Driving the Week
Four things to watch for this week…
· Wednesday Governor Mike Parson will give the State of the State speech. It’s at 3PM, a change from the evening affairs that Nixon and Greitens employed. Talk is that the speech will be very heavy on workforce development. Parson has been particularly focused on economic issues and this agenda-setting speech should follow course.
· As previous governors (except Greitens) have done, Parson will release his budget recommendations on Wednesday also. By pairing the two events, the budget will likely reflect the priorities of the speech.
· Additionally, budget watchers will be on high alert this week following state revenue numbers. January 15 is another quarterly deadline for individuals’ estimated income tax payments. If revenues don’t rebound late this week/early next week when those checks hit, it’ll signal there’s a nasty April 15 surprise coming for a lot of Missourians – or nasty withholds coming to balance the budget.
· This week both the House and Senate will announce their committee assignments and committee chairs. It’s a jigsaw puzzle for the leadership teams as they match skills sets and experience with committees, while trying to keep everyone happy.
Behind the Filibuster?
I’ve been unsuccessful trying to suss out the motivation behind the Romine-Libla filibuster last week, but have hit upon the best workable theory: it had nothing to do with the rules but instead was a warning shot.
There were rumors last month that Pro Tem Dave Schatz had considered splitting the Education Committee into two – one focusing on higher ed and the other focused on elementary and secondary. That idea was apparently squashed, but Sen. Gary Romine was probably not a fan as it would have diminished the scope of the Education Committee which he will presumably chair.
Of course, even keeping a singular Education Committee doesn’t insure that it would receive all the bills dealing with education. Schatz might be tempted to refer some reform bills to an alternative committee where a different chair might be more hospitable. Perhaps Romine wants any such possibilities snuffed out. And last week’s filibuster was meant to telegraph his intention to throw a fit if he’s disrespected in any manner.
2020 Positioning Starts… Now
A tipster reports seeing Axiom-ites meeting with Rep. Holly Rehder last week. The implication is that consultants are already busy lining up their 2020 roster, pitching possible state senate candidates.
In this case, Rehder is expected to face Rep. Kathy Swan in a Republican primary for Senate 27 where Sen. Wayne Wallingford is termed. The geography of the district favors Cape Girardeau’s Swan. So much so that one building denizen thinks that Rehder’s best path to the Senate is to work the legislative committee and hope that a Wallingford appointment leads to a special election.
No Fish Too Small…
Press release: Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced that a St. Louis County woman was ordered to repay more than $5,000 to the MO HealthNet program after pleading guilty to Medicaid fraud-related charges… Joyce Terry pled guilty to the class C felony of Medicaid Fraud in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County… Terry signed her name to timesheets attesting that in-home services had been provided to her between May 14, 2016 and October 19, 2016. However, an investigation, which included video surveillance, revealed that Terry consistently and knowingly attested to services that were not provided.
What It Means
I’m used to getting AG press releases on the big multi-million dollar settlements, but apparently for AG Schmitt is saying everyone will be held accountable…
Baker and Unions in Spat
Kansas City Star reports that stalled contract negotiations between Dem Party Chair Jean Peters Baker and IAFF Local 42 are threatening to spill over to Dem politics. See it here.
Baker, elected to the party post in December, has been in contract negotiations with the International Asociation of Fire Fighters Local 42, which represents the assistant prosecutors who report to her. But those negotiations have reached an impasse. The assistant prosecutors have been without a contract since Nov. 15. IAFF Local 42 president Tim Dupin said the union had lost members in the process. “We believe that...the county is holding out on these negotiations to bust the union,” Dupin said. On Tuesday, the dispute escalated. Member unions within the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO pledged they won’t support the state or county Democratic parties until Baker either steps down as chair or “agrees to return to the table and negotiate in good faith and reaches a final agreement with IAFF.” About 13.6 percent of the state party’s donation proceeds last year came from unions, and county parties also receive significant donations…
SEIU seeks Higher Education Internal Organizer. “SEIU Local 1 has been on the cutting edge of building power for low-wage workers and fighting in larger struggles for social justice on issues such as health care, immigration reform and racial justice. Full and part-time faculty are coming together to right the disparities that have lowered the bar in higher education. We are now hiring a Higher Education Internal Organizer to work on exciting campaigns to organize adjunct faculty members in St. Louis, MO…” See the ad here.
IAFF FirePAC Vic Missouri was formed. Its treasurer is Jen Stuhlman.
Blue Hartland MO was formed. It’s a PAC. Its treasurer is Blake Lawrence.
Jimmie Matthews formed an exemption committee to run for President of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen as a Democrat.
Tom Bauer formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Tom Bauer) to run for St. Louis City Alderman, Ward 24, as a Democrat.
Thomas Bradley formed a candidate committee (Committee to Elect Thomas Bradley) to run for St. Louis City Alderman, Ward 2, as a Democrat.
Shameem Hubbard formed a candidate committee (Citizens To Elect Shameem Clark Hubbard) to run for St. Louis City Alderman, Ward 26, as a Democrat.
Harry Klein formed a candidate committee (Henry Klein 4 Mayor) to run for Kansas City mayor.
Citizens for a Safer St. Louis - $80,000 from Great Saint Louis Inc.
Happy birthdays to Sen. Mike Cierpoit, and Margaret Donnelly