Legislature Sprints for the Finish
A lot of big bills keep chugging along… Civil service reform (SB 1007) will reshape the employment system for a large chunk of state workers… 911 Emergency communication (HB1456) which the legislature has wrestled with for years passed the Senate… HB1460 passed the Senate. It would increase the gas tax. This would be yet another monumental achievement for this session… Prevailing wage passed the Senate as well… And of course the tax cut bills…
This will likely go down as one of the most successful legislative sessions for Republicans of the last decade.
There was controversy surround the fiscal notes of the tax cut bills as Republicans and Dems alike were nervous about preventing a big budget hole next year. Post Dispatch reported that “in debate Thursday, members of the House were furious that the Missouri Department of Revenue was slow to tell lawmakers that a separate tax cut bill would have reduced revenue by $45 million.”
One building denizen noted that the Missouri Budget Project testified that the fiscal note was wrong back on April 30. “[MBP] told them so!.. You can disagree with the messenger, but you can’t disagree with consistently accurate math…”
Special Session Ahead
Regular session ends at 6PM tonight and the Special Session will convene at 6:30PM. The current expectation is for a “gavel in, gavel out” opening to special session.
At some point the next week, the House would consider a resolution outlining a process by which the expected impeachment debate and vote will proceed. There’s also talk that the House Investigative Committee will be expanded to include more members.
Governor Eric Greitens held a breakfast for a few dozen legislators earlier this week which some took to be an effort to shore up a base of support. (One lobbyist moaned that Greitens, now being a registered lobbyist principal, should be required to file an expenditure report next month for the food spent on elected officials. Yet one more indication of what a mess this has become).
The special session has a time limit of 30 days, and the best guess is that those supporting the governor would want to rope-a-dope the process and try to run the clock out. That’s seems a tall order.
Barnes Gets Boxes
Soon after SICO Chair Jay Barnes filed suit to enforce a subpoena of the Gretiens campaign and Greitens’ political nonprofit, Aaron Baker delivered boxes and boxes of documents to Barnes’ office. See the twitter-pic here.
Hanaway Accuses Laub
Catherine Hanaway released a statement alleging that Danny Laub took the Mission Continues donor list with him when he left the Greitens campaign and gave it to the mysterious SuperPAC Patriots for America. (Laub denies this). It was a curious statement for a few reasons.
First, Hanaway attached an email chain which included Greitens staffer Meredith Gibbons explicitly admitting the campaign was using the list for fundraising. It’s unclear who Hanaway is representing exactly, but as one lobbyist puzzled, “Maybe I am missing something but basically throwing her client under the bus to trash Laub… I am confused.”
Once More With Feeling… Staffers will be well-served to hire their own counsel instead of relying on Greitens’ lawyers who are conflicted to represent both them as individuals and Eric Greitens’ campaign, political non-profit etc. You want a lawyer who’s looking out for your interests, not trying to score political points for your boss.
But also the statement is odd because I have a very good source insisting that Patriots for America was a third party group that Hanaway’s then-campaign staffers knew about. The group was presumed to be somehow linked to the John Brunner campaign at the time when – this person asserts – it was, in fact, funded by a Hanaway donor.
Chorus: this is a mess.
Wealthy Republican Source of Watkins’ $100K?
LA Times reports that “[Al] Watkins said that [Scott] Faughn told him that all $100,000 had come from ‘an unnamed, anonymous wealthy Republican who did not like Greitens and that it was personal. That's all I knew about the guy.’” See it here.
At this point Faughn is not a credible source, so this doesn’t actually advance the quest to know the source of the cash.
Faughn has remained in hiding. One tipster sent me a note about process servers who had staked out his house attempting to serve him with a subpoena. One of those servers was for the House Investigative Committee. That subpoena will presumably remain outstanding for the immediate future as the Committee continues to gather facts and evidence.
This weekend’s MOScout poll will look at the special election coming up in Senate 17. The word in the halls has been that Democrat Rep. Lauren Arthur is leading Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew. But we’ll see what the numbers say.
Several Republicans told me that even if Corlew is trailing, they expect “an [expletive]-load” of money to come in and help Corlew in the final weeks to make it a very close race.
It seems some lobbyists are going to see Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson to offer to walk through their bills believing that he may ultimately be the one to sign or veto. However with Greitens saying he won’t resign (see it here) it’s unlikely the impeachment process would wrap up by the July 15 deadline for the governor to decide on bills.
NewsTribune reports “Jefferson City Public Schools officials announced today the district is hiring Ryan Burns in a new role as director of communications to begin July 1… Burns has worked for the past 4 1/2 years as the director of communications for the state's Office of Administration, where she serves as media contact for various state projects. Prior to joining OA, Burns served as the communications manager for the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau…”
eMailbag on House’s Role in Impeachment
From a lawyer… "When the house of representatives shall be satisfied that there is good cause to impeach any officer, they shall cause articles of impeachment to be made out in due form against such officer . . .." Section 106.040, RSMo
Words standing alone in a statute are to be interpreted according to their ordinary meaning but if a term is specially defined by statute, the special definition must be given effect. St. Louis Country Club v. Administrative Hearing Commission of Missouri, 657 S.W.2d 614, 617 (Mo. banc 1983). Black's Law Dictionary (5th Ed.) defines "good cause" as, " 'substantial reason,' one that affords a legal excuse. Legally sufficient ground or reason. Phrase 'good cause' depends on the circumstances of the individual case, and the finding of its existence lies largely in the discretion of the officer or court to which the decision is committed." Wilson v. Morris, 369 S.W.2d 402, 407 (Mo.1963); Matter of Seiser, 604 S.W.2d 644, 646 (Mo.App.1980).
- State ex rel Hall v. Wolf, 710 S.W.2d 302 (Mo. App. E.D. 1986)
House seeks Publications Specialist. “The House of Representatives is accepting applications for the position of Publications Specialist I in the Publications office of the House Operations Division. This entry level position is primarily responsible for greeting clients and directing them accordingly, initiating publication work orders, and the file management of the office workflow. Additional duties include assisting in the proofreading of House bills; processing documents pertinent to the legislative process; designing, formatting, and editing of House publications; and other miscellaneous jobs…. The starting salary range for this position begins at $2,314 per month, with starting salary commensurate with education and experience…” See it here.
May 19 – BBQ for Dan Wibracht (Dem, House 72) – Gentry Park, Bridgeton – 1:30PM.
May 19 – Fundraiser for Lauren Arthur (Dem, Senate 17) – Chicken N Pickle, Kansas City – 3PM.
May 19 – Kick Off Party for Patrice Billings (Dem, Senate 2) – 705 High Point Dr. – 5:30PM.
Amy Babcock formed an exemption committee to run for House 2 as a Republican.
Sandy Van Wagner formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Sandy Van Wagner) to run for House 12 as a Democrat.
Larry Lindeman formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Larry R Lindeman) to run for House 154 as a Republican.
Lynn Schlosser added Missouri Association of Realtors; and deleted Compton Heights Band Inc.
David Schatz added Chargepoint.
James Harris added Historic Revitalization for Missouri.
Calvin Groose and Brian Kelley deleted Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.
Greg Johnston deleted LafargeHolcim (U.S.), Lafarge North America, Holcim (US), and Aggregate Industries Management, Inc.
Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $35,000 from Romine for Senate.
Happy birthday (Saturday) to Scott Callicott, Chuck Purgason, and Gary Cross.
Sunday: Jim Guest.
There won’t be a Weekly Summary or Who Won the Week today. Instead I’ll do a “Who Won the Session” on Monday.