Thursday, March 8, 2012

Petition Wars

In the wake of last week’s decision by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem that Auditor Tom Schweich didn’t have the constitutional authority to create a fiscal note for petition initiatives, a game of “cat and mouse” has commenced between those trying to advance petitions this cycle and those opposing them.


The principal players are lawyers Chuck Hatfield and Marc Ellinger.


In their legal maneuvering, Ellinger has apparently written to the secretary of state’s office attempting to withdraw his tobacco petition in an effort to contain the damage of Bettem’s ruling from infecting other ballot proposals.


Meanwhile other tobacco petitions are being pulled back.  And according to one source, allies of Rex Sinquefield are making inquiries into a legislative remedy to ease the petition process.  According to this source, they have approached Sen. Mike Parson who has a topical bill (SB 817) with some suggested improvements: “loser pays” rules for those suing against petition initiatives, requiring speedier action from the courts on suits, and the elimination of fiscal notes.



Aside from the public policy implications of these ballot initiatives, we’re talking big money.  Two clicks at MO Ethics show just a sample of the vast sums involved:


October 3, 2011 – Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity - $123,511 to Axiom Strategies.

November 1, 2011 – Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity - $64,128 to Axiom Strategies.

December 5, 2011 – Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity - $65,549 to Axiom Strategies.

October 2, 2011 – Let Voters Decide - $600,000 to Targeted Enterprises.

November 30, 2011 – Let Voters Decide - $62,111 to National Petition Management Inc.

December 21, 2011 – Let Voters Decide - $101,651 to Pelopidas.



Limbaugh Bust Day 4

The story now leaps national… NYTimes, CNN, LA Times, USAToday, MSNBC, Washington Post, CBS and a zillion others… actually according to my morning Google search, 304 other new stories out there.


Dems Appeal to OA

House Dems wrote a letter to the office of administration: “The Hall is an entirely unofficial honor.  There is no state law creating it and, therefore, no legal requirement that busts of inductees selected by the House speaker be granted space in the Rotunda… Since the Office of Administration’s Division of Facilities Management has general supervision and control over all public areas of the Capitol, the House Minority Caucus respectfully requests that your agency refuse to allow the placement of the bust of Mr. Limbaugh in the Rotunda or any other location in the Missouri Capitol.”



Caleb Gets the Call

Freshman Rep. Caleb Jones will take over as vice-chair of the Rules Committee.  Rep. Doug Funderburk is taking a leave due a family illness.


Jones is well-liked by his fellow House members and has a lawyer’s training.  He may or may not be in line to ascend to chair of the powerful committee next year when his cousin Rep. Tim Jones becomes speaker, but it’s a vote of confidence that he’s even in the rotation this early in his career.


Chair John Diehl will be absent today, so young Jones will bang the gavel at this morning’s Rules Committee (9:30 am).



Dublin Group Adds HRCC?

Patrick Feeney and his Kansas-based Dublin Group (See Website Here) appear to be adding Missouri clients, including the House Republican Campaign Committee.  They sent out this recent invite: “Please join REP. JOHN DIEHL for a fundraising event in support of REP. CLORIA BROWN,  REP. THOMAS LONG, REP. SHEILA SOLON.  Monday, March 26, 2012, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., HRCC Office, 305 Jefferson St., Jefferson City, MO”



McNary Last Night

Last night Rep. Cole McNary had his event at the exclusive Bogey Club in St. Louis County... about a crowd of 60 supporters including Sam Fox, Bert Walker, Jerry Hunter and George P Bush (Jeb Bush’s son).  Pops Gene McNary handled the introduction noting his son’s MBA.  Former Rep. Allen Icet was also on hand to offer his endorsement.




Jay Nixon for Missouri recorded a $2,500 check from Richard Gephardt yesterday.



Senate Majority Communications Maestra Farrah Fite is leaving the building and heading to do communications for the Missouri Bar.  She starts the new gig on March 19.



Yesterday the House passed their workers comp bill and the Senate passed the discrimination bill.  Today should be light and then the legislature takes the next week of for spring break.



That means MOScout mid-term grades next week – send me your thoughts: who’s had a good first half of session?  Who’s struggled?



eMailbag: No Special in Senate 10

“One of the ‘benefits’ of term limits is our current situation in which most legislators have never seen redistricting before, and imagine that nothing like this has every happened before.


“Every ten years there are Senate districts that pop up and move to another part of the state. There has never been a finding that this vacated the seat and required a special election.  In fact, case law points in exactly the opposite direction.  In 1992, the late Ed Dirck, then Senator from the 24th, resigned to take an appointment from Gov. John Ashcroft to the Labor & Industrial Relations Commission.


“The 24th had moved from solidly Democratic North St. Louis County to a swing or even GOP-leaning district in Central St. Louis County.  Then Ashcroft tried to hold the special election to fill the remainder of Dirck's term in the NEW 24th, but the courts ruled that the people who elected Dirck to a 4-year term in 1990 in the OLD 24th were entitled to a full four years, and the special election for the remainder of that term was held in the OLD 24th in December 1992, a month AFTER elections in the odd numbered districts had been held in their NEW configurations pursuant to the 1992 redistricting.”



New Candidate Filings

Jim Aziere filed to run as a Republican in House 28 against Democratic incumbent Rep. Tom McDonald.  House 28 is a 60-40 Dem district in Raytown.


Tom Hurst filed to run as a Republican in House 62.  He joins four other Republicans in a free-for-all primary to replace termed Rep. Tom Loehner.  It’s a 60-40 Republican district.



Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Mark H. Levison added Coca, and Republic Service Inc.

Richard Watters added Landmark Hospital of Joplin, Bickford Senior Living, Chesterfield Senior Care, Provision Living at Webster Groves, Flint Hill Care and Rehabilitation Center, Formation Development Group LLC, and Shriners Hospital for Children.

David Barklage deleted St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association.

Ruth Roetheli Ehresman deleted Missouri Budget Project.



$5K+ Contributions

MO Democratic State Committee - $5,450 from Missouri House Democratic Campaign Committee.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $50,000 from Strong Garner Bauer PC.

Misssurians for Koster - $15,000 from Bommarito West County.

Missourians for Koster - $25,000 from David Stewart.

Missourians for Koster - $25,000 from Gray, Ritter & Graham.

Missourians for Koster - $5,000 from Robert Fox.

Missourians for Koster - $5,000 from Comprehensive Health Systems.

Missourians for Koster - $5,000 from BNSF Railway Co.

Missourians for Koster - $5,000 from James Nutter.

Missourians for Koster - $5,000 from Richard Camp.

Missourians for Koster - $5,000 from McBride & Son Management Co.

Holsman for Missouri - $5,060 from Allison Fisher.