Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Propane Pain

Yesterday Sen. Mike Parson took to the Senate floor to rail against the sudden increase in propane prices, accusing the “big boys” of making money at the expense of Missourians.  Parson sounded the alarm of a serious crisis is folks in rural Missouri are unable to heat their homes during these frigid temperature.  The seriousness of the issue prevented any eye-rolling that Republicans, who often extol the market’s efficiency, sounded almost socialistic in their pleas that market prices not be allowed to determine the distribution of the propane.  


Attorney General Chris Koster also announced his office would investigate possible price gouging.


In the halls was another question: where’s Governor Jay Nixon?  Why all the hub-bub over education funding when something so essential and immediate is in a crisis?


Read Post-Dispatch’s Jim Gallagher’s article on the issue here


Pull Quote: The price of propane is skyrocketing. At the beginning of last week, 200 gallons cost $459. At 9 a.m. Friday, the price was $799. By 10 a.m., it was $1,027, said Robert Owen, director of the Jefferson Franklin Community Action Coalition in Hillsboro, which provides heating aid for the poor. The price ended Monday at $1,000 to $1,020, or about $5 to $5.10 a gallon.  About 10 percent of Missouri homes are heated by propane, according to the state Department of Economic Development….


A combination of bad weather and bad timing drained Midwest propane supplies. It started with a late harvest in wet weather. Farmers used propane heaters to dry their crops. As October ended, that produced the greatest one-week drain on Midwest propane supplies in 20 years, according to the U.S. Energy Administration. At the same time, a major pipeline from Canada was closed for maintenance. Railway problems slowed efforts to restock, then two major cold snaps set heating demand soaring. Experts say the U.S. has plenty of propane — America is an exporter — but the supply is in the wrong place…





Missouri Propane Gas Association’s lobbyists are: Brent Hemphill, Kristian Starner, and Mike Grote.




Obama to Lift Minimum Wage for Federal Workers

Wall Street Journal reports this morning that President Barack Obama will announce a big increase in the minimum wage for federal workers in his State of the Union speech tonight


President Barack Obama plans to act unilaterally to raise the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors, a move that asserts his executive powers before his State of the Union address in which he will press Congress to approve a broader increase this year.


The executive order would raise the minimum wage for workers on new federal contracts to $10.10 an hour, according to a fact sheet from a White House official. It said Mr. Obama would announce the new policy in his speech Tuesday, which is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.



Increasing the minimum wage is one of several issues Missouri Democrats have been cueing up as possible ballot questions for voters in November…




Behind the Montecillo Bill

Yesterday I wrote a blurb about Rep. Genise Montecillo filing a bill to require lobbyists who are on the sex offender list to disclose that information to the Missouri Ethics Commission.


The situation which led to the legislation appears to involve lobbyist Parker Bena.  The House’s chief clerk, Adam Crumbliss, recently sent a letter to the House staff and members about him.


“Last week, I received numerous concerns regarding an individual that was visiting the House and allegedly making several Members and staff feel particularly uncomfortable in the exchanges they had with him.


“The individual in question is Parker J. Bena. Mr. Bena is both a registered lobbyists and a registered sex offender.  In 2007, similar complaints about Mr. Bena’s activities were received, and an administrative decision was made to ban Mr. Bena’s entrance to all House facilities except those public spaces to which he is legally entitled to enter as a citizen.


“In light of recent concerns and complaints raised by Members and staff, I am compelled to act in a similar fashion again this year.  If you wish this ban not apply to your office, please let me know.  I have submitted a letter to Mr. Bena indicating his presence is not authorized in House offices…”




Normandy Hires Lobbyists

The Normandy School District hired Andy Blunt to lobby the legislature for additional funding, drawing the ire of some who think they should be spending every penny on educating the kids.  See the AP article here.




New Campaign Committee

Protect Missouri Children campaign committee was started yesterday.   It’ll support a constitutional amendment which will be before voters in November.


From the press release: “The change will allow relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in the prosecution of crimes involving minors, which is the standard used by federal courts and other states.  Missouri is more restrictive than any other state, barring prosecutors from telling jurors about prior criminal sex acts in nearly all cases against accused child predators.”


See their website here.



Chandler for House 88

Raymond Chandler says he’ll run for House 88.  The current incumbent, Jill Schupp, is running for Senate.  Chandler is a Republican.  See his website here.  He is a lawyer.  Dems expect to nominate Tracy McCreery.  And with the district being solidly Democratic, McCreery should win.




Another Hit?

Another pot initiative petition.  See it here.  Is the funky weed’s time coming for Missourians?...




Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Zachary Brunnert, David McCracken, Richard McIntosh, Franc Flotron, and Bill Stouffer added StudentsFirst.

Deborah Ann Kersting added          The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Rachael Klarich added all the clients of David Klarich.

Scott Swain added KC Healthy Kids.

Richard McIntosh deleted Kansas City Chiefs Football Club.




$5K+ Contributions

MO Chamber PAC - $10,000 from Rudy Farber.

DR PAC - $16,000 from Cape Radiology Group.

Committee to Elect Ron Richard - $5,100 from Southwest Missouri Leadership PAC.





Happy birthday to former Rep. Van Kelly (49).