Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Westinghouse and Burns Tout Deal

Yesterday Westinghouse Electric Company announced that it had entered into an agreement with Burns & McDonnell to further the development and licensing of the Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor (SMR).


“Under the scope of the agreement, Burns & McDonnell will perform a variety of engineering services in support of the ongoing efforts to develop the base plant design and the Design Certification Document (DCD) for the Westinghouse SMR. Additionally, Burns & McDonnell will provide engineering services to assist with development of the Westinghouse SMR construction program.”


It’s a big deal for Burns & McDonnell, and shows the serious investment behind the Westinghouse SMR project.  The announcement appears to have been timed to coincide with today’s 3pm Senate Commerce Committee where multiple witnesses will argue that SB207 will “modernize” Missouri’s regulatory environment to encourage this sorts of high-tech investments.



The CEO of Westinghouse, Danny Roderick (a native of Houston, Missouri), was in the halls yesterday, meeting with lawmakers to encourage support of SB207.  Roderick then met with a larger group of House legislators from both parties (the Senate was still in session) at a private reception at the Doubletree Hotel . His message: Jobs. Jobs. And jobs.




When SB207 finally hits the floor, it’ll be interesting to see how much deference is given to Pro Tem Tom Dempsey and Floor Leader Ron Richard – both among the co-sponsors of bill, sponsored by Assistant Floor Leader Mike Kehoe.


Some freshmen who served in the House (Wayne Wallingford for example) may still have the hierarchical, herd mentality of that chamber.  Others – like Doug Libla and Gary Romine – who don’t have the House baggage must still remember that you only have so many torpedoes to fire… and Dempsey has four more years; Richard and Kehoe, six.



Senate Debates Second Injury Fund

Last night the Senate debated the Second Injury Fund fix bill of Sen. Scott Rupp.  Several Democrats stood in opposition.


Most notable was the floor inquiries between Sens. Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Jamilah Nasheed.  Although it might not have been a full-fledged love-fest, it appeared that the two have escaped their past animosity and are both committed to elevating the needs of their constituents above personal disagreements.


And several freshmen Democrats had their first trial run at a filibuster.  It was only a three-hour debate, but they got a feel for the fluidity of the Senate floor versus the scripted performance of the House floor.



One Republican observer wishes that the Senate leadership would immediately return to Rupp’s bill this morning, cancel committee meetings and let the Democrats stand throughout the day.  Too often, he says, the Senate waits until late April or May to push tough pieces through the body.   By forcing an issue early, time is still on the side of the majority, and it could send a message of tough resolve while still not resorting to the devastating PQ.



Rumorville: Here Come the Hospitals?

Rumors have the Missouri Hospital Association mobilizing to push for Medicaid expansion.


One source says that David Barklage has been tapped to head the campaign, with a budget in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This person believes that Barklage would focus on the Senate where he has deep relationships.


However another has indicated that the Hospitals were looking to build grass-roots support, particularly in rural areas where the hospitals are especially vulnerable to the cut in “DSH” payments without any replacement.  That effort might soften up rural Republican representatives.



House’s LG Bill Sits on Senate Calendar

Rep. Jason Smith’s HB 110 sat on the Senate calendar again without being second read and referred to a committee on that side of the building.  This is the bill which would take away the governor’s ability to appoint a statewide office in the case of a vacancy lieutenant governor.  It’s taken on special import ahead of LG Peter Kinder’s bid for the Republican nomination to replace Jo Ann Emerson this weekend.


While the bill’s languishing has spawned conspiracy theories about Pro Tem Tom Dempsey’s indifference to the delicate political implications, one Senate source shrugs his shoulders, “plenty of time to move the bill if it’s necessary…”



And… MOScout Scoop: Kinder Calm

It’s said that the sometimes tightly-wound Peter Kinder appears very calm ahead this weekend’s big nominating event… “read those tea leaves…”



Rumorville: Consultants Get On This One

As the firefighters and the “anti-firefighters union” forces ramp up for the Monarch Fire District election (Cole McNary vs Jane Cunningham), one observer sees the campaign expenditures in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps rivaling some state senate campaign budgets.



Strong Month for State Tax Revenues

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering announced yesterday that 2013 fiscal year-to-date net general revenue collections increased 9.5% compared to 2012.  For the month of January, net revenue collections jumped by 18.4% compared to January 2012.  Individual income tax collections, considered the strongest indicator of the economy, increased 8% for the month and is up 6.1% in the fiscal year so far.  See full release here.



Nixon Reorg

Yesterday Governor Jay Nixon sent three executive orders to the legislature to reorganize some executive branch functions.


Executive Order 13-01 transfers the Center for Emergency Response and Terrorism (CERT) from the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and assigns those responsibilities to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).


Executive Order 13-02 transfers post-issuance compliance functions for tax credit and economic incentive programs from the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) and assigns those responsibilities and functions to the Department of Revenue (DOR).  It might be the most consequential of the lot but if they want to get tough on redemptions, they could already.


Executive Order 13-03 transfers the Division of Energy from the Department of Natural Resources and assigns it, and all responsibilities and functions, to the Department of Economic Development. The Division of Energy is responsible for promoting energy efficiency and security through policy development, research and educational outreach.



Committee Assignments


Sen. Wayne Wallingford to the Joint Committee on Legislative Research.

Sen. Brian Munzlinger to the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight.

Sen. Will Kraus to the Joint Committee on Tax Policy.

Sen. Ed Emery to the Joint Committee on Government Accountability.

Sen. Bob Dixon to the Joint Committee on Court Automation.

Sen. Dan Brown to the Joint Committee on MO HealthNet.



Reps. Jon Carpenter, Margo McNeil, Jill Schupp to serve on the Joint Committee on Life Sciences

Rep. Karla May to serve on the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture.

Rep. Kevin Engler removed from the Joint Committee on Capital Improvements and Leases Oversight, and Rep. Robert Ross appointed to serve.



Help Wanted

Missouri Association for Social Welfare seeks two data specialists to provide technical assistance and support to database users. Duties include assessing compliance, training, data monitoring, and developing reports. Full job-description at www.masw.org.  EOE.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is looking for a data specialist to work with reporters and editors to acquire and analzye databases for use online and in print.  This person will be the primary person responsible for obtaining, cleaning and maintaining various databases online. See the ad here.


St. Vincent Home for Children is searching for an executive director.  The successful candidate will possess a proven track record of working with boards to set the organization’s strategic direction and will serve as its ambassador with donors, funders, state and local officials, and the community at large.  See ad here.



Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:


Deborah Mary Howland added Cornerstones of Care.

Sarah G. Madden deleted Department of Social Services.

Tamar Yudenfreund deleted Propel Financial Services LLC.



$5K+ Contributions

Association of MO Electric Cooperatives-PAC - $10,000 from Associated Electric Cooperative.

Keep KC Jobs Committee - $10,000 from Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies.

Stand Up Missouri - $45,000 from National Installment Lenders Association.

Stand Up Missouri - $45,000 from American Financial Services Association.




Happy birthday to former Rep. Steve Hobbs (53).