Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rumor: McKenna for Department of Labor

I heard from a very credible source that Sen. Ryan McKenna is on tap to be the next director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

The rumor makes sense: McKenna is very popular with labor; he is in the final year of his legislative service, unable to run for re-election due to term limits.  McKenna may be the most well-liked senator, so it’s hard to imagine any confirmation problems for him.  Julie Gibson is now the acting director of the department, and Governor Jay Nixon has been criticized by Republicans for his habit of leaving acting directors in position indefinitely.

If the rumor is true, it’s good news for incumbent Jefferson County Executive Ken Waller.  McKenna was thought to me eyeing that position.   And it gives some urgency to Reps. Jeff Roorda and Paul Wieland as they might be facing off in a special election in the Spring instead of next November.

We’ll see….

Wedel for House General Counsel?

It’d be an unorthodox pick, but one Republican says that Ted Wedel’s name, chief of staff to the minority leader for the past decade or so, has been floated as a possible hire for House General Counsel, a position he held years ago.  But it’s unclear if there’s been any contact or if this is just speculation.

Ameren Agenda?

This is the time of year when we usually hear some kind of leak or float from Ameren concerning their legislative agenda for the upcoming year.  It often takes the form of an acronym – CWIP, ESP, SMR…

One source who claims to be uninvolved says that Ameren has been meeting with their largest customer/arch-nemesis Noranda trying to find some way to advance their infrastructure in a way that’s acceptable to the aluminum giant.  But on word on how whether progress in those talks is being made…

On the Road

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman heads off to Columbia this afternoon for a three-day trip including two days in Kansas City meeting Democrats, and keeping an eye on the statewide landscape?

More Pressure Added to Education Reform Next Session

The Missouri Supreme Court upheld the student transfer law (again) which has caused angst during the past six months.  Read the KC Star story here.

Pull Quote: “The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday denied area school districts an escape from a much-feared state law that allows students to transfer out of unaccredited school districts…  Now the pressure falls back on lawmakers and policymakers to either fix or eliminate the law, which would compel Kansas City Public Schools to pay tuition and transportation costs for students who choose to depart to neighboring districts in the 2014-2015 school year.

“Kansas City, the only unaccredited district in the area, and neighboring districts have witnessed the severe financial and emotional strain playing out in the St. Louis area, where districts began implementing the law in August.”

Bits

St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby, Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Rep. Rory Ellinger will be hosting a questions and answer Boeing, Economic Development and Jobs Town Hall on Thursday, December 12, 7-9pm, University City Public Library.  The panelists expected to include Marc Jacob, Chris Krehmeyer, Rodney Crim, and Tim Person.

Carl Bearden promises a return of the Wall of Shame.  See it here.  His organization, United for Missouri, made the “wall” of the legislators who voted against HB 253, the tax-cut bill.  He notes that the same legislators who feared the detrimental impact of a tax cut to Missourians were willing to offer a tax cut to Boeing…

KC Business Journal (via the peerless Combest): “The U.S. Supreme Court has all but paved the way for Missouri to collect millions of dollars in additional tax revenue every year… the court dismissed an appeal by Amazon.com Inc. and Overstock.com Inc… By refusing to hear the case, the court essentially has opened the door for states like Missouri to pass similar laws that not only would generate millions in additional annual revenue for the state, but give consumers an incentive to shop locally, said Andrew Wesemann, an Institute of Public Policy doctoral student at the University of Missouri's Truman School of Public Affairs.”  Read it here.

eMailbag: On Nicastro Resignation Call

“The list of people who aren’t on the letter from the KC Star article is more telling than those who are on it. I don’t think Sen. Paul LeVota has much (if any) of the school district, but Sens. Kiki Curls and Jason Holsman (who taught in the KCPS system) aren’t on it. Neither are the members of the House minority leadership from KC…”

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Andrew B Blunt and Jay Reichard added A.T. Still University.

Shanon M Hawk deleted Prive’ Living Well.

Matt Hill added Small Business Backbone of America.

$5K+Contributions

Stand Up Missouri - $19,000 from Tower Loan of Mississippi LLC.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $5,001 from Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 Voluntary Political, Educational, Legislative, Charity & Defense.