Wednesday, May 7, 2014

After The Override

The House mustered the 109 votes, and overrode the governor’s veto.  Winners: lots of them.  Floor Leader John Diehl who did lots of things masterfully (see below); Gate Way Group’s David Jackson and Deanna Hemphill (who quickly found me in the halls to recite the terrible 30% chance I gave them on an override); Grow Missouri’s Aaron Willard, who scored a win after last summer’s discouraging HB 253 trouncing.


The Biggest Loser

Attorney General Chris Koster, as the favorite to become governor in 2016, he’ll be the one who will have to deal with the impact of the bill.  For the record: I’m not a dooms-dayer.  A .5% reduction in income tax rate phased in over years isn’t going to cause the apocalypse. 

But it is less money coming into the state coffers.  And tight revenues make a governor’s job harder.  Think of the easy Mel Carnahan years when the economy was booming versus Jay Nixon’s first term when every budget was about cuts.

Schaaf From the Bull Pen

While a great deal of the focus has been on the lone Democrat who jumped across the aisle, what might be more impressive is keeping 108 Republicans all in the wheelbarrow without one of them jumping out.

A lot of the credit goes to Floor Leader John Diehl who deftly gathered up commitments from the Flimsy 15 that they would stick with the bill.  He did this early, and locked them up before the “educational establishment” could turn them.

However there was a minor scare when several representatives began making demands for their votes.  Rumors say that Reps. Nick Marshall, Mike Moon and Ron Schieber were all looking to parlay their Aye votes to further their agenda.  For Marshall and Moon, its’ said that this revolved around their impeachment agenda.  Schieber was asking for a third read vote on right to work.

It’s said that Sen. Rob Schaaf intervened to smooth over their mutinous impulses.  A third way was proposed where the representatives would be allowed to pursue a “discharge petition” to get it out of Judiciary Committee where it is stuck.

More Override Bits

The last supper… Rep. Keith English was spotted the night before the override vote at the tony restaurant CC’s Broilers in Columbia, dining with some of his Republican friends…

Floor Leader John Diehl is at a new peak in popularity within his caucus.  The House Republicans had a certain glow about them yesterday… like they’d just made history… first income tax cut in a long, long time…

Diehl’s savviest move was keeping English in his back pocket.  It’s said that English was a Yes vote in the initial SB 509 vote, but Diehl instructed him to vote No instead and stay off the radar…

“What does English care?” says one staffer, who’s seen these sort of treacherous ploys… No one ever pays a price on these things.  What price did Penny Hubbard really pay, or Jamilah Nasheed when she voted against Dems in the redistricting map?

Is Nasheed “more man” than English?  When then-Rep. Jamilah Nasheed voted for lifting the campaign contribution limits or on the redistricting map, she did so unbowed, walking tall, taking on any comers.  Compare that with Rep. Keith English who never gave a floor speech to explain his position, much less take questions; who hid in Rep. Mike Leara’s office with the door locked; who enter the chamber briefly surrounded by others to touch his button then retreat out of the chamber.  I think I’d rather have Nasheed by my side in dark city alley…

For the tax-cutter advocates, this is just a “first down.”  They want to march down the field.  Don’t expect them to wait until this tax cut is phased in years from now.  They’ll be back for some fresh tax relief next session…

The incline is only going to get steeper for Dems.  After the special elections in August the Republicans will add two more votes to their numbers…

Post-Dispatch editorial on the override references English’s recent low blow in his MMA boxing match (see it here): On the website of is a video shot at a charity mixed martial arts event in Jefferson City last week. One of the fighters, state Rep. Keith English, D-Florissant, opened his bout by kicking his opponent, David Tate of Mexico, in the groin.  On Tuesday, Mr. English did pretty much the same thing to Missouri’s poor, working poor and most of its middle class.

Civil Disobedience in the Senate Gallery

A group of clergy in favor of Medicaid expansion disrupted the proceedings of the Senate yesterday by singing and chanting in the visitors’ gallery.  See the Post-Dispatch article here.

In the aftermath, there are a clear disconnect between the protesters and the senators.  For example, Sen. Ryan Silvey despairingly tweeted that it was sinking his efforts at Medicaid expansion.  Meanwhile, the protesters were quite pleased with their direct action.  I was told that they will be back and there are more who are happy to be arrested for cause. 

Silvey Tweets

It's incredibly frustrating, after all the work I've put in to solve the Medicaid problem, to be sunk by the very people I'm trying to help.


When pursuing a goal you have to have both strategy and tactics. You should never employ tactics that inhibit the strategy. #moleg


Medicaid expansion is dead for this year.

James on Lyft

Kansas City Mayor Sly James posted on his website that city’s current posture toward the app-based, ride-sharing company, Lyft.

The buzz around town over the past couple of weeks has been the supposed and manufactured controversy over Lyft’s entry into the Kansas City market.  Many have demanded to know, “how can the City oppose such an entrepreneurial concept when it’s trying to be the most entrepreneurial city in the nation?!”  Others have alleged that the City is in the back pocket of the taxi cab industry.  Let’s take a moment to hit the brakes and get the facts.


First, let me be clear.  The City has and will work with firms through our processes to gain compliance with our regulations. That’s called being innovative and entrepreneurial.  In fact, City staff members have been working with ridesharing companies to bring new technology and new services to our community for months now.  Lyft, however, didn’t make any contact with the City until the day they launched.  Just because complying with public safety regulations does not meet a company’s public relations/marketing timeline, that does not preclude their obligation to do so, nor does it allow us to waive our responsibilities because the concept is popular on Twitter.


Second, the City will not allow any firm to waltz into town with a business model that does not ensure public safety without taking measures to keep riders safe. That would be an affront to our duty to ensure public welfare.... 


We have been working with Uber and zTrip so that they can operate under our current regulations.  zTrip is operating legally and I’m hoping that Uber will choose to meet the necessary standards, which include background checks, proper driver’s license, and adequate insurance.  Some consider these unnecessary hoops that they must jump through.  I consider them reasonable safeguards for the citizens of our city.


This is not a case of the “big, bad City” out to set back entrepreneurs. This is a case where the City is willing to work with ridesharing companies in order to bring safe, innovative services to Kansas City.  When those companies are ready to work cooperatively with us to protect the safety of citizens, and they meet public safety regulations, we’ll be ready to give them a green light.

See it here.

Page to MO American Water

The job posting from the St. Louis Regional Chamber that I posted earlier this week is to replace Christine Page.  She’ll be moving over to Missouri American Water as their Director of Government Affairs. 

Senate Debates Abortion

Last night the Senate debated this year’s abortion bill.  It would increase a woman’s “waiting period” before having an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed offered an amendment to exempt pregnancies resulting from rape from this new requirement.  And Sen. Scott Sifton’s amendment would also have added pregnancies resulting from incest. 

Both amendments failed on party lines.  But when Sifton followed by offering an amendment to increase sex education, the bill was laid over as Pro Tem Tom Dempsey took a point of order objection “under advisement,” and not immediately ruling.

That must have frustrated some Republicans to have the bill laid over after casting what must have been a pretty tough vote regulating rape victims.


The mighty Jason Rosenbaum put up video of St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley reacting to the Chesterfield rattling the secession saber over the sale tax pooling.  “The logistics is Chesterfield is not leaving St. Louis County.”  See it here.

Rep. Dave Hinson’s HB 1557, restricting red light cameras and speed cameras, is on deck for Senate debate this week. The state of current law, with the Missouri Supreme Court refusing earlier this month to consider two camera cases, is that the red light cameras remain legal so long as they follow the model used in St. Peter’s: they must take face shots to help identify drivers rather than only license plate shots to ticket registered owners, and violators must get points on their drivers’ license for violations. Amounts of potential tickets also aren’t currently capped. HB1557 would exempt camera-caught violations from punitive points, would not require face shots and would cap fines. Columbia Daily Tribune’s Hank Waters endorsed the bill in Tuesday's lead editorial.  See it here.

Sen. Wayne Wallingford was appointed to the Missouri State Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees.

Fundraising Calendar

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar

Agriculture Day – South lawn of Capitol - lunch served 11a.m.-1 p.m.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Jorgen Schlemeier and Bill Gamble added Kansas City Transportation Group.

Don Stamper added Anna Marie Knipp.

Elizabeth Wohlleb deleted RReef Americas LLC.

$5K+ Contributions

Committee to Elect Allen Moss - $7,500 from Allen Moss.


Happy birthdays to Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (62), Sen. Scott Sifton, and Rep. Don Phillips (63).