Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Rumorville: Flotron for DESE?

Unconfirmed rumor has former Sen. Franc Flotron as one of the applicants for the DESE commissioner job….


Q&A#1: Can Oprah Save MO Dems?

Short answer: The buzz around her as a potential presidential candidate hints at a paradigm shift.


Oprah Winfrey generated a lot of social media excitement with her Golden Globes speech including a groundswell of folks who want her to run for president in 2020.

For Missouri Democratic politicos, the prospect of an Oprah presidential candidate is a nightmare.  They imagine that her appeal in rural Missouri would be something like combining the unfavorable of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton into one persona.

In this line of thinking, rural Missouri would be irretrievably lost to Dems in 2020.  It would further isolate the Democratic areas to the two urban coasts of St. Louis and Kansas City with the oasis of Columbia, and the tiny outposts of St. Joe and rebel enclave in Springfield.  The rest would be a vast red desert without any Dems.

And yet, instead of this spelling political doom for Missouri Dems, an alternative line of thinking stands this on its head: this is just what MO Dems need to accept.  Chasing rural voters is chasing the party’s past. Those voters who are increasingly more inclined to vote Republican.

Instead of attempting to win them back, Oprah can deliver Dems the voters of their future – suburban voters, especially suburban women.

This will be the new electoral coalition for MO Dems – seizing the population centers that lie just beyond their current strongholds.

A woman candidate who speaks to home and health issues could make these inroads.  And Oprah – who many women have followed from TV to O Magazine to any of her business endeavors – would start with an enormous reserve of trust in the key demographic.


Another Budget Hit?

Post-Dispatch reports that Missouri parents “can now get a state tax deduction for private school tuition, thanks to the federal tax overhaul passed last month…. [U]sing 529 plans is a no-brainer for private school parents because they can simply deposit the money they were going to spend on tuition anyway and get an automatic tax discount, said Nat Malkus, deputy director of education policy for the American Enterprise Institute. ‘You’d be pretty dumb not to do it,’ Malkus said. ‘It’s a pretty direct transfer, led by a change in federal statute, from the Missouri treasury to private school parents.’ Missouri had 110,000 private school students in the 2015-2016 school year… By Malkus’ estimates, if every private school family took full advantage of the 529 plan, Missouri could miss out on roughly $42 million a year in state income taxes. Illinois would miss out on roughly $90 million. That doesn’t even account for the possibility that more families will enroll in private school…”

It’s unclear if this is included in Professor Joseph Haslag’s estimate that the federal tax changes would only cost Missouri $58 million.


Look for the consensus revenue number to finally be released today…


Schmitt’s Year One Report

Treasurer Eric Schmitt will release a report on the accomplishments of his office over the first year.  Highlights include…$45 million Unclaimed Property returned in the first year (more than any other treasurer in Missouri history); 13,372 new MOST 529 accounts created with $3 billion in assets under management; Launched MO ABLE program; Created economic dashboard.


Meet Husch Blackwell Strategies

The press release: Husch Blackwell LLP, Statehouse Strategies LLC, and Cloakroom Advisors LLC announced today the creation of a joint venture, Husch Blackwell Strategies LLC, to provide federal and state legislative government affairs consulting and lobbying. The venture will be headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri, and will combine much of Husch Blackwell’s existing Government Affairs team with the existing operations of Statehouse Strategies LLC and Cloakroom Advisors, LLC, both of which will be rolled into the Husch Blackwell Strategies venture and will do business going forward under the Husch Blackwell Strategies brand.

Andy Blunt, the founder and chairman of Statehouse Strategies, will join Husch Blackwell Strategies as Chairman of the Board and Chief Operating Officer. Blunt will focus primarily on expanding the venture’s state-level practices. Gregg Hartley, founder and principal of the federal lobbying firm Cloakroom Advisors LLC, will become the Executive Vice-Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Husch Blackwell Strategies and will concentrate on growing the venture’s federal practice group. Husch Blackwell partner Kyle Gilster will serve as the venture’s General Counsel.  Several leading government affairs consultants and attorneys will join the venture from Husch Blackwell… Husch Blackwell Strategies’ Washington presence will be located within Husch Blackwell’s current office location and a satellite office near Capitol Hill. The firm is nationally headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri, at offices now occupied by Statehouse. The firm will work to develop a significant presence in multiple key capital cities.


Auditor: Late Tax Refunds

The press release: Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of the timeliness of income tax refunds by the Department of Revenue that revealed refunds to taxpayers have been increasingly delayed at the direction of the Department of Revenue and the Office of Administration. Auditor Galloway issued the report despite unprecedented attempts by the current Governor's administration to obstruct audit work.  See the audit here.


Remington Poll on the Grid

Remington Research Group released a poll it did asking if people favor investment to make the electrical grid more secure and reliable.  They do.  See the poll here.

Do you favor or oppose legislation that would make Missouri’s energy grid smarter, more secure and more stable, while creating rate caps and maintaining strict regulatory oversight and consumer protections?

Favor: 70%

Oppose: 14%

Unsure: 16%



Sen. Bob Onder probably should take it as a good sign that his Democratic opponent is taking out an ad to find a campaign manager…  See it here (Salary: $1,500.00 to $2,500.00 /month)…


Another monster quarter by Senator Claire McCaskill.  $2.9 million.


St. Louis Business Journal reports that The Dueks plans to start her own firm.  See it here,


eMailbag on Senate 17: Grab the Popcorn

Both Ellebracht and Arthur are working the Clay County Democratic Committee hard, so it may not be wrapped up yet.  Only a sliver of Corlew's rep district is in the Senate district, so he would have less name ID going in than either of the Dems; other Republicans are putting out feelers as well.  And the Clay County GOP is badly divided.  This will be an interesting one!


One MOScout observer thinks that Martin Rucker Jr. should take a serious look at Corlet’s seat.  It’d be a much easier campaign than Senate 34.  He’s young.   It gets his foot in the door and Senate 34 could happen in eight years….


Holy Bat Survey!

The state is bidding out a bat survey.  From the FRP: Effective management of natural resources requires an in-depth knowledge of ecosystem biodiversity on military lands… [I]nventories of bat species present and an analysis of potential impacts to wildlife from military activities are an integral part of all environmental documents produced by the military to comply with regulations in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Sikes Act, and the Endangered Species Act…. Camp Crowder (CCR) is located in Newton County in southwest Missouri approximately three miles south of Neosho…. Camp Clark (CCL) is located in Vernon County in southwest Missouri, approximately two miles southeast of the City of Nevada. CCL consists of approximately 1,287 acres… Truman Training Area (TTA) is located in Benton County, Missouri, in the Tebo Island Area of the Harry S. Truman Reservoir….


Brady Passes

Former Rep. Francis R. “Fran” Brady Jr. died December 26th.  From the obit: Fran served in the Missouri State House of Representative until he was appointed as the Director to the Missouri State Board of Mediation for a total of 24 years of service to his community and the state of Missouri. Prior to his work in the legislature, he was employed as an operating engineer at Sealtest Dairy for 26 years. He proudly served in the US Army during the Korean War. He was a graduate of Cleveland High school in St. Louis


eMailbag on Sunday List

I think the fourth one [change in Senate rules after this session] is the most likely to occur…


I notice that the total melt down of POTUS did not make this list, but I think it could happen. And that might have ripples in electoral politics in many states…


Help Wanted

Pfizer seeks Alliance Development Manager. “The Field-Based Alliance Development Manager (ADM) is a member of the Corporate Affairs organization. The ADM is accountable for identifying and engaging local health care providers and other key stakeholders (including chambers of commerce, patient organizations, multicultural organizations, and other allies) in support of Pfizer's public affairs priorities…” See the ad here.


Office of State Courts Administrator seek Diversity and Inclusion Manager.  “This is highly responsible work in the direction and coordination of activities involving workforce diversity and inclusion and equitable access to courts in the judiciary, particularly through support of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness and its subcommittees.  Work may involve development of proposed policies and procedures, education, employee relations and personnel recruitment in order to ensure diversity, equity and access in the administration and operation of the courts… Minimum Salary: $68,052…” See the ad here.


House seeks Human Resources Analyst.  “This professional position is responsible for performing human resource related duties including employee recruitment and retention, interviews, classification review, job descriptions, payroll and salary administration, policy   development and   administration, employee benefits, employment records, wellness activities and a variety of employee relations and personnel law related matters.  Successful applicants should have related human resource experience and a working knowledge of the principles and practices of human resources and employment law…” See it here.


Joint Committee on Legislative Research seeks Oversight Division Director.  “In this fast paced and exciting position, you will be working with the Missouri General Assembly directing a professional staff to provide fiscal analyses and estimates of proposed legislation. During the interim, you will be challenged to direct and oversee team members performing evaluations of statewide programs and any special projects assigned by the legislature…”  See it here.


Today’s Events

The Women’s Policy Network of Missouri – cosponsored with the Women’s Foundation – is having an event ay the governor’s mansion tonight with First Lady Sheena Greitens as the guest speaker.  They have more than 150 RSVPs including women legislators, staffers and lobbyists.


Happening as well tonight is the annual chili dinner at Supreme Court Justice Mary Russell’s house for women legislators.


Lobbyists Registrations

Note: There were several lobbyists whose registrations were terminated.  I think we’re at the time of year where a lot of these happen by accident, or forgetting to renew their registration.  So I’m waiting a few days for this to get corrected.

Dave Berry and Deanna Hemphill added Insure-Rite.

Claude Brown added Regional Strategies.

Tracy King added Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield.

Ginger Steinmetz added Missouri Alliance for Home  Care.


$5K+ Contributions

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Association of Dental Support Organizations.

We Are Missouri - $358,000 from Missouri AFL-CIO General Fund.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $10,000 from William Stephen Maritz.



Happy birthday to former Rep. Caleb Jones.