Monday, August 19, 2013

House Republican Summer Caucus…

First, Money

It’s said that the House Republicans raised over $500,000….

Override Gossip

HB 253 Bits

It sounds like the House will be voting on the tax cut bill regardless of whether they have the votes pinned down or not.  That upsets some Republicans who worry about their political welfare.  They fear a primary if they don’t vote for the override, but fret about the general if they for it. 

There a growing list of “queasy” Republicans… Rep. Mike Thomson is now a No vote (also See Senate 12 below); Rep. Caleb Rowden tells Columbia Missourians he’s getting wobbly (see it here); Rep. Lynn Morris is shaky; and Reps. Don Phillips and David Wood are also leaning toward No, according to a source at caucus.

Rep. Jeff Grisamore and Nate Walker reportedly said that they don’t like the bill.  However they pledged to vote for the override IF they are the determining votes.  In other words, they don’t want the override, but they will be loyal caucus members and won’t be the ones to sink it.

Meanwhile, Dems believe that Rep. Penny Hubbard will vote for the override if they need her.

HB 650

Again, a strong source says that Rep. Penny Hubbard who voted against HB 650 in regular session is now flipped and will be voting to override the governor… 

There’s a gap here between the House Republican vote count and House Dem vote count.  Republicans think they have 112 votes for this – including in the words of one observer “a surprisingly high number of Democrats.”  Dems think they’re being way optimistic on how many Dems will cross their governor.

HB 301

There’s good momentum on the sex offender reform bill.  But some still have concern over the political damage of being soft on sex offenders.  We’ll see…

HB 436

Consensus is that gun nullification probably gets overridden.

Hoskins Pro Tem

Rep. Denny Hoskins prevailed over Rep. Jeanie Riddle in his speaker pro tem race.  He was nominated by Rep. Elaine Gannon.

That means Riddle remains at Rules and no major shake-up in committee chairs next session.

Speaker’s Race: Seniors Vote

The Republican House Caucus decided to let “seniors” (those term limited) vote in the speaker’s race next month.

While one person claimed this was a victory for Caleb Jones, my personal guess is that the group (seven of them) are pretty closely split and probably will not be decisive in the vote.

Speaker’s Race: Please Read the Letter

Summer caucus became an occasion for letter-writing…

Leara for Diehl

Caucus Members,


Less than a year ago, I was traveling the state, visiting members in their districts, talking about the direction of the caucus, and running for Majority Floor Leader against John Diehl. Less than a year later, I am writing to let you know that I am supporting John Diehl for Speaker of the House.  As our Floor Leader, John has demonstrated time and again that he has earned our support by the way he has handled himself. Even on issues where we may disagree, John has always carried himself with professionalism, respect, and integrity. This is the kind of leadership that we need to ensure the long-term strength of our caucus. John is a capable leader worthy of our support and I encourage you to join me in supporting him for Speaker of the House.



Mike Leara

Caleb Outlines Platform

Dear Colleague,


Over the past few months, I have enjoyed getting a chance to know many of you in barns, cafes and your homes.  I’ve listened to your concerns and your thoughts. It has reaffirmed my belief in the elected men and women of Missouri’s House.


As we begin the final push to selecting a Speaker, I wanted to set out my thoughts on how to make sure that every voice is heard in our Caucus.  The rules our Caucus operates by were determined long before any of us decided to run for the legislature. Viewed in the era of a newly minted Republican majority trying to find its way, they made perfect sense. However, with a veto-proof majority, our Caucus needs to adapt to make sure we are still serving our members.


I want to do away with the procedure and rules that limit the decision-making to a few selected members of leadership. I believe our Caucus needs to function less as a top-down body and more of a bottom up one.


With that in mind, I would put the following changes before our Caucus should I be elected Speaker.


1.    Eliminate the Rules Committee.  When Republicans first came into power in 2002, there was no Rules Committee. I believe this Committee is a stopgap for legislation and curbs an individual member’s ability to pass meaningful legislation.


2.    Eliminate Committee Slots.  Currently Chairmen of committees are only allowed to pass three bills out of their committee.  This neutering of committees is the reason we have omnibus bills every year. If a Committee has a piece of legislation that they believe will help Missouri they should pass it and let the whole House consider its fate.  We should not fall into the trap of omnibus bills like we see at the federal level.


3.    Chairmen should be accountable to the Caucus.  If we allow our committees to pass pieces of legislation they feel are important, we must also have a system of accountability.  Every Chairman will report to the Caucus on a weekly basis what legislation they are hearing and voting on.  Members will be up to date on legislation and have an opportunity to study up or impact a piece of legislation while its in committee.


4.    Hold real Caucus meetings.  Our Caucus meetings are short and do not allow any time for real discussion of upcoming legislation.  This was not always the case. Our Caucus meetings should be opportunity for members to help educate each other about legislation and explain why they are supporting or opposing legislation.  Most importantly, Caucus should be a time when the members can examine bill, find problems and make the necessary changes to make a bill a good piece of legislation.


5.    Give the Caucus the ability to determine legislation.   Given the size of our majority, we now represent very diverse districts.  A majority of our majority should be required to put a bill on the floor. If 90 or more members support a piece of legislation as a caucus priority, it will be.


We have a choice to make as a Caucus. Do we best represent our constituents when only a handful of people make all the decisions? Or would it be better if the House used the talents of all its members?


I am running for Speaker because I believe we need to change the way this body operates. This is an opportunity for all of us to leave a legacy that will make sure Republicans stay in the majority and every Representative has the voice they deserve.


I look forward to discussing my proposals with you soon.


All my best,


Caleb Jones

Also Gatschy Shakes a Fist at Smith

And the Missouri Times reports that Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger railed against Speaker Tim Jones’ chief of staff Tom Smith involvement in his Senate primary.  See it here.

Hanaway for Gov

The St. Louis Beacon quoted former Speaker Catherine Hanaway saying, “The overwhelming encouragement I’m getting is (to run for) governor,” Hanaway said.  See it here.

A Republican legislator texted me that Hanaway was much less coy in person, and that she’s basically in for governor.

That’s good for Democrats who fear that Hanaway would be the deadliest attorney general candidate that Republicans could field.  Her resume as a US Prosecuting Attorney together with her national fundraising contacts would overwhelm Mike Sanders or whoever ends up in that slot.

Meanwhile if she runs for governor, Dems are unworried: Between his incredible fundraising capacity, and his law-and-order image from two cycles of searing and saturated television ads, they think that Chris Koster is nearly invincible. 

2014 Watch: Senate 12

Rumor is that Rep. Mike Thomson has decided against running for Senate 12 (Lager termed).   But Rep. TJ Berry may.  If this is true, then Thomson’s lack of future ambitions may have freed him up to vote his conscience in HB 253 override.  

2014 Watch: Roden in House 111

Shane Roden has filed a committee to run in House 111 as a Republican.  It appears that Roden is a hazardous materials trainer with no previous elective history.

Democrat Mike Frame is the current incumbent. He won a tight race in 2012, with 50.7% of the vote.  House 111 is a swing district.


Missouri Roundtable for Life - $92,538 from Fred Sauer.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Douglas M Ommen deleted Missouri Insurance Coalition.


Happy birthdays to Bryan Cave’s Tim O’Connell, Missouri Family Health Council’s Connie Cunningham, and Sen. Kraus’ Mark Siettmann.