Thursday, May 9, 2013

Party House?

Various observers found the House’s behavior last night – coming after a break of a few hours to attend a reception – to be a bit sophomoric…

From the twitter feed…

Missouri TimesCollin Reischman: “It would appear some of our lawmakers may have enjoyed adult beverages during their recess events. #moleg”

Kansas City Star’s Jason Hancock: “In the House, where things feel a little drunk. #moleg”

Springfield News Leader’s Jonathan Shorman: “The House is conducting a very sloppy debate this evening. #moleg”   “Rep. Frame reprimanded for wearing tin foil hat during Agenda 21 debate. #moleg”  “House back in session. Members seem a little bit too, uh, jovial, for the time of day. #moleg”  “Someone's device is playing ‘Dream On’ on the House floor. #moleg”

Liquor Franchise Bill Wins House Approval

The liquor franchise bill being pushed by Major Brands won approval in the House yesterday with a strong 112 vote count.

It was stunning reversal from just weeks ago when a Republican Caucus whip count put their numbers around 30.  And the Democratic Caucus, while stronger, also reportedly had less than 40.

It’s said that after those caucus counts, the opposition to the bill basically declared victory and let up their pressure.  The Major Brands forces – an army of lobbyists led by the Denton lobbying/law firm (Rodney Boyd, Brian Grace and Kelvin Simmons) – kept bringing employees to the Capitol and meeting with legislators one at a time.  And their continual grinding ground game brought them victory yesterday.

Even opponents to the bill conceded that the floor debate was very well orchestrated.  Rep. Kevin Engler initially framed the issue as letting Missouri determine their liquor laws, not a federal court.  Engler has the ability to simultaneously making serious points without taking himself too seriously.  Rep. Todd Richardson, who had enormous credibility, also spoke in favor of the bill.

The bill now moves to the Senate where the major hurdle will be getting to a vote.  It’s said that Sen. Kurt Schaefer is the “ringleader” in opposition to the bill…

Education Bill Gains Ground, But Fails

Last night the House went back after education reform and nearly succeeded.  A similar effort was smashed a few weeks ago, but last night the reformers picked up a lot of ground.

The Democratic votes on a critical amendment moved from two Ayes to eleven Ayes, much of it coming from the Black Caucus.  And there were also many Republicans – probably some of whom had promised themselves as Ayes if it got close – who moved on the issue.  A similar attempt a few weeks ago on HB 631 only netted 55 votes.  This time they hit 82 – with more than a little help from Speaker Tim Jones who left the voting board open for a lengthy time while floor pressure was applied by supporters.

However when the vote on the underlying bill came, opponents rallied and stopped supporters short.  They ended at 76. 

It’s said they’ll reconsider and still try to get the bill back to the Senate…

Schedule

The House will convene today at 9AM and is expected to pass the budget conference bills.  It’s said that they will not be back on Friday. 

In years past, the budget bills have moved one at a time from chamber to chamber.  So we’ll see if that how it goes today.  Others had suggested that the Senate would do the budget bills tomorrow.  But of course if the House is gone, they’d have no recourse except to pass the bills.  That’d make debate on the conference reports meaningless.

One budget watcher wonders if there might be trouble brewing for Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer on budget.  Last year there were complaints that Schaefer engaged in too little collaboration with his colleagues.  But we’ll see whether those were legitimate grievances or simply the result of pot stirring from Jason Crowell.

Earlier in the week a tentative schedule circulated in the Senate had listed “Saturday??”  That appears to be no longer on the table.

Pleus Hot

Laclede Gas’ government relations executive Larry Pleus was hot under the collar yesterday in the rotunda.  He says that the opponents to electrical ISRS are taking aim at the gas ISRS now – and they’re spreading lies to undermine its support.

In particular he says that he’s had to circle back to many representatives who have been told that organized labor is no longer supportive of the bill.  Organized labor is still behind the bill.

The Missouri Times ran an article yesterday that might be adding concern to supporters’ vote count: “The issue seems to be dividing the minority caucus, too. While there are rumors that possibly a majority of the minority caucus will oppose the issue Minority Leader Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis City, said he intends to support it.”  See it here.

Working in Laclede Gas’ favor is that it’s the easiest of Speaker Tim Jones’ “three Es” to get done.  Last night Education went down (see above), and the various Economic development bills are in varies states of uncertainty.  But this could be tallied in the “Energy” column…

 

 

Bits

Sen. Bob Dixon apologized yesterday for his tantrum yesterday.  The apology – coming on the heels of Sen. Rob Schaaf’s apology the day before – is thought to harm the ability of the Senate to generate sufficient drama in the future… those doomed to the chamber’s gallery depend on long-term grudges to keep things interesting…

Rep. Denny Hoskins formally announced for speaker pro tem yesterday.  He had 34 representatives listed as co-hosts on the invite.  Reps. Elaine Gannon, Lyle Rowland and Lyndall Fraker introduced Hoskins at the event.

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal was unperturbed by yesterday’s rumor that Congressman Lacy Clay was looking for an opponent for her, “Not news… he’s been looking for someone for the last eight months.”

Martin: Common Core Not About Education

In his latest missive, Republican Party Chair Ed Martin takes on the common core standards… “On its very face, Common Core is yet another attempt by leftists to create revolutionary change in America by commanding the high ground of education. The same crowd of morally bankrupt academics who gave unrepentant anti-American Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers a professorship in elementary education want to set the agenda for all schoolchildren in the United States.

“Here in Missouri, our legislature is fighting back. Rep. Kurt Bahr and State Senator John Lamping have been working diligently to bring the truth of the Common Core Standards effort to light and give citizens what they need to make an informed decision.

“Given who is pushing this agenda, Common Core Standards are clearly not about education despite the slick website and cooing words of bureaucrats…”

eMailbag: Wrong Jake for Auditor

“Re your rumor about Jake Hummel, I have heard some talk of another Jake – Jake

Zimmerman – as a possible Auditor candidate… Zimmerman aspires for more, matches up pretty well on paper with Schweich and even if he loses, might see this as a state wide warm up round for possible statewide office in 2014.  He’s a lawyer so AG is a possibility given that there don’t appear to be many Dems stepping up for that race.”

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Greg N Johnston and Nikki Strong added Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors.

Charles F Miller added University of Missouri – Kansas City.

William Moore deleted King Hershey OC; and added White Goss Bowers March Schulte & Weisenfels.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Scott Penman (45), Gregg Keller (36), and Don Hicks.