Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Onder In

Yesterday former state representative Bob Onder started a campaign committee to run for Senate 2.  See the committee here.  Sen. Scott Rupp is termed. 

Others expected to run are Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger and former Rep. Vicki Schneider.  And there may be more… In other words, this could be the beginning of a free-for-all in this safe Republican senate seat.  

More Names for Senate 24

In addition to yesterday’s names for possible Republican replacements for Sen. John Lamping in Senate 24, here are two more names sent my way yesterday: Rep. Sue Allen, and former St. Louis County Exec candidate Bill Corrigan.

And

The only Democratic name I’m hearing for Senate 24 at this point is Rep. Jill Schupp.

Clock

When the House and Senate convene this morning at 10AM, there are 80 hours left in this legislative session…

Last Night

The Senate took up a “tougher” prevailing wage bill, which Democrats found noxious.  Their successful filibuster was led by Sen. Gina Walsh.

Prepping for Friday’s Press Conference

Republicans are already preparing to hail this session as “the most productive Session since Catherine Hanaway.”

On their tout list… “The first income tax cut/tax policy reform in 90+ years:  Sent to the Governor…. Sporting event tax credit after being stuck for five years: Sent to the Governor…. Extension of the benevolent tax credits which expired after getting stalled last year: Sent to Governor…. First ever prevailing wage/labor reform bill, ever: Sent to the Governor…    Paycheck Protection/labor reform bill, never been done before: Sent to the Governor… Budget: For first time ever, we have made steps towards improving mental health with the appropriation in the Capital Improvements bill to fund a new Fulton Hospital… Budget:  For first time in many years, emergency funding for parks is being provided….”

But the media will likely focus on what doesn’t happen.  And the Republicans will spin these to their favor.  That is, if Second Injury Fund Reform doesn’t ultimately pass, they can at least point out that it went farther in the process than ever before.

And with regard to Medicaid expansion, “The General Assembly killed expansion and exchanges, which is exactly what our voters wanted us to do.  The House advanced a significant Medicaid Reform package and then passed out a call for a Joint Committee on Reform.  Our supporters, the voters, wanted us to do nothing more.  We stood up to all the other special interests (hospitals, chambers, etc.) and faced them down.” 

Finally, what will likely go unsaid, but has been a major focus of this legislative session: giving Governor Jay Nixon a few body checks.   “For the first time in 5 years, Nixon has been severely damaged:  the DOR scandal continues, is not going away, and plagues him every day.  On the heels of that, executive level scandals, of a similar ilk are fanning those flames in DC (the IRS targeting of patriot/tea party groups & Benghazi).  Lots of similarities between the Nixon and Obama scandals.  Good for GOP, bad for Dems.”

Rizzo Race Redux

John Moretina pled guilty to voter fraud, lying about his residence, presumably so he could vote for his nephew, Rep. John Rizzo.  Rizzo won that contest by… one vote.  See the Kansas City Star article here.

The plea gave a chance for all sorts of folks to throw another punch yesterday.  Republicans who want Voter ID cheered the news as evidence that their cause is legitimate.  Democrats who were on the other side of that race forwarded the article as if it granted them some quasi-victory in the end.

And Then There Were 70…

Latest count on the liquor franchise bill has Major Brands with 29 lobbyists registered, and the opposing firms and advocacy groups with 41 lobbyists registered…

 

 

Med Mal

With no momentum to put a cap – any cap – in place, the blame game may be starting already on med mal.

It’s said that opponents of medical malpractice reform sent feelers to the supporters offering the possibility of a compromise below the $750,000 cap.  But those pushing the legislation have balked at anything above their stated $350,000 cap, saying that anything above that would be the highest in nation.  This may be true, though it would still be below the limitless no caps of the status quo.

I used to believe that when issues were reduced to numbers (as opposed to philosophy or theology like “when life begins” etc) the lobbyists would move in like professionals and reach an agreement.  I have been schooled over and over that his belief is mistaken.  And it is almost always the principals, not the lobbyists, who are either emotionally attached to a position or hold a belief in future scenarios (like the status quo holding forever or a better deal next year) and cannot bring themselves to cut the deal.

LaFaver andFoundation for Future Education Reform?

The best news for education reformers in last week’s loss may be the addition of Rep. Jeremy LaFaver to the Aye column.  LaFaver is in the core of the Democratic constituency, and outreach to members like him could broaden the reformers’ base with Dems who have been naturally sympathetic to the teachers’ unions in the past.  Furthermore, LaFaver is eyed by some as a possible future minority leader. 

With rural Republicans difficult to persuade on the issue, it might be urban Dems like LaFaver who are reformers’ best hope to find enough Dems to augment their Republicans votes and achieve meaningful bipartisan action in the future.

Tea Party Legs?

Everyone I’ve talked to thinks that this IRS targeting Tea Party groups with extra scrutiny is a “real deal” of scandals. It’s one, they say, which will have endless hearings.  And because it involves one of the most hated organizations in America – the Internal Revenue Service – it can garner cross-over appeal and won’t become polarized by partisanship. 

What’s interesting to me is that this comes just when the Tea Parties need it to maintain their relevance.  Their signature issue – the federal deficit – is now receding.  With the return of economic growth, the deficit will begin to show organic reductions without any additional extraordinary efforts.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

 James M Fischer added Laclede Gas Company.

$5K+ Contributions

Local 41 Political Action Fund - $11,628 from Drive Committee.