Thursday, September 12, 2013

Speaker-Designate Diehl

Last night the House Republican Caucus elected Rep. John Diehl to be the speaker-designate, that is become speaker when they return in January 2015. 

But as we’ve seen in recent speakerships, the power of the current speaker begins to erode as his final year rolls along.  So look for the lobbyists’ and legislators’ attention to start to move toward Diehl.

What Does Speaker Diehl Mean?

No real change in direction from the current Republican orientation. Diehl won’t shy away from the social and cultural agenda of the Republican majority.  He has consistently voted pro-gun and pro-life.  Those items will still get floor time and passed out of the House.  However it’s also clear that’s not the reason Diehl ran for state representative.  He’s most passionate and interested in economic issues, helping businesses grow and create jobs.  Economic development will be his top priority.

Ten Bills Overridden

Republicans overrode ten vetoes yesterday.  That’s a record.  By miles.  The old record was three.  

There are two major factors at work: Nixon vetoed a high number and Republicans now have a supermajority in both chambers.

Also, to note: Nixon used the vast amount of his time and energy focusing one on bill – the tax cut bill – which was not overridden.   

And, several Dem renewed criticism of the stingy governor as the reason Dems are in such a vulnerable minority. One texted that it was “karma” for Nixon to get overridden in double digits after doing nothing for House Dems for two  cycles and putting them in this place.


Tax Cut Bill Veto Sustained

In the end, HB 253 wasn’t even close.   It only mustered 94 votes, 15 votes shy of the necessary 109.


Reps. Sue Entlicher, Paul Fitzwater, Dennis Fowler, Lyndall Fraker, Elaine Gannon, Kent Hampton, Jeff Messenger, Lynn Morris, Donna Pfautsch, Don Phillips, Craig Redmon,  Lyle Rowland, Mike Thomson, Nate Walker, and David Wood.


The word was already spreading that some of them may be targeted next summer for primaries.  And the House Republican Campaign Committee sent word that they’d be on their own; they don’t get involved in primaries.

It’ll be a gift to Dems if a lot of these folks face right-side primaries. These are districts that can flip back Democratic without the right Republican candidate.  Stay tuned…

Grow Missouri Vows to Soldier On

Their statement: “While the Grow Missouri Coalition was formed just this past summer with the specific goal of advocating an override of Gov. Nixon's veto of House Bill 253, support and response far exceeded expectations, to such an extent that the group intends to continue with a broadened collective mission.”

AFP Also Looks to Future

Americans for Prosperity likewise licks its wounds on the issue and will launch a fresh initiative.  It will soon announce the formation a new seven-year proect to create an agenda for pro-growth legislative items to try to accomplish by the year 2020.

Herschend Splits With Chamber

The Missouri Chamber definitely raised its profile statewide with their involvement in the override campaign.  But there was at least some downside as well.  One indication of it came in the form of losing a member of their organization.  Peter Herschend, head of Heschend Family Entertainment, sent in a letter of resignation last week, severing ties because of MOChamber’s position on HB 253.

Rumorville: Rex Trust?

The override was obviously a defeat for retired financier Rex Sinquefield who poured over $2 million in the override effort.  Those would imagine that the set-back would send Sinquefield into a full-fledged retreat, however, will likely be quite disappointed.

And – here’s a totally unsubstantiated rumor to keep liberals tossing and turning at night: One source suggested that Sinquefield as part of his estate planning has set up a mechanism to provide that funding for his causes even after his death.  In other words, Sinquefield would be a force in the statehouse for decades to comes…   

House Overrides Gun Bill, Gets Defeated in Senate

The House squeaked by HB 436, the gun bill, with just the necessary number of votes.  The voting board was held open for a while, with late switches from Rep. Ken Wilson, and then Rep. Lincoln Hough to put them at 109.  It’s said that bill sponsor, Rep. Doug Funderburk, also had a few Dem commitments in his back pocket to be 109 just in case.

Joining Rep. Jay Barnes in dissent from the Republican side was Rep. Noel Torpey. And Rep. Galen Higdon voted present, also depriving Republicans of an override vote.

On the Dem side, TJ McKenna moved to a NO, and Aye-voting Dems were: Reps. Mike Frame, Ben Harris and Ed Schieffer.

In the Senate, however, Republican leaders Pro Tem Tom Dempsey and Floor Leader Ron “Bring it on, big boy” Richard joined the ten Democrats to defeat the override.

Koster Front and Center of Debate

Senate handler Brian Nieves repeated and unapologetically called Attorney General Chris Koster “a liar” for his letter on the bill.  It was unbecoming the upper chamber.

Servant Leadership in the Senate?

One lobbyist found the contrast between House leadership and Senate leadership very stark.  In the House, Tim Jones brought up the tax cut bill.  It was clear it would lose, but he still made his members go on the record, potentially exposing them to a primary challenge.  In the Senate, Dempsey and Richard made the “bad” vote themselves to shield their members from having a bad vote on the record.

Loesch Has Multiple Sources

Last night Radio Tea Party Host Dana Loesch tweeted her hit list of Republican senators who are RINOs because of the gun bill.  Sen. Scott Rupp tweeted back that she’s mistaken; those senators voted in favor of the bill.  She replied (via twitter): “And the aforementioned may have voted for it but I have multiple sources that claim they pushed back in caucus.”

Everyone understand the new rules?  Voting with them 100% isn’t enough, you can’t even voice concerns in private now or you’re a RINO…


Whoever is leaking caucus deliberations to a tweeting talk show host may find their popularity within the caucus deteriorates… Stay tuned…

Did Calzone Lobby for Gun Bill?

Ron Calzone reportedly addressed the House Republican Caucus Tuesday night on the issue of the gun bill.  Calzone doesn’t registered as a lobbyist.  His organization, Missouri First, says they lobby according their website: “Media advertising, public oratory, informational seminars, legislative lobbying, and citizen involvement may be used to teach or to influence public policy.” Yet his organization isn’t listed as principal either.

Paycheck Protection Stalled in Senate

The Senate was unable to override SB 29, the so-called “paycheck protection” bill.  Republican Sen. Gary Romine “took a walk,” that is, he wasn’t present for the vote.  And Republican Sen. Wayne Wallingford voted No.

This enraged some of their fellow Republicans, as there was apparently a miscommunication.  And because the two are from the southeast corner of the state which would benefit from HB 650 (Doe Run), the Senate drama machine cranked up with rumors that the override of that bill was now in trouble in the Senate…

Doe Run

HB 650 (Doe Run) was the most suspenseful of the veto session.  Ultimately Stinson’s super lobbyists Tricia Workman and Mike Gibbons pulled a rabbit out of the hat.  They added 16 votes to their regular session total of 94 and ended up with a vote to spare at 110.

The Ayes included a lot of Republicans, but Democrats tight with labor or near the proposed economic activity.

One rumor in the rotunda was that Congressman Lacy Clay had been making calls in the past week to members of the St. Louis delegation trying to fortify them to sustain the governor’s veto.  The accompanying rumor was that those reps were being promised a lead abatement fund for their area. St. Louis City Dems who voted for the override were: Michael Butler, and Penny Hubbard.

The Senate meanwhile soothed over the hard feelings from the earlier paycheck protection misunderstanding, and followed suit, capping one of the most improbable veto overrides in recent memory.

No Pay No Play

HB 339, dubbed “no pay, no play” passed the House barely. The 109 votes came with late switches from Rep. Sheila Solon, and then Rep. Robert Cornejo.  It also passed the Senate. 

This was another defeat for MATA, but you never know whether the game is actually over. If anyone capable of finding a court challenge to a bill, it’s the trial attorneys… 

Sex Offenders

Rep. Kevin Engler gave a passionate speech about reforming the sex offender registry (HB 301), then withdrew the motion for an override.  Perhaps he knew the votes were no longer there.  Or perhaps in caucus, the Republican majority decided the “tough vote” wasn’t worth it.

Unemployment Compensation

The Chamber’s other high priority bill was HB 611, which made changes to unemployment compensation.  They missed the override by two votes garnering 107.  The turning point apparently came in the debate when Rep. Sheila Solon announced that the feds had given Missouri a six-month waiver.  That moves the deadline to April.  In other words: next session.  There’s hundreds of millions of federal monies at stake.  The Chamber and the governor’s office have both claimed that the other side would result in losing the funds.

One business source fumed, “The Chamber sent a FOIA request weeks ago to determine whether or not there was a waiver. The Administration has still not produced it. They waited to tell businesses until they were on the floor.”

eMailbag on Nieves’ Koster Speech

“If there was a glimmer of a doubt left that Koster has locked up the Dem nomination for Governor, Nieves extinguished it tonight.  Koster oughta put him on the payroll.”


A Better Missouri With Governor Jay Nixon - $15,000 from Clayco.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Centene Management Company LLC.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $9,573 from John Bardgett & Associates.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Lon D Lowrey added Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter.

Larry Rohrbach deleted Coventry Health Care.

Who Won the Week?

It’ll be a healthy Who Won the Week tomorrow.  Reader input always appreciated.  Text, call (314-255-5210) or email