Friday, May 13, 2011

Erictropolis?  No Diehl

A long and late night ended without resolution on the massive economic development bill limping through the legislature.


Having missed the deadline to distribute conference committee reports to the House, HB 116 is dead.  However the idea lives.  The new vehicle is SB 100 which the House could load up with compromise language for an up or down vote in the Senate. Similarly, the Senate could reconfigure a House bill (HB 366 has data centers and HB 840 has aerotropolis) and offer the House a fresh up or down.


Both sides will hit the negotiating table this morning.  Last night’s meeting with Sens. Eric Schmitt and Brad Lager on one side and Speaker Steve Tilley and Rep. John Diehl on the other was said to have started very contentiously, but still fruitful enough to give hope to those cheering for the effort.


One sticking point is sunsets on historic preservation and low income housing tax credits.  The House after initially saying they wouldn’t accept sunsets, offered 10-year sunsets at midday.  Depending on the mood, the notion of 10-year sunsets being some kind of compromise was greeted with a laugh or an eye-roll.  Meanwhile Sen. Jason Crowell has said that sunsets are non-negotiable, and he wants them in the four-year range.


The other sticking point is the fiscal note.  The House offer, in addition to higher caps, also had some exemptions.


“Time starts to become a factor,” said one staffer surveying the situation.  My own analysis concurs with this last-day-of-session observation.



Rumor of the Day

Former state senator Chuck Gross joins the list of names that will be looking at the 2nd Congressional District.


Like Ed Martin, he doesn’t currently reside in the district. Still most agree that the redistricting upheaval means voters will be forgiving of candidates whose homes are a mile or two outside the lines.


The geography of the district almost beckons a St. Charles name for sure in a crowded primary.  Maybe two…


Gross appears to be in the same state of mind as Mike Gibbons.  The opportunity of a congressional seat without an incumbent is too dear a prize to let pass without giving a bid serious consideration.



Last Day Bits

For all the puffery about “right to work,” it had only two hours of debate in the Senate before spring break and never returned.  And it was a no-show in the House.



Was the CWIP-lite all just a show?  The constant chirping of how close they were or not to an agreement yielded nothing in the end. While one player held out hope that it could still pass today, most had descended into a tired depression by night’s end.



It’s been a pretty miserable year for education legislation.  The list of dead as we head into the last day - Rep. Tishaura Jones’ charter school bill, the Turner fix, and the foundation formula fix.  These will all be back next year...  But it makes you wonder whether the legislature with its current composition and leadership is capable of passing education legislation that’s at all controversial.



With Sen. Scott Rupp occupied with redistricting this session, the charter school folks found a new sponsor on the Senate side this year, Sen. Bill Stouffer.  He’s an intriguing partner because the issue is usually framed around urban education problems and Stouffer represents a largely rural district.  It signals a broadening of the coalition supporting charters.



The Auditor’s bill authorizing more money for the office to conduct one-time comparative audits may have a problematic amendment coming over from the House. It would require a comparative audit between the House and Senate.  Hard to imagine the Senate wants Tom Schweich nosing around their business, looking for headlines…



Second Injury Fund fix… dead.  Or in the mournful words of one supporter, “truly dead and finally dead.”  It was one place where MOChamber and MATA were in agreement. They fought each other everywhere else this session.  The consequence according to supporters of the fix: a layoff in July of 40 attorneys who deal with claims.  60% of those claims are usually dismissed, but now they’ll all win default judgments from the state.  And when claimants sue in federal court because the fund is bankrupt, the state will likely be on the hook.



Local control of the St. Louis Police Department was said to be in trouble. It ain’t gonna be a pretty scene in St. Louis if this one doesn’t come home today.  After all their civic gymnastics    – working out an agreement with SLPOA, granting them collective bargaining – they’re feel like they’ve upheld their end of the deal and are going to blame some people…



With some in the hallway speculating about a special session on economic development (assuming there’s no Hail Mary today), one lobbyist joked that you’d want to schedule it to coincide with Sen. Jason Crowell’s honeymoon.



$5k+ Contributions

Friends of Peter Kinder - $50,000 from Jerry Hall.


Friends of Peter Kinder - $50,000 from William Holekamp.


MO Republican Party - $25,000 from Anheuser Busch Companies.




Former state representative Beth Low turns 34 today.