Wednesday, May 2, 2012

 

Special Report: Republican House Primaries

It’s a monster 108-page PDF up in the Special Reports.  Read it, print it out, or download it Here.

 

This is just a “first look” at Republican primary races for the House.  It is based on the drawings of the districts, fundraising, projected primary vote turnout and basic knowledge of the candidates.  More updates to follow over the coming 90 days.

 

 

Turner Fixed?

Yesterday, the “Turner case” was overturned.  As a seminal case which has shaped large portions of education debate for the past few years, the ripples of the decision spread through the Capitol, though excitement ebbed by a prevailing sentiment that this was just one more twist in a long and winding road.  The case was overturned because Judge David Vincent III concluded that the costs to the receiving school districts would violate the Hancock amendment.  Read the decision Here. The case will presumably be appealed and return to the state supreme court.

 

There are two paths going forward.  The Supreme Court could decide that it is not a Hancock problem.  In the first case, Turner, the Court did not address the issue because there was no taxpayer in the case. So it is an open issue.

 

However, the money from the state that goes to St. Louis would not go to St. Louis if the kid goes to Clayton – the state could direct that money to Clayton.  In the case of Clayton, of course, that would not be enough money.  But the crux is that the Constitution says that it is the obligation of the state to have a system of public schools – and the state does so by providing state funding, and provisions for local property taxes.  It is a state system. Under this scenario, the case would be sent back to Judge Vincent to do what the Court thought he was supposed to so the first time the Court sent it back.

 

The other path would be that the Supreme Court agrees it is a Hancock violation.  Not a likely outcome, but well in the realm of possibility. Then the case is over.

 

Finally there is a third path… St. Louis schools could get their accreditation back in the meantime.  Again that’s the end of the case.  However the issue would live on as the action would just shift to Kansas City…

 

 

Budget Bits

The Senate spent about an hour and a half before finally acting on a motion to go to conference with the House over the budget.  This is not supposed to be the hard part of the process.  But some senators who had fought for items in the Senate budget were now anxiously trying to “bind” the senate conferees to those positions lest their gains are reversed in conference.

 

Pro Tem Rob Mayer, and Sens. Eric Schmitt and Kurt Schaefer spoke on the floor, saying that they could find no precedent for binding conferees on budget conferences.  And such an act might be viewed as an act of hostility by the House and be counterproductive. Eventually those seeking the chains relented and the motions passed.

 

Conference committee start today at 2:30pm.

 

Conferees

Senate: Will Kraus, the least abrasive of the Gang of Nine; Dan Brown, ambassador from the Parson’s camp; and Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer.  On the Dem side, veteran Tim Green from the eastern side of the state and newbie Kiki Curls from the western side.

 

House: Budget chair and vice chair Ryan Silvey and Rick Stream, and Rep. Lincoln Hough for Republicans (with Reps. Tom Flanigan subbing for Hough on the Health and Social Services bills).  For Dems, its Reps. Chris Kelly and Sara Lampe, with Rep. Genise Monticello rotating in on HB 2002 and 2011.

 

And

See the difference between the House and Senate budgets Here.

 

 

Riddle for Rules?

The current talk is that Rep. Jeanie Riddle will take over the chairmanship of the powerful Rules Committee.

 

This appears to be the resolution to discussions to keep Riddle in leadership, and yet avoid any divisive leadership races.  Rep. John Diehl looks uncontested for Floor Leader.  And Rep. Caleb Jones, who is now vice-chair of Rules, is thought to be headed for a chairmanship of the General Laws Committee.

 

Of course, Speaker-elect Tim Jones has probably made it clear that he’s not pinned into any position.

 

 

Building Problems

The lobbyists are grumbling about the “lack of vehicles.”  There are so few bills in position to be able to cross the finish line by May 18, the ones that seem to have a chance are getting loaded up which in turn makes their viability more tenuous.

 

 

Today’s Highlights

The Senate is expected to return to HB 1623, the omnibus local governments bill.  And the House is expected to bring up HB 1526 (teacher tenure) for debate.

 

 

MEDA Punches AARP

After a brief calm a renewed skirmish in the utility wars.

 

From the MEDA press release: “You may have recently received phone calls or emails pertaining to the current version of SB 759 generated by a highly misleading communication from AARP Missouri… As you may recall, John Coffman, former head of the Office of Public Counsel and attorney for AARP and Consumers Council of Missouri, was recently quoted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as stating, ‘…the renewable energy proposal is an improvement for consumers compared with the existing law.’ Mr. Coffman is speaking of California-based Earth Island Institute, Inc./Renew Missouri’s new renewable energy mandate initiative petition that is currently being circulated for signatures. Mr. Coffman supports a mandate that would increase residential and small business customer’s rates for renewable energy resources by 338% and 678% respectively on an annual basis compared to the current law… AARP is also a member of the Fair Electric Rate Action Fund (FERAF), an organization that includes the Consumers Council mentioned above, Missouri Association for Social Welfare, the Missouri Association of Retailers, Ford Motor Company, and most notably, Noranda Aluminum…”

 

 

Bits

Martin Casas, running for St. Louis City’s House 79, makes Comedy Central’s website.  See it Here.  The post focuses on his attention-grabbing email blast a week ago when he lamented that his car had been stolen – for a third time – but then adeptly pivots to a fundraising ask.

 

 

Governor Jay Nixon endorsed Lacy Clay in the First Congressional death-match.  Texts one Dem, “You find me a Democrat that isn’t privately cynical about Jay endorsing Clay and I would be surprised…”

 

 

U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman came out in favor of making changes to the state non-partisan court plan.  It wasn’t missed by cynics and critics that her enthusiasm on this non-federal issue bubbled forth a week after it was disclosed that court-change backer Stanley Herzog dropped $250K into her PAC.

 

 

CORRECTION

Yesterday I wrote about the Missouri Association for Social Welfare’s annual awards dinner.  That was actually just the St. Louis Chapter’s dinner.

 

 

Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:

 

Adam Childers and Ximena Hartsock added StudentsFirst.

James E Farrell added Siete.

 

 

Lobbyist Registration Exegesis

Scott Swain’s recent registration to represent the City of Holt Summit is said to be related to their sewer planning.  There’s no legislation pending; it’s more about navigating the state government during the process.

 

 

Jim Farrell’s recent registration of St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District appears to SB 849 or SB 778 or any bill to which the provision to disallow inflation adjustment is amended.

 

 

$5K+ Contributions

Missourians for Affordable Renewable Energy - $6,134 from Missouri Energy Development Association.

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

Lewis & Clark Regional Leadership Forum - $6,000 from Optimus LLC.

Lewis & Clark Regional Leadership Forum - $12,000 from GJ Grewe Management Co.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $5,000 from Fred Palmer.

 

 

Contribution Exegesis

Optimus LLC shows its address is 1001 Broadwalk Springs Place.  That’s a famous Paul McKee address for the many LLCs of his real estate empire.  Lewis & Clark is a politically astute business association of St. Charles leaders.  They’re all mostly Republicans, but do play both sides of the aisle toward pragmatic ends.

 

 

Fred Palmer is the senior VP of Government Relation for Peabody Coal.  Yesterday he was giving $10K to HRCC; today he’s giving Nixon $5K.  Looks like someone who may have business to do during the next four years.

 

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. Scott Dieckhaus (32) and Jac Cardetti.

 

 

Workman Baby Watch

Lobbyist Tricia Workman’s baby is due five days after the end of legislative session…