Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Put the Weight on Lembke?

One well-placed source says that the unemployment benefits extension is unlikely to return to the Senate floor.  No accommodations have been reached with filibuster–leader Sen. Jim Lembke.


But according to one observer, Lembke now “owns the issue,” and that ownership may bring some baggage, weight which may make him less itchy to attack the $189 million in federal funds for education coming across the Senate floor soon.


Also, all’s not yet lost on the unemployment benefits.  If the Senate is able to act later in session, they may still be recouped and paid retroactively – though that’s probably little comfort to struggling families now.



Cunningham Fundy

Sen. Jane Cunningham had a fundraiser last night.  Across the street from the ALEC informational meeting, a strong stream of politicos and lobbyist trekked over to pay respects.  And the surprise that met them: Auditor Tom Schweich spontaneously opened his apartment (upstairs) as the event’s new location.


Seen among the lobbyists with checks was talking head John Hancock and party head Lloyd Smith.



Cunningham for Congress?

It’s all in the fuzzy haze of speculation, but if Rep. Todd Akin can muster the strength to jump into the Senate race, a consensus seems to forming that Sen. Jane Cunningham would be the initial favorite.  She has the fundraising base, and the legislative record to make the move.  But also, it sounds like the House members who could look at that race would pass, deferring to her.



No to NORC

Yesterday’s House floor debate on the budget saw funding for a NORC (naturally occurring retirement community) in Creve Coeur axed.  Rep. David Sater proposed the cut calling it an “earmark.” And that dirty word seemed to doom the provision.


Yet one observer asks if the cut was aided by an unconscious anti-Semitism.  The NORC’s partner is the Jewish Federation of St. Louis Jewish.  Would the knives have been so ready if the partnering organization were Christian instead?    



McKenna Not for Auditor

Despite a change in his campaign committee stating that he’s seeking Auditor, Sen. Ryan McKenna’s future aspirations are as yet undefined.  One possibility: staying relatively close to home and running for Jefferson County Executive…



Ag Club Sight’ems

The monthly St. Louis Agri-Business Club luncheon hosted Sec. Tom Vilsack and drew a record number of attendees.  Repping their bosses were Brian Klippenstein (Blunt) and Jim Mitas (Akin). MO Ag Director Jon Hagler was there with Misti Preston, the department’s Director of Strategic Communications.  Other attendees included Frank Plescia of Bryan Cave;  Katie Smith, formerly Ag Director and now with Jim Talent’s American Freedom and Enterprise

Foundation; Gus Wagner, formerly of Sen. Dan Clemens’ office and now full-time at Rocket

Group LLC; and Missouri Farm Bureau Chief Administrative Office Dan Cassidy.


Before lunch adjourned, each of the 250+ attendees received a membership application for Missouri Farmers Care and heard a pitch from the podium to enlist and help the group fight HSUS.




The House will finish passing the budget today. 


Rep. Jerry Nolte’s minimum wage law change HB 61 will be heard in Sen. Scott Rupp’s Small Business (Noon, SCR1)



Sen. Jane Cunningham’s “Turner Fix” SB 370 will be voted out of her General Laws committee today (1:30pm Senate Lounge).



Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder lassoed $300k yesterday (see below) a sharp reminder that fundraising ground can be made up quickly in the era of no-limits. The bulk of the donations were from the Humphreys family, leading one Democrat last night to speculate that they were trying to nudge Kinder off the fence on right-to-work.



The St. Louis Beacon has Wes Shoemyer talking about running for LG in 2012.  Read it Here.



Senate Bowling Tournament

Last night senators, staff and lobbyists bowled for charity.  The best score I saw came from Sen. Ron Richard who bowled a stellar 260.  Of course Richard owns bowling lanes, so he’s practically a pro. 


Sen. Eric Schmitt put up 237 and 248.  (Schmitt’s athletic feats go back to his high school football days.  He played safety and weighed a svelte 195.  These days his weight is in the vicinity of his bowling scores…) 


And the top lobbyist score came from API’s Ryan Rowden… 224.



$5k+ Contributions

Citizens to Elect Andrew Podleski - $7,000 from Andrew Podleski.

Friends of Ellen Brandom - $14,122 from SEMO Leadership Committee.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $100,000 from David Humphreys.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $25,000 from August Busch III.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $50,000 from Sarah Atkins.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $100,000 from Ethelmae Humphreys.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $12,500 from Drury Development.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $12,500 from Drury Hotels.

Lewis & Clark Regional Leadership Fund - $12,000 from James Murphy Jr.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $10,000 from UFCW #655 Elect Political Fund Pac.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $6,850 from Central Bancompany Pac 238.

Missourians for Koster - $10,000 from Scott J Wilson.

Missourians for Koster - $25,000 from Davis, Ketchmark & McCreight, P.C.

Missourians for Koster - $15,000 from Dollar, Burns & Becker LC.

Missourians for Koster - $25,000 from Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP.




Rep. Ellen Brandom turns 69 today.  And former state representative Neil St. Onge is 56.