Thursday, April 7, 2011

Exclusive: Angry House Dems Calling to Eject Wayward Reps From Caucus

There is a movement within House Democrats to kick Reps. Jamilah Nasheed and Penny Hubbard out of the caucus.


The anger arises from their votes yesterday supporting the Republican redistricting map.  Reps. Karla May and Michael Brown also voted with Republicans.  But they are escaping the same firestorm because Nasheed and Hubbard’s votes are seen as the latest in a long string of anti-caucus actions.


Their prime office space, gifted to them by Speaker Steve Tilley at the beginning of session, increases the perception that they are in cahoots with the Republicans.


It’s possible that upset Democrats will make a motion to eject the two representatives at the next caucus meeting on Monday.  But the ill-will may dissipate by then, or cooler heads may prevail.


It’s unclear – from a strategic standpoint – if there’s an advantage or disadvantage for the Democratic Caucus to make the move.  On the one hand reducing the size of the Caucus from 57 to 55 hardly seems like a step in the right direction.  On the other, instilling some discipline could be beneficial ahead of the critical veto session.



Map Bits

The House perfected their congressional redistricting map yesterday.  There was a last minute “Carnahan” map offered by Rep. Mike Colona which was defeated. 


The most interesting development was watching Rep. Joe Aull stand and bemoan that the new Emanuel Cleaver district contains rural residents, that is the counties of Saline and Lafayette being tossed together with urban Kansas City.


This comes as word has started circulating on the Senate side that Sen. Bill Stouffer is considering a filibuster due to the same concern.  I can’t recall that last Stouffer filibuster.  As chair of the Transportation Committee, he’s more inclined to get under the hood and fix things than huff and puff and make a stand.  So it will be interesting to see if he can rally other disgruntleds or if he’d go solo and how long he could last.  


This raises the prospect of more back and forth between the House-approved map and the senators (Stouffer, but also Sen. Jason Crowell) who want changes.




Congressional redistricting does offer Governor Jay Nixon a chance to improve where he is weakest – with his Party’s faithful – by making a stand and vetoing the map when it gets to him.  The issue is probable below the radar of the independent voters he covets, yet would win him points with critics from the base who say he isn’t a true Democrat.



Unemployment Benefits Tack

Facing a head-wind of criticism, the gang of four (Sens. Jim Lembke, Brian Nieves, Rob Schaaf and Will Kraus) made a strategic tack.  They declared yesterday that their blocking the unemployment benefits wasn’t about unemployment benefits.  Gone was the rhetoric from the Senate floor just weeks before – getting people “off their backside,” recitation of the number of jobs on, Lembke’s recollection of losing his job once and never even considering taking unemployment benefits.


Now they say their beef is simply reducing federals stimulus spending.  Here’s their offer: if Governor Jay Nixon will cut $300 million from the federal funds coming to Missouri they’ll sit down and let the unemployment benefits through.  I mean what could be more reasonable than that?


MO News Horizon has bits from their press conference yesterday.  See it Here.


Having the Caucus’ message being driven Lembke is not a good place for Republicans, and obviously this all helps Nixon.




Sen. Eric Schmitt’s economic development agenda had a nice day in the House yesterday.  They gave approval to both the franchise tax phase-out and the Aerotropolis (aka China Hub) incentives.  Rep. Caleb Jones carried the latter, a nice badge for the freshman. 



The Senate yesterday gave amazingly speedy approval to Sen. Jason Crowell’s “paycheck protection” bill, SB202, which would – after a state-wide vote – prevent some labor organizations from having their dues automatically deducted from workers’ paychecks.   The ease with which it passed is perhaps yet one more symptom of organized labor’s position this session: defense, defense, defense on many fronts, and having to pick their battles.



Lots of education lobbyists huddled last night in downtown Jefferson City reportedly working over the “Turner problem.”  One participant exiting the meeting said that there was still no resolution…



Former state representative Rodney Hubbard will be walking the halls again soon… as a lobbyist for the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association.



Chip Wood’s horrid performance – taking only 34% - in the St. Louis County Assessor race has Republicans finger pointing, mainly at the process which chose their flawed candidate.  One operative says that it was Sen. Jim Lembke’s people, led by Republican committeeman John Judd, who pushed for Wood over Gene McNary.



Two Losses

Missed this yesterday...  Tuesday’s election night results included losses from two former state representatives.  Kenny Biermann (beat last November by Rep. Vicki Schneider) lost his St. Charles City Councilman race; and Cynthia Davis was beaten in her bid to join the St. Charles Ambulance District.



Lobbyist Principal Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


James E Farrell added Alliance for Investment, Jobs and Preservation.  

Kent Gaines added Viceroy Group and Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Missouri

Susan Henderson Moore deleted Oxford Acquisition LLC.



$5k+ Contributions

Freedom PAC - $150,000 from American Democracy Alliance.




Ryan Rowden turns 34 today.