Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Barnes Begins Brownfield Investigation

Immediately on the heels of the Post Dispatch article last weekend on Stacy Hastie’s firm, Environmental Operations, Rep. Jay Barnes is launching an investigation into Brownfield Tax Credit abuse.  He writes on his blog, “as always with these types of investigations, the goal is to figure out what, if anything, is wrong with the way Brownfield credits are awarded. And, if there is something wrong, to propose a solution – whether that’s a legislative fix or suggested rules and procedures for the Department to adopt.”

Barnes sent a request for information to the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Natural Resources.  See the letter here.

 

Speaker’s Race Bits

Today’s Hot Spot

Old Hickory Country Club is the site of today’s Missouri Cable Telecommunications Association golf tournament… likely the first time Reps. John Diehl and Caleb Jones will be in the same place since news of Jones’ challenge broke…

No Heads Up For The Cuz

Speaker Tim Jones says that he didn’t know that his cousin Caleb Jones had decided to run for speaker until just last weekend.  Caleb, perhaps, deliberately kept Tim in the dark, to give the speaker plausible deniability.   But how plausible is that?... and how will it affect the dynamic between Floor Leader Diehl and Speaker Jones next session…

The First Casualty? Next Session

As if the Republican supermajority didn’t have enough trouble keeping all their ships sailing in the same direction, next session promises to have an added edge of possible resentment between the floor leader and speaker.

One sign of the tension?  Deihl’s statement yesterday vowed not to use the speaker’s office as “a stepping stone.”

Who Votes?

The rules for the speaker-elect vote have not yet been determined.  That will presumably happen over summer caucus.  In past elections, this has varied.  Once “seniors” who wouldn’t be around for the new speaker did vote.  Once they did not.  This current senior class is tiny.  I count six eyeballing the list (Cox, Funderburk, Grisamore, Jones, Stream and Thomson).

Class Math

Diehl’s junior class is a little bigger than the seniors (16 members), but this vote will be decided by the freshmen (37) and sophomores (50).  They are not a monolithic bunch.  So although Caleb may have some closer relationships in his class by virtue of joining the legislature at the same time, there’s no secret handshake fraternity going on here.

Where’s Todd?

There’s no “deal” or secret alliance between Rep. Todd Richardson, who is considered a leader of that huge sophomore class, and Jones. Richardson went on the record supporting Diehl two months ago and there’s no indication that has changed.

Tribalism

Some see Jones’ challenge as a way for rural legislators to seize the speakers’ office away from the St. Louis region.  I tend to think these races go more by personality (and ambition) than geography, but I also don’t have a handle on this race yet.

A Third Candidate?

Could Jones’ entry open the door to a three-way race?  I don’t see it, but two different people I spoke with yesterday mentioned the possibility.

Handicapping

Diehl is considered the favorite by most observers.  However, all but one observer thought it would be close, and saw paths for Jones to win.

Brent Lasater Returns

Former state representative Brent Lasater has started a new campaign committee to run for his old seat, House 20.

Lasater won the seat in the Republican wave of 2010.  He was such a long-shot that he wasn’t even on the House Republican Campaign Committee’s reach list.  When news of his victory came in on Election Night 2010, the response inside the war room was, “Who?”

A hard-working door-knocker, Lasater lost two years ago to John Mayfield in a very tight race.  Mayfield eked out a 50.6% margin.

According to court reapportionment data, the district is a 55.4% Democratic Performance Index.  That would normally be considered a safe seat, but when Lasater won it initially (the old House 53), it was a 56.1% DPI…

Schupp Kick-Off Notes

Jill Schupp’s kick off for Senate 24 raised over $65,000.

Among the nearly 300 people in attendance… Attorney General Chris Koster, Sen. Scott Sifton, Minority Leader Jake Hummel, St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman,  Reps. Bob Burns, Rory Ellinger, John Mayfield, Margo McNeil, Sue Meredith, Bill Otto, Stephen Webber, and John Wright, St. Louis County Councilmembers Kathleen Burkett and Pat Dolan, former Reps. Mary Still and Tracy McCreery, and lobbyists David Winton and Steve Carroll.

From her speech: “If our children’s future is truly a priority, we must adequately fund the school foundation formula, as we promised. If economic development and job growth are true priorities, we must maintain our infrastructure and provide job training. Knowing that a state is only as strong as its most vulnerable citizens, we must make access to healthcare a priority. So, when the biggest roadblock to achieving our priorities is blatant partisan politics… then it’s time for a new vision.”

McCaskill Endorses Clinton

Sen. Claire McCaskill endorsed Hillary Clinton for president (2016 y’all).  See the story here.

$5K+Contributions

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $25,000 from August Busch III.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $7,500 from AGC of St. Louis Political Action Committee.

The Missouri Senate Campaign Committee is the Republican Senate Caucus’ campaign fund.