Thursday, April 18, 2013

Medicaid

Arkansas passed Medicaid expansion yesterday.  See it here.   Here in Missouri, Medicaid is dead.  President Barack Obama’s one-year reprieve on DSH payments has taken wind out the sails.  The guess is that it returns next year when the hospital funding crisis returns. 

One observer predicts that the legislature will slyly wait “until after filing closes” next year before taking up the matter in earnest.  Then incumbent legislators won’t have to worry about Tea Party challengers as a result…

Sales Tax

Virginia Young reports that Speaker Tim Jones wants at least 82 Republican votes to pass the one-cent transportation sales tax.  See it here.  It’s said that right now there are about 70 Republican votes secured for the legislation.

The idea of a tax increase appears to give the speaker some discomfort that would be alleviated by a strong Republican majority supporting it. (Note: possible AG primary candidates Sens. Eric Schmitt and Kurt Schaefer both voted NO on it in the Senate.)

One possibility is to inject some tax cuts into the proposition, but supporters of the measure think that would undermine its prospects with voters at the ballot box.  An increase in the sales tax while reducing, say the income tax, would too closely resemble the “fair tax” proposal from Rex Sinquefield, which apparently polls very poorly.

Diehl for Speaker

I’m late to the game here, but Rep. John Diehl announced he is running for speaker.  Not a surprise.  Post-Dispatch has an article hereMissouri Times has lots of Reps saying they support him here.

The House has a better track record of implementing a line of succession than the Senate…

The Quiet Senate

There’s a fair chunk of the Senate that nary makes a peep on the floor.  It could be a matter of finding their “senate legs.”  Or it could be part of an institutional evolution as House members graduate to the Senate and bring their experience to the upper chamber.

Even the recent water ISRS defeat came in a very House way.  Not through a filibuster, but with a vote.

Opting Out

Yesterday Sen. Mike Cunningham’s SB 432 was approved by the Senate.  It would remove nonprofits’ fundraising events from oversight from the health authorities.  See AP article here.

What was interesting was an amendment from Sen. Ryan McKenna which removed Jefferson County, as well as St. Louis County and St. Louis City from the bill.  It was non-partisan, but geographic divide, with the St. Louis area opting out.

One wonders if this might be a workable arrangement on other areas of public policy…

Crosshairs

It’s said the Sen. Eric Schmitt will likely filibuster Sen. Joe Keaveny’s early childhood education bill if it comes to the Senate floor.  Keaveny’s bill would only take effect if the foundation formula was fully funded. That will be Schmitt’s entry to an issue about which he is passionate – DESE’s unilateral rearranging of the formula’s distribution, contrary to state statute.

 

And Sen. Will Kraus has made his disdain for Rep. Tommy Flanigan’s HB55 tax amnesty bill well known.  It’s a matter of fairness to Kraus that those who haven’t been paying taxes aren’t let off the hook through amnesty. 

Schaefer Challenged to Duel

In what one observer calls a PSA for Mental Health Awareness Week, the Columbia Tribune published a letter to the editor from an outraged citizen challenging Sen. Kurt Schaefer to a duel of his choosing.  See it here.

“Editor, the Tribune: I accuse that Sen. Kurt Schaefer is a man of low account and dishonor, a coward without principle… I will duel with him until his or my death, with weapons of his choosing, at a place and time as he identifies…. Call my bluff…”

Bits

The House last night approved their economic development package with a vote of 120-31.

The Senate’s “seersucker caucus” has continued to grow under the evangelism of Sen. Eric Schmitt.  Yesterday it seemed that nearly a third of the Senate was in seersucker suits, including three lady senators… Jolie Justus, Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Kiki Curls.   Sen. Scott Rupp joked about starting a “moustache caucus.”  But it pointed out that there wouldn’t be any women in a moustache caucus.  Kind of like the current Republican Senate Caucus….

Tweet of the Day

Ron Hicks ‏@RNHCKS: “Did we just vote on Daylight Savings Time? Really we had nothing better?”

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Patricia Cannon added Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics.

James R Moody added Public Water Supply District No. 2 of St. Charles County.

$5K+ Contributions

Association of MO Electric Cooperatives-PAC - $10,000 from AMEC.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Reps. Mike Colona (44) and Nate Walker (61), and Humane Society’s Amanda Good (34).