Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Water ISRS Fails

Yesterday in a surprise SB 297 was defeated on the Senate floor 16-17.  Some observers viewed this as a “test” vote for the more controversial electric ISRS bill.  While the vote might not be an exact replica for electric ISRS, it does show that beyond the problematic filibuster barrier that electric ISRS faces, the actual vote count is probably narrowing significantly.

Before the vote Sens. Doug Libla, Gary Romine, and Mike Parson all spoke against the bill.  Other Republicans voting No were Sens. Dan Brown, John Lamping, Brian Nieves, David Pearce, Rob Schaaf, Eric Schmitt, Ryan Silvey and Wayne Wallingford.

Democrats joining in voting No: Sens. Kiki Curls, Jason Holsman, Jolie Justus, Paul LeVota, Jamilah Nasheed, and Scott Sifton.

One observer suggested that the death of water ISRS, about a month after gas ISRS passed easily, was a calculated move by those opposing electrical ISRS to fire a warning shot.  In particular this observer thinks that lobbyist Steve Tilley may have been instrumental the defeat.

Medicaid Rally

A large crowd – some saying 1,000+ people – came for the Medicaid rally yesterday. 

The House adjourned early, a move which some observers thought would negatively spin the issue for Republicans.  Indeed House Dems were quick to put out a press release “Frightened House Republicans flee Capitol to avoid constituents.”  But Republican leadership insisted the caucus meeting which was taking them away from the building was planned long in advance.  “Funny coincidence!”  or as Alanis Morissette would say, “ironic.”

And Speaker Tim Jones started tweeting his workday to rebut the charge, “For the record: It is 3:00pm & I have been working hard @ Capitol and meeting with loads of #MO citizens all day since 8:30am. And still am.”

Meanwhile, Republicans issued a press release attack Secretary of State Jason Kander for emptying his parking lot to accommodate the rally-goers.  Said Ed Martin, “Large empty parking lots, typically used by Secretary of State staff, but today used for a political rally, call into question whether or not Secretary of State, Jason Kander, or Governor Nixon's administration, is operating in the best interest of Missouri citizens or in the best interest of their own politics.”

Remembering the Campaign

Governor Jay Nixon addressed the crowd to a very warm welcome.  But one Democratic lobbyist was unimpressed, arguing that it was Nixon’s own political cowardice that brought the issue to this cul-de-sac.  If Nixon had used some of his enormous campaign war-chest strategically to elect more Dems, and used his political capital to talk about the issue during the campaign, maybe they’d have better positioning now.

DOR Saga Continues

Governor Jay Nixon, in an attempt to defuse the anger by conceal carry owners, announced that his administration would immediately cease scanning information.  However it appeared to do little to quiet the Republican outrage on the issue.

Sen. Brian Nieves gave a spirited speech on the Senate floor. 

And privately another Republican suggested that the tens of thousands of pages that the Department of Revenue has turned over to Sen. Kurt Schaefer will provide fodder for “a relevant presser every day for a month.”  In this view the ball’s in Nixon’s court to go beyond yesterday’s announcement if he wants the scandal to end.

Another Republican suggested that systemic changes would have to be made, perhaps taking the responsibility away from DOR and placing under the sheriff’s prevue for example…

Committeework

There’s been some interesting votes in committees lately, showing some strain in the Republican House majority over education issues.

In Rules on Monday, Chair Jeanie Riddle was unable to pass out her bill on common core standards.  Vice-Chair Caleb Jones changed his vote so it could be reconsidered at a later date, but the failure was unusual.

And in Fiscal Review, the virtual schools bill also suffered a defeat.  In that case Rep. Denny Hoskins was prevailed upon to change his vote, again so it could be reconsidered later once votes were properly marshaled.

Rumorville: Stenger for St. Louis County Executive

St. Louis County Councilmember Steve Stenger’s campaign finance report show he did a poll with final payment on March 4, 2013. Steve did another poll in February, 2010 prior to the ending of closing filing – he used the same pollster Momentum Analysis. He is testing if can he win the Democratic county executive primary.

By the way, the principle at Momentum Analysis is Margie Omero who is married to Julian Mulvey with Devine and Mulvey who is incumbent Charlie Dooley’s media consultant. This is not that strange in DC where spouses are on the opposite sides of campaigns.

And

Mayor Francis Slay was sworn into another term as mayor of St. Louis.  Read his inaugural address here.  The hottest line promised an attempt by the city to rejoin St. Louis County.  “We have regained control of our police department for the first time since the Civil War and we have built a dozen major partnerships with a county that we confidently expect to reenter in this decade.”

Sales Tax Faces Republican Challenge

The Post-Dispatch’s Virginia Young reports that House Republicans are seeking 82 votes from their caucus before they take up the transportation sales tax.  Read it here.

Jones Wins Recognition

Ben Jones, former Chief of Staff to Lt. Governor Kinder and current Director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific Railroad, was recently named to Ingram's “40 under Forty” annual list of business and community leaders in the Kansas City region. In previous years Jeff Roe, Attorney General Chris Koster, Senator Brad Lager, and Todd Graves have been selected to this list.   See it here.

Rumorville: Loehner to Gallagher?

Could former state Rep. Tom Loehner be poised to make a return to the building?  One rumor in the halls yesterday was that he’d be joining the lobbying firm of Gallagher & Associates.  We’ll see…

Lembke Winds Down Campaign Committee

In his April campaign finance report, Sen. Jim Lembke donated $25,000 to the Missouri Education Reform Roundtable Foundation.  See website here.  And in the “$5K+ Contributions” below, it appear the rest of his stash (about $12K) went to Sen. Rob Schaaf.

These People Don’t Understand Us

MarshallGReport tweets, “Male visitor to Mo. Capitol w/ a group of kids says he told long-time lobbyist John Britton to put out his cigarette while in Men's room.”

And

Next time we’re expecting a huge crowd at the Capitol, maybe one of the cell-phone signal booster stations could be brought in for the day?  Just a thought.

$5K+ Contributions

Lewis & Clark Regional Leadership Forum - $24,000 from HTN Companies Inc.

Lewis & Clark Regional Leadership Forum - $18,000 from Big Sky Properties LLC.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $25,000 from Hunter Engineering Company.

Schaaf for Senate - $11,743 from Lembke for Senate.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Sen. Ryan Silvey (37), Rep. Sue Allen, Joe Pierle, and Vivian Murphy.