Monday, April 8, 2013

Zweifel Bows Out of Gov’s Race

The Missouri Times reports that Treasurer Clint Zweifel won’t run for governor in 2016.  See it here.

This should be a dancing in the streets moment for Dems.  It gives them a unified gubernatorial candidate, while Republicans still have as many names floating as consultants… Tom Schweich, Peter Kinder, Catherine Hanaway

For all of the gnashing of teeth over Governor Jay Nixon’s centrist leanings, Democrats in the building remain ever thankful that they have the backstop of the governor’s office.  Nixon’s veto pen has kept labor largely untouched during the past two years of Republican attacks, and the presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster – even when he was a Republican – was very solid on labor issues.

PSC Offer New Analysis of SB 207

The Public Service Commission issued a new analysis of the ISRS legislation in the Senate, SB 207.  It was a more detailed analysis than previously offered.  And while the Commission retained an objective tone, and explicitly wrote that it had no position on the legislation, there’s plenty of fodder for opponents.

In particular the Commission staff updated their estimates from their previous analysis of the ISRS portion of the legislation.  They found that some provisions of SB 207 would “allow electric utilities to recover costs in customer rates that have not generally been allowed to recover under current Missouri ratemaking practices.”

Similarly in the “tracker” portion of the legislation, the Commission concluded the legislation would translate into higher rates.  “[I]t is almost a certainty that implementation of this provision will mean higher customer rates in the future than would be authorized under traditional ratemaking regulation.”

More on the Bonding Bill

Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick – who raised the issue of taxing power in the bonding bill – was able to make a substantial change to the bill.

The original language included a reference to “education.”  (“If at any time after the issuance of any of the bonds, it shall become apparent to the commissioner of administration that the funds available in the state general revenue fund will not be sufficient for the payment of the sinking fund and interest on outstanding obligations of the state and for the purpose of public education…”)

The argument could be made that with the state currently not fulfilling its obligation to fully funding the foundation formula, that a tax should be levied to make the formula funding whole.

Fitzpatrick withdrew the amendment that struck that whole section, but did pass an amendment to strike the “education” portion of the language.

This Week

The list of interesting hearings continues to dwindle.  As we enter the final six weeks of session more and more time will be spend on the chambers’ floors.

Senate Hearings of Interest

Appropriations Committee, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 8:30AM, SCR2

Starts work on the budget bills passed by the House. 

Rules Committee, Tuesday Noon, Senate Lounge

Changing term limits to 16 years total service.

Commerce Committee, Tuesday 1:30PM, Senate Lounge

Gas ISRS – Rep. Doug Funderburk’s HCS HB 473.

House Hearings of Interest

BudgetCommittee, Tuesday upon morning recess, HR3

Tom Dempsey’s SB350 to eliminate the renters’ circuit breaker tax credit.

Economic Development Committee, Tuesday 5PM, HR3

HB698 – This is the House’s version of tax credit reform.   It was originally passed out of committee a month ago by a 23-1 vote.  But last week, Rules sent it back.  One theory is that leadership wants to start with higher caps on the historic and low-income tax credit before they enter negotiations with the Senate.

Workforce Development Committee, Wednesday 8AM, HR5

SB 29 (paycheck protection/deception) is expected to pass out of the House Workforce Development Workforce Safety Committee.  One attentive source predicts a 8-4 vote.

 

Bits

Governing Magazine has an interesting Q&A on Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion waiver plans.  See it here.

Rep. Paul Fitzwater got into a little hot water comparing folks on government assistance to zoo animals.  See it here.  “When you go to the zoo, there’s a sign that says please don’t feed the animals,” Fitzwater said. “There’s a reason, because they keep coming back.”

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

 

Gary Wiegert added Show Me Cannabis Regulate.

Rodney Gray, Tami Holliday, Susan Moore, Michael Moorefield and Richard M Aubuchon added Alliance for Childhood Education.

Annette Driver added Missouri Association for Social Welfare.

William A Gamble, Cynthia Gamble, Jorgen Schlemeier, and Sarah Topp deleted All Pharm Association.

$5K+ Contributions

Sanders for Jackson County - $10,000 from Polsinelli Shughart.

Missourians for Koster - $25,000 from Strong Garner Bauer PC.

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Rep. Mike Thomson (67) and Mike Sutherland (48).