Tuesday, Decemeber 31, 2013

To Inspire Your New Year

We’ll start with some inspiration… Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal reports on Facebook that she just weighed in this morning.  Her program of fitness has resulted in a weight loss of 85 pounds!

Agricultural Landscape Follow-Up

Yesterday I sketched out the landscape of political intrigue among agricultural groups.  One observer informed me of the biggest missing piece of the puzzle… Forrest Lucas.

Lucas isn’t a household name in Missouri, but in agriculture he’s something akin to what Rex Sinquefield is in education.  He has a definite view how politics matters in the industry and backs it up with money. 

Lucas is best known as the founder of Lucas Oil (as in Lucas Oil Stadium where the Indiana Colts play).  Here’s a bio of him from Fortune Magazine.

Although he lives in Indiana, Lucas also has a farm in southwest Missouri.  That farm has some of the only fingerprints of Lucas’ political involvement in the state, showing contributions last year from Lucas Cattle Company ($50,000 to Sen. Mike Parson, and $10,000 to Shane Schoeller’s SOS bid).

But it’s said that Lucas helped lead the late charge against Prop B in 2010.  And most importantly, Lucas founded Protect the Harvest in 2011, a national organization focused on farming issues.  See Protect the Harvest website here.

Protect the Harvest has quickly become a leader in several states – including Missouri – for the “right to farm” constitutional amendments.   The question will go before voters in November.  See it here.

According to their 990 form, Parson is on the board of Protect the Harvest.  And so is Dale Ludwig, although one wonders if he’ll continue in that role of if someone else from the Soybean Association will take him spot.

Latest Ellinger Petitions

The four initiative petitions filed by Marc Ellinger on December 20 have some interesting bed fellows: big tobacco and Rex Sinquefield.  Ellinger apparently works for both big tobacco and Sinquefield in the past.  For example, he filed an initiative petition two years ago that would have increased tax on small tobacco by $1 a pack two years ago and he was the author of the teacher tenure repeal petition for Sinquefeld.

These new IPs would change the constitution and put the tobacco tax, the special assessment on vapor and the $.55 equity assessment on small tobacco, in the constitution.  The funds generated by these taxes would be used to reduce the income tax permanently and would tie the legislature’s hands on ever raising the income tax the future. 

While initially the tobacco tax increase would offset the income tax reduction, standard economic forecasting predicts that increased costs of tobacco results in declining sales.  Thus when the cigarette sales decrease and the income tax reduction is permanent, the legislature will have to look to other sales taxes to make up the difference.

I cannot imagine that the realtors, the social service groups and the educrats would not come unglued over this.

Lager Pre-files Utilities Bills

Sen. Brad Lager, chair of the Commerce Committee, has pre-filed as separate bills, the various portions of the right-of-way and pole attachment bills that were found unconstitutional (together).

SB 649 - Modifies provisions relating to right-of-way of political subdivisions.

SB 650 - Modifies provisions relating to wireless communications infrastructure deployment.

SB 651 - Modifies provisions relating to communications services.

SB 652 - Modifies provisions relating to utility access to railroad right-of-way.

SB 653 - Modifies provisions relating to municipal utility poles.

Duvall for House 35

Ken Duvall has started a campaign committee to run for House 35 as a Democrat.  The current incumbent is Rep. Gary Cross.  The district has shifted – due to redistricting – significantly to the Republican side.  It went from being about a 54% DPI to a 46% DPI.  That makes Duvall’s bid uphill, though not impossible. 

See Duvall’s attorney bio here.

Tipster: Yes, Wright for Treasurer

Says a lobbyist: “John Wright is meeting with the state’s top Democrats as well as large contributors and interest groups telling them that he is running (for Treasurer).”

Help Wanted

Missouri Times seeks reporter. “We are looking for someone who enjoys covering politics, has great intuition when it comes to news (especially political), is willing to work hard and is excited about their craft.”  See it here.

Post Dispatch seeks energy/environment reporter.  “We need a watchdog reporter who can understand complex issues and write fairly, clearly, accurately and authoritatively.”  See it here.

$5K+ Contributions

Friends of Rob Vescovo - $5,001 from Ernie Gibson.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $5,001 from IBEW PAC Voluntary Fund.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. Mike Moon (55), Carol Kemna (47), CDT’s Ashley Jost (22), Beyond Housing’s Chris Krehmeyer (52), and former Rep. Kate Meiners (55).

Be Safe Out There

Just a reminder… be safe out there tonight.  St. Louis City is cracking down on those refusing a breathalyzer test.  See it here.  

And every morning you cans see Missouri Highway Patrol arrests, many of which are DWI here.