Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rumor: Deal for Taxes, Medicaid Scuttled?

There was a rumor that a deal was brewing between Republicans in the Senate and the second floor which would have had Governor Jay Nixon standing down from his objections to the huge tax cut sought by conservatives in exchange for a version of Medicaid reformation which included expansion – a goal highly sought by the hospitals and many business interests and chambers of commerce.

This proposed deal might have been the impetus behind Republican Party Chair Ed Martin’s email blast yesterday – “Special interests are pushing for ObamaCare Expansion in Missouri. The claim is a simple one, why wouldn't we accept "free" federal money? The answer is a simple one too, there is no such thing as "free" federal money. As Republicans we value our future, both for our health care AND for our fiscal sanity. We must stop the madness and stop the train-wreck that is ObamaCare.”

However, according to this rumor the deal was unraveled by the governor’s office themselves as they alerted their allies in the educational establishment to the swap.  They oppose the tax cut because they fear it would drain funding from their budgets.

Schweich’s Quarter

Unopposed Auditor Tom Schweich raised $251,596 and has $834,747 on-hand.  His rival for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2016, Catherine Hanaway, pre-announced $300K raised in the same quarter.  By that measurement, Schweich’s quarter looks quite good as this would have been Hanaway’s “low-hanging fruit” quarter.  Hanaway booked $150K of her proceeds from Rex Sinquefield and his related organization Missouri Club for Growth.  Schweich recorded $100K from Sam Fox during this period.

Gatschy’s Quarter

In Senate 2, Chuck Gatschenberger reported a weak quarter.  He raised $10,425, but spent $27,188 and has $47,950 on-hand.  His primary opponents Bob Onder and Vicki Schneider have yet to file their April quarters.  However both have put personal money into their campaigns and will show six-figure cash on-hand numbers.  The question is whether Gatschenberger will be able to compete with this lesser amount of resources.

Schaaf’s Quarter

Sen. Rob Schaaf raised $18,500 and has $107,959 on-hand.  That’s not a great quarter.  However he doesn’t have a primary so he has an extra quarter to raise money for this November contest.  And although Senate 34 is a swing district, Republicans I talk to in the halls are dismissive of the Democratic challenger.  We’ll see…

Norquist Did Call on RTW

I confirmed with a state representative who received a call from Grover Norquist concerning the right to work legislation.  Someone want to explain to me why Norquist, obviously attempting to influence legislation doesn’t have to register as a lobbyist.  See statute here.

RTW Talk

Will there be any fallout from the “sharing” of the whip count with an outside organization?  One Republican legislator says that he hears of others who were a Yes vote on perfection, but plan to “take a walk” if right to work comes up for final approval as a punch back at leadership for the transgression.  Could just be macho talk of the rotunda without any basis in reality, we’ll see. 

But one veteran thinks the response to the sharing has been much milder than it would have been if it had occurred twenty years ago before term limits.  Now there are so many legislators without the sense of legislative courtesy that they are “not as outraged as they should be.”

Gracia Backer in House 49

As rumored last week, here’s the press release announcing that Gracia Backer will be the Democratic candidate in House 49.  This is the Jeanie Riddle seat.  She’s running for state senate.  Travis Fitzwater is the Republican nominee.

The Democratic 49th District Legislative Committee voted unanimously Monday evening to nominate Gracia Yancey Backer to serve as the party's candidate this November. Backer was nominated to fill a vacancy on the ballot after Larry Brown withdrew from the race April 8. Under Missouri's term limits, due to her prior House service, Backer is eligible to serve a single two-year term…Backer represented Callaway County in the Missouri House from 1983 through 2000. In 1996, Backer was elected Majority Floor Leader, the first woman to hold this position in the history of the state of Missouri.  Having served as chair of several standing committees and a member of the Budget Committee, Backer has a record of strong support for education, job creation and the working men and women who are the backbone of this state… She has been married for 43 years to Mike Backer and resides in New Bloomfield.

Keystone Pipeline Pressure Builds

Pressure is being turned up on the Keystone Pipeline.  Yesterday US Senator Claire McCaskill and ten other senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking to an “explicit timeline for approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline permit.”

From the letter

[T]his is a process that has now gone on well past five years, has involved two applications, five federal reviews, multiple open comment periods, and numerous opportunities for consultation and comment  at either public forums or at staff-level meetings. The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), released by the State Department on January 31, 2014, was well over 2,000 pages and included an expanded analysis of potential oil releases; an expanded climate change analysis; an updated oil market analysis incorporating new economic modeling; an expanded analysis of rail transport; and additional analysis regarding alternative modes of transportation beyond rail…

 

This process has been exhaustive in its time, breadth, and scope. It has already taken much longer than anyone can reasonably justify. This is an international project that will provide our great friend and ally Canada, a direct route to our refineries. These refineries were specifically built to process and refine heavy crude, and Canadian crude will help replace heavy crude imports from unstable and unfriendly countries like Venezuela. Canada has done its part and has been a willing and patient partner throughout this process. This project will enhance our relationship with Canada and increase our drive towards North American energy security and independence, and there is no consultation required to arrive at that conclusion…

 

We cannot miss another construction season… This decision must not drag on into the summer.

 

The time to act is now Mr. President, please use your executive authority to expedite this process to a swift conclusion and a final decision so that we can all move forward on other energy infrastructure needs in this country…

And

On Thursday the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Sprinkler Fitters Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 and Sprinkler Fitters Local 268 will hold a press conference (9 am at the Local 562 Training Center) with Attorney General Chris Koster and TransCanada Executive Vice President Alex Pourbaix.  The event will highlight the UA’s Veterans In Piping Program and discuss the role infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL Pipeline play in providing a pathway to jobs for veterans transitioning to the workforce and those who are underemployed in the construction industry.

Hodges’ DWIs

On Casenet the latest DWI of Rep. Steve Hodges can been seen.  (Search under his given name James S. Hodges).  What’s interesting is that the charges for his DWI from February and his DWI from a few weeks ago were both filed on the same day.  It’s as if he might have gotten off on a lesser charge on his first offense, but with the second one coming on its heels they’ve decided to “throw the books” at him.

Hodges is term limited.

 

 

Bits

Governor Jay Nixon nominated former St. Louis Urban League CEO Jim Buford to the Board of Harris-Stowe University.

Jared Shapiro is the new Regional Advocacy Coordinator at Missouri Association of REALTORS.

Help Wanted

“The Missouri Public Service Commission is seeking a senior level attorney for its Office of Staff Counsel located in Jefferson City… Must be member of the Missouri Bar or eligible through reciprocity… The successful candidate will have experience demonstrating readiness to assume first chair responsibilities in administrative litigation and will demonstrate willingness to put in the time necessary to develop a thorough grasp of issues relating to the regulation of utilities. Prior experience in utility regulatory matters is useful but not required. Starting salary range: $63,360 - $66,060; salary commensurate with education and applicable experience.”   See it here.

“The Missouri State Public Defender seeks applicants for the position of General Counsel. The General Counsel reports to the Director and Public Defender Commission and serves as both a key member of the department’s senior management team and as department liaison to other branches of government and criminal justice entities. Prefer placement of position in Columbia… SALARY: $90,000 to $114,000, depending upon experience.”  See it here.

“The Department of Social Services, Division of Legal Services has an opening in its Litigation Section, located in the Jefferson City, Missouri office. Salary range is between $38,544 - $47,628 depending on work experience. The position provides legal advice to the Department of Social Services and its division for the central region of the State of Missouri. Majority of caseload involves active representation of Children's Division in child protection cases. Candidate must currently be licensed in Missouri.”  See it here.

“The Marshall Democrat-News, an award-winning hometown daily newspaper in mid-Missouri, has an opening for a general assignment reporter to cover breaking news and municipal issues for our Web and print publications… Marshall, Mo., an easy drive from shopping in Kansas City or Columbia, is also close to popular outdoor recreation areas in Arrow Rock, Lake of the Ozarks and the Katy Trail.”  See it here.

Fundraising Calendar

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

Reps. Lincoln Hough & Dave Hinson Reception – Gumbo Bottoms, Jefferson City – 6:30 p.m.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Jewell D. H. Patek added Logoize LLC, and SF Industries LLC.

Andrew B Blunt and Jay Reichard deleted McKinstry Essention Inc.

$5K+ Contributions

Teachgreat.org - $95,000 from Grow Missouri.

Friends of Tom Schweich - $15,000 from Lewis & Clark Ozarks Mountain Forum.

MO State Teachers Assoc Legislative Impact Co - $7,350 from Central Region CTA.

Missouri Early Voting Fund - $25,000 from Operating Engineers Local 101 Political Action Committee.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $10,000 from Roy Pfautch.

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Rep. David Wood (53) and former Rep. Jonas Hughes (35).