Wiemann Drops Speaker Bid
Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann has dropped his nascent bid to become the next speaker of the House. Instead he will run for re-election for his current leadership position. Floor Leader Rob Vescovo is now unopposed to succeed Speaker Elijah Haahr. Vescovo is endorsing Wiemann for the speaker pro tem spot.
What It Means
· Once again the House Republicans have managed to plot out another orderly transition.
· The upside is the elimination of internal drama, and the reduction of infighting. Everyone is rowing in the same direction as they approach the 2020 cycle. The alternative scenario seems to take place every two years in the Senate where primary races and leadership races intersect.
· The downside is that the caucus doesn’t get the benefit of a full race: two leaders articulating a vision and platform for the next two years – and the bit of reflection that comes with that. “What’s important for us to accomplish?”
Floor Leader Race Continues To Draw Names
With the speaker’s race put to bed, all eyes turn to the floor leader race. It’s still early here. Whereas the speaker-designate is chosen during summer caucus the year before (this year), the floor leader won’t be voted on until after the next elections (November 2020).
Still, another name is being mentioned for floor leader… Rep. J Eggleston. He joins Reps. David Gregory, Dean Plocher and Curtis Trent.
Pro-MEC PAC Formed
Conservative Solutions For Missouri PAC was formed to be supportive of Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman. As I’ve written before: in the aftermath of the Sauers’ campaign contribution limits, this is becoming standard operating procedure for many politicians. It allows them to raise unlimited funds. While they can’t direct the way the money is spent, as long as they trust the treasurer of the committee, it becomes a shadow war-chest to advance their interests.
Gregg Keller is the treasurer of this new PAC.
The Week Ahead…
The House will likely pass their version of venue and joinder tort reform, Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer’s HB 231 this week. The Senate version is already in the House awaiting a hearing. Also look for budget bills will be marked up and voted out of committee this week. That’ll get them ready for the full House to vote on the week after Spring Break for a timely hand-off to the Senate.
On the Senate side, it’s possible we’ll see one of the school choice bills come up – either Sen. Bill Eigel’s charter expansion or Sen. Andrew Koenig’s ESA. But who knows, that’s what I expected last week. So, we’ll see…
Title IX Battle
KCStar’s Edward McKinley continues to write about the sudden push to rewrite change the Title IX process for dealing sexual assault on Missouri campuses.
Two of the leading advocates for changes to how Missouri’s universities police sexual harassment and assault are married to two of the people who would preside over appeals and hearings under the proposed system.
Missouri’s universities are unanimously opposed to bills in the House and Senate that would overhaul Title IX, but a lobbyist leading the fight for those bills — and who helped draft the House version — represents one of those schools. Richard McIntosh, a longtime Jefferson City lobbyist, is working behind the scenes of the Capitol to transform the sexual misconduct and anti-discrimination policies of Missouri universities with a dark-money group that he founded called Kingdom Principles. It has hired 20 lobbyists in the last week.
What It Means
This issue is bubbling hot right now. It has the potential to suck a lot of air out of the legislature and derail other priorities – particularly if it faces a long Democratic filibuster, or creates some sort of breakdown in the Senate.
It’s one to watch.
TransparentBusiness’ IT Push
StateScoop reports on a push by TransparentBusiness to enter the state IT markets. See it here.
Lawmakers in at least 23 states have introduced legislation that would require any company doing at least $100,000 worth of government contract work to “use software to verify the legitimacy of the hours billed for work performed on a computer under a contract with a 10 state agency or a political subdivision,” as the version under consideration in Arkansas reads. All of the bills, none of which have passed, stipulate that the tracking software in question take a screenshot of contract workers’ computers at least once every three minutes, and in many instances also mandate the logging of keystrokes and mouse movements.
As it happens, TransparentBusiness’ flagship product is capable of that kind of monitoring. But the software isn’t just an aggressive tool, marketed aggressively. It’s the extension of the ambitions of a Russian expat who sees sales to state governments as part of a broader plan to become the next billionaire tech tycoon.
It’s also prompted fears among state chief information officers that the legislation would blow up their relationships with the IT contracting industry. The National Association of State Chief Information Officers, in a rare show of political activity, issued a forceful statement against what the bills would potentially do to states’ technology governance. The group’s executive director, Doug Robinson, also told StateScoop that forcing contractors to use software that takes frequent screenshots of their work would potentially capture citizens’ personal information, putting states in violation of federal privacy and cybersecurity rules.
Small Town Newspapers Dying
AP’s David Lieb reports about the tough times hitting sall town newspapers. See it here.
Last September, Waynesville became a statistic. With the shutdown of its newspaper, the Daily Guide, this town of 5,200 people in central Missouri’s Ozark hills joined more than 1,400 other cities and towns across the U.S. to lose a newspaper over the past 15 years, according to an Associated Press analysis of data compiled by the University of North Carolina.
Blame revenue siphoned by online competition, cost-cutting ownership, a death spiral in quality, sheer disinterest among readers or reasons peculiar to given locales for that development. While national outlets worry about a president who calls the press an enemy of the people, many Americans no longer have someone watching the city council for them, chronicling the soccer exploits of their children or reporting on the kindly neighbor who died of cancer.
Local journalism is dying in plain sight.
State representatives and state senators, not to mention, congressmen and senators, have long been able to submit their weekly “capitol reports” to welcoming small-town papers and see them printed verbatim.
Social media – Facebook and Twitter – have become new avenues for politicians to reach their constituents. But most don’t have a robust online presence and haven’t cultivated a serious “following” among their constituents.
BJC HealthCare seeks External Affair Manager. “Leads planning and implementation activities on behalf of the Government Relations department. Develops work plans, metrics and analysis to ensure BJC Public Policy positions are aligned with Corporate and/or Collaborative priorities. Works at a high level of independence and must be able to effectively anticipate, identify, strategize and manage problems that arise within these relationships. Provides substantive information to members of Congress and the BJC Executive Leadership team. Creates and manages communications tools such as the BJC Govt Relations website and legislative reports. Not only tracks reports but makes clear recommendations on strategy to accomplish legislative goals. Develops and maintains social networks to influence key legislative priorities…” See it here.
Conservative Solutions For Missouri PAC was formed. Its treasurer is Gregg Keller.
General Motors Company PAC Missouri - Federal Committee was formed. Its treasurer is Heather Edwards.
Citizens For Clayton Schools - $7,607 from Clayton School District PTO Council.
Joe Lakin added Kingdom’s Principles.
Eapen Thampy added Linn County Seed and Flower LLC.
Happy birthday to Jay Reichard.