Friday, May 10, 2013

Budget to the Governor

After a few hours of debate – led mostly by Sen. Ryan Silvey – centering around whether relying on the new fund created in SB 350 would expose the popular First Steps program to vulnerability, the Senate marched on and approved the budget conference committee compromises.  Post-Dispatch’s Elizabeth Crisp has the story.  See it here.

This is the third year in a row that has been contentious.  And it’s not really the Dems who challenged Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer on the budget, but rather members of his own caucus.  Two years ago it was the fiscal hawks – Jim Lembke and Rob Schaaf.  Last year it was the same hawks with special help from Jason Crowell.   So this year was kind of par for the course. 

It seems that the underlying process may need some reform if Republicans wish to mitigate the ritual resentment.

And

Prediction from one Republican observer: “I believe this year’s budget will likely lead to a record number of line-item vetoes under Nixon, and he’ll continue to withhold money (and defy appropriators).”

Meanwhile

The House approved the necessary SB 350 which creates the fund by eliminating the renters’ tax credit.  The vote was 91-69.

House Approves Gas ISRS – With Conditions

Yesterday the House approved SB 240, the gas ISRS bill sought by Laclede Gas.  The vote was 110-45.  House leadership – apparently in disagreement with Utilities Chair Doug Funderburk – was worried about their vote count to pass the bill and struck a deal which they would offer a follow-up bill which would strip out the “bad debt” portion of SB 240.

It’s said that Funderburk felt strongly that the votes were there without this “compromise,” and was disheartened that the deal was constructed without him.  However Laclede Gas, perhaps eager to avoid unnecessary risks, assented to it.

House Approves Bonding

In his floor speech introducing the bonding issue, Speaker Tim Jones said that he had no illusion that the Senate would act on the legislation this year.  But he viewed this as a two-year process, and by getting the House to support it this year, it signaled where the chamber stood for next year.

The vote 136-24 was a strong signal indeed.

Liquor Franchise Bits

Glazer’s Hits the Halls

One day after their defeat in the House, a platoon of employees and executives from Glazer’s were walking the halls (Senate-side) making their case…

Lembke Hears New Call?

Jim Lembke, former state senator and current lobbyist and blogger for United for Missouri, is adamantly against Major Brands’ position. 

 “The fact is that SB 365 and HB 759 are both attempts to impede on the right to contract, freedom of association and letting the free market work to benefit consumers. Missouri law should always error on the side of freedom and liberty. The free market works! Capitalism works! Limited government works!”   See it here.

Interestingly, he held the opposition position – voting in favor of it – last year when he was in the legislature…

Tilley Back to Bullpen

In the lobbyist registrations below, Steve Tilley de-registers for Major Brands.  According to a source within the Major Brand lobby army, Tilley was brought in specifically to “revive” their House prospects after the dismal whip count a few weeks ago that showed about 30 of the supermajority in the Aye column.  Tilley is credited as a key ingredient to that turn-around.   But that was the extent of his contract with Major Brands and so he’s now back to the bullpen…

Talk: Med Mal Dead?

Medical malpractice caps “died” last night.  Bill sponsor Sen. Dan Brown and his allies – including Dr./Sen. Rob Schaaf – have been angling for a compromise.  But the Democrats – led by Sen. Jolie Justus – with key Republican allies are reportedly not budging from the $750,000 cap – with inflation indexing. 

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Jessica Hodgeadded Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors.

Christopher Mason added Halcyon Asset Management LLC.

Steven Tilley deleted Major Brands Premium Beverage.

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Rep. Ron Hicks (41).