Tuesday, December 17, 2013

St. Louis Senators Speak on Student Transfers

Yesterday four St. Louis County senators held a press conference to announce their intention to work on modifying the student transfer law.  Sens. Eric Schmitt, John Lamping, Gina Walsh and Scott Sifton attended the press conference.  The Post-Dispatch has the story here.

One provision of the proposed legislation would bring accreditation down to the individual school level so that children in a failing school could switch to a non-failing school within their own district rather than transferring out to a neighboring district.

Right to Work

Yesterday I passed on a story by AP’s David Lieb sketching out possible implications from the Boeing special session.   One of these potential impacts is that some Republicans, itching to enact right to work legislation, might be quick to seize on any evidence that Missouri’s labor laws were detrimental to its bid.

Lieb is correct that there are some Republicans anxious to do this.  (Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, Speaker Tim Jones, and Rep. Eric Burlison have repeatedly reiterated a desire to advance right to work.)

However this impetus doesn’t necessarily have a grounding in reality.  For starters, Boeing has had successful run with union labor historically in St. Louis, so there’s nothing to indicate that our union work force would be a competitive disadvantage.

And politically, my observation is that organized labor has been much more of a uniting factor in economic development than a divisive factor.  They have been at the heart of recent major efforts, of which the Boeing bid was just the latest.

Because labor membership includes a strong contingent of conservative working class families who vote Republican as often as Democratic, their jobs mantra has bipartisan appeal – even if most of their political money continues to flow to Democrats.

As various analyses have mentioned, a ready and skilled workforce is ultimately more critical to Boeing’s 777x project than an ideological battle over right to work.  And in the end, as one observer humorously concludes, “obviously we are giving Boeing everything including the kitchen sink, so it is going to come down to which state has offered to host the Super Bowl at no charge, build a new domed stadium, and give everyone free tickets, airfare, beer and brats…”

Pre-files

Last week Governor Jay Nixon held a press conference with Sen. Will Kraus and others to push again for ethics reform, including campaign contribution limits.  Kraus’ latest pre-file (SB 629) establishes limits: $10K for statewide, $2,500 for state senators and $1K for state representatives.  Those are the numbers around which proposed legislation appears to be coalescing.  Kraus’ bill also includes a nifty provision requiring appointees to boards and commissions to list any political contributions they’ve made in the previous ten years.

Sen. Brian Nieves is back with his bill to strip the press of their parking spaces and offices in the capitol.   As well as bills to strip the federal government of some of their powers…

Rand Paul to Speak at GOP Lincoln Days

“The Missouri Republican Party and Missouri Association of Republicans are excited to announce the keynote speaker for the Saturday evening banquet (February 22) at Lincoln Days 2014: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.”

New Committee

A new PAC, the Leadership Committee, was formed.  The treasurer is Gloria Wessels, wife to former alderman Fred Wessels.  One observer speculates that with Fred Wessels’ appointment to head up St. Louis City’s Community Development Administration, the new committee could be a place to park any leftover campaign funds.  The St. Louis City merit system does not allow employees to have committees or be officers of committees.

Help Wanted

Jobs openings at the secretary of state’s office.  See them here.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Parker J Bena deleted The Daley Group LLC.

Marsha L Wallace deleted Empire District Electric Company.

$5K+Contributions

Stand Up Missouri - $6,000 from Personal Finance Company LLC.

Stand Up Missouri - $11,500 from Wallace Management Co.

MO Democratic State Committee - $10,000 from Clint Zweifel.

Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc - $10,000 from Olsson Associates.

Local 41 Political Action Fund - $10,957 from DRIVE Committee.

Association of MO Electric Cooperatives-PAC - $10,000 from Northeast Missouri Electric Power Cooperative.

Birthdays

Happy birthday to former Reps. Sam Komo (44), Talib El-Amin (43), and Barney Fisher (66), and lobbyist Kristian Starner.