Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Court Swats Schweich Lawsuit

The Supreme Court ruled against Auditor Tom Schweich in his lawsuit complaining about Governor Jay Nixon’s over-eager budgetary withholds.  The Court dismissed the suit saying that the auditor did not have standing.  In some sense, it looks to me more like a punt by the Supreme Court than any actual guidance.  See the court’s ruling here.

Good government types worry that if the governor’s office wields an unfettered power to withhold, it amounts to a line-item veto that can never be overridden. 

The early talk out of the Republican legislature is a constitutional amendment next session to address what they see as a fundamental change in the system of checks and balances.

Transportation Tax IP

The transportation sales tax initiative petition is up on the secretary of state’s website.  See it here.  It’s a ten-year, one-cent sales tax.  As I read it, 90% of the tax proceeds would be directed by the Highway Commission.  5% would be directed to special fund for rural areas, and 5% to a fund for urban areas.  The tax would be up for renewal every ten years.

And

Yesterday Governor Jay Nixon appointed Bryan Scott to the State Highways and Transportation Commission.  The press release: “Scott has been with the Boeing Company in St. Louis since 1988 and currently serves as Director of Quality for the major aircraft manufacturer. He also is a functional member of the Boeing management negotiations team. Scott previously served in other management positions with Boeing. Scott, a Democrat, is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and obtained his master’s of management degree from Fontbonne University in St. Louis…”

Panel Disses Donnelly

The influential clutch of progressive women of St. Louis County are upset that former Rep. Margaret Donnelly did not make the recent panel for consideration for the vacancy on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District.  Instead the appellate commission chose three men – Michael David, James Dowd, and Phil Hess.  Governor Jay Nixon will appoint one of them to the bench.  See the St. Louis Beacon article here.

It’s said that they blame Nixon for the snub, though it’s unclear that he had any hand in the commission’s deliberations.  It does reinforce the portrait of Nixon as someone who’s most comfortable in the company of white male attorneys…

Kinder Bits

The political class is still digesting the news that Peter Kinder is considering “taking it to the next level.”  Here are a few thoughts from around…

On Crowell-Kinder

One source who’s watching the drama closely thinks I’m misreading former senator Jason Crowell.  He believes that Crowell would actually favor Kinder over Jason Smith, and thus I shouldn’t imagine Crowell willingly playing the spoiler role to help Smith.

Smith Ready for a Primary?

Another writes, “Remember, Smith has never had to run a primary.  His first MO House election was a special as well.”  The implication is that we don’t know how Smith will hold up when things get hot.  On the other hand, we know Kinder can take a punch – or a tank…

Kinder Energized

Kinder, making the talk radio circuit yesterday, sounded energized by the possible primary brawl.  When KMOX’s Mark Reardon asked Kinder about Smith’s statement that “friends don’t run against friends,” Kinder chuckled and retorted that Smith sounds like he’s “running for class president of the 8th Congressional District.”  Kinder recited his long list of accomplishments from his decades in politics, summing up the case for his candidacy as “Republicans need to put the best team they can on the field.”

Smith Fundraiser

Meanwhile, Team Smith unveiled a prodigious list of supporters for their Friday fundraiser in Cape Girardeau.  The special guest is Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, with Senator Roy Blunt and the entire Missouri Republican Congressional delegation listed as co-hosts.  The host committee is voluminous, including such bold-faced names as August Busch III, Jack Danforth, Stan Herzog, Eddy Justice, Keith Kirk, John and Kathy Qualy, Gary Rust, Fred Sauer, Jeff Shawan, Dave Spence, and Steve Tilley

Evans Exits

Dave Evans, the new addition to the speaker’s staff who accidentally left a loaded firearm in the basement bathroom of the Capitol, resigned.  He’s no longer listed as an employee on the House website.  It’s said his resignation was not asked for, and was in fact a surprise.  Apparently he felt apologetic that his incident had caused trouble for the speaker.

Shutdown Bits

New York Times features a lot of Missouri – including a cameo from MO Chamber of Commerce’s Dan Mehan – in their column about why Republican hate/fear ObamaCare.  Read it here.

From what I’m reading, the consensus among the pundit class is that the Republicans have the weaker hand in this government shutdown game.  One wonders, if it’s ultimately a politically costly gambit for Republicans, will Congresswoman Ann Wagner’s good soldier bit backfire?  Will other Republicans blame her for not being savvy enough to distance herself from this losing strategy?

If the shutdown continues until the October 15 FEC reporting deadline this notice might matter… “Like many federal agencies, the FEC will be unable to provide any services during the government shutdown. Agency staff will not report to work, some computer systems will be powered down and the agency’s headquarters will be closed. While the FEC’s website will remain on-line, its content will not be updated… Although the FEC’s e-filing system will remain online, at least for some period of time, FEC staff will not be able to monitor the system, and it is possible that technological problems may arise that would prevent filers from filing on time.  The FEC does not have statutory authority to extend filing deadlines, but may choose not to pursue administrative fines against filers prevented from filing by reasonably unforeseen circumstances beyond their control…”

 

eMailbag: A Sarcastic Doubter

“I doubt that the House Dems have anything to worry about either. They just shut down HDCC (the responsible party for any debts) and formed HDVC for no reason.”

$5K+Contributions

Laclede Political Action Committee - $50,000 from Laclede Gas Company.

Dooley for St. Louis County - $10,000 from Express Scripts Inc.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

 

Aaron G. March added Westport Today/Saint Luke’s Foundation.

Richard McIntosh deleted Public Consulting Group.

W T Dawson deleted Jackson County Legislature, Fortunet, All American Bingo, and Sugar Creek Missouri.

           

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Reps. Eric Burlison (37) and Tim Remole (56), and Danny O’Neill.