Trump in the Center Ring
Washington Post reports that “House Democrats’ far-reaching document request seeking information from President Trump’s sons, his business associates and his political confidants opened a sprawling investigation Monday and cast a spotlight on the ambitious strategy of the committee with the authority to impeach a president. The House Judiciary Committee sent more than 80 letters demanding all communications from a host of controversies surrounding Trump, as the panel probes whether the president and his administration have engaged in obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power. But rather than a targeted approach, Monday’s request was broad…”
What It Means
President Donald Trump will own the spotlight for the next eighteen months, and will likely be the defining issue in 2020.
Republicans will have to decide if they’re conservatives, if they’re constitutionalists, or if they’re Trumpists and will stick with the president regardless of what the next year and a half brings.
Rep. Shamed Dogan, has decided. He tweets “A vote to support President Trump's emergency declaration is a vote for the next Democratic President's emergency declaration on the Green New Deal. Hope Senators @HawleyMO & @RoyBluntMO vote to defend Congress' authority against executive overreach.”
For now, Trump is above water in Missouri. Remington had his Missouri approval at 53% in the middle of February and Survey America had it at 53.9% around the same time. And inside those numbers, he’s very popular among Missouri Republicans, like 89% approval.
Lobbyists Fear Senate Factions
I forgot to circle back yesterday to the Weekender’s astounding Hallway Index poll. Lobbyists were nearly unanimous in their concern that the greatest threat to a successful legislative session is “Republican factions in the Senate.” It’s rare to see such consensus, but it shows how gun-shy lobbyists of seeing previous sessions blow-up and leave their bills stranded on the Senate calendar while things grind to a halt.
Also whereas previous rifts have been largely between two camps (go-alongers, and dissidents), this session seems to have three GOP camps. The regulars (14-15 Republicans), the Conservative Caucus (6-7) and the Southeast Duo (2-3). And then of course the minority party (10).
1. House-Senate in-fighting… 0%
2. Second Floor-Third Floor Infighting… 7.1%
3. Inexperienced Legislators… 3.5%
4. Redistricting Plan Blow-up… 3.5%
5. Republican factions in the Senate… 82.1%
6. Something else… 3.5%
The Senate version of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program has started moving again. It’s the feature of yesterday’s “Senate Minute.” See it here.
The legislation is facing skepticism from at the Senate’s Conservative Caucus.
Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin wrote recently on Facebook… “people of good will have differing positions on this topic. I personally have not supported the legislation for the following reasons;
1) I have seen no actual numerical evidence the PDMP works…
2)I have the suspicion the program, with its massive database is an attempt by pharmacological groups to get your data…
3)Neither doctors nor pharmacists want to be required to use the database. I totally get that and am sure it is because of liability. This then begs the question, "Who will be using it?..."
4) There's no "sunset" provision on the legislation. A sunset would allow evidence of either failure or success to be gathered and the program wouldn't just go on forever…
5) According to everything we legislators are told our state needs to spend ONE BILLION dollars on a computer upgrade. This because the current systems are old and out of date. Exactly how does this bode well for keeping Missouri citizens' drug data accurately and safely?...
We need these answers before proceeding and I am open to any suggestions. As I said, people of good will disagree on this topic.”
According to last week’s MOScout poll, Missourians are positively disposed to the idea.
Q: This bill establishes the "Narcotics Control Act." The Department of Health and Senior Services will establish a program for monitoring the prescribing and dispensing controlled substances… Do you approve or disapprove of the “Narcotics Control Act?”
Not sure: 36%
Senate 29 Talk
Yesterday I wrote that there’s talk of former Republican Party Chair David Cole running in Senate 29 (where Sen. David Sater is termed). Rep. Mike Moon is in that district, and would own the far-right base in a primary. But one savvy observer doesn’t think Moon will be able to put together the money or team to make a credible run. A senate district is bigger and it’s harder to grassroots your way to victory.
A different long-shot possibility though would be freshman Rep. Brad Hudson. That talk is based on geography. Hudson represents what has been the fastest growing part of the district. In a multi-candidate race, having a 24-ish% base from his House district could make him a contender.
Follow-Up on Suter Consulting
One reader tells me that the no-bid contract with DHSS is “actually Nathan Suter, DDS… (might make more sense for teledentistry education than an optometrist consulting firm).”
MO Expects 90K MMJ Patients
The state is seeking “information technology solutions for the Medical Marijuana Program for the Department of Health and Senior Services.”
From the RFP: The purpose of this RFP is to obtain and implement a solution designed to host and manage the State of Missouri Medical Marijuana Information Solution and database to include a (1) Patient Registry solution, (2) Facility Licensing Application (Cultivators, Dispensary, Testing, Transportation and Infused Product Manufacturers) solution and (3) Seed-to-Sale Tracking solution.
On November 6, 2018, Missouri voters approved Amendment 2 to permit state-licensed physicians to recommend marijuana for medical purposes to patients with serious illnesses and medical conditions. The Department of Health and Senior Services is the department within the State of Missouri tasked with implementing the provisions of Amendment 2, which includes but not limited to:
a. Issuing registrations to qualified patients and their primary caregivers.
b. Licensing and certification of medical marijuana cultivation facilities.
c. Licensing and certification of medical marijuana dispensary facilities.
d. Licensing and certification of medical marijuana-infused products manufacturing facilities.
e. Licensing and certification of medical marijuana testing facilities…
Based on information from other states similar in size to Missouri and with similar laws, it is anticipated 2-3% of Missouri’s population of six million people will become medical marijuana patients within the first three years of the Medical Marijuana Program. However, DHSS has no information on which to base an estimate of how many individuals will register to become patient caregivers…
The Future of Fake News?
Yesterday Axios wrote about “2020’s homegrown fake news crisis.” They referenced a Snopes report (see it here) about advocacy groups setting up local “news” sites. The example they cited was the Tennessee Star, a paper which is funded by “ads.” But the ads all came from a couple of allied interest groups to push their agenda. It was control masquerading as ads.
It’s not far from what the Riverfront Times exposed in writing about the St. Louis Guardian, a pop-up newspaper produced by a former Lewis Reed campaign worker, dedicated to influencing the St. Louis City President of the Board of Aldermen race.
We’re in the realm of true fake news here, not the Trumpian definition of calling the New York Times the “enemy of the people” for reporting stories he dislikes.
This problem will manifest itself outside the mainstream media; the old-line media employ editors and adhere to professional standards.
Beware the outlets which are suddenly born around election time – or the struggling upstarts which find novel revenue streams by mixing advocacy and journalism.
I am lucky in that I have only one revenue stream – subscriptions – which is diversified among a couple hundred folks so there’s no one with financial leverage. But this is a “keep your eyes open” situation as we approach 2020.
· Rep. Maria Chappelle-Nadal was removed from the Committee on Pensions, and Committee on Ways and Means. Rep. Matt Sain took her Pensions spot; and Rep. Sarah Unsicker took the Ways and Means seat.
· Post-Dispatch reports that “a Missouri Department of Corrections employee has won a $600,000 settlement from the state after she alleged male co-workers at two state prisons regularly harassed her… The settlement, announced in a monthly report Monday by Attorney General Eric Schmitt, is the latest involving female state workers within the prison system and elsewhere in state government that have cost millions of dollars that could have gone to other state programs.” And “The agency also has beefed up the number of women in leadership posts. All four division directors are women, and more than a third of the wardens are women.”
Dave Berry, Travis Brown, Tom Dempsey, Deanna Hemphill and Tracy King added Amazon.
Jeffrey Altmann added Vicente Sederberg LLC.
Jonathan Dalton and Shanon Hawk added National Hockey League Players Association, Major League Baseball Players Association, National Basketball Association Players Association, Major League Soccer Players Association, and National Football League Players Association
Mark Habbas added Kind Agrisoft.
Happy birthdays to Rep. Shane Roden, and Paul Fitzwater.