Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Return of the Utility Wars

Fair Energy Rate Action Fund (FERAF) is building its army within the building in advance of a brewing battle with utilities.   FERAF added former speaker Steve Tilley to its roster.  (See lobbyist registration below).  And it’s said they will be adding former Nixon staffer Jac Cardetti soon as well.


Tilley will enhance FERAF’s influence with both the House leadership and with several senators; Cardetti would be expected to make the case to his former boss, the governor.  These are serious hires.


FERAF is the coalition – including industrial giant Noranda Aluminum – which often leads the opposition to utility legislation which they fear would increase rates.


Over the weekend, the Post-Dispatch wrote that Ameren’s agenda this session is to get faster reimbursement of their infrastructure expenditures.  Read it here.



A Look at the 8th Congressional Republican Committee

In the Special Reports section this morning, I’ve uploaded a few documents for those interested in the Republican nominating process.


First, there’s a first whack at doing profiles of the 86 members of the Republican nominating committee.  It’s a bit hit-and-miss.  Some of these members don’t many web footprints.  But there are some interesting nuggets also.  You can see it here.


Also, I’ve uploaded an excel spreadsheet.  It contains a cheat sheet – list of committee members and candidates – as well as a look at the gender split on the committee, and a look at which counties are getting more or fewer votes than their proportional population.  See it here.



Reboot Congress has done a public service and posted videos of the candidates from the Cape Girardeau forum last week.  See it here.  Each candidate gets about ten minutes.  Math = 2 hours of 8-CD ecstasy.  Rep. Jason Smith did very well.  See the videos here.


About Democrats in 8-CD

Although I had a veteran lobbyist tell me in that you could get an odd bounce in a special election and get a long-shot upset from a Democrat, I’m inclined to dismiss the possibility.


In the last four years I’ve lived through Dems getting hyped up over supposedly competitive congressional races that weren’t.  That includes Democrat Teresa Hensley against Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler last year; she lost by 25 points.  But also Tommy Sowers two years earlier got crushed – crushed – by Jo Ann Emerson in this district, losing by about over 35 points, even though he raised over a million dollars from gullible Dems who thought it was competitive.


This district is different – due to restricting – but it’s still Republican and staying that way.



The Best News for Democrats Last Week

I wrote last week about the House changing its process on conference committees.  They will only send three members conference.


By only having one House Democrat on the conference committee, yet requiring two members from the House to sign the conference report, the strategy is said to prevent the Senate from allying themselves with House Democrats in conference.


If this is indeed the House’s reason for changing the rule – some in the Senate believe it is – it’s a bad sign for Republicans this session.  The idea that House Republicans are positioning themselves to “win” conference committee reports in the opening weeks of session is a favorable omen for Democrats.


It would seem that some Republicans have already lost sight of the big picture.  They have super-majorities in both chambers.  They will get 80% of everything they want if they do one simply thing: get along with each other.


If they try to outmaneuver each other, outflank each other, and out-clever each other, they may well end up with exactly what they got last session: 0% of everything they wanted in issues of organized labor, for example.


The true challenge to House leadership is not “winning” conference committees, it’s learning to play well with the Senate.



House Rule 41: Just a Clean Up

Last week as I reviewed the change to House rules I questioned the reason behind adding “House” to Rule 41.  I am told it was purely “clean-up,” a codification of the way the House has treated House and Senate bills.  Rule 41 now conforms to Rule 62 which governs Senate bills in the House.



This Week’s Committee Hearings of Note

Senate Hearings of Interest

Small Business Committee – Tuesday, Noon, SCR1

SB 1 – Rupp – Modifies the law relating to workers' compensation

SB 28 – Kraus – Redefines "misconduct" and "good cause" for the purposes of disqualification from unemployment benefits


Appropriations Committee – Tuesday, 12:30, SCR2

Testimony from Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, Department of Higher Education, Department of Mental Health, Department Health & Senior Services, and  Department of Social Services.


Appropriations Committee – Wednesday, 8:30am, SCR2

Testimony from: Department of Transportation, Department of Revenue, Office of Administration, Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Conservation, Department of Economic Development, Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration, Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, Department of Public Safety, Department of Corrections, Judiciary, and Public Defender.


Gubernatorial Appointments Committee – Wednesday, 8:30am, Senate Lounge

Public Service Commission appointments of Bill Kenney and Stephen Stoll.


Economic Development Committee – Wednesday, 1pm, Senate Lounge

Various tax credit modifications and extensions.


Education Committee – Wednesday, 3pm, Senate Lounge

SB 7 – Pearce – Modifies provisions relating to school accreditation for failing school districts


GAFO Committee – Wednesday, 3pm, SCR1

B 61 – Keaveny – Requires the State Auditor to compare the costs of death penalty cases and first-degree murder cases in which the death penalty is not sought

SB 71 – Parson – Requires authorization for certain labor unions to use dues and fees to make political contributions and bars them from withholding earnings from paychecks



House Hearings of Interest

Economic Development Committee – Tuesday, 5pm, HR7

Organizational Meeting, and presentation from the Department of Economic Development



Budget Committee – Wednesday, 8am, HR3

Organizational meeting



Elementary and Secondary Education Committee – Wednesday, 8am, HR6




Workforce Development Committee: - Wednesday, after morning adjournment, HR4

HB 34 – Guernsey – exempts construction and maintenance work done for certain school districts from the prevailing wage rate requirement upon the school board's approval.



Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:


Steven Tilley added Online Lenders Alliance, an Fair Energy Rate Action Fund.


Matt Hill deleted Missouri Valley Investments LLC, RYO Cigar Association, Top Tier Promotions LLC, The Cisar Law Firm PC, TMS Audio Productions, Surdyke Yamaha & Marina, Consumer Electronics Association, Superior Senior Care, Freedom of Road Riders, Sight Savers America, and Ground Control Lawn Fertilizing Inc.



It appears Matt Hill terminated his lobbyist registration.  See it here.



$5K+ Contributions

Show-Me Cannabis Regulation - $25,000 from American Victory Coalition.

Teamsters Local Union No 688 PAC - $10,662 from Drive Committee.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Friends of Todd Richardson.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Drury Development Corporation.

Schoeller for Missouri - $22,374 from Schoeller for Missouri.

A Better Missouri With Governor Jay Nixon - $10,000 from Archer Daniels Midland Company.

A Better Missouri With Governor Jay Nixon - $25,000 from Burns & McDonnell.

A Better Missouri With Governor Jay Nixon - $20,000 from Bridgeway Health Solutions Arizona LLC.

A Better Missouri With Governor Jay Nixon - $10,000 from JE Dunn Construction Company.

A Better Missouri With Governor Jay Nixon - $10,000 from Aetna Inc.

Slay for Mayor - $10,000 from Citizens to Elect Jamilah Nasheed.

Slay for Mayor - $10,000 from Thomson Coburn LLP

Slay for Mayor - $50,000 from Missourians for Excellence in Governrment.

Missourians for Koster - $25,000 from William F McGeehan.




Happy birthdays to Amber Watson (the big 3-0), Mike Lodewegen (28), Jay Hahn (28), and Michelle Colbert (45).