Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Missouri Toss-Up?

Real Clear Politics now has Missouri in its “toss-up” category for November.  See it Here.  For nearly two years the political consensus has been that Missouri is a lost cause, and that Barack Obama’s machine and money would fight elsewhere.


That has inspired a narrative – admittedly carried here – that the tide in Missouri would be Republican, and the only question was whether it would be a strong tide or a weak tide.


Could it be that this forecast has gone cold?  If so, it would be bad news for those Republicans – AG candidate Ed Martin and state treasurer candidate Cole McNary – whose campaigns appear to be aimed at finding a Republican wave and riding it.  Conversely Democrats Chris Koster and Clint Zweifel who have worked to create alternative images (Koster’s is “all prosecutor, no politics;” Zweifel’s is extreme competence and technocratic innovator) would benefit from this scenario.



Price Resigning

Yesterday Judge William Ray Price sent her resignation letter to Governor Jay Nixon (see it below).  It included a swipe at those advocating a change in the judicial appointment process.  Read the Post-Dispatch story Here.


What’s Next

The process should begin quickly.  Applications could be due by the end of the month, with a final decision coming in early August.


The whole process will be under a microscope with the pending ballot issue.  One imagines that the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys will attempt to adopt a lower profile.  That means that past candidates like former MATA pres Michael Manners might have to hold their ambitions in check.



Resignation Letter

Dear Governor Nixon and Chief Justice Teitelman,


It has been my honor and joy to serve on the Supreme Court of Missouri for the past 20 years.  I am especially proud of the many Missouri judges with whom I have served and their commitment to the fair and impartial administration of justice.  I am also proud that drug courts and other evidence-based sentencing practices have expanded throughout our state.


I began my career in the private practice of law and I intend to return as a working lawyer to the private practice of law.  Because I wish to have the best judges possible in Missouri, I want my successor to be appointed by the same Missouri non-partisan merit plan that has served our state so well over the past 70 years.  Accordingly, I intend to end my service as a judge on August 1, 2012.



William Ray Price, Jr.



MEC Dismisses Lembke Case

The Missouri Ethic Commission dismissed the allegations against Sen. Jim Lembke that he failed to report out-of-state travel expenses on his personal disclosure form.  Read the opinion Here.



Rev. James Bryan, treasurer of Missourians for Responsible Lending (supporting caps on pay day interest rates), was fined $1,000 for failure to file timely campaign finance reports. See it Here.



The Next Utility War is Coming…

From the Kansas City Star, Read it Here.


Pull Quotes

“More than 80 percent of utilities are embarking on a major investment cycle, including upgrading transmission lines and retiring coal-fired power plants. Aging infrastructure has become the top issue for utilities. All of this means more rate increases in the future, and more than half of those surveyed think the rate increases will be significant.”


“Black & Veatch is projecting that 450 coal-fired plants will be decommissioned by 2020 because of age or environmental regulations...”



State Revenues

May 2012 state tax revenues increased by 6.3 percent compared to those for May 2011, from $581.4 million to $618.1 million. Collections are up 3.4 percent year-to-dare compared to 2011.


The month’s breakdown:

Individual income tax collections: + 10% for the month.

Sales and use tax collections: + 12.7% for the month.

Corporate income and corporate franchise tax collections: - 49.4% for the month.

All other collections: - 10.2% for the month.

Refunds: + 1.7% for the month.



Good News for McCaskill

The scramble to get as far right as possible in the Missouri Republican Senate primary continues to the delight of incumbent Claire McCaskill


“Brunner for Senate campaign spokesman Todd Abrajano released the following statement regarding John Brunner's position on the Paycheck Fairness Act:  ‘President Obama is on-record stating that previous legislation has effectively dealt with pay equalization issues for women, so the only reason that Senate Democrats are offering unnecessary legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act is to try and score cheap political points. John Brunner believes that with unemployment on the rise once again, Claire McCaskill and her Democrat colleagues should be focused on creating an economic environment that encourages the private sector to create new jobs rather than playing political games by pushing job-killing legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act which would only increase paychecks for trial lawyers.’”



Those Colona Genes

Rep. Mike Colona’s uncle, John Colona, scored a few medals at the St. Louis National Veterans Golden Age Games… 2nd place Silver Medal - Discus Ambulatory, 75 - 79 year old male division; 2nd place Silver Medal – Javelin Ambulatory; and 1st place Gold Medal - Shot Put Ambulatory, 75 – 79 year old male division!



Lobbyists Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:


Jessica Hodge and Greg Johnston added Rels Valuation.

Richard A McIntosh added Luxco.

Reginald E McElhannon deleted Alternative Opportunities

Greg Johnston added Learngreen.



$5K+ Contributions

Missourians for Health and Education - $25,000 from The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $10,000 from GV Village LLC.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $6,000 from Mike Hamra.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $25,000 from Davis, Ketchmark, McCreight & Ivers PC.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $6,000 from South Oaks Centre Inc.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $25,000 from Medical Holdings Ltd.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $25,000 from Michael Morton.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $6,500 from Brad Bradshaw.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $25,000 from Cornerstone Health Care Inc.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $6,000 from Rita Baron.

Committee Against Rampant Rate Increases - $25,000 from Renew Missouri.