Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Legislature moving to finish up business before Spring Break…


House Hits Prevailing Wage

The House passed both “paycheck protection” and prevailing wage legislation yesterday.  The margins (93 votes for paycheck protection, and 90 votes for prevailing wage) exposed the lack of appetite among some Republicans for these labor issues.


Dems think they can exact a political price to pay for the votes to lower the wages of working folks.  One observer noted that state representatives who voted to undercut a $19/hour wage were essentially saying that laborers shouldn’t make the same salary that they themselves make – for a five-month job, and with benefits no less.



Rumors on Right to Work

House Republicans caucused for an hour yesterday as they tried to discern he best course forward on the labor issues.


Right to work was one of the issues in the mix.  And one rumor emerging was that they will visit right to work later this session with plans to send the voters a constitutional amendment on the issue. By doing so, they’ll avoid the governor’s veto since they lack the necessary numbers to override.


But one Republican said that they would be polling the issue before launching something that could have wider political implications.


And Fear

Another Republican grimaced that their current legislative course – on a number of fronts – was a path to 98… meaning a potential loss of 10 seats in 2014.



Prevailing Wage Moves Out of Small Business Committee

In Sen. Scott Rupp’s Small Business Committee, two prevailing wage bills were voted out yesterday.


One – SB 68 (Mike Parson) – modifies prevailing wage law in third-class counties.  It was voted out along party lines.


The other – SB 30 (Dan Brown) – would repeal all prevailing wage laws.  That bill attracted an additional No vote from Republican Sen. Wayne Wallingford, demonstrating a possible fault line within the Senate Republicans.



$1.2 Billion Debt Issuance Moves Forward

Rep. Chris Kelly’s Appropriations Infrastructure and Job Creation Committee voted out the bonding bill.  It weighs in at $1.2 billion.  See the list of project it would fund here.



Senate Starts on One-Cent Sales Tax

The Senate began debate on the proposal for a one-cent sales tax to fund transportation infrastructure.  There were concerns raised, and it appears there are bumps to overcome before it gets approval.


But in a marked change from past sessions, the debate was not a simple tax versus no-tax divide.  Instead the objections centered on the mechanics of the proposal.  How will the legislature maintain oversight?  Why the sunset length?  What amount should go to public transit?


Between this and the billion-dollar debt issue, there are some who question the capacity for the public to vote in favor of two massive propositions.  Therefore, they imagine that the two ideas are best married at some point into a monster tax-and-debt infrastructure package.  We’ll see…



The Secret of Ron’s Success?

Floor Leader Ron Richard has had remarkable success in advancing difficult legislative items through the Senate.  In years past there would be frustration that tough pieces would be given hours of debate only to vanish for weeks.  Richard has made his intentions clear and then powered through to their conclusion.


Perhaps some credit goes to Bill “Big Chief” Kenney?  Kenney was the Republican’s first majority floor leader a decade ago when they took control of the chamber.  It’s said that Kenney, now on the Public Service Commission, sat down with Richard before session to lend his experience.



Benevolents and Sporting Credits

The House is expected to take up the Senate bills with the benevolent tax credits and the sporting events tax credits.  Assuming that they pass them, it’ll be another marker of progress that the body hits before Spring Break, a contrast to last year when these items were knotted up in the larger tax credit reform debate.



Nixon Continues Medicaid Tour

Governor Jay Nixon continues his Medicaid expansion tour today.  He’ll visit the St. Francois County Ambulance District in Farmington.



Look for Rep. Jay Barnes’ Medicaid transformation bill to be referred today.  A hearing will likely then be the first week back from Spring break.



Ed Martin: Let’s Be More Rand, Less Graham

From Missouri Republican Chairman Ed Martin’s recent email blast: “The GOP needs to be a party of principles. Senator Paul stood on principle, and his stand forced the President to address the concerns of the people. Paul cannily pushed the issue into the mainstream media forcing them to confront President Obama, something the media has too often failed to do. I am very proud of Senator Paul and those who assisted him. I am equally disappointed in Senators McCain and Graham. The old guard of the GOP missed the significance of the event which is a reminder that our party has a great deal yet to learn about leadership. My goal is for the MOGOP to be much more like Rand, and a lot less like McCain and Graham.”



AUE and SMRs

With the Department of Energy announcing another round of competitive grants for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future (MBEF) issued a statement linking that potential industry with the current ISRS debate.


“Missouri should be a clear choice for the SMR industry. Unfortunately, one critical element is slowing the state’s progress: our outdated and burdensome electric regulatory structure. We can’t make the electric infrastructure investments we need to support new high tech manufacturing. According to a recent study, 44 out of 50 states have more supportive regulatory climates than Missouri. That’s why we need to support Senate Bill 207, Infrastructure Strengthening and Regulatory Streamlining (ISRS).”



Another Blow For “Clay Bridge”

Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office announced yesterday that “legislation naming the new I-70 bridge over the Mississippi River in St. Louis the ‘Stan Musial Memorial Bridge’ unanimously passed the United States Senate late last night with support from all four Missouri and Illinois Senators… The legislation now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.”




Jason Jarvis started a committee to run for Senate 22 as a Republican.  See it here.  Jarvis ran unsuccessfully in the Republican primary for sheriff last year.



Word is that developer Paul McKee will be walking the halls today to solidfy support for the extension of the distressed land assemblage tax credit…



Medal of Honor

On April 11, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to Chaplain (Captain) Emil J. Kapaun, U.S. Army, for conspicuous gallantry.


Chaplain Kapaun will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his extraordinary heroism during combat operations against an armed enemy at Unsan, Korea and as a prisoner of war from November 1-2, 1950.


“When Chinese Communist Forces viciously attacked friendly elements, Chaplain Kapaun calmly walked through withering enemy fire in order to provide comfort and medical aid to his comrades.  When they found themselves surrounded by the enemy, the able-bodied men were ordered to evacuate.  Chaplain Kapaun, fully aware of his certain capture, elected to stay behind with the wounded.  As hand-to-hand combat ensued, he continued to make rounds.  As enemy forces approached the American position, Chaplain Kapaun noticed an injured Chinese officer amongst the wounded and convinced him to negotiate the safe surrender of the American forces.  Shortly after his capture, Chaplain Kapaun bravely pushed aside an enemy soldier preparing to execute a comrade, thus saving a life and inspiring all those present to remain and fight the enemy until captured.


“Chaplain Kapaun’s nephew, Ray Kapaun, and family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service and sacrifice.”


Kapaun graduated from Conception Abbey seminary college in Conception, Missouri, in June 1936. He then attended Kenrick Theological Seminary (now Kenrick-Glennon Seminary), St. Louis, Missouri, where he was ordained in June 1940.



Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:


Rodney Boyd, Kelvin Simmons and Brian Grace added Hickman Mills School District.

Zachary Brunnert and Richard McIntosh added Wyse Technologies Inc.

Doris Anne Clouse, Scott Penman, and David Winton added Glazer’s Family of Companies.

Lynne M Schlosser added Missouri Victim Assistance Network.

John C. Cozad deleted The Missouri I-49 Coalition, and A Safer Missouri.

Kwame Griffith deleted Teach for America.



$5K+ Contributions

7th District Congressional Republican Committee - $25,000 from AT&T.

Yes on 2 Committee - $65,000 from Kansas City Convention and Visitor Association.

Citizens for Safe and Accessible Arch and Public Parks Initiative In Collaboration with Civic Progress Action Committee - $175,000 from Progress Action Committee.

Freedom Incorporated - $15,000 from Continue to Care Committee.