Talk Around the Building
After today’s adjournment, there’s just six weeks left in this legislative session. It feels like there are a lot of priorities in holding patterns right now. The pressure will build in the coming weeks to break some of the logjams. Here’s a collection of what folks in the building are saying about a few issues.
· Despite a kind of happy-go-lucky, finger-snapping stride as he walks the building, Sen. Bill Eigel is emerging as the polarizing figure in the Senate. He’s helped shape the new Conservative Caucus which has derailed several pieces of legislation so far.
· But some Republicans view him as a grandstander, and think his ideological bent is detrimental to getting stuff done. “I haven’t had one constituent complain about their state taxes,” says one GOPer about Eigel’s various plans to reduced the state income tax.
· Meanwhile, Sen. Andrew Koenig, Eigel’s wingman in some of the forays, is seen more as someone who will compromise and negotiate to a solution. Says one lobbyist: “Koenig has done more wheeling and dealing…”
· One source thinks that Eigel is so hot for a tax cut that he’ll trade letting PDMP move to get his Wayfair plan, an increase the internet sales tax with commensurate cut in the income tax.
· The gaming industry is juggling like mad right now playing defense. In addition to the sports wagering and video lottery gaming bills, HB 4, the Appropriations Bill which must be passed in five weeks, contains language that would increase the number of “video pull tab machines” in fraternal organizations.
· It’s said that Senate Pro Tem Dave Schatz is in favor of the increase.
· Meanwhile HB 869 was heard in House General Laws. It’s the Steamboat Legacy Fund. It would increase the admission to gambling boats to fund “the construction, maintenance, and operation of a facility to be located in Jefferson City that will house books, maps, artifacts, and other material related to the significance of the steamboat era in the history of Missouri and the construction, maintenance, and operation of a facility that will be a part of the Missouri State Museum.”
· One lobbyist guesses that General Laws Chair Dean Plocher is making sure that freshmen get hearings on their bills as he ramps up his Floor Leader race, but doubts that the bill goes much farther.
· Floor Leader Caleb Rowden is motivated to get some education reform done. He has a full partner on the House side in Speaker Elijah Haahr, for whom it’s a top priority.
· One theory is that the Senate needs to pass something first. The House has been just shy of votes when whipping the numbers. There are some House members who don’t want to take a “tough” vote only to see it die in the Senate. Senate passage would fortify the backbone of these “squishy” votes, and help the House hit their number.
· Sometimes actions are seen as part of a pattern that doesn’t exist, so it’s hard to tell for sure. But one lobbyist sees Haahr playing good cop to the rural legislators who hold charter expansion’s fate in their hands. Rural legislators are getting floor time for their bills, he’s supporting the eminent domain bill which rural legislators love etc.
· Meanwhile Rowden is the bad cop for House members as rumors have persisted that he’s going to be cool to the bills of House members who oppose education reform.
· One lobbyist think that Parson should give an appointment to Sen. Gary Romine. It would jiggle the blockage in the Senate, as they think it would isolate Sen. Doug Libla, and eventually the Democratic filibusterers would sit.
Justice Pre-Announces April Quarter
Senate 25 candidate Eddy Justice filed his April quarter well ahead of the deadline. Here’s the press release: “Justice, a Conservative outsider who has never run for public office, has seen a groundswell of support, receiving donations from hundreds of individual donors since announcing his campaign… Justice raised $109,000 during the first reporting period between January and March from 180 donations, averaging over $600.00 per donation… Eddy Justice is running to be the State Senator of Butler, Carter, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Shannon, and Stoddard Counties. He has retained Axiom Strategies to serve as consultants on his campaign…”
· Governor Mike Parson appointed Michele Murrell as the Linn County Assessor. “Ms. Murrell is currently an employee of the Assessor’s Office and has been trained in both the Real Estate and Personal Property offices and works as the Field Appraiser for Linn County. Ms. Murrell holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Missouri Western State University. Her community involvement includes serving as the President of the PTO of the Linn County R-1 School.”
· As of close of Business April 2, state revenues down $243 million, or -3.62%.
· I missed this on Election Night… Former state Rep. Tommie Pierson became mayor of Bellefontaine Neighbors, a municipality in St. Louis County.
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James Foley and Chris Liese added Strategic Compliance Solutions, LLC.
Happy birthdays to Theresa Garza, and Matt Villa.