Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Speaker’s Office News

Kenny Ross is Speaker Todd Richardson’s new chief of staff, taking the place of David Willis.

And joining the speaker’s office… Ryan Nonnemaker.  Nonnemaker’s previous experience is on the Senate side.  He staffed Sens. Bob Onder and Jason Crowell.

 

Q&A#1:  Is Mike Parson Reinventing the LG’s Office?

Short answer:  Feels like he’s trying.

 

In his first year as lieutenant governor Mike Parson has done a lot of the rah-rah cheerleading stuff for which the office is known.

Parson implemented the “Buy Missouri” program to highlight local products; he handed out the Senior Service Award; he presented the Governor’s Cup this year’s champion wine; and, as he noted in his year in review, “my staff and I committed to visiting and attending over 200 events statewide and successfully conquered that goal.”

With a small staff and a limited constitutionally mandated portfolio, that is what we’ve come to expect from a lieutenant governor. But in addition to the ribbon-cutting duties, Parson has undertaken his duties in new ways, potentially reinventing the office in the coming years.

First, unlike his predecessor Peter Kinder, Parson has stayed focused on Missouri politics.  Kinder enjoyed attacking Barack Obama and going on radio and cable shows to talk about the latest national issue of the day – usually Obamacare.  Parson has directed his focus on Missouri politics.  This change has perhaps been amplified as the governor travels across the country, creating speculation about his national aspirations.

Second, Parson has been willing to break with the governor.  Unlike Kinder who served under a governor of a different party, Parson would naturally be expected to follow Governor Eric Greitens’ lead.  But he hasn’t on some high-profile issues.  Recently Parson dissented from the governor’s efforts to cease the state tax credits for low-income housing.   And before that he kept up a steady drumbeat about the allegations of mistreatment at the St. Louis Veterans Home – despite the governor’s team trying to poo-poo the chorus of critics.

Third, Parson has attempted to assert more leadership in the Senate.  For starters he’s been presiding more consistently than Kinder who used to start each session then slip out.  (Parson’s dais performance is not universally loved, by the way.  For example, one lobbyist in the gallery quibbles that his style of repeating motions can depress the tempo of the chamber which sometimes requires a little more prodding and less plodding.)  Parson also jumped out early calling for the resignation of Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal after her ill-considered Facebook post.

 

Clearly Parson has had his share of whiffs.  His call for the expulsion of Chappelle-Nadal went unanswered as the Senate settled on censure.  And his No vote on MHDC’s plan to cut credits was steamrolled by the governor’s allies.  Still the first year makes it clear that Parson is not content simply occupy the office of the lieutenant governor as a by-stander.  He’s going to engage and attempt to influence in policies and politics – and not necessary as a Yes Man to the governor.  Stay tuned.

 

Bits

The Missouri Ethics Commission dismissed separate complaints against St. Louis County Executive candidate Mark Mantovani (see it here) and St. Louis County Councilmember Ernie Trakas (see it here).

 

Politico ranks the Missouri Senate race as #2 in likelihood to flip.  See it here“McCaskill is facing 37-year-old Attorney General Josh Hawley — a top GOP recruit who already has multiple big money super PACs lined up to support him and the backing of Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former White House strategist Steve Bannon. Democrats had hoped a tricky primary could trip up Hawley, but most of the other top contenders dropped out. McCaskill, who has held 50 town halls this year, remains the craftiest politician running for Senate, however, and is expected to take a populist tack against the Stanford- and Yale-educated Hawley.”

 

State Treasurer Eric Schmitt in a letter to the state legislature says that Missouri shouldn’t decouple from the federal tax code.  “By nearly doubling the standard deduction we can provide more tax relief to hardworking Missourians from all walks of life. This will help to amplify the positive impact of the tax relief I championed with many of you when I served in the Missouri Senate… There has been much speculation about the impact such a change could have on the state budget. Department of Revenue Director Joel Walters provided clarity this week by explaining in several media interviews that the effect of the overall tax reform package on revenues will be relatively minor. However, the positive impact this will have on middle class families cannot be overstated. I sincerely believe letting Missourians keep more of their hard-earned money is always the right thing to do…”

 

Help Wanted

St. Louis City seeks Democratic Director of Elections. “The Democratic and Republican Directors of Elections serve as the Chief Executive Officers of the strategize. Together they are responsible for developing and recommending program goals and objectives and implementing policies, procedures and courses of action to enable the BEC to conduct elections in the City of St. Louis in compliance with federal, state and municipal laws, rules and regulations. The Directors jointly manage and oversee all office operations, including all budget, personnel and IT functions, and directly supervise the work of the Deputy and Assistant Deputy Directors, and indirectly oversee the work of the departments supervised by them. Both Directors of Elections are administratively responsible to and work under the general supervision of the four Commissioners appointed by the Governor… Salary: $85,000 to $95,000 per year…” See it here.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Bailey Baker deleted Nicklas Lobby.

David Willis added Missouri Association of Health Plans, and Libertas Strategies.

Jeffrey Kipping deleted The Giddens Group.

Mary Scruggs deleted Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

Jonathan Dalton added BJC Healthcare Systems.

Kyna Iman added Missouri Hospice & Palliative Care Association; and deleted Penman & Winton.

Jill Williams added Missouri Hospital Association.

Scott Marrs deleted Lakeland Behavioral Health.

Marc Cataldo deleted Purdue Pharma.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Raise Up Missouri - $25,000 from United Food and Commercial Workers International Union AFL-CIO.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $10,000 from Danny Ludeman.

Steve Myers for Mayor - $5,001 from CHIPP Political Account.

Freedom to Work - $25,00 from Luxco.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $100,000 from UA Political Education Committee.

Civic Progress Action Committee - $7,500 from World Wide Technology Holdings Co. Inc.

Raise Up Missouri - $250,000 from Sixteen Thirty Fund.

Missourians for Sean Smith - $35,000 from Sean Smith,

Committee to Elect Vic Melenbrink - $10,000 from Victor Melenbrink.

Notes on Money

Steve Myers is running for mayor of Pacific.

Sean Smith is a Republican running for House 35.

Victor Melenbrink is running for re-election as a circuit judge in Jefferson County.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Speaker Todd Richardson, Rep. Tracy McCreery, former Rep. Stanley Cox, Allison Onder and Jacob Scott.

 

MOScout News

This week, MOScout Updates will be shorter.   No Update on Friday or Next Monday (New Year’s Day).  Tomorrow and Thursday will be the ever-popular End-of-Year Reader Polls….

 

Congratulations

To Sam Steelman on his engagement to former Jane Cunningham staffer Courtney Lauer-Myers. See the twitter pic here.