Elad Gross emails… Last night, the Cole County Circuit Court issued a subpoena at my request to require Senator Josh Hawley to answer questions under oath about his involvement in violating Missouri's public records law during his time as the state's Attorney General. The case is also connected to my investigation into dark money's influence on Missouri. A press release explaining the subpoena and background is attached. I have also attached a redacted copy of the subpoena. I redacted only Senator Hawley's home address to protect his privacy. I intend to have Senator Hawley served with the subpoena shortly….
Vescovoters: He’ll be Speaker
I got some push-back from fans of Floor Leader Rob Vescovo telling me that he’s a lock – or close to it – for speaker.
Here’s a sampling of feedback from yesterday’s piece…
· No presumptive favorite in the Speakers race between Wiemann and Vescovo? Rob is the most popular Floor Leader in recent memory. He’s already got commitments from half the caucus and the race hasn’t even started… Everyone likes John, but Rob is the leader everyone loves.
· No real ideological differences between Vescovo or Wiemann. The choice will come down to their leadership style and how they will run the House. My take is Rob has the lead right now, but it is not sown up. If Wiemann is perfect this session and Rob has a stumble, then Wiemann has a chance. However, Wiemann needs a Rob stumble to pull it off.
· Still early in the process, [but] Wiemann has been quietly meeting one-on-one with members of the House Caucus who want him to consider running... Legislators who want him to run believe he has the stature, temperament and work ethic to lead the House as Speaker.
· I have to disagree with the analysis from today's update regarding the next Speaker. House members are still buzzing from last year about Vescovo's ability to unapologetically negotiate with the Senate and deliver on House priorities… If he chooses to run for Speaker, he'll start with a tremendous advantage and probably ultimately run unopposed.
Medicaid Study Released
McKinsey’s Medicaid study was released yesterday. See it here.
The study was cheered by several state representatives on Twitter as it details how the state might save up to $1 billion annually through various efficiencies. But a lot of these saving seem much easier to write in a report than to figure out in real life. For example, “if you could just get the above average costs of a treatment to average, you’d save $xxx.” Easier to write than do.
However, as a roadmap for possible savings, this report does look invaluable. And the authors do a good job or explaining the complexities and choices. The biggest fork in the road is stated early (page 6) and then restated near the end of the report (page 110).
Broadly, the state could balance two approaches to controlling spending. One approach commonly adopted by both public programs and managed care would rely primarily on controlling the unit prices paid for services and seeking to curb utilization through broad-based utilization management. Such an approach could reduce costs in the short term. However, on its own such an approach may not provide incentives to improve outcomes. As an alternative approach, the state could seek to adopt value-based payment and care delivery models that reward providers for quality and efficiency of the total care delivered to patients. This approach may support more transformational changes in care delivery, with corresponding improvements in patient outcomes and experience. However, such an approach is likely to require greater commitment of resources and will take longer to generate impact given the need for providers to adopt new capabilities and implement changes in clinical practices.
Education Reform Track in the House
Today’s Elementary and Secondary Education Committee (8AM, HR5) will have a hearing on Rep. Phil Christofanelli’s ESA, and will exec out Chair Rebecca Roeber’s bill on charter schools.
One lobbyist notices a marked difference in the Education Committee’s portfolio. “Bills like the “Cronkite New Voices Act” - HB 673 & HB 743 were sent to General Laws. School Start Date - HB 161 was send to Ag Policy. There’s now a special committee on career readiness…”
Indeed, the current incarnation of the Education Committee under Roeber’s leadership was “built to the heavy lifts.”
Roeber was given committee assignments to shepherd her tough bills through the House side process…
· Roeber--- Chair Education
· Roeber--- On Administrative Rules (which gets the education bills)
· Roeber--- On Fiscal Review (which could potentially get education bills)
In other words, Speaker Elijah Haahr consciously cleared a lane for charter and ESA to get out of the House without any road blocks.
Pride Night at Paddy’s
For a second year in a row an informal “Pride Night” celebration occurred last night at Paddy’s. It was organized by Reps Greg Razer and Tom Hannegan. One MOScouter relays the highlights…
· Razer spoke passionately about how LGBT individuals have the right to love finally (marriage equality), but they don't have a right to keep their job or have a home or eat at a restaurant in Missouri. Challenged GOP folks in the room to stand up to their party and stop making Missouri look old and hateful.
· And Rep. Ashley Bland-Manlove announced that she, too, was gay and was “no longer going to live as a closeted politician.” Lots of applause – it was really one of the bravest things I've seen someone do.
· Vox writes that the withholding snafu is happening nationally too. See it here. And the big story here is that as a result of the new tax law, the Treasury Department tweaked things so that on average taxpayers’ withholdings fell by more than their actual taxes owed.
· Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch’s Twitter suit goes to trial… See it here. The lawsuit against [Reisch] over blocking Twitter users remains alive after a U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes on Friday denied her motion to dismiss it. The day before Wimes ruled, Reisch, R-Hallsville, filed a bill that would allow politicians who have been sued over their campaign activity to use campaign funds to defend themselves. The bill, as written, would allow Reisch to pay off legal debt in the case filed by constituent Mike Campbell of Centralia… The suit is scheduled for trial on March 29 in Kansas City. Campbell, an attorney, sued Reisch in June, alleging she violated his First Amendment rights by blocking him on Twitter after he retweeted a tweet that criticized her.
· In the lobbyist registrations (below) the Missouri Gaming Association is adding lobbyists, presumably ahead of this session’s fight over Video Lottery Gaming legislation.
eMailbag on More Pro-Life Legislation
The abortion issue is popping up in states around the country. With Trump sinking, the economy flattening, tax cuts turning into smaller refunds, the wall floundering, Obama long gone and Hillary not running, etc., GOPers are desperate for a base-igniting issue in 2020. That's why the new emphasis is on abortion issues. It's like a few decades ago when Dems didn't have any great issues, they would resort to the "GOP is going to take your Social Security and Medicare."
Voters Organized Through Education STL (Aka Vote-STL PAC) and Lyda Krewson Leadership Pac (Aka Lyda PAC) were formed. They’re PACs. The treasurer of both PACs is Kathryn Jayne Drennen.
Ste Genevieve Republican Club was formed. It’s a PAC. Its treasurer is Bryant Wolfin.
Kimberly Bonhart added UPS (United Parcel Service).
Alixandra “Alix” Cossette added Kansas City Royals Baseball Club.
Mike Gibbons, Mike Grote, and Tricia Workman added Missouri Gaming Association.
Samuel “Sam” Hallemeier added Cigna Corporate Services LLC.
Shelia Gay Tracy added Sheila Tracy.
MO Opportunity PAC - $15,000 from Xcaliber International LTD., LLC.
Happy birthday to Louise Tonkovich.