamping spoke in FAVOR of my amendment before the break & voted AGAINST it after. So much for stopping Common Core.”

No love lost between these folks…

Allison to Public Counsel

The press release: “Gov. Jay Nixon today named Dustin Allison as the acting Public Counsel for the Office of the Public Counsel, the agency that represents the public and the interests of utility customers before the Missouri Public Service Commission. The position became vacant earlier this month when the Governor named former Public Counsel Lewis R. Mills as the new director of the Division of Energy… The Office of the Public Counsel is independent from the PSC and has a separate budget and staff. Attorneys with the OPC, including the Public Counsel, provide legal representation to the public and ratepayers as a class, rather than specific legal representation of individuals.”

One observer thinks that this is yet another “win” for Jac Cardetti.  He was part of the Nixon administration and now lobbies.  He has relationships with these folks… First, Daniel Hall who was appointed to the Public Service Commission, and now Allison, as Public Counsel.

Curls Sends Message

Bryan Scott, Governor Jay Nixon’s nominee for the Highway Commission, was voted down by the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee 7-2.  Sen. Kiki Curls gathered the No votes, and led the charge to send a message to the second floor. 

Her message: “You’re only as good as your word in this building.”

It’s said that she felt she had a commitment from the governor’s office that was not fulfilled.  Two sources told me that Curls is seeking for the governor to appoint a black female to the commission, which accordingly to one of these sources, the commission has never had.

Senate Rails Against Department of Conservation

The Senate passed SB 964 (see it here) which deals with deer breeding.  Senators were outraged that an email had been sent from an official state government email account advocating that the bill be killed.  Sen. Brad Lager observed, Imagine if another department did that on say, Medicaid expansion… The legislature would be having hearings and looking for heads to roll.  Lager wonders aloud on the Senate floor if the Department of Conservation needs to be reminded that the legislature makes the policy and their job is simply to implement it.

Veto Tomorrow?

Gov. Jay Nixon will join students, educators, civic leaders and advocates on Thursday (May 1) at the Gateway/Hubert Wheeler School for the Severely Disabled to discuss his action on Senate Bill 509.  Senate Bill 509 would reduce funding for public education and other vital services by cutting taxes on profitable corporations and higher-income individuals.

Look for an override vote sooner rather than later… perhaps as early as Monday or Tuesday…

Hemp Oil Fast Track

Rep. Caleb Jones’ hemp oil bill (see it here) got the green light from the Senate Judiciary Committee with a unanimous 7-0 vote.  It’s moving swiftly through the process. The notion that there are suffering children who might be helped is giving the legislation some extra boosters.

Among those testifying for the legislation was Senate bill handler Eric Schmitt’s wife, Jaime.  Their son has epilepsy and is a candidate for the treatment.

House Education Pace

One lobbyist chuckled that with just over two weeks left in session it was telling that the House Education Committee was still working on House bills.  That’s an indication of how slow that committee has moved, how difficult it’s been for the chairman to build consensus around his bills.  And it buttresses talk that Rep. Steve Cookson might not be re-appointed to the committee chairmanship next year.

Jetton Book

Former Speaker Rod Jetton has penned a book telling of his rise and fall and redemption.  It’s called: Success Can Kill You –One man’s story of success, failure, faith and forgiveness.  It can be ordered on Amazon here.

Here’s the summary: “The book chronicles Rod’s meteoric rise from a young Marine officer to the second youngest House Speaker in Missouri state history. He was on the fast track to becoming Governor of Missouri, when his personal life exploded as he went through a very public and humiliating fall… While Rod’s troubles and fall from grace are necessary to tell the story, the most helpful aspect about this book is the way he meticulously details the emotional, relational and physiological effect that success and power had on him as he climbed the ladder of success.  Rod’s candid way of explaining his mistakes and pointing out the dangers of putting his career in front of his faith and family will be of great benefit to politicians, businessmen, church leaders and corporate executives focused on accomplishing their goals.”


Looking Around the Corner: Commerce Committee Talk

One rumor has Sen. Mike Kehoe interested in the Commerce Committee chairmanship next year.  He’s currently the Transportation Chair.  But perhaps having succeeded in shepherding the transportation sales tax to the ballot box has him considering a wider portfolio.

The current chair, Sen. Brad Lager, is termed.  And Sen. Will Kraus is also mentioned as someone who would be interested in the chairmanship.  Also Sen. Ed Emery could be a contender since he chaired the Utilities Committee during his time in the House.  Finally there’s Sen. Wayne Wallingford.  He’s been pro-Noranda in previous utilities battles, and some might like a clear partisan in the utilities war to take it off the table and prevent it from crowding out other issues?

And – Schaaf on Dais

Sen. Rob Schaaf presided over the Senate for a few hours yesterday.  It might not seem like a big deal; many senators rotate through their turn at the dais.  However it was the first time this session that Schaaf was allowed to preside.  Perhaps it represents a thawing in his relationship with Senate leadership which snubbed him two years ago by making him the only non-freshman without a chairmanship.

Schaaf does seem to have toned down his previous obstinate floor, and one wonders if there is a rapprochement in the future. And whether it could bring Schaaf a committee chairmanship next session.  Schaaf is currently vice-chair of the General Laws Committee, and that chairman, Sen. Brian Nieves, is headed home to Franklin County.

Priddy Blasts Peters’ Ridiculous Idea

Rep. Josh Peters called for special closed legislative session to discuss transfer bill.  See it here.  He was quickly blasted by old-time journalist Bob Priddy (see it here) who wonder if Peters should “find another line of work.”


Game changers David Winton and Scott Penman were the lobbyists behind Sen. Mike Parson’s SB 812 which advances the possibility of a Department of Economic Development opening an office in Israel to promote strategic partnerships between Missouri based companies and Israel based companies.

Melody Bezenek was named director of the Missouri Press Foundation.

From peerless Combest, Charlie Shield promoted to top spot at Truman Medical.  See it here.

SB 652 sits still in the House calendar.  It’s the one lone leftover bill from the telecom five earlier this session…

Floor Leader John Diehl asked the House to keep Rep. Rick Brattin in their prayers.  His brother-in-law died suddenly in a car crash.

Fundraising Calendar

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar

ALEC Spring Task Force Summit – Kansas City.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

John M Edgar added Deffenbaugh Industries Inc.

Peter S Levi added Intermedix Corporation.

$5K+ Contributions

Lewis & Clark Regional Leadership Forum - $6,000 from McEagle Properties.

Lewis & Clark Regional Leadership Forum - $6,000 from Christopher McKee.


Happy birthday to Bubs Hohulin (the big 5-0)!