Thursday, April 5, 2012

Round Two Goes to Cunningham

In yesterday’s Education Committee, Chair David Pearce failed to pass his bill reconfiguring the foundation formula out of committee.  It got hung at 4-4 with Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal Switzerlanding a “present” vote.


It was comeback for Sen. Jane Cunningham who suffered a floor defeat at the hands of Pearce the day before.  And one lobbyist predicted, “And she’s not done!"


The Next Round

The word is that Cunningham’s teacher tenure bill will be resurrected.  It’s said that Sen. Mike Parson – with those southwest votes he holds in his pocket like so many nickels and dimes – is in the middle on the negotiations.



Education Contagion

The whole education enchilada is migrating.  Just three or four years ago, the controversial issues seemed to revolve around St. Louis City’s failing district.  But now the implications across all issues – Turner fix, teacher tenure, virtual schools, foundation formula – could have an impact almost anywhere in the state.


On the Children’s Educational Alliance of Missouri (CEAM) website there’s a map of failing school districts across the state (see it Here).  And it’s becoming clear that there are several rural districts in danger of falling into the unaccredited category in the coming year.  That means the transfer accommodations the Turner fix is seeking to regulate is no longer an academic question to rural representatives.  It coming soon, on a bus near them…



Tectonic Shift?

Are we witnessing a realignment of the political landscape in Missouri?


As I have been working on the “House Battleground Districts Special Report” (probably out tomorrow morning), I’m confronted again with a basic projection: the Republican dominance of the legislature for the next decade.


In fact, with the dearth of recent legislative achievements, Speaker Steve Tilley’s most important lasting legacy might be the incredible majority he leaves.


As I look at 2012 races, there are several places across the state where organized labor is very likely to be a substantial supporter of the Republican candidate.


One Republican observer mentions that the firefighters in St. Louis County seemed to figure this out first – backing Sen. Eric Schmitt in 2008, and Sen. John Lamping in 2010.  Now farther south, Sen. Jim Lembke will likely have the firefighters, the police and significant pool of organized labor as he mounts his re-election campaign.


That organized labor would want friendly voices in the Republican caucus makes sense.  It is the best way to inoculate themselves from a PQ bomb on a big-ticket issue.  While Republicans would conceivably close debate on a purely Democratic filibuster, they would be loath to use the measure on members of their own caucus.


And organized labor is not the only Democratic constituency building their across the aisle muscle.  MATA has been successfully peeling off votes in the House on specific issues.


The next extrapolation of this trend would be for entrenched moderate and conservative factions of Republicans to form within their supermajorities.  And there some examples of this beginning to happen… those House votes on workers comp and discrimination, and some fiscal hawks proposing more systemic cuts on the budget are two such developments.



Budget Process

As the Appropriations Committee worked through the budget morning, noon and night yesterday, Chair Kurt Schaefer parried the suggestions from the Gang of 3 conservative senators (Sens. Jim Lembke, Rob Schaaf and Will Kraus).


It’s unclear if they will take their proposals to the floor when the budget is debated next week.  The tradition in the Senate is to defer to the Committee, but some – including Sen. Jason Crowell – have saber-rattled against following that course.



Koster Lights Into Cig Tax

‘All prosecutor, no politics’ AG Chris Koster steps up on the cigarette tax, backing the ballot proposal to raise Missouri’s lowest in the nation tobacco tax.  Read it Here.



AFL CIO Picks in CD-1

Congressman Lacy Clay was endorsed by the AFL CIO in his Missouri primary against Congressman Russ Carnahan.



House Reps Endorse Steelman

Senate candidate Sarah Steelman unveiled endorsements from 47 Republican House members.  See them Here.



House Reps Endorse Holsman

Rep. Jason Holsman unveiled endorsements from 32 Democratic House members – and four former Reps.  See them Here.  But the more important development is his announcement that he’d hired seven field staffers to pound the doors.  See them Here.



Casas Quarter

Martin Casas, running in House 79, preannounced his April quarter - $25K raised and $18K on-hand.  And news that he’d hired a campaign manager, Lori Lamprich.



Biz To Get Busy in MO?

A new group opened up shop in Missouri, called the Coalition to Protect Missouri Jobs. It wants all federal candidates to tell voters where they stand on three issues related to the NLRB: micro unions, ambush elections and employee privacy.


Expect the group to play a significant role in this fall’s Senate election. Its parent group, the Workforce Fairness Institute was involved in 2010 in Colorado, Arkansas and elsewhere.



Other Tuesday Night Winners

Justin Alferman, won a contested alderman seat in Herman, MO.  Alferman, a former Capitol staffer now works at Missouri Republican Party.



And Dem fundraiser Matt Lieberman was behind the digging for dollars that funded St. Louis County’s successful Prop S.  $120K in large contributions from the St. Louis region’s business community hit MO Ethics in the weeks leading up to the election.



Fashion Watch

Lobbyist Brent Evans styled the halls with a Freddie Mercury moustache this week.  Will it survive the weekend razor and return next week?



Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Vincent C Currao Jr added Talisen Technologies Inc.

Ted Mathys added Environment Missouri.



$5K+ Contributions

United Here Tip Missouri State and Local Fund - $15,000 from Unite Here.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $20,000 from Committee to Elect Tom Flanigan.