Monday, May 13, 2013

Where We Are

Last week folks… By the time the House and Senate convene at 2PM there’ll be 99 hours left in this legislative session… There’s a perpetual time crunch now.  In some cases it’ll be like a temporal game of Tetris now, how do you arrange the pieces – getting to conference committee and back through both chambers – in the allotted amount of time? 

That’s as important as the votes.  Folks who have the ability to delay the legislative process by a day now can kill a bill.  Here’s where some of the higher profile items appear to stand…

Medicaid Expansion – Dead.

Bond Issuance for Education – On ice until next year.

ISRS – If history repeats itself there will be a flurry of last minute negotiations, but even such window-dressing appears unlikely this year.  Barring miraculous resurrection… dead.

Sales Tax for Transportation – This could be the sleeper score. We’ll see.  The House is expected to work on it.  Then the question is whether they can reach agreement with the Senate on their differing versions.  To what extent would the package’s result of an escalated sales tax be a problem for the long-term Rex Sinquefield quest of a Fair Tax?

Workers Comp / Second Injury Fund – Sen. Tom Dempsey calls this the Senate’s number one priority.  It may be the business community’s top priority as well.  With Sen. Scott Rupp and Rep. Todd Richardson working the two chambers with the support of their leadership, this issue is in the best possible environment.  But it’s still a reach.  There’s nervousness whether businesses – as reasonable as it is to attempt to take the matter out of the courts – will revolt at the increased fees.  I think they get it to the governor’s desk…

Global Tax Credit Deal – Just don’t see it happening.  Mostly because no one is passionate about it.  If it fell into their laps, there are plenty of votes, but the proponents for serious tax credit reform have either been term-limited or tired out.  And with the budget now moving in the right direction, there’s no outside force applying pressure.  

Liquor Franchise Definition – This might be the most dramatic issue even though it only impacts one portion of one industry.  With only one week left and still needing Senate passage, the status quo position would seem to be close to unassailable, but after Major Brands’ surprise upset in the House last week, all bets are off…

Auto Sales Tax Fix – Sen. Mike Kehoe has apparently reached an agreement with the governor’s office for language which would avoid a veto (and he has documented communication to prove it…), and has set to task attaching it to everything that moves…

2014 Talk

Zweifel to help House Dems

Next on Treasurer Clint Zweifel’s political agenda?... helping out the House Dems in their 2014 cycle.  Zweifel, in his state rep days, led the HDCC, and actually picked up seats during his tenure.

Names for Senate 24

Democrats appear to be operating under the assumption that Sen. John Lamping won’t be the Republican candidate in Senate 24.  The names they’re steeling themselves for… Susie Spence (wife to former gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence), former state senator Jane Cunningham, and former state representative Cole McNary.  McNary lives in the district, but Cunningham would have to move a smidge.  (Dems obviously laugh at the prospect of a Cunningham-McNary rematch…)

What Unions Should Do

One Republican in the halls thinks that organized labor is missing a no-brainer… campaign contributions limits initiative petition.  The issue, this person thinks, is a 70-30 issue, maybe even an 80-20 issue.  All they’d have to do is get it on the ballot and the issue sells itself.

One limits are established, it would hamper the current crop of statewide Republican hopefuls who have become dependent on five and six figure checks from a narrow base of donors.  Unions, themselves meanwhile, with their apparatus of various “locals” have a built-in infrastructure which can circumvent the limits.

Stenger for Real?

If St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger’s ambitions are real, shouldn’t he have a functional website.  See stevestenger.com here.  

Nixon OK on Prevailing Wage?

The prevailing wage bill that finally passed appears acceptable to labor and should take the issue off the table of serious debate (except for perhaps better defining “maintenance”) for several years.  The guess is that Governor Jay Nixon neither signs nor vetoes the bill; he’ll just let it become law.  Leadership can claim a victory even though the most ardent opponents in and out of the capitol won’t be satisfied.

It's also an indication that the prospects for “right-to-work” are dim with the current composition of legislators.  If they can’t beat a filibuster on prevailing wage without serious watering down of the proposal, and can only get 93 votes in the House with arm-twisting by leadership, how could “right-to-work” ever even get to a vote?  Nothing’s impossible, of course…

Bits

The mighty Jason Rosenbaum has an interesting piece in the BeaconSee it here.  It dissects the Senate Dems constant dilemma in trying to determine where and when to use their filibuster weapon.

Advice for getting things done: Don't say “no,” say “yes, if…”

Gallup: Same-Sex Marriage Support Solidifies Above 50% in U.S.  See it here.

eMailbag: Less Dreamy…

“Did you notice that John Wright voted yes on Agenda 21? Getting less dreamy every day…”

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

James E Farrell added Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors.

Edward E Keenan deleted Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO.

$5K+ Contributions

United Food & Commercial Workers Local #655 Elect Political Action Fund - $6,345 from United Food & Commercial Workers Local 655.

Clint Zweifel for Missouri - $10,000 from Hoisting Engineers Local 513 Political & Educational Fund.

Clint Zweifel for Missouri - $10,000 from Dollar, Burns & Becker LC.

Birthdays

Happy birthday to former Rep. Beth Low (36) and Corey Jackson (31).

Condolences to Jason Holsman

On the passing of his grandfather last week.