Friday, December 2, 2011

New Legislative Agenda Item: Courts

If incumbent anger is channeled into legislative action, one House Republican offers three places to expect it to go.


First, a look at the non-partisan court plan.


Second, a reorganization of the circuit court system.  There may be rhetorical cover around rationalizing and rightsizing, but this would probably come off as the most pointed act of legislative vengeance: you mess with our seats, we’ll mess with yours.


Third, appropriations.  Sen. Jim Lembke for example, might relish the chance to work through the courts’ budgets with a fine toothed comb.



From Speaker-elect Tim Jones’ twitter feed: “Conducted high level bipartisan #MOHouse discussion today. Conclusion: much needed judicial reform will be top priority in 2012.”



Ten Map Bits

Special election winners Tracy McCreery and Judy Morgan will yield to the established Reps. Jill Schupp and Mike Talboy.


Republicans “may cause some trouble for the Judges next session but privately they realize except for incumbents being drawn together this is a good if not great map.”


Representatives are trying to “trying to figure out exactly what the rules for residency are. The hope is that many of the folks on their last term can move to an open seat with the ‘intentions’ of moving if they win but not actually doing it.  They think that the only punishment for not moving into a district after an election is that you can’t be on the next ballot.”


Rep. Ellen Brandom is talking about moving into the new 3rd Senate district.


There are rumors of a move by Doug Libla into Senate 25 but those are hard to peg.  It could just be wishful thinking on the part of Rep. Ward Franz.


Rep. Shelley Keeney is considering entering Senate 25 which would match her up against Rep. Terry Swinger.


Rep. Scott Largent is said to be considering a Senate bid in the new 31st.  If he gets two or three candidates from Cass to split that vote, he could succeed.


The paired incumbents have begun working through possible accommodations – are there county offices that could be used as holding spots for one candidate.


Rep. Rick Stream will move to the new 90th district and Rep. John Diehl will run in the 89th.


Rep. Paul Curtman is expected to move to House 109 (giving Speaker-elect Tim Jones an unopposed reelection).  Rep. Scott Dieckhaus has been placed in House 61 now (from House 109), but he might transition to executive director earlier than expected to create another vacancy and ease this transition time.



Danforth: GOP Applause Lines Worrisome

Last night GOP Party elder Jack Danforth addressed a crowd of about 250 people at John Burroughs High School in St. Louis.  (He has two grandchildren at the school and a third who recently graduated.)


Danforth said that it’s obvious that the national’s political system is broken.  He cited the debt ceiling debate, followed by the supercommittee collapse, as a symptom of the two political parties being unwilling to compromise for the good of the country.


He blames both sides for the hyper-partisan atmosphere, saying that he was appalled at the Republican debates.  The gaffes don’t bother him (he noted he’s forgotten his own daughter name on occasion so forgetting a police position could be forgiven).  Rather it’s the lines that the audiences applaud – that Rick Perry as governor executed over 200 people, that people without health insurance should be legally turned away from ERs, that America should build an electrified fence to kill would-be illegal immigrants.  And, he incredulously added, these positions were articulated by politicians who claim to be religious Christians.


He didn’t spare Barack Obama either.  He said that despite voting against Obama, he was hopeful that he would set a more moderate tone.  Instead Obama has been as rhetorically hyper-partisan as the Republicans.


Danforth noted that compromise is a dirty word, “you’re not supposed to compromise your principles.”  Yet, in the history of the United States one of the most highly valued principles was to unite and preserve the Union.  And compromising to achieve that goal was the mark of a statesman.


Today’s divide, Danforth explained, is really a simple question over the size of government.  The Republicans would like to see its role reduced to roughly 19% of the economy.  The Democrats envision a larger government at about 24% of the economy.


“There ought to be room for compromise between 19 and 24.”


His solution is for the media to focus on the 2012 election as a referendum on that issue: the size of government.  By doing so, his guess is that both presidential candidates – in search of votes – would move toward the middle, helping to build the current divide.




Rep. Cole McNary announced he will run for state treasurer, but doesn’t have criticisms of incumbent Clint ZweifelRead it Here.


Rep. Bill White confirms he’s running for the pro tem spot.  And Rep. Mike Leara’s in KC today as he too seeks the pro tem position.



Lobbyist Principal Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Richard Gephardt added Ameren Corporation and deleted EHealth Inc.

Sharon Daniels added Ameren Corporation.

James C. Bowers, Jr. added Mark O’Dell, Kelly’s WestPort Inn, and Rod Calvert.

John Coffman added Missouri Civil Liberties Association.

Jeremy LaFaver added ACLU of Eastern Missouri; and deleted Missouri Budget Project, and Missouri Coalition of Children’s Agencies.

Peter Levi added Energy Infrastructure Alliance of America LLC.

Sheila Gay Tracy added Sheila Gay Tracy.

Michael White added Ford Motor Co.

Grover A. Gamm deleted North East Missouri Grain Producers Inc.

John Hancock deleted Care One Services, and Freeman Health Systems.

Stephen Moergen deleted Care One Services Inc.



$5K+ Contributions

MO State Council of Fire Fighters PAC - $5,695 from Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters.

Spence for Governor - $100,000 from Robert OBrien.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $25,000 from AT&T Missouri Employee PAC.

Citizens for Jake Zimmerman - $5,254 from Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 Voluntary Political, Educational, Legislative, Charity & Defense.