Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Here We Go Again

Those now state senate districts?  Forget them.

 

The Missouri Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the appellate commission didn’t have the power to resubmit its second redistricting map, and that its first map was unconstitutional.  So, according to the process prescribed in the constitution, we restart the process.

 

We restart the process that just took us a year to complete.

 

Filing opens February 28.

 

Something’s gotta give.

 

Governor Jay Nixon wasted no time yesterday calling on the two political parties to submit their commission nominees to him.  And yet, even with all deliberate speed, it’s highly, highly unlikely that the process (even under very optimistic best cases scenarios) could be wrapped up by February 28.  That’s because there are some mandatory requirements – a few fifteen day waiting periods for example, and three public hearing.

 

While one Republican imagined that Dems would simply accede to the second map, that’s not the Democratic mindset at all.  Instead, party stalwarts believe that they can’t do worse than that second senate map which basically enshrines the Republican majority for the next decade.

 

At this point they seem more inclined to keep the train-wreck of a process dragging along until some federal intervention is triggered, and roll the dice on that outcome.  They can’t get anything worse.

 

 

Congressional Map

The congressional map was also subject to the Supreme Court’s action.  They sent it back to the lower court, creating the possibility that it too will be invalidated.  Again, there was a split between the prognosis of Republicans and Democrats.  Republicans think their map will vindicated in the process.  Democrats pray that the 5th District is held unconstitutional, and that pulling on that string unravels the whole map.

 

Again, the filing date of February 28 stands as a problem.  Several folks have mentioned that this can be remedied by the legislature since filing dates are set by statute.  They could move them backwards to create more breathing space.  Others question the legislature’s ability to do so given their inability to eliminate the presidential primary during special session.

 

 

State of the State

Poor Sen. Kurt Schaefer and Floor Leader Tim Jones were handed the impossible task of delivering a Republican response to Governor Jay Nixon’s Republican speech.

 

Judging from the mutterings in the room of Democrats where I watched the speech, there wasn’t much for the party base.

 

Nixon crowed about the number of government workers he’s shed, bringing an emetic reaction from one Dem with labor ties.

 

Nixon touted the decline in the number of workers injuries, and another Dem shook his head that it was “because you can’t file them anymore.”

 

Aside from a brief mention of campaign finance reform, there were no Democratic agenda items in his speech.  As former staffer for the House minority Sarah Martin tweeted: “Come on, Jay! Come out swinging against ONE of the horrible GOP agenda items. R2W 4 Less, Discrimination, TABOR”

 

 

Balancing the Budget

In terms of actually balancing the budget, there wasn’t much in the way of specifics.  As usual the largest pots of money proved to be the best place to fill the short-fall.  Higher education and social services took the hit.  See the budget Here.

 

Republicans criticized the budget for relying on “shell games” etc.  Among the magical properties in the budget are some improved efficiencies to save lots of money without depriving anyone of services: better coordination of 38,000 individuals with multiple chronic illnesses ($44 million); implementation of efficiency measures in rates paid to managed care companies ($101 million); reduction in the cost of prescription drugs ($51 million).  Bam!  That wasn’t hard.

 

 

Hughes Defends Legislative Record

Thanks to the peerless John Combest for pointing out Mike Mahoney asked Rep. Jonas Hughes and Minority Leader Mike Talboy about the status of Hughes’ committee assignment.  Hughes defends his Jeff City record as “exemplary.” Read it Here.

 

 

Some More Quarter Reports

Lieutenant Governor

Incumbent Peter Kinder raised $118,457, but spent $348,254, leaving him with $1.3 million.  How did he burned through $350K? Consultants, consultants, consultants…

 

Insurgent Sen. Brad Lager raised $733,271, spent a mere $600 and has $801K on-hand.

 

Secretary of State

For the Republican primary, no one broke out to establish themselves as the clear front-runner. Rep. Shane Schoeller raised the most: $101,355 and $127,870 on-hand.  Sen. Bill Stouffer has the most on-hand ($244K), but raised the least $11K.  He made up the difference by loaning himself $75K, an unsustainable method I assume.  And Sen. Scott Rupp chugged along in the middle, raising $66,602.  He has $136,764 on-hand.

 

Attorney General

Incumbent Chris Koster had a bit of a wash quarter raising $137K and spending $106K.  He has $1.3 million in the bank and no opponent in sight.

 

Senate 1

Former state representative Sue Schoemehl reported raising $5,570 and spending $5,902.  She has $17,006 on-hand, and Democrats should question whether they’re serious about trying to take out Sen. Jim Lembke in this toss-up district.  There’s no indication from this quarter that they are.

 

Senate 5

Sen. Robin Wright Jones raised $9, 225, but spent $8,712, finishing with $1,206 on-hand.  She’s clearly vulnerable to the primary challenge from Rep. Jamilah Nasheed.

 

Senate 7

And I’m talking about what was the new Senate 7 here – though now everything is in flux – Rep. Jeanie Riddle raised $39,505 and has $79,421 on-hand.

 

Senate 15

Sen. Eric Schmitt raised $126,736 and has $440,577 on-hand, and no opponent yet.

 

Senate 19

Sen. Kurt Schaefer raised $135,536 and has $330,160 on-hand.  His Democratic opponent Rep. Mary Still raised $27,280 and has $60,060 on-hand.

 

 

 

2012 Watch

With strikingly terrible timing, former state representative Jeff Roorda formally announced his bid for House 113, the same day the courts ruled on the federal and state senate maps, Nixon’s state of the state, and the filing of major fundraising quarters.  But the nugget that was in the press release… two others who has expressed interest in the seat quickly withdrew giving Roorda a pass to Jefferson City next January.

 

In House 49 (vacated by Rep. Jeanie Riddle for “Senate 7”) Philip Todd started a campaign committee, creating a Republican primary with Travis Fitzwater.

 

In House 21, Vicki Riley filed a campaign committee to run as a Republican.  Rep. Ira Anders is the incumbent in this solid Democratic district.

 

 

Reader: Uncle Fred

A reader tells me that Fred Kratky is not Jay Nixon’s cousin (as I wrote yesterday).  “One of Fred’s sisters was married to Jerry, Jay’s stepmother and thus Fred is Jay’s uncle.”

 

 

Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:

 

John E Bardgett Jr, Carol Kemna, Erika Leonard, Brian Millner, John Parris, Joe Treadway, and Kim Tuttle added Missouri Optometric Association.

Trent Watson added Missouri Sheriff’s Association.

 

 

$5K+ Contributions

St. Louis Port Council Ed Pol & Infor Fund - $5,350 from Seafarers International Union of NA.

CWA District 6 – Political Education Committee – $7,300 from CWA COPE.

 

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Rep. Bill Lant (65), and lobbyist Carl Bearden (55).