Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Veto Reactions

Governor Jay Nixon continued signing and vetoing bills yesterday.  See the full list here, along with his veto letters.   The deadline for Nixon to finish is July 14.  After that deadline anything he hasn’t vetoed will become law with or without his signature.

HB 611

This bill deals with unemployment benefits, and changes the definition of employee misconduct which can result in them forfeiting their benefits.  See the bill summary here.

Business ain’t happy about this veto.  They fundamentally disagree with the governor’s assertion in this veto letter (see it here) that this would bring Missouri law out of compliance with federal law and thus threaten $850 million-ish in federal credits.  They believe the governor is “180 degrees wrong.”  That is, the failure of this bill puts Missouri out of compliance.

Obviously, I have no idea who’s right here, but it does highlight the terrible downside of the second floor’s deliberate detachment during the legislative process.

SB 342

This was the bill which would have allowed foreign entities to own Missouri agricultural land.  But the intriguing part of it was a provision which would have exempted Cape Girardeau from certain health and safety standards, particularly as it relates to mining operations near schools.

Says one observer: “The language was so narrowly written it only applied to a particular school in Rep. Donna Litchenegger’s district that has opposed a mining operation that is along the school property.  It's amazing to me she didn’t catch this.  She was passionate about this issue the session before.  She and Sen. Jason Crowell worked hard to stick in the provision that this would have exempted. Donna owes the governor big time because without this veto she would look ridiculous, and asleep at the wheel.”  See governor’s veto letter here.

Rex Backs Dooley

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley reported a $100,000 check from retired index fund mogul Rex Sinquefield.  Sinquefield’s worldview tends to be more aligned with the Republican platform than the Democratic one.   But he has taken a special interest in the transformation of the St. Louis region, and apparently views the stable working relationship between Dooley and the St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay as crucial to that endeavor.

Sinquefield’s regional agenda appears to include: local control for the St. Louis police (check); bolstering the region’s schools (on-going); rationalizing the relationship between the city and the county to bring governing efficiencies and coherence; and eventually a reduction in the city’s earning tax.

Obama Blinks

Today’s front page… “In a significant setback for President Obama’s signature domestic initiative, the administration on Tuesday abruptly announced a one-year delay, until 2015, in his health care law’s mandate that larger employers provide coverage for their workers or pay penalties. The decision postpones the effective date beyond next year’s midterm elections.”  See it here.

I’m really not sure the result of this politically for Missouri.  “ObamaCare” is unpopular here, so the continuing debates and delays over its implementation would seem to help Republicans.  But we’d also be looking at the third election cycle where it’s the GOP centerpiece.  At some point isn’t there voter fatigue on the issue?

StudentsFirst Triples Budget

Politico’s Influence reports that Students First has tripled its budget!  “Former Washington schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s advocacy organization StudentsFirst raised $28.5 million during its second year, according to tax documents obtained by PI.  That’s more than triple what the organization - divided into a 501(c)(3) and a 501(c)(4) - brought during its first nine months of existence… The group - which has drawn the ire of teachers unions - advocates a plank of school reform that includes merit pay, better teacher evaluations, tenure reform and other agenda items. During that time period, StudentsFirst expanded into 18 states and claims to have helped pass over 110 new policies. Rhee received a salary of about $300,000 for her work with the group, for which she serves as founder, CEO and director. The organization contracted with SKDKnickerbocker, Blue State Digital, Change.Org, Tusk Strategies and Care2.com.”

Nieves’ Gig

Sen. Brian Nieves’ side job as a promoter of products that build leadership skills has drawn barbs from some critics on social media as a “pyramid scheme.”  One of the people associated with his products, Orrin Woodward, has faced those accusations before.  See the Forbes article here.

Tweeting is a Real Job Now?

Wanted:  “Social Media Manager with Park University.   The Social Media Manager directly connects with the rebranding and building of Park’s strategic priority for branding awareness. The social media manager will implement the University’s brand awareness by generating outbound and inbound traffic communications that encourages recognition and acceptance of Park’s core business products…”  See it here.

Clearing the In-Box Before the Very Long Weekend

Thoughts from various readers, take them for what their worth….

“A lot of things can change but as it stands now I think you will see Eric Schmitt run to the right of (Tim Jones).  And he will have money to do it.”

“You hearing Scott Sifton might challenge Tom Schweich in 2014?... He’s a smart dude, kinda looks like taller, younger version of Schweich.  All I know is that I would have to slit my wrist if I listened to a debate between those two…”

“From what I hear most people are comfortable with John Diehl and without serious policy differences or a Diehl scandal I don’t see Caleb Jones rousing enough folks to overthrowing Diehl.”

Nate Walker must have been lonely. Why else would you broadcast your indecision on the tax cut bill? He won't be lonely any longer.”

$5K+Contributions

United Union of Roofers Waterproofers & allied Workers Political Educaion & Legislative Fund of MO - $10,000 from United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers - Political Education and Legislative Fund

Dooley for St. Louis County - $100,000 from Rex Sinquefield.

CWA District 6 Political Education Committee - $8,820 from CWA District 6 Political Education Committee.

Missourians for Koster - $10,000 from Express Scripts Inc.

Clint Zweifel for Missouri - $10,000 from CHIPP Political Account.

Continue to Care PAC - $20,000 from Midamerica Division Office (HCA).

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

David Winton added Bristol Care Inc.

Richard I. Martin deleted Coalition for Missouri’s Future.

Connie B Hamacher deleted Lincoln University.

Jay Reichard deleted Tri Couny Lodgin Association, Public School Retirement System, and James R. Moody and Associates.

Byron Tenney deleted Employees Represented by AFSCME at Fulton State Hospital.

Birthdays

Happy birthday to MATA’s Sara Schuett (41).

Born on the 4th:  Floor Leader Ron Richard (66), former Rep. Joe Aull (65), Lobbyists Jim Moody (64) and Brian Millner (28), and Dem operative Courtney Cole.

Friday: Rep. Chris Molendorp (44), St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman (39), and former Rep. Gary Dusenberg (67).

Saturday: Former auditor Susan Montee, and Empire District’s Elizabeth Dumm.

Sunday: Former Reps. Gayle Kingery (74) and Fred Kratky (71), Dem operative Ryan Hobart (30), and St. Louis City’s Director of Operations Eddie Roth (55)

MOScout News

I understand some morning emails alerting that the Update has been posted have been delayed over the past week or two.  Working on the problem, hope to have it fixed by next week.

And

Slacker alert!  Taking off tomorrow (4th of July) and also Friday.  So I’m planning to get the Weekly Summary and “Who Won the Abbreviated Holiday Week” this afternoon.  Then see you Monday.  Happy Independence!