Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jones, Talboy Sunshine Judges

Majority Leader Tim Jones and Minority Leader Mike Talboy filed a sunshine request from the appellate commission regarding their redistricting deliberations.  Here are excerpts from their request:


“The commission has done substantial damage to Missouri’s representative system of government by creating new Missouri Senate and House of Representatives districts that ignore logical geographical boundaries, divide countless cities and other communities of interest that easily could have remained whole and generally throw the legislative landscape into chaos for no readily apparent reason.


“We are especially concerned that a commission consisting of six members of the Missouri Court of Appeals would ignore the provision of Article III, Section 7, of the Missouri Constitution that prohibits the splitting of counties among Senate districts, except when necessary in a multidistrict county to complete one – and only one – district. Despite this directive, the commission in numerous instances unconstitutionally split counties. Apparently this mistake was recognized and admitted when the Senate map was recently replaced. However, it still appears that the problem may exist in various circumstances.


“We believe part of the problem with the redistricting process this year resulted from the commission’s unfortunate decision to operate in secrecy. Although we acknowledge that Article III, Sections 2 and 7, authorize the commission to meet in executive session, there is nothing in the Constitution that required it to do so. Furthermore, although the Constitution allows for closed sessions, nothing therein contradicts the Sunshine Law’s requirement that the locations and times of closed sessions be publicly posted in advance, which the commission refused to do...


“As a result, we do hereby officially request, pursuant to RSMo. 610, copies of all documents pertaining to the Appellate Reapportionment Commission’s work on House and Senate redistricting, including, but not limited to, all e-mail communications relating to redistricting between commissioners and staff, other commissioners and third parties.


“While we are aware that State Solicitor James Layton, who served as the commission’s counsel, has publicly claimed in news reports that the commission is exempt from the Sunshine Law, we can find no provision in state law or the Missouri Constitution that supports such a claim. Even if Mr. Layton’s assertions are correct, which we do not concede, there is no legitimate reason for continuing to hide the commission’s records from the public now that the redistricting process is complete.


“We would appreciate your prompt response to this request pursuant to RSMo. 610.023.3.”



Simmons to SNR?

With all the speculation behind Kelvin Simmons’ recent resignation from the Office of Administration, one source says that the word is circulating that Simmons will land in the SNR Denton’s Kansas City office, presumably building a government relations practice.



Senate 3

Yesterday I reported that Rep. Donna Litchenegger was on track to be the Cape Girardeau candidate in Senate 3.  Today it’s Rep. Wayne Wallingford whose name is floated.  Read it Here (my thanks to the aging John Combest).


Pull Quote: “Wallingford's phone began to ring with calls from community officials, GOP leaders and even one legislator imploring him to run, he said. While Wallingford declined to name them, he told the Southeast Missourian they were ‘people you know very well and probably people you don't know.’”


What gives?  I’m told that Wallingford is the #1 choice down there, and that Litchenegger was more of a self-float.


Regardless the bottom-line for Cape is that if they can unite behind one candidate while the northern half of the district is split between Pat Naeger and Gary Romine, the math works in their favor.  If they have two candidates, things go catawampus for them.



Senate 31: Opening for Dems

After I wrote yesterday about the suggestion that Cass County candidate could win the Republican primary in the new Senate 31, Rep. Chris Molendorp told several sources that he has closed the door on running for state senate.


One observer reacts to the news by thinking that there’s an opening for Dems: “The Dems should be looking for a strong Cass Co. candidate, as 56% of the population in the 31st SD is in Cass County.”



Judy Baker’s Best Bet?

There’s no clarity on Judy Baker.  I have some folks saying she’ll run for lieutenant governor and others saying that she hasn’t reached a decision.  And I have one Republican who thinks her smartest move would be to run for congress again; this time against Rep. Vicky Hartzler whose new district makes her more vulnerable to a general election challenge than last time.




Let Legislators Decide?

After my presentation in Jefferson City, I spoke to a few folks about the Let Voters Decide ballot initiative which would eliminate the income tax and expand the sales tax.


One lobbyist – with no dog in the fight – thinks it’s a dead initiative and they will pursue through the legislature.  According to him, the recent polling from Springfield which showed support lacking is a death knell.  In his experience, your polling on statewide issues starts at 60% and you fight tooth and nail to keep it above 50% by Election Day.  Initiatives never go from 40% to 51% once opposition has marshaled.  Therefore a legislative route makes more sense.


Realtors Against Rex

Speaking of opposition the Realtors have apparently been aroused. Their engagement in this battle is interesting because they’re exempted from the new expanded sales tax.  Thus, one would expect indifference.  The word is that they’re looking around the corner.  According to the analysis they’re seeing, the result of the elimination of the income tax and the expanded – but capped – sales tax will be new and deep deficits.  At that point they think they’d be vulnerable.  When the budget shortfalls need to be filled, exemptions will be a low-hanging target.



Post-Dispatch Hiring New Statehouse Reporter

“We seek a dynamite journalist with a strong sense of urgency to join our two-person Capitol bureau in Jefferson City, Mo.


“We need a versatile reporter who knows how to stay ahead of the pack and who understands the importance of watchdog journalism. We want a quick study capable of jumping into a wide range of issues -- from the budget, to education, to the environment. We want a writer who can understand and explain the ins and outs of politics. And we want a hustler who will be a daily contributor to Missouri's leading political blog.”  See Full Ad Here.



Lobbyists Principal Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Andrew Briscoe added Missouri Department of Corrections.

Sheila Holm added AARP Missouri.

Ginger Steinmetz added Missouri Conservation Environmental Alliance.

Emily Wright added Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP.



$5k+ Contributions

Citizens for Timothy Jones - $30,000 from Rex Sinquefield.

Jefferson City Transformation Campaign - $7,000 from Missouri Association of Realtors.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $10,000 from Thompson Coburn LLP.

House Republican Campaign Committee - $100,000 from Rex Sinquefield.




Happy birthday to Sen. Dan Brown, and former state representative Shannon Cooper.


Saturday birthdays: Reps. Paul Wieland (49), John Cauthorn (65) and Joe Palm.


Christmas: David Christian.


Monday birthdays: Reps. Todd Richardson (35), Stanley Cox (62) and Lucas Case.



MOScout Slackin

I’m going to put out the Weekly Summary later today, then it’s a long holiday weekend with no Update on Monday.   What do I want for Christmas? Tidbits! Gossip! Don’t let me be lonely this weekend, text or email me – 314-255-5210.


See you Tuesday…