Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Map

So… what did we learn yesterday from the Senate debate on the congressional redistricting map?  Well, the Senate – nearly the entire Senate – hates the House map.  (One Senate side source says as much ire comes from the imperial nature of Representative John Diehl as from the map… he didn’t consult them…)


KC Star reporter Jason Noble has an excellent run-down of their grievances.  Read it Here.


As Noble writes, however, the Senate map has similar problems to the House map, though from senators’ point of view fewer of them.


For example, Sen. Kurt Schaefer is upset by Randolph County being split.  However the Senate map splits his Calloway County, so is it more palatable?


Sens. Bill Stouffer and Ryan McKenna expressed their displeasure with both maps. McKenna’s Jefferson County is split three ways in both maps.  And Stouffer’s rural counties join Emanuel Cleaver’s district in both maps.


Stouffer says he’ll continue his filibuster, a threat made all the more devastating by his brutally boring floor routine.  As one observer quipped, “You’ve been spoiled by Sens. Jason Crowell and Matt Bartle.”  Stouffer’s idea of a filibuster was to ask senators how many stop-signs they have in their district… (Give him whatever he wants, just make him stop!)


By shredding the House map, and with the unacceptable consequence of not agreeing on a map (the Republican legislative majority abdicating to the courts?), the Senate will likely hold their nose on any odors emanating from the Senate map, and send it over to the House.


Then, is the House mature enough to avoid the usual routine of brinksmanship with something as critical to Republican political fortunes as the redistricting map?  Probably not.  We’ll see…




It’s one of the oldest writing devices around, finding its highest and best use in horror movies… suspense… Just when the girl is about to be knifed by the maniacal killer in the woods, it’s only a bunch a wind, the killer retreats and nothing happens… and the suspense is heightened.


Was it this sense of the dramatic that led Sen. Robin Wright-Jones to put her SB 48 (the new CWIP-lite) to be placed on the informal calendar without a word of debate?


The hallway was in a state of confusion.  First it was supposed to be that Pro Tem Rob Mayer would rule the CWIP-lite legislation out of order.  Then it was that there would be a full and open debate.  And then when Floor Leader Tom Dempsey called the bill up, Wright-Jones quickly asked that the bill be laid over.  Dempsey and the rest of the floor appears surprised, and then scrambled to fill their afternoon with other pieces of legislation.


Two theories surfaced.  The first, which was believed by most observers, is that Wright-Jones got “cold feet.”  Her bill had been loaded up with the early site permit language which she was probably personally unfamiliar with, and she didn’t relish facing the stinging inquiries from Sen. Jason Crowell, for example.


The second was that she was using her new position as the bill sponsor to extract something from someone.  A pretty weak theory as no one could conjure what from whom.  Also, Ameren’s headquarters are there in St. Louis so passing the bill would seem like a reward in itself.


To be continued…



Budget: The New Prevailing Wage Battlefield

In HB 7, the budget bill which funds the Department of Labor, the House cut all nine inspectors who enforce the state’s prevailing wage laws.  The Senate restores those inspectors.  Where will things end up in conference?  Cut in half to four or five?  We’ll see…



Either We All Hang Together Or… Oh Forget That

Meanwhile with the “paycheck protection” bill, SB 202, headed to the House, word is that the firefighters and police representatives are willing to stand down on their opposition if they are “carved out” and protected from the protection…



Federal Bits

Sen. Claire McCaskill raised over a $1 million for her re-election last quarter.  That’s a sharp number.  And should remind everyone that she’ll be a tough opponent…



And Rep. Russ Carnahan did $333,461, also a very strong quarter.   His potential primary opponent, Rep. Lacy Clay raised $16,726.  Carnahan now has more on-hand than Clay: $285,991 versus $221,593.



Rep. Jerry Nolte is said to be interested in running for congress, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s seat…



Rep. Todd Akin tells the Beacon that he won’t make any decision about Senate until after the redistricting map is finalized.  And one source says that Ann Wagner and Sen. Jane Cunningham had a chat last week about the Akin congressional seat, “feeling each other out.”  It’s said that there is mutual respect, and it’s unlikely they would both run for the seat.



Local Control

Sen. Rob Schaaf recited an original Dr. Seuss-like poem on the Senate floor.  Post-Dispatch reporter Virginia Young has it Here.


The issue, despite Schaaf’s ode, appears dead for the session.  Although one close, and unaligned, observer did offer that Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal’s “house slave” comments may have given supporters a fresh opening to revisit the issue.



And Don’t Come Back

Pew Center releases a report on prisons today with statistics on rates of recidivism.  Read it Here.

Missouri is used as an example in the report… Its rate was on the rise and in the period of 2004-2007, it was 54.4% against the national average of 43.3%.  As a result Missouri changed its approach.  From the report:


“When (parole) violations occur, officers have a range of sanctions they may impose, from a verbal reprimand or modification of conditions, to electronic monitoring, residential drug treatment or ‘shock time’ in jail.


“‘Every possible avenue is tried for that individual before we resort to sending him back to prison,’ Missouri Director of Corrections George Lombardi said. ‘That approach is just part of our culture now.’


“The payoff has been dramatic… (The rate of recidivism) has dropped steadily, and reached a low of 36.4 percent for offenders released in fiscal year 2009.”



The Melee in the EduCommittee?

Today at 1:30 in the Senate Lounge are fireworks on the agenda?  No just a harmless consent bill (HB 738).  But its sponsor is Rep. Jamilah Nasheed who has called Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal who sits on the committee “mentally unstable.”


Get there early for a good seat…



Lobbyists Principal Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Shannon Cooper and Nancy Giddens added Steven Carroll.

Steve Jackson, Phil Wright and Luann Madsen added Rai Services Company.

Randy Scherr added Dewey and Leboeuf LLP.

Steve Jackson deleted D.C. Inc.



$5k+ Contributions

Citizens for a Smoke-free O’Fallon – American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Citizens for a Smoke-free Cape - $15,000 from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

MO Beverage PAC - $5,223 from Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers Inc.




Happy birthday to Todd Epsten.