Monday, April 29, 2013

SB 365 Opponents: She’s a Dem!

With escalating ferocity, opponents of the liquor franchise bill last week were circulating campaign finance data showing that Major Brands CEO Sue McCollum has contributed to Democratic candidates. 

Hardly a shocker considering that she helped lead Governor Jay Nixon’s transition team.  But of course it also not the entire story. 

Her late husband Todd Epsten, also a committed Democrat, used to quip that while he gave money to Dems, his company gave as much to Republicans.  And indeed a quick search of Major Brands in the database showed they were kind to Republicans in the 2012 cycle with checks going to Tim Jones, Shane Schoeller, Ellen Brandom, Doug Funderburk, Rick Stream, David Pearce, Jeff Grisamore, Kent Hampton, Elijah Haahr, Kevin Engler, and Marsha Haefner among others…


This sort of ploy may actually have hurt opponents as several senators voiced dismay that legislators were now being asked to support or reject legislation based on a person’s political affiliation. 

While politics is never divorced from policy, it does seem the system would have to be totally corrupt for that argument to determine votes.

Nixon Negotiating on SB 26?

Virginia Young has an article today on Sen. Will Kraus’ tax bill which passed the House without enough votes to override a gubernatorial veto.  She writes that this could presage some second floor negotiations.  Read it here.

And indeed a reliable source tells me that this week Jay Nixon’s budget director Linda Luebbering will be sitting down with Kraus and Rep. Andrew Koenig to do just that.

The most intriguing question for me is what does Nixon want…

SB125 Coming Out One Way or the Other

Last week I asked whether Democratic Rep. Brandon Ellington would “reconsider” his NO vote to help Republicans move SB 125 out of Fiscal Review.  It turns out that was needless drama.  There are a couple ways to move the bill out of Fiscal Review that don’t involve any reconsideration.  The simplest is to turn in the bill without a Do Pass recommendation.


In a blog post / memo to “interested Missourians” Rep. Jay Barnes offers his signature style spirited defense of SB 125.  He runs through attacks on the legislation, labeling some simply “false,” while others warrant the parental tone of “disappointing.”  See it here.

Reliving Hubbard-gate

Over the weekend, Dems seized the removal of Reps. Mike Thomson and Elaine Gannon from the Education Committee to circulate old quotes from Speaker Tim Jones and his chief of staff Tom Smith from when Minority Leader Jake Hummel removed Rep. Penny Hubbard from committees.

Pull Quote: “We are not going to stoop to that level with our members who voted against the bill. Each member has rights, and I do not believe that anyone should be silenced. We will make sure all members still have a voice for their constituents, including democrat members,” Smith said.  See it here.

Internal House Machinations

As we enter the final three weeks, much will be made of the “Senate position” or the “House position.” However it’s important to remember groups are never as monolithic as one imagines.

For example, there appears to be some churning within the House as they wrestle with how best to approach some of their stickier issues.

On the transportation tax, it’s said that Reps. David Hinson and Andrew Koenig are the principal negotiators trying to devise the most palatable way to present that tax.  And one must consider that with Koenig involved in both the Nixon SB 26 negotiations (see above) and the transportation tax, there may be some evolving linkage between the tax cut and the tax increase.  We’ll see…

On the bonding issue, it appears that sponsor Rep. Chris Kelly and Floor Leader John Diehl are the engaged in the attempt to find a passable form for that effort.

Finally, at least some hallway denizens think these issues are going nowhere in the legislature, but rather would be teed up for an initiative petition.  In addition to relieving the skittish legislators from tough votes, it creates new employment possibilities for the consultant class….

No Surrender: Farr For ISRS

Although the electrical ISRS legislation has yet to make it to the floor of either chamber, and the Senate defeat of water ISRS was thought to be a blow to it be a blow to the electrics’ agenda, the fight apparently has not yet been surrendered.

Proof comes with a recent letter (dated April 24) from Emerson’s CEO David Farr to Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, EcoDevo Chair Eric Schmitt, and Speaker Tim Jones.


“I want to take a moment to express my support for the legislative effort surrounding electric infrastructure investment that is currently being considered by the General Assembly. 

“We at Emerson understand the important link between having a reliable energy and a strong economy for the future.  This legislative effort supports important investment in our aging electric energy infrastructure, enhances reliability for our business and the state of Missouri, and creates much needed jobs…”

Help Wanted: House Dems

The newly formed House Democratic Victory Committee is looking for an executive director.  “The ideal candidate is organized, self-motivated, strategic, and able to work with many kinds of people and personalities; possesses strong fundraising, writing, and organizational skills; is able to perform in a deadline-driven environment; and exhibits impeccable attention to detail.”  See it here.

Help Wanted: Sierra Club

The Sierra Club seeks a campaign representative for their “Beyond Coal” campaign, “a nationwide grassroots effort to eliminate coal's contribution to global warming no later than 2030 and replace the existing coal infrastructure with a clean energy economy fueled by wind, solar, and geothermal.”  See it here.

Zimmerman Fundy

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman raised over $30,000 at his event last week.  Rep. Jill Schupp moderated the evening.  Attendees included Treasurer Clint Zweifel, Secretary of State Jason Kander, County Executive Charlie Dooley, Councilmembers Pat Dolan, Mike O’Mara, Hazel Erby, Sen. Joe Keaveny, Reps. Gina Mitten, Jeanne Kirkton, Margo McNeil, and Bill Otto.   Corporate nametags included Enterprise Corporation, ATT, Anheuser Busch, and United Technologies.


Hearings of Interest

Judiciary Committee, Monday 1PM, SCR1

HCS HB 320 – Rep. Kevin Elmer - modifies the law relating to the Missouri Human Rights Act and employment discrimination.

HB 400 – Rep. Jeanie Riddle - requires the physical presence of the physician who prescribed or dispensed any abortion-inducing drugs while such drug is administered

Joint Committee on Legislative Research Oversight Subcommittee, Monday Upon Senate Adjournment, SCR2

Contested fiscal notes for SB 26.

Internet Sales Tax Articles

NYTimes has an article today that the issue splits Republicans.  “Grover Norquist did not elect you.”  Read it here.

Post-Dispatch’s David Nicklaus says it’s about fairness.  Read it here.

We Are All Combestians Now

Perhaps inspired by John Combest’s bingo cards, the conservative Missouri Education Watchdog as created a bingo card… “Here is a BINGO card you can use at the May 2nd meetings hosted by DESE to talk about Common Core. Check off every buzz word or phrase you hear. If you complete a row you are a winner, although there are no real winners with Common Core.”   See it here.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Rodney Boyd, Brian Grace and Kelvin Simmons added BMO Financial Group.

Trent Watson added Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors, and Collaborative for a Low Cost Digital Future.

$5K+ Contributions

AGC-MO PAC - $7,340 from D & S Fencing Co. Inc.

AGC-MO PAC - $6,000 from MGM Construction Products LLC

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $25,000 from Friends of Diehl.

James F Loomis III Election Committee - $5,002 from Susan Moriconi.


Happy birthday to Belinda Harris (62).