Monday, June 10, 2013

 Gunn to Polsinelli

Former Public Service Commission chairman Kevin Gunn has landed at the law firm of Polsinelli.  He started last week in the St. Louis office.  Unsurprisingly, his practice area is “energy.”  See his lawyer page here.

Jefferson Jackson Dinner Bits

Democrats met last weekend in St. Louis and celebrated their fellowship with lots of rah-rah.  Here’s are some tidbits from the main event dinner…

Carnahan Exit Complete

It was the first big gathering of Dems like this in a long time that didn’t have a couple, or at least one Carnahan, in attendance.  I asked a few folks afterwards what Russ Carnahan’s next move looked like and got shrugs…

Jean Peters Baker for AG?

Former state representative, and current Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is being encouraged by some Dems to throw her hat in the ring for attorney general in 2016.  Meanwhile some think that Secretary of State Jason Kander will slide over to that spot by 2016.

No Rest Unto the Senator

Senator Claire McCaskill gave a passionate speech.  She recalled her re-election journey and how bad her numbers were early on, but how the grassroots activists and volunteers never “gave up” on her.  “There were some leaders here who didn’t want to be close to me.  They didn’t want to ‘catch it.’  I didn’t give up, you didn’t give up.”

She said that some senators after re-election will “put their feet up” since with six-year terms they can take a vacation from the politics without serious repercussions.  She, though, planned to show her gratitude by working extra hard to help Democrats during the next cycle.

Indeed she’s hosting a House Democratic Victory Committee fundraiser on June 28, and is lead host on the Jill Schupp kick-off this Thursday.

Dems to be Koster’s New Favorite Charity

Attorney General Chris Koster made the biggest splash by announcing that he would bankroll Dem candidates with $100,000 a year for each of the next four years.

That’s a huge improvement over Governor Jay Nixon’s contributions of about $0.  But it’s also won’t level the playing field if history is any indication…

House GOP 30-Day After 2012: $2.5 million total raised.

House Dem 30-Day After 2012: $740K total raised.

Senate GOP 30-Day After 2012: $864K total raised.

Senate Dem 30-Day After 2012: $261K total raised.

Patrick = National Figure

Keynote speaker Governor Deval Patrick impressed attendees.  Despite Mike Sander’s oft-repeated praise for Governor Jay Nixon as the “most popular governor in the nation,” Dems I spoke to felt like Patrick commanded the podium with the stature of a potential national figure.  One donor afterward suggested, “possibly Eric Holder’s replacement?”

Also Charlie Dooley

I received a text after the initial introductions that St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley was snubbed.  I must not have been the only one to get that text because near the end of the evening, Mike Sanders threw out a recognition of the Dem topper of the state’s largest county…

More on SB 125

It’s said that labor can live with SB 125 – teacher tenure in St. Louis City – passing.  They’re using their firepower to make sure that the governor vetoes SB 29 (paycheck protection).

And one observer notes that “the LIFO in the statute is only for janitors, etc who were hired before 2009. LIFO for janitors hired after 2009 was taken away in 2008, I think. Essentially Superintendent Kelvin Adams’ issue with this provision is that if a janitor is laid off, they must be called back until they are 70. Think about all the schools that closed between 2000-2008. That’s a lot of laid off janitors….”

Labor’s Case for HB 34

After writing last week about some in organized labor who were uncomfortable with HB 34 (prevailing wage), I received some feedback from the labor movement arguing that the bill works for them.

Much of the case for labor supporting HB 34 is that it strengthens their position for the future down  the road when there is no longer a pro-labor governor in power; and it little damage to their current position while relieving some legislative pressure on the issue.

The three main accomplishments of the bill are to codify the use of “mode” calculations in determining prevailing wage versus “average,” to contain changes to 3rd and 4th class counties, and to keep the definition of maintenance from diluting the policy. 

First, using an average, labor feels, would exert inexorable downward pressure on wages.  Using the mode gives them a fighting chance to maintain higher wages as long as their wage is the one most prevalent.  By putting this in statute a hypothetical future conservative administration can’t just make this change without doing so legislatively.

Second, the only 2nd class county included in the legislation was Newton County, reportedly because Senate Floor Leader Ron Richard wanted it.  Joplin, being in Jasper County, not Newton is unaffected.

Third, labor was most worried about a change in the definition of maintenance which would undermine the whole prevailing wage concept by creating vast exemptions.  They held firm on keeping the maintenance definition unchanged.

Additionally, they were also able to include a definition of collective bargaining agreements.  Again, this may be inoculation against a future unsympathetic administration from eroding the law by using wages set by non-construction unions.

8-CD GOP Committee to Host Campaign School

“The 8th Congressional District Republican Committee will be hosting a CAMPAIGN UNIVERSITY in September.  It is being sponsored by HRCC, MSCC, and MRP. Guest presenters include Steve Tilley, Shane Schoeller, Robert Knodell, Jeff Rowe, Carl Bearden, Jaret Jensen and Josh Haynes, among others… This Campaign University will not just be for those interested in possibly running for office, but for those interested in furthering a cause or issue.  It would also be a good event for anyone involved in politics at any level to attend in order to refresh their understanding of successful activism.  This University will have classes that include Fundraising, Vendor Relations, Grassroots Organization, Media Contact and Relations, and Social Media, among others.  There will also be a forum at the end of the presentations for question and answer about campaigning, issues and experience.  On this panel will be Auditor Tom Schweich, Congressman Jason Smith, Speaker Tim Jones, Former Speaker Catherine Hanaway to name a few.  Lunch will be provided by the Missouri Times.  Admission at the door will be $25.  Early admission, prior to September 1, will be $15.”

Lembke’s American Airlines Boycott

Former state senator Jim Lembke unleashed his anger at American Airlines over Facebook last weekend…

“Please pray for my son Mitch. He was home from the Navy for my daughters wedding on Friday and was headed back to Pensacola FL. Because of weather he missed his connecting flight in Dallas. He has been delayed all afternoon, and is stranded in Dallas. American Airlines has been terrible! No help what so ever. I would say to all my FB friends, never, never, never fly American. Any help out there would be appreciated.”

“The great thing about capitalism is that when a company does not give you good customer service you have the freedom to do business with another company. My son Mitch who is serving our country in the US Navy was screwed over and over again. AA did nothing to help Mitch get back to the base in time to keep him out of trouble. If this is how AA treats our servicemen then we will take our business elsewhere!”

“I don't know if I have ever taken on a negative mission in my life. But I think this one is worthwhile. Until American Airlines makes amends for the way they treat their customers, in particular our US serviceman it will be my mission to direct business to competing airlines. The way they treated my son Mitch today is despicable. Take your business elsewhere.”

“Thanks for all your prayers for my son Mitch. Yesterday because of American Airlines he says he will never fly again. That my be an over statement. What a nightmare! Mitch started his day at Lambert at 11:45 am and it ended with him getting back to his base in Pensicola at 12:48am this morning. American Airlines did not lift a finger to help a sailor in the US Navy get back to his base on time. When you fly, fly anything but AA!!!”

Jones Wants Lower Transportation Tax Increase

From the eMissourian (see it here): “He said he personally thought the 1-cent sales tax that was proposed in the bill was too high and that he would have been more open to a quarter-cent or half-cent sales tax.  The 1-cent tax would have generated about $7.9 billion over its 10-year life. Jones said he felt giving a ‘blank check’ of that amount to the Missouri Department of Transportation was too much.”

Help Wanted

Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan seeks general counsel.  “This employee exercises a high level of professional judgment and discretion over legal matters, contractual issues, or in advising the Executive Director, Board of Trustees, and management regarding a wide variety of legal questions. Annual Salary is $85,000 – $90,000.”  See the ad here.

Public Service Commission seeks legal counsel. “Duties include: litigation of public utility cases (telecommunications, electric, natural gas, water and sewer) before the PSC on behalf of Commission Staff. Cases involve matters such as utility rates, utility operation financing, mergers and regulatory law enforcement of Commission rules and laws… Legal Counsel starting salary range (entry level) is - $43,356 - $45,108 with a potential increase at the completion of a successful probationary period.”  See the ad here.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Patrick A Lynn deleted Missouri Department of Social Services.

Tim Dollar deleted MO Association of Trial Attorneys.

Mike Sutherland deleted Missouri Budget Project, and Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors.

$5K+ Contributions

Friends of Tom Schweich - $100,000 from Sam Fox.

KC BizPAC - $10,000 from Polsinelli.