Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A New Senate?

Is the Senate “functional” again?  Yesterday was a great day for fueling optimism that the Senate has a new spirit of productivity.


Most importantly, the Senate adopted a new tax credit separate from any larger “global” tax credit deal.  In the past these new ideas were all caught in a demand to address the historic and low-income tax credits.


On the floor Sen. Eric Schmitt pledged he would work to rein in those tax credits, but the absence of an actual agreement did not derail the new sporting events tax credit approved yesterday.


Likewise, Sen. Rob Schaaf articulated his belief in the position of former senator Jason Crowell that new tax credits should be part of a larger realignment.  But he sat down after his speech and settled for voting No, instead of strapping on the hostage gear as Crowell had done in previous sessions.


Also significant, Schmitt graciously allowed the bill to be re-opened after Sen. Brad Lager pleaded that he had amendments to offer.  This spirit of conciliation is important to keeping the wheels moving: I will not freeze you out; you will not slam on the breaks.



In a signal that Republicans in the building may “play well” with each other, the full House and Senate Republican leadership teams met yesterday in Pro Tem Tom Dempsey’s office to review their agendas and pledge cooperation.




Is Jason Smith In the lead?  Most observers with good seats think it’s really a three-person scrum at the top between Smith, Todd Richardson and Peter Kinder.


Says one source: “Smith is the favorite but by a small margin.  Richardson is right on his tail and moving up…”


Just like the anti-Kinder folks mention the potential problem of a lieutenant governor vacancy, the anti-Smith folks are mentioning the potential problem of a primary.  The talk here is along the lines that because Smith is not from the population center of the district, he will be vulnerable to a Jason Crowell or other Cape-based candidate in 2014.


Against this talk, the pro-Smith argument is that people overestimate the impact of Cape Girardeau.  If you look at the counties around Smith’s district, their population is on par with Cape Girardeau.


Though a different observer does advise that if Smith wins the nomination, “he should live in Cape until 2014…”



Show Me the Sales Tax

Rex Sinquefield’s Show-Me Institute was in town yesterday to give a presentation to the House Republican caucus.  In the hallways, one lobbyist wondered aloud where the Sinque-man was on the notion of a new sales tax for transportation.  A sales tax has been at the heart of Rex’s proposal to offset the revenue lost from income tax cuts.  It might be an arrow he wants to save for that purpose…



Gubby Appts This Morning

Dempsey Staffer Todd Scott’s wife, Kelly J. Scott, is up for an appointment to the Missouri State Board of Nursing (Sen. Kurt Schaefer is sponsor).



Parson Added to Approps

Sen. Mike Parson has been added to the Appropriations Committee.  That small change along with his chairmanship of GAFO (Government Accountability and Fiscal Oversight) means that he’ll have influence over most large dollar items in state government.



Schaaf Against Drug Monitoring – Again

Sen. Rob Schaaf took to Facebook to fire a warning shot at this year’s proposal: “Senator Sater just introduced the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program bill. It would put any controlled substance prescriptions you receive onto a government database accessible to thousands of people. If you care about liberty and your right to privacy, please make your feelings about this bad bill known.”



Top of the Headlines

U.S. economy contracted in 4th quarter, down .1%!


This may shine the spotlight a little brighter on potential jobs legislation as it shows that the economy is not out of the woods yet.


That means every proposal – bonding, Northside Regeneration, ISRS, prevailing wage – everything gets framed as an economic elixir.


Of Course

These numbers are always revised later down the road, but it doesn’t change the political meaning today.



House Technical Sessions

Let’s watch the House Journal to see how many state representative stick around town to collect their per diems during the technical sessions of today and tomorrow.  Over/under anyone?



Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:


Richard M Aubuchon, Rodney Gray, Susan Henderson Moore, Tami Holliday, and Michael Moorefield added American Royal Association.

Sherry L Doctorian added McLane Company Inc.

Matt Hill added The Cisar Law Firm, TMS Audio Productions, Sight Savers America, Freedom of Road Riders, Superior Senior Care, Matt Hill, Consumer Electronics Association, RYO Cigar Association.

Brian Schmidt added Husch Blackwell LLP, and American Federation of Teachers.

Bill Stouffer added Bill Stouffer, Flotron &McIntosh LLC.

John Temporiti added Veolia Water North America.



$5K+ Contributions

Citizens for Safe and Accessible Arch and public Parks Initiative In Collaboration with Civic Progress Action Committee - $150,000 from Civic Progress Action Committee.




Happy birthday to Chuck Caisley.




To MO Primary Care’s Danny O’Neill on his engagement to Cherisse Thibaut.