Friday, January 18, 2013

Senate Rules

The Senate is making a few changes in rules aimed at avoiding some snafus from previous sessions.


First is a change to Rule 80.  In the past Jason Crowell has ensnared the Senate up by refusing to close on a motion.  He simply said, “No,” and sat down.


This would happen around 2am of course on the second or third to last day of session when everyone was at wits’ end anyway.  The only solution around the impasse was to PQ (move to the previous question) which the majority caucus was loathe to consider on one of their own members.


This change will make it so that if a senator refuses to close on the motion, then the motion is automatically withdrawn.


Second is a change to Rule 82.  Sen. Rob Schaaf attempted to “divide the question” in a previous session, and was talked out of it by staff who said – for technical reasons – it made their job almost impossible to do.


It’s a more common maneuver in the House, from where Schaaf came.  The procedure can be used when two components of a bill are tied together to garner enough support.  If you can divide the question, sometimes you can peel off support for one part of the package by allowing legislators to approve the other part by itself.


This change codifies the unwritten rule that there is no dividing the question on legislation in the Senate.  Rather senators can achieve the same end through the amendment process, simply amending out one portion of the bill.  Though there is a subtle difference between the two processes.



House Rules

Aside from the requirement to distribute written amendments in advance which has been covered by other media (see Elizabeth Crisp article here) there are a few other changes in House rules worth noting.


First, in Rule 41 the insertion of the word “House” before bill, so it now reads: “Rule 41. No House bill shall be taken up for consideration by the House unless it has been upon the calendar for at least one legislative day.”  Perhaps this is to allow for Senate bills to slide in quicker at the end of session?


The other is to Rule 57.  It changes the number of House members on conference committee, reducing the number from five to three.  With the current proportions that would be two Republicans and one Democrat.  However it keeps the requirement that a conference committee report needs approval from two representatives from the House.  It would seem that this makes House Democrats nearly irrelevant.



No Kumbaya On Schaaf’s Prescription Proposal

It’s unlikely that the Missouri Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Coalition (PDMP) would accept the bill Sen. Rob Schaaf filed as an acceptable “compromise.”


Supporters of the program would probably prefer a legislative solution instead of a ballot question which raises the prospect of an expensive statewide campaign, and debate conducted in 30-second ads which usually favors fear over reason.



Medicaid Expansion Debate

Governor Jay Nixon touted his support for Medicaid expansion at Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff yesterday.  He noted it would cost the state nothing ($0) for the first three years.  He will include the federal funds in his budget.


Speaker Tim Jones retorts that “Simply giving an individual a Medicaid card doesn’t ensure them access to care.” He promises to attempt to transform Medicaid instead of a straight expansion.  Read his thoughts here.
And Governing Magazine notes that Republican governors are jumping on-board with the expansion.  Read it here.



Joint Committee on Education

Joint Committee on Education gets a few freshmen: Sen. Gary Romine and Reps. Ira Anders and Bonnaye Mims.  It seems odd to me that the Elementary and Secondary Education Chair (Steve Cookson) isn’t on the joint committee… See the committee here.



8-CD Candidate Forum

The candidates to replace Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson met again last night in Cape Girardeau.


Eddy Justice tweeted that ‎52 of the 86 8th Congressional Republican Committee members were in attendance.


See Eli Yokely’s article here.  The most interesting nugget is that Rep. Jason Smith says that the governor’s office is fine with his bill to make statewide vacancies subject to election instead of appointment.  One of the most enduring rules of politics is that you don’t give up real estate, so that’s a curious development.



Nixon Call Special Elections

Governor Jay Nixon set April 2 as date for special elections to fill House 76 (Chris Carter) and House 157 (Don Ruzicka).


Read the mighty Jason Rosenbaum’s article here.  They mention Keith Tubbs and Chris Elliott as possible replacements for Chris Carter.  Others think committeewoman Sharon Tyus has a good shot due to her influence over the nominating committee.



Big Wheel Keep on Turning

NYTimes reports on the low Mississippi this morning.  Read it here.


“For months along the Mississippi River here, the withering drought has caused record-breaking low water levels that have threatened to shut down traffic on the world’s largest navigable inland waterway.  That closing has not happened, however — and now officials are predicting it will not…


“The fact that the river has remained open for business along the critical ‘Middle Miss’ — the 200 miles between the Mississippi’s last dam-and-locks structure, above St. Louis, down to Cairo, Ill., where the plentiful Ohio River flows in — stems from a remarkable feat of engineering that involved months of nonstop dredging, blasting and scraping away of rock obstructions along the riverbed, effectively lowering the bottom of the channel by two feet. It has also involved exacting use of reservoirs along the vast river system that were initially designed by engineers using slide rules nearly 100 years ago to try to manage both flood and drought, as well as rock structures placed in recent years along the bank to direct water and speed it up, a bit like a thumb over the end of a garden hose.”



Will Not Seek, Will Not Accept

Rep. Robert Cornejo on Facebook pops any trial balloon about a judgeship: “I am truly humbled… Governor Nixon has the power to appoint a person to this judicial vacancy. While appointing me to fill that vacancy would certainly benefit Governor Nixon by appointing away the super-majority in the House of Representatives, it would not serve the residents of District 64. The citizens of St. Charles and Lincoln counties that voted me into office deserve representation down in Jefferson City and, as a result, I would respectfully decline any such appointment…”




MidRivers News Magazine names Sen. Scott Rupp the “best elected official.”  See it here.



Stacey Heislen is now the acting director at the Missouri Ethics Commission, Julie Allen having been poached by Secretary of State Jason Kander.



Marie Ceselski, long ago building denizen, is now committeewoman in St. Louis City, and recently formed a new campaign committee, 7th Ward Independent Democrats.  See it here.



St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District seeks new executive director.  See it here.



St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Paul McKee owes back taxes on one of his redevelopment projects.  Read it here.  What it means: an amendment offered by critics of the Land Assemblage tax credits enforcing to forbid credits going to folks who haven’t paid their taxes…



Sarah Martin has taken her first non-political job since bartending in college.  She’s working in the development office at Jewish Family and Children Services. Martin still retains some political clients: Reps. Bob Burns, Michael Butler and Jake Hummel



Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:


Steven R Carroll added Missouri Vintners Association, and Missouri Grape Growers Association.

Corinne Copeland added EISAI Inc.




Happy birthday to Rep. Bill Lant (66), former Rep. Bob May (78), and Carl Bearden (57).


Saturday: Rep. Michele Kratky (56) and Deb Dubin.



MOScout News

No MOScout on Monday (MLK Day).  See you Tuesday…