House Committees Chairs
Here’s a list of House committee chairs (with the vice chairs in parentheses). As usual, this comes from sources believed to be reliable, but until things are made official, nothing’s really official.
Budget: Rick Steam (Tom Flanigan)
Administration and Accounts: Dwight Scharnhorst (Galen Higdon)
Agri-Business: Casey Guernsey (Kent Hampton)
Agriculture Policy: Bill Reiboldt (Jay Houghton)
Children, Families & Persons with Disabilities: Jeff Grisamore (Kurt Bahr)
Corrections: Paul Fitzwater (Rick Brattin)
Crime Prevention & Public Safety: Dave Hinson (Kathie Conway)
Downsizing State Government: Paul Curtman (Mike Kelley)
Economic Development: Anne Zerr (Jeanie Lauer)
Elections: Sue Entlicher (Myron Neth)
Elementary & Secondary Education: Steve Cookson (Jay Barnes)
Emerging Issues in Agriculture: Delus Johnson (Lyle Rowland)
Financial Institutions: Tony Dugger (Wanda Brown)
Fiscal Review: Tom Flanigan (Marsha Haefner)
Government Oversight and Accountability: Jay Barnes (Mark Parkinson)
General Laws: Caleb Jones (Todd Richardson)
Health Care Policy: Keith Frederick (Diane Franklin)
Health Insurance: Chris Molendorp (Donna Litchenegger)
Higher Education: Mike Thomson (Keith Frederick)
Insurance Policy: Don Gosen (Paul Wieland)
International Trade: John McCaherty (TJ Berry)
Judiciary: Stan Cox (Kevin Elmer)
Local Government: Chuck Gatschenburg (Ron Schieber)
Retirement: Mike Leara (Bill White)
Rules: Jeanie Riddle (Caleb Jones)
Small Business: Noel Torpy (Gary Cross)
Emerging Issues in Health Care: Todd Richardson (Eric Burlison)
Tourism & Natural Resources: Don Phillips (Jay Houghton)
Urban Issues: Penny Hubbard (Nick Marshall)
Transportation: Dave Schatz (Lincoln Hough)
Utilities: Doug Funderburk (Dave Schatz)
Vererans: Charlie Davis (Sheila Solon)
Workforce Development and Workplace Safety: Bill Lant (Lyndall Fraker)
Ways and Means: Andrew Koenig (Galen Higdon)
Professional Registration and Licensing: Eric Burlison (Kevin Elmer)
Ethics: John Diehl (Rory Ellinger)
The “Emerging Issues in Health Care” Committee will likely be the destination of the medical malpractice caps legislation. Rep. Todd Richardson has the kind of credibility necessary to craft a reasonable bill. It will not likely be the place for efforts to expand Medicaid as Richardson has publicly and categorically opposed that idea.
Rep. Marsha Haefner’s position as vice-chair of Fiscal Review as well as her Appropriation chair puts her in line – for those who like long-term extrapolations – as a possible Budget chair in January 2017, following Rep. Tom Flanigan who is in line for that committee in January 2015.
Assuming that these committee chairs are correct, the biggest surprises are Reps. Lincoln Hough and Kevin Engler not getting committee chairs. In fact that Engler doesn’t even have a vice-chairmanship. No deference being given the former state senator in the lower chamber…
Kenney to PSC
Governor Jay Nixon appointed Bill Kenney to the Public Service Commission yesterday. Kenney was chief of staff to Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder. He is also a former state senator.
Many observers had been expecting a Republican appointment from Nixon to the powerful commission because without it, Republican senators had vowed to block Nixon’s recess appointment of Democrat Steve Stoll. The Republican slot has been empty for months as Democrats have enjoyed a 3-1 advantage on the PSC.
Kenney was appointed before the legislative session began at noon, and was sworn in as a recess appointment. He and Stoll have thirty days to be confirmed by the Senate.
According to my sources, as of last week Nixon’s administration hadn’t vetted this pick with senate leaders, and one wonders how Sen. Brad Lager will feel about the right-hand man to his primary nemesis (Kinder) landing a $100K gubernatorial appointment.
In fact as some scratched their heads over the appointment, trying to see how it benefited Nixon, one observer suggested it might be an attempt to spark some Republican in-fighting…
A Tea Leaf?
“First general counsel Pam Dixon departs to work for a St. Louis start-up, and now Bill Kenney to PSC. I am sensing a settling aura of inevitability about Kinder and CD8.”
Speaker Tim Jones and Pro Tem Tom Dempsey have been telegraphing their agendas (3Es and BIG) for months. As a result there wasn’t much drama to their speeches. See excerpts from Jones’ speech and listen to it (38 minutes) here.
When Senate committees are released it’s expected that GAFO will be reunited. After splitting Government Accountability from Fiscal Oversight last session, the two will become a single committee again.
One rumor is that Bill Stouffer will be popping up in the building again soon… as a new addition to the Flotron McIntosh lobbying firm… no registration yet so we’ll see…
Senate staffing shuffles – Eric Vickers is staffing Sen. Jamilah Nasheed;
Tom Hoppe (from Victor Callahan’s office) is helping Sen. Jason Holsman;
Ron Berry (from SOS) is staffing Sen. Paul LeVota;
Courtney Lauer (from Jane Cunningham’s office) is now with Sen. Doug Libla;
Bubs Hohulin is with Sen. Mike Parson;
Brad Green (from Kevin Engler’s office) is with Sen. Gary Romine;
Ryan Silvey has brought Mark Schwartz to the Senate side with him;
And Gina Walsh retained Janson Thomas for the Fighting 13th.
Lobbyist/piano man Mike Michelson is now tickling the keys at Bones after exiting the Library last summer.
Some thought it was telling that the senators chose former state senator Judge Jack Goodman to administer the opening day oath, not former president pro tem Judge Rob Mayer…
Missing… Sen. Brian Nieves. One rumor was that he was on a cruise somewhere, and while that outraged some, it’s to be remembered at Joan Bray also missed opening of session a few years back while she was on an international trip. It was a largely symbolic day.
The Senate did read in bills. So if we get committees assigned, hearings could start as early as next week.
What names are in the mix for auditor on the Dem side? Maybe Sen. Ryan McKenna. He’s termed in 2014 and his committee is designated for auditor now. McKenna was mentioned as a possible secretary of state candidate last cycle, but he never took the bait.
Former state representative T.D. El-Amin was in the building. He’s written a novel, Lost and Turned Out. See it here.
And finally - how does Sen. Paul LeVota compared – height-wise – to the towering Sen. Eric Schmitt? According to one source, they’ve already gone back-to-back and Schmitt has LeVota by 2-3 inches.
Education Committee Make-Up
It looks like the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee will have 21 members – 14 Republicans and 7 Democrats. One critical component will be how many rural Republicans (like Mike Thomson, Lyle Rowland, or Paul Fitzwater) are on committee.
Education groups might feel like a clutch of those types of Republicans would foster compromise in the committee. In turn this could potentially avoid the big floor fights of the previous sessions. We’ll see…
Big “Blue Ribbon” Recommendations
The “blue ribbon” committee on transportation c-chaired by Rod Jetton and Bill McKenna issued their recommendations. They dovetail nicely into the investment agendas of Speaker Jones and Pro Tem Dempsey as well as the bonding proposals floated by Rep. Chris Kelly.
“The State of Missouri needs to invest an additional $600 million to $1 billion annually in transportation in order to address Missouri’s critical transportation needs.
“MoDOT cannot ‘cut’ its way to meeting the needs of the future and the Committee recognizes that the Department has made substantial steps to save money and find efficiencies, including cutting more than 1,200 jobs.
“Meeting these needs will likely require a combination of solutions. The Committee cannot recommend any one solution for increasing Missouri’s transportation revenues. However, this report will touch on a number of possible solutions for citizens and state leaders to consider.
“Missouri should adopt a solution that is fair, accountable and transparent. The State’s transportation system benefits all Missourians and thus all citizens should play a role in its upkeep and improvement.
“Any new revenue should be dedicated to transportation. Taxpayers should feel confident that the resources are spent precisely as intended and not diverted to other uses.
“A lasting observation of the committee was that the average Missourian, including some who are very dependent on transportation, lacked some basic knowledge of our State's transportation challenges and responsibilities. It became clear that an education component would be extremely helpful to anyone who cares about transportation issues…”
Oh Yeah Also – Crowell Declares Himself a Candidate for Emerson Seat
The Southeast Missourian has the story. Read it here.
A Better Missouri with Governor Jay Nixon - $10,000 from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kanas City PAC.
MO Democratic State Committee - $25,000 from AT&T
Civic Progress Action Committee - $50,000 from Express Scripts Inc.
Civic Progress Action Committee - $20,000 from UniGroup.
Happy birthdays to Jaci Winship, Randy Jotte (53), Cy Dashtaki, and Carmen Schulze.