Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Senate Approves Two Big Priorities

After hours of a filibuster last night, Senate Dems and Republicans negotiated a final week peace.  It allowed for the Republicans to pass their version of early voting and the 72-hour wait for abortions while protecting other Dem priorities.  Post-Dispatch’s Marie French has the story.  Read it here.

“Democrats agreed to stand down on a constitutional amendment to allow some early voting in Missouri and a measure to extend the waiting period before an abortion. In exchange, Senate Republicans agreed not to push for voter photo identification or the paycheck deduction bill.”

This creates peace, free up a lot of floor time, and will allow for a possibly very productive final week.  Great news for student transfer legislation, for example.

Car Wars

AP’s David Lieb reports that House Floor Leader John Diehl is no fan of the anti-Tesla language.   Read it here.

Pull Quote: The Missouri House majority leader has no plans to move forward with a bill that could prohibit electric carmaker Tesla Motors from selling vehicles directly to consumers.  Republican Majority Leader John Diehl said Monday that many of his House colleagues have concerns about the bill… Diehl says some lawmakers are concerned it would limit the free market and result in unintended consequences.

The status quo – i.e. no bill passing – is always the most favorable ground to hold.  Passing a bill is always harder than stopping a bill.   Now with the House floor leader sympathetic to their pleadings, Telsa’s position is quite strong.


Red Light Camera Bill Screeches to Halt

HB 1557 stalled yesterday and went back to the limbo of the informal calendar of the Senate.

Here is where controlling law on red light cameras stands if it sit there for the final four days and the legislature doesn’t pass anything: Both red light cameras and speed cameras remain legal and constitutional based on current case law in Missouri. Face (and by extension, occupant) pictures will be used, penalty points will be imposed against violators caught on camera and there will be no limit on fines.  The bill caps them at $135m though Sen. Jason Holsman amendment would have lowered that to $100.

Sen. Brad Lager sidelined the bill yesterday with an amendment which would ban any new red-light cameras in the state.  That amendment is a bill killer which ironically will let the cameras continues relatively unchecked.  It’s not dissimilar to the way Jason Crowell used to kill any tax credit reform by staking out an extreme position for tax credit reform.

Carter’s Second Revenge?

Lager’s opposition to red light cameras is funny because he’s on the same side of the issue as Mike Carter, the obscure former Wentzville municipal judge who was the spoiler that cost Lager the 2012 GOP nomination for lieutenant governor. Carter centered his whole campaign on fighting the cameras. The August 2012 primary results from Missouri Secretary of State:

Peter Kinder 43.8%, 255,064 votes

Brad Lager 41.2%, 239,735 votes

Mike Carter 8.2%, 47,515 votes

Charles W. Kullmann 6.9%, 39,940 votes

Total Votes: 582,254


Rea Scharnhorst Un-Bounced

On Friday, Rea Scharnhorst was on the list of the disqualified candidates sent over to the Secretary of State’s office from the Department of Revenue.  Yesterday, she was un-disqualified by DOR.  No details…  But she’s back in the House 98 Republican primary.

Biden Trip

From the White House press office: *DAILY GUIDANCE FOR THE VICE PRESIDENT*  *Tuesday, May 13, 2014*


At 7:30 AM, the Vice President and Secretary of State Kerry will meet for breakfast at the Naval Observatory. This meeting is closed press. 


Later in the morning, the Vice President will attend the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office.


In the afternoon, the Vice President will travel to St. Louis, Missouri. At 3:30 PM CT, the Vice President will visit the CityArchRiver project at the St. Louis Gateway Arch to discuss the economy and highlight the progress of this future urban park site. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Senator Richard Durbin will also attend. The Vice President’s remarks at this event are open press.


Afterwards, the Vice President will travel to Alton, Illinois. At 5:00 PM CT, the Vice President will attend an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at the Simmons Law Firm. This event is closed press.


At 6:15 PM CT, the Vice President will attend an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at a private residence. This event is closed press.


In the evening, the Vice President will return to Washington, DC.


Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC are big Dem donors.  In 2012 they contributed $241,000 in large campaign contributions in Missouri.

Skip Olsen’s Lawyer…

Remember Skip Olsen?  He was the sketchy Democratic “operative” who briefly ingratiated himself among Dem politicos during the Bob Holden years, and whose secret recordings later led to the unraveling of two promising political careers?

He’s back in the new, kind of.  St. Louis’ Fox 2 has the story here.

Jeff Witt is now back in St. Louis facing criminal charges.  As we`ve investigated Witt`s dealings, we`ve unraveled questionable ties to a seedy underworld.  Witt may be best known for exposing a former client, the convicted Clayton garage bomber.  Now another former client is speaking out for the first time, about how he says Witt may have forced him to interfere with that Federal bombing investigation….

Ridgeway Complaint Closed

The complaint against Clay County Commissioner (and former state senator) Luann Ridgeway for use of public funds was closed.  See it here.  Missouri Ethics Commission Executive Director James Klahr writes, “Currently the Commission is composed of four members. Section 105.955.6 provides that at least four members are necessary to constitute a quorum, and at least four affirmative votes shall be required for any action or recommendation of the Commission.  In this instance, there were not four Commissioners able to consider this complaint.  Therefore, the Commission could take no action on this complaint at this time.”

Howard to Offer Sessions

Chris Howard, deputy legislative director for the speaker’s office, on his Facebook page: 

Many people have spent time and effort to come to the Capitol and advocate for a bill, issue, policy or against. I have seen, sadly, most of those people waste time because they do not know how.


If you are interested in such a session, as set below, let me know if you are interested and if you would rather have these sessions in Jeff. City or in St. Louis. I have Representatives, lobbyists and other professionals willing to help.


If there is enough interest from around the State, I will do the sessions in Jeff City. If not only session 2 and 5 will be at the capitol.


Part One: Building a relationship with your representative or senator. How to work with them on issues. How be seen as an asset. How to work with them even if you disagree.


Part Two: How a bill really becomes a law or does not. Taught in Jeff City with the help of the Clerks office. This is the adult NC-17 version not the fourth grade version.


Part Three - Working with/against the press. Working with/against Lobbyists - they are all not our enemies.


Part Four: Planning an effective trip and leading others to a advocacy day at the capitol.


Final: A planned trip to Jeff. City on the first day of Veto Session.

Help Wanted

Missouri REALORS seek a Director of Legal Affairs and Risk Management.  Responsibilities include: “Oversee and administer the Association’s statewide ethics, arbitration and mediation process (including training and education activities, as well as serving as legal counsel for all ethics and arbitration hearings and appeals)… Field and respond to calls from members regarding various topics involving real estate transactions, and compliance with state and federal laws (including but not limited to license law and National Association of REALTORS’ Code and Manual)…” See the ad here.

The City of Joplin, Missouri seeks an experienced City Attorney “with vision and drive to advise and represent Mayor, City Council, and City departments in legal matters.”  See the ad here.

eMailbag: On Tesla

From a non-lobbyist observer without a dog in the fight: “You should stop by the Tesla store in U City.  It's obviously rented space in a cheap commercial area.  There are many such spaces in Fairview Heights IL. Do you think IL would be stupid enough to ban Tesla sales?  So Tesla can simply move across the river and keep the Metro STL market.  And MO can lose those jobs.  What about Kansas City?  The KS legislature is demonstrably stupid, but is it stupid enough to ban Tesla? So the real impact of this bill may simply be to keep Tesla out of Chillicothe, Columbia, Moberly, Springfield, etc.”

Fundraising Calendar

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Rep. Jeanie Lauer Morning Reception – Coffee Zone, 130 E. High – 7-8 a.m.

End of Session Social by Rep. Lynn Morris – West Second Floor Alcove – Noon-3 p.m. (chocolate / van custard)

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Zachary Brunnert, Franc Flotron, Kent Gaines, David McCracken, Bill Stouffer and Richard McIntosh added Missouri Automobile Dealers Association.

Shanon M Hawk added County Cab.

Jack Cardetti added Tesla Motors Inc.

$5K+ Contributions

Jefferson County Charitable Fund - $74,638 from Friends of Ryan McKenna.

Missourians Against Unfair Taxes - $5,334 from Clayton St. Louis Property LLC.


Happy birthday to former Rep. Beth Low (37), and Corey Jackson (32).