Thursday, February 15, 2018

Senate Setback

As quickly as I wrote that the Senate seemed functional, it proves me wrong.

Sen. Rob Schaaf – along with Sens. Maria Chappelle Nadal and Sen. Doug Libla – filibustered, preventing the Senate from any business yesterday.

Schaaf and Libla announced that they were no longer happy with the utility bill compromise from last week.  Apparently now that they’re fully rested, it doesn’t seem like such a good deal.

So they want to re-negotiate the bill which can no longer be amended.

Lord help the Senate if the rest of the body goes along with this nonsense.

What’s the point of negotiating if you reserve the right to renege and start filibustering the same bill?

It’s said that there’s a special place in Senate Hell for folks who won’t keep their end of a deal…

 

Gardner Ratchets Up Pressure

Investigators working with St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner worked the Capitol yesterday.  Gardner opened an investigation into Governor Eric Greitens’ actions surrounding his affair last month.  However this foray into the heart of Jefferson City suggested that her investigation has widened.

This would conform with what Rep. Nate Walker – one of the legislators interviewed – told me about his experience from witnessing the Bill Webster take-down decades ago: where an investigation starts is not where it ends.

I spoke with a couple of the legislators who were interviewed by investigators.  They offered varying accounts of the questions.

A retired state and federal prosecutor who does not tend toward hyperbole said: “Experienced investigators like this are going to find something in what has to be a target-rich environment. This is very bad news for Greitens as well as his lawyers who have federal prosecutorial experience and know the seriousness of these hired guns whose FBI resumes go back to the 1970s.”

And

The Kansas City Star article (see it here) named two of the investigators, Jack Foley and William Tisaby, both mature veterans of law enforcement with extensive FBI credentials.  And Jane Dueker noted on Twitter, Foley’s Linked-In bio says he was an FBI special agent from 1977 to 2009, and is described as an “anti-money laundering specialist.”

 

Q&A #1: What’s Gardner Looking For?

Short answer: Gardner is looking to make a show of force.

 

The investigators didn’t quietly summon folks to a non-descript building a block a way to conduct their interviews.  They walked into offices in the middle of the day, on the busiest day of the legislative week.  One source said they handed out so many business cards that they ran out of business cards.  Among the legislators they contacted were ones most likely to broadcast their presence to the press or on the Senate floor.

One MOScouter explains it this way: The confirmed presence of law enforcement pros assisting a grand jury probe, is to sweat Team Greitens and rattle Greitens’ dark money mega-donors and the governor’s legal, political and public relations advisers.

Rumorville: World Wide Technologies Loses State Contract?

Word in the halls is that World Wide Technology has been displaced as the state’s premier technology vendor.  If true, it’s a huge deal.

To give you some sense of the amount of money we’re talking about, here’s how much WWT has been paid in recent years according to the Missouri Accountability Portal.

2018: $25,508,359

2017: $65,054,098

2016: $62,105,801

2015: $56,536,535

2014: $59,271,564

2013: $46,774,191

2012: $48,398,367

2011: $51,421,224

2010: $41,004,152

2009: $46,718,430

That totals over $500 million during the past ten years.

It appears that the contract actually ended in 2016, but has had several short-term extensions.

If this rumor is true, it must sting a bit for WWT’s CEO David Steward.  He contributed $100,000 to Eric Greitens soon after his election in November of 2016.

 

Meanwhile Also in the Purchasing World

Sen. Paul Wieland and Rep. Marsha Haefner has filed bills (SB963 and HB2279) would allow the COO or commissioner of OA to forgo competitive bids when purchasing innovative technology.  The Senate bill was passed out of committee yesterday.

 

Follow Up on Roberts V Walker

I’m told that the Casenet entry on Rep. Steven Roberts lawsuit didn’t accurately reflect where things stand in that case.  Rep. Cora Walker’s counter claim hasn’t been dismissed.  Things continue…

 

Pole Attachment Again

Sen. Caleb Rowden’s SB 837 was passed out of committee yesterday.  This is the “pole attachment” bill which has been a regular feature of every recent legislative session.  It’s a tussle between cell phone providers who are trying to build out a 5G infrastructure for their customers by attaching small cell “towers” to public structures – like light poles – in cities across Missouri.

The problem is that cell phone providers feel that some municipalities are basically gouging them.  The companies have to thousands of these to provide coverage.  And each company puts up their own.  It’s a cash cow for municipalities.  But how fat is this cow going to be allowed to get?

It pits two typical Republican values against each other.  One the one hand the Republican Party often stands for local control as opposed to intrusive government.  On the other hand, they want to be business-friendly.

Adding to the complexity of the issue is the cable companies.  It’s said that they want to “piggyback” on the bill to lower the franchise fees that they pay to municipalities.  Most think that would be a killer for the bill because the loss of revenue would make municipalities go to the mattresses to defeat it.  And one lobbyist wonders if the cable companies would mind the bill going down, if they see the 5G wireless infrastructure as competition to their wired infrastructure?

Tough road to navigate….

And

This pole attachment bill together with Rowden’s SB 833 – which would provide a regulatory framework for charging stations – are examples of how government can facilitate the introduction of new technologies in our changing economy.

 

Bid: DESE MCPSC Seek Evaluation Services

From the RFP: The state board is also responsible for evaluating sponsors to determine compliance with these standards. As Section 160.400.17 (1), RSMo. outlines, “(t)he evaluation shall include a sponsor’s policies and procedures in the areas of charter application approval, required charter agreement terms and content; sponsor performance evaluation and compliance monitoring; and charter renewal , intervention, and revocation decisions.”  Sponsors are to be evaluated every three (3) years or at any time for cause.  Missouri Charter Public School Commission, Missouri’s only sole-purpose, statewide sponsor of charter public schools, became operational in 2015… The state board, through the Department of Elementary and Second Education (DESE) desires to revise its sponsor standards to align to national best practices. DESE seeks assistance in the establishment of an evaluation system.   DESE desires to have a sponsor evaluation instrument aligned to state standards and best practices that includes a corresponding rating system. The Commission also desires an evaluation instrument aligned to national best practices and revised state standards, and a corresponding rating system.

The Commission and DESE have agreed to partner on this project.  The Commission and DESE have agreed to use the same evaluation instrument and rating system.  The Commission will engage and pay for the contracted service, which will work directly with DESE’s Charter School Office and existing Missouri sponsors to create a draft revision of sponsor standards, an evaluation system, framework and measurements… The contractor shall provide draft charter school sponsor standards and evaluation services for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of School Quality, Charter Schools Office and the Missouri Charter Public Schools Commission (hereinafter referred to as the state agency) in accordance with the provisions and requirements stated herein.

 

Appts

Governor Eric Greitens appointed Kurt Killen to the Platte County Election Board, and Nicole E. Wood, Republican, as a member of the Conservation Commission.

 

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty appointed Rep. Barbara Washington as the Minority Ranking Member to the House Special Committee to Improve the Care and Well-being of Young People.

 

New Committees

Paul Love formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Paul Love) to run for Council Person Ward 2 City of Columbia.

Tim Baker formed a candidate committee (Citizens For Baker) to run Franklin County Clerk as a Republican.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Ronald Berry added Center for Secure and Modern Elections, and New Venture Fund.

Jorgen Schlemeier, Kathryn Gable, David Jackson, Jeff Brooks, William Gamble, Cynthia Gamble, and Sarah Topp added Luetkenhaus Properties.

Scott Swain added The American Red Cross.

Tricia Workman deleted Live Nation Entertainment.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Rep. Hannah Kelly and former Rep. Timothy Flook.