MOScout Daily Update: The Next Speakers' Race - More Pro-Life Legislation - Senate Sunshine and more....

House GOPers Imagine Hotly Contested Speakers Race

Since the Republicans took over the House, the line of succession to become speaker has been largely seamless.  There have been some contests, but they were mostly already foregone conclusions. Caleb Jones, for example, ran against John Diehl.  But Diehl was the heir apparent already and prevailed against Jones’ uphill campaign.

Now for the first time, House Republicans looking beyond Speaker Elijah Haahr are seeing two very strong contenders: Floor Leader Rob Vescovo and Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann. And no presumptive favorite.

And

If both the speaker pro tem and floor leader positions are open as Vescovo and Wiemann vie for the speaker’s office, there will be plenty of reps eyeing those spots…

 

Driving the Day

·         Rep. Holly Rehder’s HB 188 to establish a prescription drug monitoring program is scheduled to be voted out of Fiscal Review today.  It will then head back to the House calendar for Third Reading.

·         The Professional Registration Committee will consider Sen. Sandy Crawford’s SB 264 which “transfers the State Council on the Arts from the Department of Economic Development to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.”  This is part of Governor Mike Parson’s restructuring, and it would beef up the portfolio of the LG’s Office.

·         House Dems will hold their final “agenda” press conference at 12:30PM to talk about criminal justice reform.

 

More Pro-Life Agenda Comes Back to Life

KCStar reports on the pro-life agenda in Missouri.  For years legislation being a game of inches with incremental pro-life provisions hemmed in by the Supreme Court.  Now there’s a sense that more far-reaching measures might find a more accommodative high court.  See it here.

“Missouri’s abortion laws, already among the most restrictive in the U.S., could tighten even more as Republican lawmakers have proposed 21 bills so far this session to further limit or almost completely ban the procedure. The measures include a constitutional amendment to define life as beginning at conception. Bills introduced would ban late-term abortions; establish criminal penalties for doctors; require two-parent consent and make abortion illegal once a fetal heartbeat is detected… GOP lawmakers nationwide have been emboldened by the Supreme Court’s increasingly conservative profile with President Trump’s appointments of Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh… Many Missouri legislators would be eager to see at least one of the pending bills passed and signed into law to serve as the basis for a challenge to Roe…”

Why It Matters

Although Governor Mike Parson is pro-life, he’s said that his priority this session is infrastructure and workforce development.  Pro-life bills could push the Senate to the brink – filibuster, PQ, shutdown/slowdown – and hurt the governor’s agenda.

 

Senate Sunshine Revision

Finally, we have discovered that the best way to focus the attention of the state legislature on a particular are of law is to make it applicable to the legislators themselves.  They’ve suddenly found some vim to “reform” the state’s Sunshine law. 

On Tuesday, Sen. Ed Emery’s SB 162 will receive a hearing in his committee to add some excepts for legislators (but not for other governmental bodies).

Like the House version, Emery’s bill exempts most public policy deliberations – eliminating the very transparency citizens should deserve from their public servants tasked with making laws.

“Any record maintained in the office of a member of the general assembly that is related to a constituent of the member; and any record maintained in the office of a member of the general assembly, an employee of either house of the general assembly, or an employee of a caucus of either the majority or minority party of either house that contains information regarding proposed legislation or the legislative process, however, nothing in this subdivision shall allow the closure of a record that has been offered in a public meeting of a house of the general assembly, or any committee thereof.”

 

People on the Move

·         Brandon Alexander, who previously worked at the Secretary of State’s Office and before that for Victory Enterprises, is now Deputy Chief of Staff at the Treasurer’s Office

·         Todd Abrajano, who ran Bev Randles’ failed 2016 LG campaign before hitching a ride on the Trump train to DC, is Acting Deputy Director at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

·         Former Kinder-ite Matt Bain is now a District Director for US Senator Josh Hawley.

 

It’s a Small World

A recent Wall Street Journal story about Purdue Pharmaceuticals has a few interesting nuggets. One of them involves McKinsey.  They’re the consulting firm which was hired by the state and will be releasing a report today on improving Missouri’s Medicaid.  They also consulted with Purdue to help their lagging opioid sales.

“The document also says that consultant McKinsey & Co. was advising the company on its messaging and sales strategies. One recommendation: for Purdue to develop a mail-order business for its opioids to circumvent traditional pharmacies.”

One MOScouter writes, “Bypassing the pharmacist, who is a clinician, that catches contra indications, overuse of prescriptions, and can compare that script to other scripts such person has been prescribed is THE number one way to cut down on harmful interactions to the patient and cost overruns to the Medicaid system. So they consult with the provider on how to side step good clinical practice safeguards, and then consult with Medicaid on how to run a better system…”

And

The Sackler family, which owns the privately held company and “received payments totaling $4.27 billion from April 2008 to 2016,” is a big supporter of charter schools. See it here

 

Emanuel on Education

Pretty interesting essay from former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel about his evolution in education policy. See it here.

·         I decided to abandon the gospel of teacher-focused reform for an approach centered on empowering principals, [this] sounds almost like common sense… But even today, reformers rarely take the impact of principals into account.

·         The 20-year debate between charter and neighborhood is totally misguided, and should be replaced with a focus on quality versus mediocrity. It’s high time we stop fighting about brands, because the only thing that really matters is whether a school is providing a top-notch education.

·         The reform gospel’s focus on graduation rates obfuscates what’s really important for students in grades nine through 12. Sure, every kid should earn a high-school diploma… but we spend too much time talking about graduation like it’s the end of the line. If students don’t know where they’re headed after they finish 12th grade, they lose interest in their education well before the 12th grade. High school needs to be seen as a bridge to the next thing…

·         Finally, before I became mayor, I largely ignored conservative complaints about government subsidies for the wraparound services that complement what happens in the classroom. Elitists love to argue that education dollars should be focused exclusively on improving classroom instruction. Today, however, I realize just how profoundly asinine those arguments are.

Meanwhile

Forbes reports that “a new Mason-Dixon poll out this week shows that state Education Savings Account (ESA) programs [are] incredibly popular with the public. Mason-Dixon found 78% of those polled support ESA programs. The wording of this poll, conducted in Tennessee in late January and early February, describes ESAs thusly: Education Savings Accounts, also known as E-S-A-s, allows parents to use their education tax dollars to customize their child’s learning and development. Approved ESA expenses include technical training, K-12 school tuition, or even special needs therapies from an array of providers, including public and private schools or tutors.”

 

New Committees

Tom Lovell formed a candidate committee (Tom Lovell For House Representatives) to run for House 35 as a Republican.  Lovell lost to Rep. Keri Ingle 53%-47% last November.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Mark Habbas added Home Service Oil Company, Valencia Group LLC, and Mikel Whittier.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. Doug Richey, former Reps. Don Wells and Steve Brown, and Elad Gross.