Thursday, May 22, 2014

House Winners

Speaker Tim Jones was the constant target of slings and arrows, the usual position for lame-duck speakers.  But there are two reasons he’s a winner.  First, as speaker he gets credit for the productive session.  Nay-sayers are fast to give Diehl credit and discount Jones’ involvement, but the bottom line is when you’re speaker you get the credit and you get the criticism.  Second, he’s not damaged goods.  Yes he’s less popular within the building than he was two years.  But there were no scandals, and he still have a million dollars in the bank, and a record which should win him the Republican primary of his choosing.

Speaker-designate John Diehl locked up 109 on tax cut, successfully controlled Dem Caucus, and ran the show. He will be the most powerful speaker the House has seen in recent years. Some in Dem leadership think it won't be so bad because he's willing to horse trade. I think it may be the longest two years of many Democrats’ lives.

Rep. Dave Schatz had a very good if not great legislative session that just ended.  He (along with Rep. Dave Hinson) helped guide through HJR 68, the sales/use tax for transportation.  He also resurrected one of his bills, H.B. 1867, dealing with underground facilities, better known as One Call.  The One Call Board of Directors actually had their executive director testify against this bill, their own bill, in the House hearing because they did not like certain provisions.  Schatz worked out the difference and guided the measure to passage on the last day.  These were in addition to his filing for the state senate seat that was once eyed by the Speaker. Not sure a whole lot of representatives would tackle that challenges.

Rep. Jay Barnes attacked Dems when necessary, but still came out looking like one of the few adults in the caucus.

Rep. Noel Torpey delivered a number of KC priorities, built better relationships with Dem caucus which mean his November opponent won’t get a ton of support.

Rep. Jon Carpenter established himself as sharp member of the minority party unafraid of tangling with Republican heavyweights (Diehl, Rep. Kevin Engler).  May be headed to leadership. 

Rep. Caleb Jones bounced back from losing Speaker’s race to forge a tight working relationship with Diehl.  His General Laws committee carried a huge load of the House’s legislation.  He was critical in passing the hemp oil bill which demonstrated that he is one of the best in the building at being an actual legislator that understands the legislative process and can pass bills.

Rep. Mike Cierpiot got in the nitty gritty of the education bill and helped keep the divergent personalities of Barnes and Cookson on the same page while at the same time crafting a bill that could actually pass the House and Senate. Also Cierpiot was the go to person to run the floor in Diehl’s frequent absences.

Rep. Todd Richardson is going to stroll in to the majority floor leader spot after helping a variety of bills over the finish line.  How he gets in the middle of divisive issues, and doesn’t make anyone mad?  It’s remarkable.  

House Losers

House Democratic leadership obviously was holding a weak hand from the beginning.  Still they were unable to play it with enough wile to finesse any tricks.  They threatened to kill transportation if the tax cut was overridden.  Then threatened to kill it if we didn’t get Medicaid. Then they rolled over, claiming victory because they forced folks to “come and talk to us.”  In other words, they took a hostage and made demands. None of those demands were met but they released the hostage anyway because the hostage negotiators made them feel special.

Rep. Robert Ross watched several of his amendments go down in flames or be forced to be withdrawn. 

Rep. Keith English cut numerous deals to get his legislation passed. I guess he forgot about conference committees, because it all got yanked out. His end of session wine party looked pretty lonely. I wouldn't be surprised to see him either get beat by an Independent candidate or switch parties after he narrowly wins. His main problem is that his caucus doesn’t trust him.  

Mike Moon, Nick Marshall, and the impeachment caucus. Try as they did to leverage their tax cut votes into some action, in the end, they only got punked.

Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins was a considerably weaker Pro Tem than the standard for Republican House Caucus, especially when compared to others in their prime like Rod Jetton, Jason Smith or Bryan Pratt.

Moderate GOPers won because Agenda 21, Sharia Law, and gun nullification won’t be a part of the September veto session. Unlike last year, this year’s veto session will be marked by substantive policy initiatives that, if overridden, will benefit Republicans who prefer to be marked by good policy and not some of the ‘crazier’ stuff.

Fundraising Calendar

Today’s fundraising events from Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Rep. Jeanie Riddle Reception – Element STL, 1419 Carroll St., St. Louis – 5:30-7 p.m.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Samuel Alpert added Building Owners & Managers Association KC.

Jewell D. H. Patek added Mylan.

Michael T. White added Landmark Investment Group LLC, Central Fiber, Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission.

$5K+ Contributions

Friends of Kirk Mathews - $5,001 from Charlotte Lucas.

Friends of Kirk Mathews - $5,000 from Citizens for Schatz.

Dooley for St. Louis County - $10,000 from Express Scripts Inc.

Dooley for St. Louis County - $10,000 from St. Louis Cardinals LLC.

Missourians for Koster - $25,000 from The Simon Law Firm.

Missouri Early Voting Fund - $15,000 from Clayco.


Happy birthdays to future Rep. Travis Fitzwater and Jason Growe (30).