Friday, January 25, 2013

Hubbard Hubbub Continued

Sometimes things don’t go as planned…

 

In the course of forty-eight hours, the positioning of the Republican and Democratic House caucuses has been realigned.

 

At the start of session, the House Dems were poised to retain the strategic ambivalence with Governor Jay Nixon.  They used this gambit successfully last year, sometimes joining House Republicans in matters like the governor’s travel budget.

 

With Speaker Tim Jones’ agenda full of possible crossover items – big new bond issue, possible Medicaid expansion/transformation, urban education reform – the Dems were likely to partner up again in some limited fashion.

 

But the escalating hostilities over Rep. Penny Hubbard’s treatment has rallied the Democratic caucus solidly behind their new leader, Rep. Jake Hummel, and is pushing the caucus into a war-like mentality.

 

Speaker Jones reacted to Hummel’s decision to strip Hubbard of her committee assignment, by re-assigning her to new replacement “special” committees.  It’s an action within his means, but may undermine larger ends.

 

It’s interesting that Jones’ creation of the special committees actually does more to unify the Dem caucus than Hummel’s “disciplining” of Hubbard.

 

At this point the Hubbard-Hummel hubbub is a lose-lose fight for both House Republicans and House Dems.

 

The Dems are now firmly the loyal opposition.  Therefore they’ve lost their chance at relevance.  Since they were only going to have minor relevance, it’s a minor loss.

 

The Republicans, meanwhile, lose the potential for bi-partisan veneer on several legislative fronts.  And ironically Jones’ treatment of the Dem caucus pushes him farther right, despite the fact he will say he’s doing it to help an African American woman.

 

 

Kehoe Introduces Utilities Legislation

Sen. Mike Kehoe introduced SB 207 yesterday.  See it here.  This is the hot spot for utilities this session.  More on this Monday…

 

The opening salvos…

 

FERAF

“The Fair Energy Rate Action Fund (FERAF) today announced its opposition to a new surcharge on electric bills being proposed in legislation being pushed by Missouri utilities.  The new surcharge in SB 207 would cover everything from transmission to new energy generation.

 

“An analysis by FERAF shows that if this surcharge had been in place since 2007, it would have cost Ameren Missouri consumers at a minimum an additional $200 million on their electric bills above and beyond what they already paid.  This doesn't include how much more business and residential customers would have paid to the other investor owned utilities….

 

“This current proposal would make it even easier for investor-owned utilities to raise rates on Missourians by bypassing the traditional ratemaking process and instead engaging in single-issue ratemaking. Single-issue ratemaking causes rates to rise dramatically because it only allows

regulators to consider costs by utilities in a single area, like infrastructure, as opposed to considering all factors, including possible areas of savings, as in a traditional rate case….”

 

 

MBEF

“Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future (MBEF) today announced its support of Sen. Mike Kehoe’s (R-Jefferson City) Senate Bill 207, for Infrastructure Strengthening and Regulatory Streamlining (ISRS). The bipartisan legislation introduced today by Sen. Kehoe has bipartisan support upon filing from 16 co-sponsors. SB207 will help secure Missouri’s energy future, promoting much needed investments in electric infrastructure and creating high-paying jobs for the state.

 

“Today’s electric regulations are more than a century old. This legislation will introduce a 21st century energy policy, enabling much needed investment in infrastructure, creating new jobs, improving reliability, reducing outages and assuring cost savings for consumers…

 

“SB207 will extend to electric utilities the same opportunity as water and gas utilities to recover costs from infrastructure investments. The legislation would allow Missouri’s regulated electric utilities to invest another $1 billion in infrastructure over the next ten years, creating thousands of jobs while building our energy economy.”

 

 

St. Louis Mayor Race

Incumbent Mayor Francis Slay filed his 40-Day Before.  Having already filed a 4th Quarter Report ten days ago, this only covers activity between January 1st and the 19th.

 

For those two and half weeks, the Slay committee reported expenditures of $900K and receipts of $103K. The committee reported having $600K on hand after expenditures.

 

The largest expenses to date have been for a field campaign that has been deployed since June 2012.  This report show significant expenditures to a broadcast media buying firm and a direct mail house.

 

His challenger, Lewis Reed, appears to have missed the deadline.

 

 

Bits

And here comes a possible sales tax for transportation.  See it here.  We’re on dual tracks right now on infrastructure plans with high ed starting down the bonding road, while transportation appears to be looking at the taxing road.  We’ll see if the two roads meet at some point.

 

 

Sen. Eric Schmitt railed against the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for failing to follow the law with regard to the foundation formula.  He introduced a resolution to create a joint committee on education to look at the issue.  See it here.

 

 

Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus introduced the Equal Rights Amendment yesterday noting that maybe “the 41st time is a charm…”

 

 

Read this and tell if you think it’s odd… Sen. Paul LeVota won’t admit he’s icing Stephen Bough.   Is he blocking the appointment from the Senate floor or not?  If so, how hard is it to say so?

 

 

Senators, Guns and TV: Sen. Brian Nieves was on FOX, and Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal was on CNN talking about gun control legislation.

 

 

Tweet of the Day

Barry Aycock ‏@BarryAycock: “Received a call from Linda Black. She’s gonna be a tiger on the campaign trail.”

 

 

Help Wanted

City of Kansas City seeks Director of Communications.  “Advises city officials and managers in the development, establishment and maintenance of effective and consistent current and long range policies, plans and practices that impact public information distribution and public relations, both internal and external.”  See the ad here.

 

 

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

 

Rodney Boyd, Brian Grace and Kelvin Simmons deleted One Park Place Investors LLC, and Teach for America.
Kelvin Simmons deleted HR Benefits Solutions.

 

 

$5K+ Contributions

Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity - $153,260 from Missourians for Responsible Government.

Civic Progress Action Committee - $37,500 from U.S. Bank.

A Better Missouri with Governor Jay Nixon - $10,000 from Centene Management Company LLC.

Bob Mainieri for the Fire Board - $15,000 from Wentzville Professional Fireifghters.

 

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Mayor Mike Corcoran (the big 5-0).

 

Saturday: Ken Franklin (37).

 

Sunday: Rep. Jill Schupp (58), Gina Loudon, and AMEC’s Mary Scruggs.