Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Senate Education Week


The Senate will take up SB 806 – Sen. Jane Cunningham’s bill to end teacher tenure.  Read it Here.  On the House side most Reps talk about teacher tenure as one of the most vulnerable components.



There was spirited Senate debate on education covered a lot of ground.  Initially it seems that Sen. David Pearce’s bill might get caught in Turner Fix crossfire it was trying to avoid.


Sen. Jane Cunningham offered an amendment in which she sought to explicitly prevent the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education from counseling local districts from complying with the transfer law.


Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal worked up a huff that Cunningham would be stripping power from DESE.  In the end, a solution was found as Sens. Eric Schmitt, Pearce and Chappelle-Nadal worked with the magical Senate research to conjure some surprisingly simple language (“Nothing in this section or section 162.083 shall supersede, or be construed to supersede, the

provisions of section 167.131 and section 167.241. No action of the state board of education shall be contrary to the provisions of section 167.131 and section 167.241.”) which allayed everyone’s concerns.


It was an example of the Senate working, navigating between the two cliffs: one where a minority member’s concerns shut down a piece of legislation acceptable to the majority of the body, and the other where the majority becomes exasperated by the minority and just steamrolls them.


Schmitt to Nixon: J’accuse!

During debate Sen. Eric Schmitt charged that DESE was planning to ignore the foundation formula, even “whispering in the halls” as much.  He asked on the Senate floor that DESE refute this talk by stating that they would follow the law.


With the foundation formula underfunded, the law calls for deep cuts in state aid to many rural districts.  According to Schmitt’s suspicions, the second floor is directing DESE institute pro-rata cuts across all districts – including hold harmless districts.


The theory is that Governor Jay Nixon – who has never encountered an unpopular decision he wouldn’t hide from – will appease the rural districts, until after his re-election.  That’s the timeline when a suit brought against DESE would be heard.



Senate 1:  Dems to Ding Lembke on Lobbyists’ Gifts

I missed this a few days ago, but it looks like Dems are teeing up an issue against Sen. Jim LembkeSee KSDK’s coverage Here.


The charge is that he failed to report gifts from lobbyists on his Personal Disclosure Form.  That will be solved easily with an amended filing.  But it’s like a jab setting up a right hook.  And the right hook is the image of Lembke as someone who’s gone to Jefferson City and been living like an insider, taking hundreds and hundreds of free meals and small gifts from lobbyists.


It may be most damaging as a counterpoint to his filibuster to extend federal aid to the unemployed.


Can you see it?…. Fuzzy pic of Lembke with a deep booming narrator… “Lembke told Missourians who were worried how they would put food on their kitchen table to ‘get off their backside.’  Maybe that’s because he knew where his next meal was coming from….”



Senate 3: Republican Primary

In Senate 3 there’s a Republican primary in the race to replace Sen. Kevin EnglerGary Romine has been preparing for the race for years and has the backing of the incumbent.  To win it he’ll need to pull off the kind of political gymnastics at which Engler excelled: winning a solid Dem district as a Republican.


Complicating this path for Romine is the person of Terry Varner.  Varner’s website, see it Here, offers hope though.   In addition to the questionable campaign tactic of soliciting contributions in $17.76 increments (in honor of that banner year), his civic involvement appears to have been mostly in St. Charles and Creve Coeur… that is, outside the district.


Rep. Joe Fallert is unopposed on the Democratic side.



KC Endorsements

Sly for Silvey

Kansas City’s Democratic mayor Sly James endorsed Republican state representative Ryan Silvey in his bid to become state senator.  One of the benefits of avoiding a primary is being able to put together bipartisan support.


Justus for LaFaver

Running in Rep. Jason Kander’s old district, Jeremy LaFaver is set to announce a big endorsement from the state senator, Sen. Jolie Justus.  LaFaver’s primary opponent is Chris Miller.



SNR Denton Jumps into Joplin

Last night the Joplin City Council approved a letter of intent hiring Wallace Bajjali Development Partners of Suger Land, TX as master developer for the tornado disaster recovery. SNR Denton’s Rodney Boyd, Kelvin Simmons, and Brian Grace have been retained by Wallace Bajjali for lobbying services and SNR has been retained for real estate and municipal finance legal services.



Last Minute Checks

From the large contributions, some last spurts…


Lags Lands Another $100K

Sen. Brad Lager took in another $100,000 check from the Humphreys family. This one was from sister Sarah Atkin.  And his senate ally, Sen. Will Kraus, sent over $15K.  It appears that Lager will be approaching $1 million cash on-hand and incumbent LG Peter Kinder will be a bit higher.  The problem for Lager is that this doesn’t represent parity.  Kinder’s name ID after multiple statewide terms means he starts way ahead of Lager.
Spence Writes Self $250K

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence handed himself a $250,000 check as the quarter closed.  It was actually smaller than what I guessed this quarter’s “assessment” would be.


Martin Transfers $205K Over

AG candidate Ed Martin transferred the $205,000 from his previous Senate and Congressional campaigns into the AG campaign account.  I has accounted for this in my cash on-hand estimate yesterday.


Schoemehl Snags $35K

Sue Schoemehl, Senate 1 candidate under siege by primary opponents, reeled in a $35,340 check.  That will improve her cash on-hand, but it’s still a fierce primary for her against Rep. Scott Sifton.



RGA’s Cash Horde: $34 Million

From Politico’s Morning Score: “The Republican Governors Association will announce today that they raised $12.2 million in the first quarter - a $5 million, or 70 percent, increase over their first quarter fundraising totals from 2008, the last comparable election year... For the election cycle beginning in January 2011, the RGA has raised more than $56 million compared to $28 million for the DGA. The group will also announce $34 million cash on hand, the most money they've ever had in  the bank at the end of a first quarter…”


The Big Question: How much of that will find its way into Missouri against Jay Nixon?



Lowered Kinder Number

The outlook for Peter Kinder’s quarter weakened.  Look for a $220K quarter, not the whisper number reported last week.  However my cash on-hand estimate should be about right, somewhere in the $1.2- 1.3 million range.



Rupp’s 8 Day

Because he contributed to someone in today’s election, Sen. Scott Rupp had to file an 8-Day report last week.  It showed $37K raised and $33K spent, tracking generally with the numbers we’ve seen from the Republican SOS field.  Most of the expense was Capitol Consulting (Donna English’s fundraising outfit) for $14K and various Lincoln Days costs.  However if Rupp didn’t book some late checks it will be a disappointing quarter for him.



Nixon to Brazil

From the peerless John Combest… Governor Jay Nixon will head south to Brazil with a trade agenda later this month.  Read it Here.



In Molina Centene Contract Fight

Although the Molina Centene contract dispute is now in the hands of the courts, here’s who’s walking the halls for them.


Molina: Harry Gallagher and Associates.

Centene: Burton-Liese, Stinson Morrison Hecker, David Barklage and Sherry Doctorian.



It’s Election Day in Places

Municipal elections today.



eMailbag: He Said / He Said

On the Never-ending ESP Saga

Lobbyist 1: “The little true up amendment would have cost just Ameren ratepayers $255 million over the increases Ameren received in their last four rate case.  And Noranda would be on the hook for 10 percent of that.  This amendment alone is a heck of a lot more than the permit to build a nuke which you and I both know will never be built…”


Lobbyist 2: “I thought FERAF's press release on a utility issue called rate true up was interesting. It seems Noranda and FERAF would like everyone to believe that site permit is stuck due to this rate true up provision. In fact, rate true up was widely supported by a House committee, passing something like 18 to 2.  It seems the whispers in the halls point to the fact that legislators have 'cooled' on site permit because it is coupled with a 'lottery winning' amendment for Noranda, moving their renewable energy cost from $1.6M per year to about $5,500 or a 290% reduction!”


Drebes: “Sounds like we’ll meet back here January 2013…”



Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Gamble and Schlemeier deleted Missouri-American Water Company.


$5K+ Contributions

Citizens for Brad Lager - $15,000 from Citizens for Will Kraus.

Citizens for Brad Lager - $100,000 from Sarah Atkins.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $10,000 from GCI Remarketing LLC.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $10,000 from American Federation of Teachers COPE.

Give Missourians A Raise - $25,000 from The Advocacy Fund.

MO Insurance Coalition PAC - $10,000 from FEAPAC of Missouri.

Kander for Missouri - $20,000 from John Kander.

Missourians for Affordable Renewable Energy - $33,124 from Missouri Energy Development Association.

Spence for Governor - $250,000 from David Spence.

Kander for Missouri - $6,557 from The Barnes Law Firm LLC.

Slay for Mayor - $10,000 from St. Louis Cardinals LLC.

Schoemehl for State Senate - $35,450 from Thomas P. and Ruby H. O’Driscoll Revocable Living Trust.

Missourians for Ed Martin - $205,000 from Ed Martin for Congress.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $5,000 from Missouri Soybean Association State PAC.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $5,000 from Gill Group Inc.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $5,000 from Joseph Ryan Hamilton.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $5,000 from Rita Baron.




Happy birthday to Rep. Ron Schieber (52) and former Rep. Charlie Portwood (49).