Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Is Jones a Hastertian or Boehnerian Speaker?

As we wait on the unveiling of Rep. Jay Barnes’ Medicaid transformation bill, a look-around-the-corner question is: what kind of speaker is Tim Jones?


I’ve heard from a few legislators – briefed on Barnes’ proposal – who feel that the measure has enough crossover appeal to muster the 82 votes necessary for passage.  But suppose that the bill would by supported by less than half the majority caucus.  Does Jones let it come to the floor?


One reader explains: “The main budget battles nationally are about whether US House Speaker John Boehner will allow measures to the floor that he personally supports but will only have the backing of a quarter of the Republican majority.


“The famous ‘Hastert’ rule demands support of a majority of the majority for a bill to reach the floor.  The fiscal cliff deal therefore had significance because it marked Boehner’s first breach of the Hastert rule.  The Sandy relief bill was his 2nd  such move.”


Does this trend extend to the Missouri House Republicans?  What kind of speaker is Jones?  Will he buck the majority wishes of his caucus in pursuit of a bipartisan compromise?



Term Limits and Balance of Power

Inside the building there’s a growing consensus that term limits have weakened the legislative process.  The argument goes like this: legislators lack the policy and process experience when they enter their service, and as they achieve some expertise in these matters – around year six – they’re nearly headed for the door.


Lobbyists are said to made stronger by the constant treadmill of legislators.  However, that’s not the way they talk.  You hear plenty of grumbling from lobbyists.  They’re constantly re-educating freshmen legislators, fighting settled issues anew, and, of course, writing lots of checks to fuel the ever-churning election cycles.


The one clear winner in legislative term limits, though, has been the executive branch.  It is now much stronger than the legislature because by the time a legislator accumulates enough power and expertise and starts to feel secure enough to flex some muscles, they’re soon gone.


This came to mind the other day when Governor Jay Nixon’s appointee to the University of Missouri’s Board of Curators, Michael Ponder, was sunk by the Gubernatorial Appointments Committee.


The committee grilled Ponder on a several issues – including the governor’s DESE willfully ignoring the legislature’s written statutes on distribution of education funds.


It was the exception that proves the rule, an event so rare that it demonstrates the governor’s relative power.  For although his appointee had to be withdrawn, DESE’s behavior continues unabated despite laws written by the legislature.



Rumorville: Lamping Out?

I had a couple of folks contact me saying they don’t think Sen. John Lamping is running for re-election.  I’ll write more on this in the future, but it raises an interesting proposition.  Who would Republicans choose to run in Senate 24?


Living within the boundaries already are Reps. Sue Allen and John Diehl.  Also fire board candidate Cole McNary.  And Jane Cunningham is just a stone’s throw outside the district.


If Diehl were to look to the Senate, that would blow a hole in the House’s perceived line of leadership succession.  And that would potentially create a four-year speaker in the likes of either Todd Richardson or Caleb Jones.



Rumorville: Hartzler for Gov?

As far as I know this is just too many Republicans with too much to drink in a hospitality suite at Lincoln Days, but it’s an intriguing thought – Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler for governor.


The case for her hopping back to Missouri would be lifestyle considerations – wanting to be closer to family, and also that being in Congress is not as glamorous as imagined. That is, Hartzler isn’t on a leadership track like Ann Wagner.


Just a rumor, but it paints another stroke in a full gubernatorial primary for Republicans in 2016.



They’re Not Going Away

It’s not one and done for last cycle’s statewide losers it seems.  First was the declaration by Shane Schoeller that he was being encouraged by waves of supporters to push for a rematch with Jason Kander.  Now comes this Facebook note from John Brunner in which he says that his ambitions have not “diminished.”


As a former candidate for the U.S. Senate, you asked me the most compelling post-campaign question: “Was it worth it”?!...


I've always believed that the greatest reward in life is helping others to achieve their dreams. And, I truly believed that as a U. S. Senator, with a lifetime of real-world experiences that I could bring to the job, we could start solving real-world problems, with real-world solutions….


I was convinced that doing nothing was not an option. So, over a hundred years of family business savings became the source of much of the campaign resources needed to attack Capitol Hill.


Though I fell short of this goal, my motivation has not diminished. If anything I've got an ever stronger resolve to work harder…as I’ll never forget the look in the eyes of so many folks across Missouri, as we shared a renewed sense of optimism, by reclaiming a little more freedom….




Jason Hancock gets Sen. Brad Lager on record opposing Land Assemblage tax credit extension despite his boss potentially benefiting from it.  Read it here.



We don’t have the bill language yet, but blogger Randy Turner is out of the box this morning saying that a new bill by Rep. Mike Leara would make it a felony to even propose laws which restrict gun access.  Be interesting to see the bill language.



Did cousin Caleb look like he wasn’t busy? Speaker Tim Jones referred 17 bills to the General Laws Committee yesterday.



House Hearings of Interest

These weren’t posted yesterday by “press” time, so here they are today…


Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities Committee, Tuesday upon adjournment, HR1

HB 513 – (Kurt Bahr) “parental liberty regarding the upbringing, education, and care of his or her children is a fundamental right which cannot be infringed on without demonstrating a governmental interest of the highest order.”

HB 343 (Casey Guernsey) is a Photo ID bill – for food.


Economic Development Committee, Tuesday 5pm, HR7

More tax credit bills – freight forwarders, and qualified research expenses.


General Laws Committee, Tuesday Noon, HR4

Gun freedom laws.


Transportation Committee, Tuesday Noon, HR7

HJR 23 (Dave Hinson) – a constitutional amendment imposing a temporary, 10-year state sales and use tax for transportation projects.


Workforce Development Committee, Wednesday 8am, HR5

HB 611 (Bill Lant) unemployment compensation.


Financial Institutions Committee, Wednesday Noon, HR4

HB 479 (Tony Dugger) allows mortgage brokers without a full-service office in Missouri to be licensed for business here.


Economic Development Committee, Thursday 8am, HR7

Executive session.



Joint Committee Assignments

Sen. Ryan Silvey to the Joint Committee on Capitol Improvements and Leases Oversight.

Sens. Paul LeVota and Scott Sifton were appointed to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR).



Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:


Kimberly Akin, Heath Clarkston, and Harry Gallagher added First Data.

Mike Sutherland added Gamble & Schlemeier, and Wal-Mart Stores In; and deleted Joseph C Sansone Co.

Brent Hemphill and Kristian Starner added Renew Missouri.



$5K+ Contributions

Barham for NKC Mayor - $7,000 from Jerry Barham.

Citizens for Safe and Accessible Arch and Public Parks Initiative In Collaboration with Civic Progress Action Committee - $33,956 from Washington University.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $10,000 from Roy Pfautch.




Happy birthdays to former state Rep. Rodney Schad (59), Jay Kanzler, and lobbyist Lynne Schlosser.