Friday, May 17, 2013

Yesterday

House Approves SB1

The Second Injury Fund Fix finally made it to the governor’s desk.  It was a strong vote in the House, 135-23.

Congratulations to the middle-aging Richard Moore for his years of work on the issue.  See the Beacon’s article “After Years of Failure…” here.

Funderburk Goes Rogue

Utilities Chair Doug Funderburk took to the floor to disparage SB 241 which would have removed the “bad debt” portion of the gas ISRS bill (SB 240) which passed last week. 

He said that the deal to do so was constructed without his approval.  The debate hinted at tensions within the Republican caucus on the matter and the vote confirmed as much with an irregular split. 

Just as Republicans split, do did Dems with some following Minority Leader Jake Hummel’s vote, while others followed Utilities ranking minority member Steve Webb.

The amendment that would have consummated the deal failed by a TIE 77-77, and the bill was dropped.

Last Night

Both chambers adjourned relatively early last night, an indication of limited momentum for any of the higher-profile issues.  They seem to have wilted.  The transportation tax bill, and medical malpractice caps are both dead now.

Clock

When the House and Senate convene at 10AM this morning there will be eight hours left in the legislative session.

No Last Minute Deals

House rules require conference committee reports to be on their desks before the final day.  So there won’t be any last minute deals.  That makes it a little anticlimactic.  Two higher-profile conference committee reports which landed last night were SB114 (liquor franchise), and HB 698 (economic development / tax credit reform).

Liquor Franchise

Sen. Eric Schmitt apparently took Sen. Kurt Schaefer at his word in debate and went to conference to revise the bill along the lines that Schaefer suggested.   The problem is that with one day left the anti-Major Brands forces can easily filibuster the bill to death.  They have no incentive to take the compromise when they can have a 100% victory instead.

EcoDevo

While a conference committee report was produced there’s little chance that it passes.  The essential trap for tax credit reform in the Senate remains… On the left senators don’t want the caps too low, and on the right senators don’t want the caps too high.   It can be navigated, but it takes time.  And the House – not wanting tax credit reform – works hard to make sure there’s no time left on the clock.   

Last Day ISRS? No…

On a conference call with analysts earlier this month (See it here), Ameren’s CEO Warner Baxter was asked about the pending ISRS legislation, with an analyst trying to get a feel for how the legislative clock impacted Ameren’s chances…

Ashar Khan: “Okay. But just practically thinking, we have to see, say, some movement by the 12th or 13th of May. Is that a good point because it has to pass the Senate? Or can it all be done on 1 day, the last day?”

Warner L. Baxter - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President and Member of Executive Committee: “Well Ashar, the only thing I’ve seen in Missouri politics and the legislature, it is pretty amazing how things can get done in the last few days. Having said that, the more time you have to move things, the better you are. And certainly, every day is precious when it gets down to the last 2 weeks. So I can’t say there is a specific cutoff date one way or the other, but there are hosts of -- there are vehicles. But just because there are vehicles doesn’t mean that there still aren't some challenges to get through both sides of either the House or the Senate.”

Craver Vs Cujo?

Advantage Capital’s Jeff Craver was walking in downtown Jefferson City when he was “charged” by dog.  (There are disputed reports about the size and viciousness of the dog).  Craver had to defend him with a karate-style sideways kick which resulted in both the dog and himself falling to the ground.  As the dog recovered and began to charge again, a mysterious woman emerged to intercede in the situation….

eMailbag: HB163

“Governor Jay Nixon has signed HB163 that eliminates right of St. Louis City voters to elect Public Administrator. Last year, the legislature took away voters right to elect Circuit Court Clerk. The unelected Circuit Court Judges now control the Courthouse without any checks and balances on their power.”

eMailbag: Lamping No Akin

“Not fair whoever compared John Lamping to Todd Akin. Akin can’t put together two coherent sentences. Lamping gave a well-reasoned defense of why he was filibustered and he wasn’t crazy and didn’t sound crazy like Akin does.”

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Rodney Boyd, Brian Grace and Kelvin Simmons added Dell Inc.

Don Nikodim added Missouri Pork Association, and deleted Don Nikodim.

John H. Fairfield deleted PCI Building Services Inc.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. Doug Funderburk (57).

Sunday: Rep. Gary Cross (58) and Chuck Purgason (53).

MOScout News

No “Who Won the Week” today.  Instead there will be a special “Who Won the Session” on Monday…