Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Watson Hospitalized

Missouri TimesEli Yokely reported that Nixon’s chief of staff John Watson was hospitalized with a stroke.  Read it here.


This isn’t Watson’s first health scare. Some may remember that Watson had Guillain Barre syndrome like 15 years ago.  He was hospitalized for an extended period of time when that happened.



Senate Subpoenas DOR

The Senate has exercised its rarely used subpoena power to investigate questions of the Department of Revenue’s sharing of “biometric” data on citizens.  A few weeks ago Sen. Kurt Schaefer – who will head up the investigate – took to the Senate floor to rail against DOR for having lied to him repeatedly.  Combest has the AP story.  See it here.


This is the first time the Senate issued a subpoena in 23 years.  The last time it happened it was at the behest of state senator Jay Nixon….



One source says it’s possible that Department of Revenue employees may be “invited” to testify before the Appropriations Committee as they dig into the mess.



FERAF Poll: Beware Voting for ISRS

A polling memo was circulating yesterday warning legislators that the ISRS legislation will be unpopular with their constituents.  It was a 600 voter sample, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies.  Here’s an excerpt of the memo.


Key Findings

“Missourians overwhelmingly reject the proposed utility surcharge. We asked voters if they would favor or oppose, ‘one proposal being considered by the state legislature that would allow Missouri electric companies to add a surcharge to their customers’ electric bills to pay for repairs and improvements to Missouri's electrical grid, power plants and other business expenses.’ Seventy-one percent (71%) of Missouri voters opposed the proposed utility surcharge with just 25% in favor. A strong majority of voters in each major subgroup are against the proposal. Not only is the opposition wide, but it is also very deep as a near majority of voters (49%) are strongly opposed. Even when voters hear only POSITIVE statements about the proposal just 37% of voters would favor the surcharge with 58% opposed.


“There is potential political peril in supporting this measure. The intensity of the opposition is likely to emerge at the ballot box in the next election. Fully, 77% of Missouri voters would be less likely to support a political candidate who supported this measure. While Republicans and Democrats do not agree on much, 80% of Republicans and 70% of Democrats would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported this ballot issue. Eight in ten (80%) of Independent voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported this measure.”



Rumorville: The Return of Ken Jacob

Former state senator (and former candidate for Congress and state representative) Ken Jacob is said to be back inside state government.  Perhaps I’ll get confirmation today, but the rumor last night was that he landed in the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations at Employment Security, taking perhaps the job recently vacated by Gracia Backer.



Rumorville: Find the Cost of Accreditation?

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been re-distributing state fund according to its own formula, not the statutory “foundation formula.”  When this prospect was on the horizon, observers predicted that those getting the short end of the stick would sue DESE to stop their behavior.  But no suit has emerged.


One legislator speculated that the reason that the St. Louis Public Schools – which is losing about $11.5 million in the scheme – hasn’t sued is because they’re worried that an adversarial relationship with DESE could negatively impact their provisional accreditation.



Monarch Fire District

Citizens for Good Government has been the active campaign committee for pro-firefighters in Jane Cunningham-Cole McNary throw-down in the monarch Fire District.


Their 8-Day report shows that in addition to the one previously reported $50,500 contribution from Professional Firefighter of the Tri-County PAC, they also received $25K from Professional Firefighters of St. Louis County PAC.  But the contributions were delivered to evade the large contribution requirement.  They sent $4,999 on four successive days in March. And then a few other checks a few days later.


Cunningham’s campaign committee meanwhile only showed about $7K in expenditures, about one-tenth of the “Good Government” Committee’s expenditures.  She was still sitting on $135K cash as of her 8-Day Report.



Distressed Land Comes to Senate EcoDevo Wednesday

The Senate Economic Development Committee will hear SB379 on Wednesday (Noon, Senate Lounge).  It’s the controversial distressed land assemblage tax credit.  It’s being carried by Sen. Joe Keaveny.



Budget Week in the House

Speaker Tim Jones told reporters yesterday that the House would focus on passing the budget this week.



Barnes Bill Gets Heard

Rep. Jay Barnes laid out his transformation bill yesterday, amid growing optimism that his “third way” had a chance of threading the ObamaCare needle.



Supporters of the Barnes proposal see good tea leaves in Arkansas’ “deal” to expand their expand health coverage through private insurers. See it here.



Internet Sales Tax

The US Senate passed a non-binding resolution for the Marketplace Fairness Act.  See it here.  That act would provide a framework for state to start collecting sales tax from online puchases.




It’s fashionable to hate on (laugh at) the Blackberry, but none other than super-lobbyist Trish Workman was grumbling about her recent switch from Blackberry to iPhone. She hates the iPhone and she’ll be back when the new Q10 hits the stores, whenever that it.



Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:


Zachary Brunnert and Richard McIntosh added Great Circle.

Bill Stouffer added Barklage & Knodell.

Jim Moody and Chris Moody deleted Gardner Capital Inc, and Gardner Development LLC.

Jarrett J Sage deleted Railway Supply Institute.



$5K+ Contributions

Give Missourians a Raise - $27,430 from Missouri Jobs With Justice.

Missourians for Responsible Lending - $27,450 from Missouri Jobs with Justice.