Four weeks left in session….
Budget Week in the Senate
With the legislature off yesterday and not re-convening until this afternoon, it’s a short week. The Senate is expected to focus on passing the budget this week, giving the two bodies time for conferencing and compromising ahead of their May 10 constitutional deadline.
Boom! Revenues Claw Back to Even
I must repeat my daily disclaimer that the daily revenue numbers are volatile and can quickly jump around, however it’s hard not to be cheered by the last week of reports. As of close of business April 19, we’re basically break-even with last year’s numbers, down a whisker ($195K) and essentially back to the waterline.
1 Big Thing: House and Senate Playing Nice
So far, the Hallway Index’s read of the building dynamics has been prescient. When I asked at the beginning of March what was the greatest threat to a successful session, 82% of the lobbyists polled replied that it was “Republican factions in the Senate.”
While the actual damage to legislation caused by the fraying Republican Caucus has yet to be seen (the last four weeks will have more action than the first fifteen weeks), it’s clearly been the generator of most of the drama.
But the other – perhaps equally important – building dynamic this session is how little puffing and posturing there is between the two chambers.
In that March survey, no lobbyists (0%) were worried about House-Senate in-fighting, and that assessment has proven correct.
· The differences in policy – like bonding – have been civil, and without the bluster of brinksmanship.
· There have been no veiled threats about not moving another chamber’s priorities to retaliate against perceived slight.
· Speaker Eljiah Haahr and Floor Leader Caleb Rowden in particular appear to have established a good working relationship.
· They were on the same page in the effort to advance education reform.
· Their offices maintain open lines of communication, and have even coordinated about timing of actions.
What It Means
Bad news for Dems.
In the super-minority, Dems’ ability to stop legislation is all about the crafty arts of sowing dissension among Republican ranks. House and Senate leadership playing nice creates one less place where GOP priority legislation can get tripped up in petty politics.
Cleaner MO Heating Up
The first-rate Jason Hancock reports on the Republican efforts to replace CLEAN Missouri with a new (or old) redistricting plan. Things are heating up.
“[Jamilah] Nasheed has vowed to do everything she can to derail any repeal effort, a position that puts her squarely alongside most of the General Assembly’s Democrats. But it places her at odds with many fellow members of the Legislative Black Caucus, where the new redistricting plan has proven divisive… With legislation to repeal Clean Missouri set for debate this week in the Missouri House, divisions among Democrats seem to bolster Republican’s chances.”
Planned Parenthood sends an email blast….
Last November, 1.4 million Missourians voted to CLEAN up state politics with Amendment 1. This ballot initiative won with bipartisan support and in every state senate district. In fact, a recent poll shows voter support remains strong. However, this legislative session, in addition to restricting access to reproductive health care, lawmakers are also attempting to undermine your vote on Amendment 1…. As a part of CLEAN defense, we’re phone banking every Wednesday…
What It Means
With the House moving on anti-CLEAN this week, the Senate will have a few hot-button issues in the pipeline.
Senate Dems will be ready to filibuster to defend CLEAN. Also, Floor Leader Caleb Rowden said that abortion legislation could potentially be coming to the floor after the Senate finishes its budget work.
Either of these issues could trigger and escalation into a PQ event.
Food for Thought: Hidden Dems
The New York Times ran an article a few weeks ago arguing that rank-and-file members of the Democratic Party are much more moderate than the voices which have been elevated on social media. See it here.
Today’s Democratic Party is increasingly perceived as dominated by its “woke” left wing. But the views of Democrats on social media often bear little resemblance to those of the wider Democratic electorate.
The outspoken group of Democratic-leaning voters on social media is outnumbered, roughly 2 to 1, by the more moderate, more diverse and less educated group of Democrats who typically don’t post political content online, according to data from the Hidden Tribes Project…
What It Means
While the article focuses on how this divide could influence the Democratic presidential primary, there may be lessons for Dems in Missouri.
A decade of legislative losses has confined Dems to the urban islands of the state as they’ve been bludgeoned by Republicans focusing on their national party’s positions on gun control and abortion. Missouri Dems have been unable to development a message about economic issues, in part, because it gets drown out by the party’s deeply unpopular stance on social issues.
It might be possible to give their brand a fresh look without changing any policy positions. If only they could make a shift in emphasis. However, such a tactical maneuver seems nearly impossible by social media’s amplification of the farthest left in their coalition.
· Governor Mike Parson announced that special elections to fill the vacancies of House 99 (Jean Evans) and House 158 (Scott Fitzpatrick) will take place on November 5, 2019.
· Sen. Wayne Wallingford penned an op/ed (see it here) arguing for the GOP proposed work requirements to Medicaid. “One of the goals of the Medicaid program is to ‘promote upward mobility, greater independence, and improved quality of life,’ but we risk doing the opposite if we do not make changes to end the cycle of dependency…”
· News Tribune reports that Jefferson City has installed “solar-powered smart benches in various parks and along greenways. Last year, the Parks Department purchased five solar benches for about $25,000 from New York-based company EnGoPlanet… The benches, powered by sunlight, allow people to charge electronics using either wireless charging pads or USB ports attached to the benches.”
Boris Abadzhyan formed a candidate committee (Boris Abadzhyan For Missouri) to run for House 71 as a Democrat.
Jeremy LaFaver and Salvatore Panettiere added Missouri Pork Association.
Happy belated birthdays (Monday) to Sen. Gary Romine and House Clerk Dana Rademan Miller.
Happy birthdays today to Sen. Gina Walsh and Rep. Jeff Pogue.