Driving the Day
“Missouri Governor Mike Parson will hold a press conference to announce major restructuring of four state agencies in an effort to improve economic and workforce development in Missouri.”
This happens at 11AM.
The budget he released yesterday (see it here) shows some of the plan. For example, it transfers the Public Service Commission, and Office of Public Counsel to the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration. The Arts and Cultural Development (which houses the Missouri Arts Council) would be transferred to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. And the Division of Workforce Development would be moved to the Department of Higher Education.
The underwhelmed reaction from one Republican in the building who’s been waiting years for a government streamlining: “I'm not trying to rain on the governor's first parade through the SOTS, but when the centerpieces of his plan for our state are moving a division of Economic Development over to Higher Education and closing a prison, it doesn't exactly scream transformational change…”
State of the State
Post-Dispatch’s Jack Suntrup hits the highlights of the governor’s State of the State speech yesterday. See it here. But Jason Hancock’s lede (see it here) nails the big takeaway: new debt issuance. Gov. Mike Parson wants lawmakers to borrow $351 million to help mend the state’s ailing bridges, his latest attempt to repair state infrastructure after his gas tax proposal was beaten back at the polls last fall.
That kind of talk unnerves some. Here some quotes from building denizens….
· We all like workforce development and infrastructure! And some of the others he mentioned. But the only real plan I've heard to "pay" for it is to put $350mil on a credit card. If we can't afford it now in a good economy, how exactly can we afford to pay it off, with interest, when the next recession hits?..
· Too early for in depth judgements but the budget increases overall spending by $1 billion next year. Expect significant vetting of what’s happening especially from conservatives…
· [Are people OK with the bond idea?] hahahahaahahahahaha. Nope. On either side (of the aisle)…
· Parson is doubling down on transportation spending even after the rejection from voters last summer. He’s taking the vote as a sign that voters want the infrastructure – just not the tax. This actually was the position of Sen. Bill Eigel – though I’m not sure Eigel would think debt is the right way to do it.
· Reforming Medicaid will be a big priority. Former speaker Todd Richardson got a rousing round of applause during the speech. He’s already meeting with legislators. We could see some big proposals this year.
· And “for those hoping for PDMP it must have been disappointing not hearing it mentioned…”
Senate Committee Chairs
Pro Tem Dave Schatz announced Senate Committee chairs. See the list of full committees here.
Agriculture – Mike Bernskoetter
Appropriations – Dan Hegeman
Commerce – Wayne Wallingford
Economic Development – Mike Cierpiot
Education – Gary Romine
Ethics – Dave Schatz
Fiscal Oversight – Mike Cunningham
General Laws – Bill Eigel
Government Reform – Ed Emery
Gubernatorial Appointments – Dave Schatz
Health and Pensions – Bob Onder
Insurance and Banking – Paul Wieland
Judiciary – Tony Luetkemeyer
Local Government – Sandy Crawford
Professional Registration – Jeanie Riddle
Progress and Development - Gina Walsh
Rules – Caleb Rowden
Seniors, Families and Children – David Sater
Small Business – Denny Hoskins
Transportation – Doug Libla
Veterans – Bill White
Ways & Means – Andrew Koenig
What It Means
Obviously the three freshmen who snagged committee chairs (Bernskoetter, Luetkemeyer, and White) were big winners. But Sen. Lincoln Hough is probably pretty happy also. The rest of the freshmen received vice-chairmanships, and Hough’s is vice-chair of Appropriations. It’s not set in stone necessarily, but it does position him to chair the powerful committee for the entire four years of his second term after Dan Hegeman’s reign.
Over on the House side, I believe Reps. Bruce DeGroot and Justin Hill will be chairing subcommittees. DeGroot’s will deal with tort reform, and Hill’s will be on Medicaid reform. Both figure to be policy hotspots.
As of this morning there was no January quarter filed by Citizens To Elect Kimberly Gardner. Late filing happens, and usually results in a minor fine of slap on the wrists, but for St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner it could be a little more consequential. That’s because of her consent order with a previous violation two weeks ago (see it here).
She wa fined $63,009, but only had to pay $6,314. However the order says “If any Respondent commits further violation of the campaign finance law under Chapter 130, RSMo, within the two-year period from the date of this order, then the Respondent who committed the violation will be required to pay the remainder of the fee.” Yikers!
Missouri Farm Bureau seeks Legislative Specialist. “Works with the legislative team at MOFB, the state’s largest farm and rural organization. Supports State/Local Government Affairs with administrative responsibilities by scheduling appointments, giving information to callers, composing/typing correspondence, and other clerical duties. Coordinates the weekly member visits to the state capitol. Assists with state and national policy development and lobbying activities….” See it here.
Edward McFowland formed a candidate committee (The Committee To Elect Edward Mcfowland) to run for St. Louis City Alderman, Ward 4, as a Democrat.
Darryl Gray formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Darryl Gray 18th Ward) to run for St. Louis City Alderman, Ward 18, as a Democrat.
UAW Region 5 Midwest States Political Action Committee - $6,000 from UAW Region 5 Exchange Account.
IAFF FirePAC Vic Missouri - $50,000 from International Association of Fire Fighters Interested in Registration and Education PAC.
Happy birthdays to Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe.