Friday, February 16, 2018

Hancock on Investigators

Jason Hancock writes on this week’s visitors to Jefferson City.  See it here.

Pull Quote: The investigators aren’t done talking with lawmakers in the Capitol. Rep. Robert Cornejo, a St. Peters Republican, said he was contacted by the two investigators from the circuit attorney’s office Wednesday. They told him they would be back in the Capitol next week, so Cornejo said he was scheduled to speak with them on Tuesday.


Senate Passes Utility Bill

Senators hashed out their difference yesterday on the floor.  Sen. Denny Hoskins represented the sentiment of the majority of the Senate: incredulousness that after the 80-90 quorum calls and sleepless night, the compromise was being pulled back. After Hoskins showed his floor skills, forcing Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal to retreat from an inquiry, he engaged Schaaf to get to the bottom of the matter.  Sen. Rob Schaaf explained he felt like Sen. Ed Emery bluffed him into thinking a PQ was coming on a worse version of the utility bill and that’ why he felt entitled to “renegotiate” the bill. Bluffing actually happens in the Senate all the time.  Even in this case when Sen. Gary Romine started by saying that they were going to kill the bill, there was nothing to negotiate because there was no need for the bill.

One MOScout source noted that the negotiations which led to the compromise were not the product of a desperate surrender, but took place over almost ten hours.  “Sen. Romine had a very capable and talented team sitting with him… as an attorney from MIEC (Lewis Mills) which is the largest industrial coalition in the state of Missouri, and David Woodsmall who represents mid-sized consumers, like Walmart… Their team more or less wrote the new rate cap language which is what Sen. Romine insisted on. Every dollar over the cap the utility eats and which may be the most consumer-friendly rate cap in the country…”

It was apparently Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson who rode in to bring closure to this impasse.  He helped Romine and other find assurances from the House that they would have an open mind with the bill and not automatically freeze out amendments.  That enabled Romine to signal to others to let the process continue.


Follow Up on Pole Attachment Bill

Cable folks dispute the description that cable is trying to “piggyback” on the small cell bill. They see it as a vital part of the debate.

“The fees our customers are required by law to pay to cities on top of their cable bills (up to 5%; varies by city) are critical to the whole discussion of the bill for this reason: AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have been telling their investors for months that they plan to use 5G technology delivered over small cells to provide a video product in direct competition with cable.  And the customers of these new video products, delivered over the municipal right-of-way just like cable, would pay ZERO fees to the cities. To pass a small cell bill without addressing the fee disparity… would enshrine into law a competitive advantage to one type of provider over another….”




Scottstrade Part of Tax Reform?

Sen. Dave Schatz presented SB663 this week.  The bill was allow public money to support the renovation of St. Louis’ Scottrade Center.  It’s where the Blues play hockey, and other events and concerts are often held in downtown St. Louis.

According to the bill, “the annual amount of the state appropriation authorized under this section shall not exceed six million dollars per year.”

Public funding for stadiums has become very unpopular in recent times.

Sen. Bill Eigel quickly inquired of a half-dozen conservative senators who expressed their opposition/skepticism of the proposal.

One thought is that the way forward on this bill is to tie it to Eigel’s larger tax reform effort.  It is, after all, an allocation of tax-payer money, and could be viewed in the context of an economic incentive like the change in the low-income housing tax credit that’s been part of Eigel’s plan.

We’ll see….


Historic Tax Credits

Next week the Senate is expected to debate Sen. Dan Hegeman’s bill (SB590) to lower the cap on the historic tax credit program.

A run through the Missouri Accountability database shows a few senators with some personal experience with the program…

It looks like Sen. Bob Dixon renovated the “Casey-Dixon house” in 2002.  It was built in 1882.

And Mark Schupp, husband to Sen. Jill Schupp, renovated a building in downtown St. Louis in 2003.


If you search the database, you’ll find David Drebes there too.  The MOScout World Headquarters, built in 1905, was renovated on its hundred-year birthday in 2005.



St. Louis Business Journal reports… “A U.S. District judge has ruled in favor of the Missouri Hospital Association in a case regarding how much hospitals in the state receive in disproportionate share allotments from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). At issue is nearly $100 million in payments that hospitals across the state would have to pay back to the federal government under new rules from the CMS.

Disproportionate Share Hospital, or DSH, payments are made to qualifying hospitals that serve a large number of Medicaid and uninsured patients. In 2010, the CMS issued a set of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) indicating that hospitals should deduct Medicare and commercial payor reimbursements when determining their DSH allotments and not just Medicaid payments. In 2017, the CMS issued a rule mandating the change.

The MHA filed suit last year, arguing that the change did not comply with Medicaid statute and therefore was not valid. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes barred the CMS from enforcing the new rule in Missouri.” See it here.


Rowden New COS

From the press release: Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, announced today the promotion of Alex Zumsteg, who currently serves as support staff for the 19th Senatorial District, to Chief of Staff. She will replace current chief of staff Stuart Murray as he takes on a new role.


Schupp Event

Sen. Jill Schupp has another big fundraiser coming up.  The March 2 event will feature special guest Jason Kander and has another big list of supporters, including her Republican opponent from 2008… Frank Plescia.

Meanwhile, still no names on the Republican side of this one.


The Hill on Wagner As Possible US Senate Candidate

The Hill ran an article titled: Nervous GOP seeks new 2018 Senate candidates in three states.

See it here.

Pull Quote: Rumors about Wagner giving the Senate race in Missouri a second look came amid a lackluster fourth-quarter fundraising haul for state Attorney General Josh Hawley, as well as backlash over his comment that linked the 1960s sexual revolution to modern human trafficking.

The Republican AG pulled in just shy of $1 million in the final quarter of 2017, the largest amount raised by a GOP challenger running against a Democratic incumbent. Meanwhile, two-term Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) raised nearly $3 million during that same quarter, bringing her cash on hand total to a whopping $9 million… Wagner, a former Republican National Committee official and ambassador under President George W. Bush, has been fielding phone calls, emails and text messages from everyone from grass-roots activists and donors to major political figures, GOP sources said…


New Committees

James Cordrey formed a candidate committee (Elect James Cordrey) to run for House 109 as a Democrat.  This is Rep. Paul Curtman’s Washington County seat that has a fierce Republican primary shaping up.

Duvel Pierre formed a candidate committee (Pierre For Missouri) to run for House 26 as a Democrat.  The current incumbent, Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, is termed.


Help Wanted

Great Rivers Greenway seeks Community Engagement Manager.  “[R]esponsible for collaborating with internal staff and a wide range of external partners and consultants. This position demands an experienced professional with both strategic thinking and high attention to detail, impeccable communication skills, excellent ability to multi-task, and dedication to the team… Great Rivers Greenway has an overall engagement strategy and framework that has been developed in collaboration with staff, board and partners to guide these efforts…”  See the ad here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Mike Gibbons deleted Live Nation Entertainment.


$5K+ Contributions

We Are Missouri - $10,000 from United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 400 Operating Account.

Jacobs for Judge - $10,000 from J Hasbrouck Jacobs/

Midwest Region Laborers’ Political League Education Fund - $6,718 from Laborers Supplemental Dues Fund.

We Are Missouri - $14,000 from Missouri AFL-CIO General Fund.

New Approach Missouri - $10,000 from Josh Ungaro.

Citizens for Howell - $10,000 from Sodexo Inc & Affiliates.

Fight for Reform Missouri - $10,000 from End Citizens United Non-Federal.



Happy birthdays (Saturday) to Jon Ratliff, and Pat Jakopchek.

Sunday – Rep. Jeffery Justus, and Rose Marie Hopkins.