Friday, February 9, 2018

Senate Perfects Utility Bill

The Senate achieved a milestone last night, perfecting a bill to change the regulatory framework for public utilities.  Ameren and others have sought this legislation for years, thwarted each time by an ever-changing coalition of consumer groups, corporations and stubborn senators.

This year was different.

See the Post-Dispatch article here.

Floor leader Mike Kehoe wins accolades for sticking with the bill.  Every previous year Senate leadership has blinked after hours of debate.  But Kehoe pushed through the night with no signs of relenting.  Also the hints of a circulating PQ – even if it was still short of the necessary votes – added to the credibility of his determination to get to a vote.

Sens. Gary Romine and Doug Libla started their filibuster insisting that there was no possible negotiation because the legislation was unnecessary.  But after twenty or so hours, they came to realize that negotiations were the only avenue left to explore. One lobbyist praised them as principled in their stands, and ultimately “honest brokers.”

Finally the Ameren / MEDA lobbying team claimed victory.  One source credits Jorgan Schlemeier for helping keep leadership on track while Steve Tilley was deployed to facilitate détente between the utilities and filibustering senators.


Minutes ago… Sen. Rob Schaaf lobbed this grenade over Twitter“The utility bill Ameren/KCPL/ED bought yesterday is a case study in why we desperately need anti-corruption reform starting w/ Clean Missouri. Wake up, people!...”


Follow-Up on Changing House Landscape

One Dem MOScouter says that House 65 (Hannegan in St. Charles), and House 100 (Grier in Chesterfield) could also be in play.  He would even put House 110 on the list (Mathews in Pacific) except for the strength of the Republican rep in that district.

All told if Dems can replicate the 7-8% improvement in voting margins in outer suburb districts, he foresees the potential for a 20-seat pick-up for Dems this November.

Sounds crazy optimistic to me, but we’ll see….


Mannies: Women Key to U.S. Senate Race

Jo Mannies looks at the current state of the U.S. Senate race – and how candidates are crafting their messages to appeal to suburban women.  She writes that the latest floating of a candidacy by Congresswoman Ann Wagner may be part of that thinking for Republicans.   See it here.

Pull Quote: In Missouri, McCaskill’s 15-point victory in 2012 gave a boost to most fellow Democrats down the ballot – despite Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s equally strong showing in the state.  Analysts believe that most of the state’s 400,000 split-ticket voters in 2012 – who backed Romney and McCaskill – were women. Especially suburban women, who could be the key swing voters this fall.

That backdrop  offers context to some of the Republican hand-wringing about Hawley’s assertions about the rise in sex trafficking… Hawley’s allies believe his views are shared with most of the GOP base, and could boost his support… Both candidates appear to be aiming their arguments at women voters, especially those in the suburbs. Analysts in both parties say privately that who women support – and how many women turn out – could decide the outcome in Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest. It's among a handful in the country likely to determine which party controls the U.S. Senate in January 2019.  That could explain why Hawley and McCaskill are both framing their arguments in terms that could appeal to women… The issue of gender also appears to be fueling some of the behind-the-scenes talk about whether U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner of Ballwin might be a stronger Republican opponent against McCaskill, because Wagner is a woman…


One Republican emphatically tells me that McCaskill would much prefer to run against Wagner instead of Hawley.

His thinking: Wagner’s political profile is a closer match to McCaskill.  Wagner can’t run as an outsider, and she has a voting record – just as McCaskill has.  And her husband is in government relations (“lobbyist”) which will be used to cast Wagner as even more of an insider.  Hawley, meanwhile, has only one year in public life and it’s been distinguished by being undistinguished.  No voting recording as attorney general and really no controversial stands.  That’s tougher to attack.


Haahr to White House

Speaker-Elect Elijah Haahr will travel to the White House next week for meetings with President Donald Trump, Cabinet members and senior White House staff. The occasion of the visit will be the rollout of the Administration’s infrastructure plan.  Haahr is one of only 20 elected officials from across the country invited to attend. Expect Haahr to show up with several examples of MO infrastructure projects that have gone unfunded. Haahr was also an attendee of the 2017 White House meetings to discuss the now-passed tax reform bill and appears to have caught the Administration’s eye as an up-and-comer.


Missouri electeds invited to the White House during the Trump Administration (Schmitt, Haahr, Dogan, Gregory, Swan, etc.) all have at least one thing in common: relationships with St. Louis’ Gregg Keller. Keller’s spent years building relationships in national conservative circles and has established himself as one of the Administration’s go-to volunteer advisors.



Governing Magazine looks at Greitens’ situation.  See it here.  Pull Quote: Since news of his extramarital affair broke last month, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has sought to characterize it as a "personal mistake" and put it behind him.  That hasn't been possible… Greitens never got out of campaign mode. He ran as an outsider vowing to clean up Jefferson City, and he never let up his attacks after arriving there… Lawmakers are nervous about what further news might break regarding his affair… In his successful state House race in this week's special election, Democrat Mike Revis featured damaging headlines about Greitens in a web ad. Revis carried a Jefferson County district where President Trump had taken 61 percent of the vote in 2016… Nothing hurts a politician's standing like the sense that he's a drag on the party as a whole. Perhaps Greitens' troubles will clear up by November, but Missouri Republicans aren't yet ready to bet on it.


Governor Eric Greitens declines – again – to answer whether he took the photograph of the hairdresser.  See the video of the exchange with a Post-Dispatch editor here.


Mark Mantovani pens an op/ed in the St. Louis Business Journal about St. Louis’ failed bid for AmazonHQ2.  See it here.


New Committees

Lakeysha Bosley formed a candidate committee (Citizens For Lakeysha Bosley) to run for House 79 as a Democrat.  The current incumbent is Rep. Michael Butler.

Catherine Rouse formed a candidate committee (Friends To Elect Catherine Rouse) to run for St. Charles Elections Director as a Republican.


Lobbyists Registrations

Thomas Burner deleted Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.

David Jacobson deleted Epic Strategies, Noridian Healthcare Solutions, and Integrity Home Care & Hospice.


$5K+ Contributions

Civic Progress Action Committee - $7,500 from Edward Jones.

UAW Region 5 Midwest States Political Action Committee (PAC) (MO) - $6,000 from UAW Region 5 Exchange Account.

New Approach Missouri - $25,000 from Drug Policy Action.

New Approach Missouri - $50,000 from Emerald City Holdings LP.



Happy birthdays to Rep. Jered Taylor, and Ryann Summerford.

Saturday: Rep. Tom Hurst, and Brian Grace.

Sunday: Former Reps. Steve Brown and Don Wells.