Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Health, Mental Health Approps Committee to Dig In

The Health, Mental Health and Social Services Appropriations Committee is going to take a very active and intense approach to his year’s budget.  The committee is chaired by Rep. Tom Flanigan.


Rather than focusing on the changes and action items presented to them, the committee is likely to question the very core of the budget, and dig into the details of the budget.


The sentiment appears to be driven by a fear that budgets on auto-pilot can perpetuate non-essential and underperforming programs.  There’s additional urgency to this year’s budget because with the $400 million shortfall is expected to make social services (and education) especially vulnerable.  They want to do everything possible to make sure that everything is reviewed and receives a fresh vetting.


Therefore, look for vigorous questioning in this Approps Committee hearings.  And don’t be surprised if others follow suit…




Rep. Jonas Hughes was yanked from all his committees by Minority Leader Mike Talboy.  It’s said that his poor attendance – he missed the entire special session and even his legislative assistant was unable to locate him at times – prompted the move.  Hughes will have to “earn” his committee assignments back, by showing he will take his office seriously.  In the meantime, he’s a man without a committee, any committee.


One whisperer tips to look for Sen. Kurt Schaefer to report $140K in his January quarter.


And Schaefer – together with House Floor Leader Tim Jones – will be delivering the Republican rebuttal to Jay Nixon’s state of the state address next week.



Taxing Online Retailers

According to Internet Retailer, Amazon has reached an agreement with the Indiana.  Read it Here.


Pull Quote: “The state of Indiana estimates that about $75 million in sales tax on Internet purchases goes uncollected each year by web retailers. But, thanks to a deal announced today with Inc., the state expects to recoup about a third of that, roughly $20 million to $25 million, Gov. Mitch Daniels said.


“Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has agreed to voluntarily begin collecting sales tax on sales to Indiana customers as of Jan. 1, 2014…”




Rep. Jeanie Riddle was said to be signing up co-sponsors for the Early Site Permit, betokening another session in which utilities fight to advance their agenda against well-entrenched opposition.   However one House Republican wearily suggested that the sentiment in his chamber was for the Senate to prove they could pass ESP in some form before the House expends energy on the legislation.



One top House Republican excitedly tips that they are close to having a “significant” opponent recruited to run against Rep. Jill Schupp.  Schupp’s new district, House 88, is solidly Democratic with a DPI (according to the courts) of about 57%.  But this would be a pro-choice, moderate Republican who presumably fits the district better than your average Missouri Republican.  There are no openly pro-choice Republican representatives in Missouri right now.



Gina Mitten is considering a run in the new House 83. That district is without an incumbent as neither Rep. Stacy Newman nor Rep. Susan Carlson has made any indication they will be moving from the adjacent northward district to avoid a primary.  Mitten lost to Newman in the committeeperson nominating process in 2009’s special election.



Campaign Talk

What’s the state of the Brunner campaign? One hallway source cites a Dem poll that added John Brunner’s name to gauge his name ID and found an underwhelming single digit response – even after his consistent TV advertising.  But a second observer in the building thinks that this is explained by the targeted nature of Brunner’s advertising. They’re deliberately going after Republican primary voters.  In this view he is making quiet progress even if it’s not easily perceptible to the broader public.



With the all-but-announced entry of Judy Baker into the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, there are now three women (former auditor Susan Montee, and lesser known Becky Plattner) seeking that spot.  That would seem to leave the door open to an opportunistic male, perhaps one with a slightly more conservative ideology.  Easy names to imagine: Sen. Ryan McKenna, former Sen. Wes Shoemyer, and Ag Director Jon Hagler



January Quarter Reports

In Senate 3, Pat Naeger raised $11,500 and has the same amount on-hand.


In Senate 11, Paul LeVota raised $12,555 and has $13,457 on-hand.



2010 Watch

Michael Butler, LA to Sen. Robin Wright Jones, started a campaign committee to run for House 79, which Rep. Tishaura Jones is vacating to run for St. Louis City Treasurer.  He joins Martin Casas in a primary in that safe Democratic district.



Travis Fitzwater started his campaign committee yesterday for House 49.  This is Rep. Jeanne Riddle’s district which she is vacating to run for Senate 7.



And Jeffrey Messenger started a campaign committee to run as a Republican in House 130.  Rep. Thomas Long is running in 130. This is expected to be a familiar case as incumbents move to avoid primaries with other incumbents, but get primaries themselves due to the amount of new territory in their districts.



Republican Patrick Brennan started a campaign committee to run for House 72.  He ran in a special election in House 83 last fall, losing in a three-way race to Independent Tracy McCreery.  His opponent in House 72 will be Rep. Mary Nichols.  It is a safe Democratic district.




Former state representative Sam Page was in the building yesterday fulfilling the role of “Doctor of the Day.”



KC showed its muscle.  Mayor Sly James worked the halls during the day, and there was big crowd at the Kansas City Chamber’s dinner event.



Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Mike Gibbons and Tricia Workman added St. Charles County.

Mike Gibbons deleted Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Company.

Phil Schnieders added Computerized Vehicle Registration.

Brian Bernskoetter added MIRMA.

Todd Smith added Burton-Liese on behalf of IBM.

Jewell Patek added Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Company; and deleted Nextera Energy Resources LLC, St. Louis RCGA, and Health Care Compact Alliance.



$5K+ Contributions

Your Vote Counts - $39,348 from The Humane Society of the United States.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $12,500 from Menlo Smith.

Citizens for Romine - $10,000 from Lee Mechanical Contractors Inc.




Happy birthdays to Darin Cline and Scott Intagliata.