Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Presidents’ Day….

 

Bits From Lincoln Days

Beacon Gets Scoop of the Weekend

Jo Mannies’ article on Lincoln Days had several interesting nuggets.  Read it here.

 

First, Catherine Hanaway tosses her hat in the ring for the 2016 gubernatorial nomination, saying she will spend 2013 traveling the state and talking to donors.  That spices things up for Auditor Tom Schweich who now sees something less of a path to mansion and now something like an obstacle course.

 

Second, Senate Floor Leader Ron Richard reveals that the Senate will take up paycheck protection for debate “within days.”  (Indeed MNEA sent out an action alert to its members warning them of the impending start of debate on Sen. Dan Brown’s SB29).

 

 

Jetton Health Scare

Rod Jetton was taken away from Lincoln Days on Saturday in an ambulance.  Here’s his account from Facebook: “I had a health scare today and got very dizzy was sweating, nauseated and the folks at the hotel called an ambulance. I was in no position to argue and the doctors thought I was having a stroke. After many tests I have a ear problem causing vertigo. I am so thankful for all my friends thoughts and prayers.”

 

 

Senate Republicans For Re-election

A few folks went out of their way to declare to me that Sen. Dan Brown (“He’s 200% in”) and Sen. John Lamping (“See that sign, Dave?”) are both running for re-election.   The talk currently has Rep. Jill Schupp as the most likely Democratic to run against Lamping.  No word on Brown’s opposition.

 

 

Hot Buttons in the House

Right to Work

Rumors in the halls last week had the House Republicans whipping votes on right to work.  However according to two House staffers there’s more hysteria than true immediate danger.  They say that the House is really taking temperature to see where their caucus stands on the issue, rather than trying to cobble together the necessary votes.

 

For Speaker Tim Jones there are some conflicting impulses at play.  On the one hand, he is a conservative and wants the world of Republican activists to be certain that he’s a conservative they can trust.  That side of him would like to bring it up for a vote and pass it out of the House as a monument to point to when he runs statewide.  On the other hand, they don’t have a veto-proof majority on this issue.  So the cost of that political trophy would be exposing Republican representatives in Dem-leaning districts to a tough vote which could hurt them in 2014.

 

One observer thinks that the vote count might actually be Jones’ team documenting the argument to eschew the issue this session.  They’d be able to explain to proponents that it’s not political feasible by showing how far away from a veto-override they stand.

 

 

Medicaid Expansion

The House Democratic Caucus will hold a news conference today at 1pm to talk about Medicaid expansion.  While they’ll highlight legislation filed by House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, eyes are watching for Rep. Jay Barnes to see whether his proposal – when it becomes public – can secure support of Republican leadership without alienating Democrats who would provide the core of the 82 votes needed to get it passed.

 

 

Bockelman Feels Surly, List Offenders

PROMO Executive Director AJ Boeckelman says he feels surly in his recent email blast.  Here are excerpts:

 

Dear Equality Supporter;

I’m kind of surly today. Let me explain:

 

Look. Whenever I write to you, I’m usually upbeat about the progress we in the LGBT community are making in Jefferson City. Because it’s the truth. You know that because I’ve also leveled with you when things have not been going our way. In many ways, though, things could not be looking better for LGBT persons everywhere….

 

So, as I started this legislative session, things seemed to have a different air to them... As such, I’ve intentionally met with and worked through a number of Republican legislators, asking them to sign on to the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA). By and large the reception hasn’t been what you might be inclined to expect. From many of them, I’ve heard heart-warming stories of friends, family and co-workers who have changed the hearts and minds of these lawmakers. And so, as of a few days ago, we have 5 Republican co-sponsors on MONA in the House.

 

We even managed to get a long-time Democratic holdout to sign on as a sponsor, too. His story? He stated that he has seen the military make such strides over the last two years, even citing the recent expansion of benefits to couples, and that it was time for him to finally put his name down as a co-sponsor.

 

So, with all this great stuff going on, why am I so fed up?... The last few days though have been the greatest challenge. It is one thing to be dissed by people who have always said nasty things about you. You sort of expect it. You get used to it. You can kind of ignore it. But when it comes from your "friends," it cuts so much deeper.

 

As I called on the final handful of Democrats, I was greeted with a stone wall. "I can't sign on to that, my district won't let me"…."I'm running for re-election"…."I'm running for Senate, and my district won't like this"…."It's gonna happen. It's just a matter of time."

 

I call bull-hockey for multiple reasons:

 

•           By nature of having a "D" behind their name, they are already going to be hit by opponents as supporting the "Homosexual Lobby."  Signing on to equality is not going to lose a single vote that they were likely to get.

 

•           If they truly believe "it’s a matter of time," then why wait? The time is now.

 

•           Republican colleagues are coming around. Even conservative Democratic colleagues are coming around. As more support builds from these former lawmakers, the hold-outs from these "friends" will seem less like excuses and more like deliberate decisions. Their excuses just don’t hold water and the issue is becoming a truly bipartisan issue.

 

Here’s the list of offenders:

 

Rep. Jeff Roorda, 573-751-2504

Rep. Mike Frame, 573-751-4567

Rep. TJ McKenna, 573-751-4451

Rep. Linda Black, 573-751-2317

Rep. Ben Harris, 573-751-2398

 

Adding to my particularly cranky mood this week was a package of miscellaneous biblical quotes from a clearly deranged individual out of Tucson, AZ, which arrived on Valentine’s Day. By not supporting MONA, by standing on the sidelines of history, these servants of the people, who claim to be our friends, send a very clear message that crazy is okay, and that it is perfectly fine that someone should be fired from their job, denied an apartment or denied access to services just because they are, or are even perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender…

 

In equality,

A.J. Bockelman

 

 

Bits

Governor Jay Nixon’s recess appointment of John Siscel which led to the ousting of the Republican director of the board of election just before last year’s election was sunk by Sen. Eric Schmitt.  Redistricting moved Siscel into Schmitt’s district where the tall senator squashed the appointment.

 

 

Craig Hosmer files to run for Springfield City Council.  See it here.

 

 

Hearings of Interest This Week

Senate

Judiciary Committee, Monday upon adjournment, Senate Lounge

Bills dealing with the “conscience exception” for pharmacies.

 

Families and Pensions Committee, Tuesday 8:15am, SCR1

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal’s SB203 is a pro-immigrant bill.  Maybe it’s an indication of a national mood which seems to have swung back away from the xenophobia of five or six years ago.

 

Small Business Committee, Tuesday 1pm, SCR1

Sen. David Pearce’s SB160 & SB161 start the ball rolling on requiring insurers to cover treatment for eating disorders.

 

Commerce Committee, Tuesday 3pm, Senate Lounge

Most interesting may be SB240, sponsored by Chairman Brad Lager.  It would modify gas companies’ ISRS.  Be interesting to see if it gets caught up in the SB207 (utilities ISRS) debate.

 

General Laws Committee, Tuesday 3pm, SCR1

SJR 14 (Sen. Kurt Schaefer) would make Missouri’s right to bear arms more muscular.  The talk wonders if Schaefer’s gunophile legislation is a prelude to a statewide race.

 

Economic Development Committee, Wednesday 1pm, Senate Lounge

A few bills dealing with the New Markets Tax Credit.

 

SB99 (Sen. Joe Keaveny) would make the St. Louis City public administrator an appointed position.

 

And SB216 (Sen. Ryan Silvey) removes political activity restrictions on KC police – which I feel like is an old battleground of Luann Ridgeway.

 

 

House

House Committee Hearing were offline this morning.  Check here later.

 

 

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

 

James E Farrell added Partnership for Downtown St. Louis.

Lynne M Schlosser added City of Bridgeton; and deleted PVC Pipe Assocation.

Steven Carroll           deleted Kansas City Missouri School District.

 

 

$5K+ Contributions

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $5,005 from Citizens For Timothy Jones.

Slay for Mayor - $10,000 from St. Louis Cardinals LLC.

Civic Progress Action Committee - $50,000 from Anheuser-Busch Companies.

Citizens for Safe and Accessible Arch and Public Parks Initiative In Collaboration with Civic Progress Action Committee - $75,000 from Regional Business Council.