Monday, January 8, 2018

Q&A#1: Could Infrastructure Be a Legacy for Richard and Richardson?

Short answer: Everything’s uphill this session.


Despite the combination of their supermajorities and controlling the governor’s mansion, the tough legislative issues remains as tough as ever.

With Speaker Todd Richardson and Senate leaders Ron Richard and Mike Kehoe all facing term limits and the end (of at least this chapter) of their political careers, there’s the temptation to think that they marshal their political will to leave a lasting legislative achievement.

A new transportation funding mechanism – which has eluded the legislature for years – would fit the bill.  All three have spent years in the political arena championing a business-friendly agenda.  And businesses want a transportation solution.

Richardson might be able to use the goodwill he’s accumulated to twist some arms and cajole some of his low-taxes caucus members to back the tax increases recommended by the transportation task force.  However the cold hard truth of term limits cautions against such optimism.  With each day closer to adjournment the power of these leaders wanes a little bit more.  They are already less imposing figures than they have been in past years, simply because crossing them now doesn’t draw the fear that you may pay the price in years to come – or even next year.

While a great compromise is still possible, but it will have to be sold on the merits of the policy proposed, with a gingerly awareness of legislators’ self-interest, and of course with methodical vote-counting.


Meanwhile Barnes Says – Forget Legacy

Rep. Jay Barnes reflects on his first seven years, soft corruption and legacy.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Governments are inherently prone to corruption — both the criminal kind and the softer corruption that settles in over time. Soft corruption happens when a legislator sponsors a piece of legislation just because a lobbyist asked, without knowing anything about the subject or asking any questions. It happens when a legislator grows lazy and makes decisions about votes without reading the actual bill or considering what it does, but just asking who’s for it and against it.  It also happens when their heart or head tells them a vote is wrong, but they do it anyway because of pressure, inertia, an unwillingness to stick their neck out, or for some favor to be traded later...

Once you do it once, it’s all the more difficult to resist the logic the next time around.  I feel that I have resisted the temptation more than most, but I speak from experience: these trades are not worth it. Not even the little ones. They whittle away at your soul, and, as Jesus said in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”


Curchin Joins Speaker’s Staff

Alex Curchin has joined Speaker Todd Richardson’s staff as “senior counsel to the Speaker.”  Curchin had served as chief of staff to Mike Cierpiot when he was floor leader, and before that chief of staff under John Diehl when he was speaker.


GovWatch Changes Hands

After years of running GovWatch, the Missouri Chamber is exiting the business.  Word is that they’ve spun off the service, considering it no longer a core function of their organization.  They’ve sold it to Scott Zajac’s Rockwood Group.  Subscribers will see no interruption or change in service, though presumably they are buying it with some plans for enhancement, expansion etc.


Hancock: Romine Also Approach

KCStar’s Jason Hancock writes that Sen. Gary Romine was also approached by the governor’s office with the possibility of an appointment.  But he declined.  See it here.


From the eMailbag…

Jane Cunningham was a Senate troublemaker and didn’t get along with leadership. Solution:  Draw her seat out with redistricting.

Ryan Silvey was a Senate troublemaker and didn’t get along with leadership. Solution: Confirm him to a lucrative commission appointment…


McCann Beatty on Love Consequences

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty asks Speaker Todd Richardson to remove Rep. Warren Love from his committee assignments.  It’s the same punishment that the Senate Minority Leader, Gina Walsh, has served Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal for her social media post.

From McCann Beatty’s letter… On January 4, 2018, the House Ethics Committee voted 6-4 to reprimand state Rep. Warren Love for his reprehensible Aug. 30 social media post in which he hoped for the extrajudicial murder of those who had vandalized a Confederate statue in Springfield days earlier. The reprimand was accompanied by a recommendation that you remove Rep. Love from all of his committees… The House Ethics Committee’s reprimand of Rep. Love was a just and appropriate response to his transgression, and its recommended punishment entirely consistent with the sanction recently imposed on another state lawmaker who committed a similar offense. Therefore, I respectfully request that you finally put this matter to rest by following the Ethics Committee’s recommendation and immediately strip Rep. Love of all committee assignments.


Changes for State Employees Coming

Springfield News-Leader’s Will Schmitt reports on the changes for state employees as a result of the massive survey last year.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Previously, state employees used an interface called Productivity, Excellence and Results for Missouri (PERforM). Now, according to documents on the Office of Administration's website, Missouri workers will instead use a system called ENGAGE, which will be less formal in hopes of fostering better relationships. "Moving forward, supervisors and managers will have frequent, less bureaucratic professional development discussions with team members," according to a list of frequently asked questions. Other details include: No "formal annual appraisal for any team member" for 2017; No more numerical performance scores; [and] More frequent meetings among managers, supervisors and employees….


Joplin’s St. Johns Resume Fib to Sink Trump Appointee?

Wall Street Journal reportsPresident Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the troubled Indian Health Service appears to have misrepresented his work experience at a Missouri hospital to a Senate committee, according to former employees at the hospital. The nominee, Robert Weaver, 39 years old, has ‘nearly two decades of experience in hospital, mental health administration,’ the Trump administration said in announcing his candidacy. Evidence of that experience cited on his publicly available resume and a formal document provided to U.S. senators includes his time at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., from 1997 to 2006. … However, former St. John’s managers in some of the areas where he said he worked don’t remember him: ‘I don’t recall that name whatsoever,’ said Augusto Noronha, who was chief financial officer of the hospital from 1999 until 2005. … Another former executive, Bob Henderson … said he recalled a subordinate named Rob Weaver who registered E.R. patients, gathered insurance information and collected copays, and who eventually supervised a few other patient-registration workers.


Lobbyist Bits

A few nuggets from the lobbyists registration changes of the past few days…

First, it looks like Harry Gallagher’s firm has merged into Lathrop Gage’s consulting/lobbying arm.  Heath Clarkston’s LinkedIn says he is now Senior Vice-President for Government Relations for Lathrop Gage. This – in the words of one observer – “powers up the profile of Lathrop Gage lobbying organization as well as reach and client list.”

Second, it looks like Jacque Bardgett and Tom Dempsey are joining Jeff Aboussie in representing the City of St. Louis.  They strike me as perfect additions to the team.

And finally, there’s one of the state’s top political consultants, Scott Dieckhaus, on the list to represent the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association (MOSEIA).


eMailbag on state of SBOE

“The Governors willingness to meet the senate in the middle on BOE appointment timeframe should be an indication that all the rumors of a ‘take no prisoner’ approach were inaccurate and premature.  The process is in place and the end result will yield results.  The hysterical assumptions of the Education establishment are proving to be unfounded and unadulterated fear-mongering“.


Today’s Events

Sen. Bob Onder Birthday reception – Grand Café, Jefferson City – 6-8PM.


Lobbyists Registrations

Aaron Baker and Kristian Starner added Beyond Organics LLC, and DDC Public Affairs.

Alex Eaton, Rebecca Lohmann, Danny Pfeifer, and Greg Porter added OFO.

Greg Porter added MASMIE (Missouri Alliance For Severe Mental Illness Exclusion), MADP (Missourians For Alternatives To The Death Penalty), and Ygrene Energy Fund.

Jeffrey Brooks, William Gamble, Cynthia Gamble, David Jackson, Kathryn Gamble and Sarah Topp added Missouri Rising.

Richard AuBuchon aaded Property Casualty Insurers Association of America; and deleted Britton Group LLC.

Tom Dempsey added City of St. Louis, and Regional Strategies.

Jacqueline Bardgett added City of St. Louis.

Jacqueline Bardgett, Chris Roepe, John Parris, Erika Leonard and John Bardgett added Diamond Gaming Enterprises Inc., Habitats of Missouri, and Secure Democracy; and deleted Missouri Licensed Beverage Association.

Erika Leonard added Alterra Worldwide, and St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission.

Kim Tuttle deleted Associated General Contractors of Missouri, and Altria Client Services LLC and its affiliates.

Jacqueline Bardgett, John Bardgett, John Parris and Chris Roepe deleted Husch Blackwell LLP, and Insurance Auto Auctions.

Rodney Boyd, Katherine Casas, Kelvin Simmons and Brian Grace added Neutron Holdings Inc DBA Limebike.

Scott Dieckhaus added Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association (MOSEIA).

Jewell Patek added Heavy Constructors Association of Greater Kansas City, Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Miller Companies, Kansas City Home Builders Association, and Saint Francis Community Services.

Josh Schisler added Conservatives Against the Death Penalty.

BJ Tanksley and Spencer Tuma added Missouri Farm Bureau.

Gary Wheeler added Biodiesel Coalition of Missouri.

Carolyn McDowell deleted Carolyn McDowell.


$5K+ Contributions

Freedom to Work - $750,000 from A New Missouri Inc.

Raise Up Missouri - $10,000 from CWA-Committee on Political Education Political Contributions Committee.

Freedom to Work - $10,000 from New Prime Inc.

New Approach Missouri - $10,000 from Brenda and Ed Baker.



Happy birthdays to Sen. Mike Cunningham, and Gina Walsh’s Janson Thomas.