Six weeks left in session….
Big Battles “Brewing”
Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin posted a picture of soldiers in combat fatigues on Facebook with the caption: “My outfit for tomorrow.....😁 Just in case we have to go to battle which I think is brewing.” She’s not the only one who expects for things to get hot in the legislature. On the docket this week in the Senate….
· Bonding… Tentatively scheduled for Tuesday’s session. Look for Pro Tem Dave Schatz to offer a substitute resolution on bonding. It will shorten the maturity of the debt issuance in order to reduce the amount of interest being paid. The yearly payments won’t reach anywhere near the $100 million that Rep. Cody Smith’s no-debt plan entails. But they’ll be higher than the governor’s initial $15 million over 30 years. Will this compromise be enough to get the Conservative Caucus to sit? The best guess is no, but the best answer is: we’ll see.
· Charter expansion… Rumors in the halls are that Dems may have softened their opposition. “They did get a major concession on the removal of open enrollment.” And they might be looking at the House’s struggle for votes, thinking they can save their filibuster powder for another issue. Even if that’s true, Republican Sens. Gary Romine, Lincoln Hough, and Doug Libla could still force a very long night.
· Title IX… We’ll see if this makes it to the floor this week. If it does, look for a fascinating debate. Opponents have been trying to put together a left-right coalition of Democrats concerned about sexual assault victims and Republicans worried about religious freedom. Until the matter comes gets floor time it’s hard to tell how successful their messaging has been.
· Workforce… The governor’s Fast-Track Grant, and Missouri Works expansion are still priorities, and still sitting on the informal perfection calendar. They could come back for another whack.
Meanwhile in the House
In the House, relations with the second floor appear to be on the wane as the withholding debacle with the Department of Revenue just keep getting one more life.
Most recently Governor Mike Parson asked Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick to write a response to Auditor Nicole Galloway’s audit. The governor’s office circulated the memo to House members as if it was exculpatory. But Dems seem to hit the nail on the head first referring to Fitz as “[Parson’s] appointed Treasurer,” and with Minority Leader Crystal Quade’s quote: “That process was not followed and no amount of rationalization by the Treasurer or the rest of the administration will change that.”
Republican House members, who generally really do like the governor, are left scratching their heads: where’s the guy we know, who will take responsibility when something goes wrong, admit it, make it right, and move on?
The DOR debacle is becoming like Time Critical Diagnosis program where the governor’s office can’t admit a mistake and put it behind them.
More on Sinquefield and IPs
As I wrote yesterday, one source says that Rex Sinquefield’s lunch with Governor Mike Parson – and visits with others – was at least, in part, to argue in favor of the current initiative petition process.
One reader thinks his interest includes future IPs, but also protecting the process for the current city-county merger effort. Proposed statutory changes, like Sen. David Sater’s SB 5, are statutory and contain an emergency clause. Depending where 2020 IPs are in the process, it could impact them.
Timing Cleaner MO
From what I can gather Republicans are moving forward to advance their redistricting change this session. Dubbed “Cleaner Missouri” by some observers, it will take the $5 lobbyist gift cap and make it an outright ban, while changing back the criteria for redistricting.
There has been some debate among Republicans whether it’s better to do this now or wait until next session.
The debate doesn’t seem to be over, in part because there may be a “too many chiefs” situation occurring with various factions and consultants all wanting to lead.
The argument for passing a ballot question this session is that it gives the campaign more time to raise money with donors. And it keeps next session available for a redo if this version fails due to an unforeseen legal challenge.
The argument for waiting is that they’re tipping their hand too early and giving progressives ample time to plot their counter-move (what some are now calling “Cleanest Missouri).
This impacts everyone because it might require a PQ in the Senate – which could make passing other bills afterwards closer to impossible.
· Congressman Billy Long models a new hat he made that the mall. See it here.
· One MOScouter flagged this tweet in which a Boone County lawmaker who should know better calls the University of Missouri System the "Mizzou" System. That incorrect usage drives university brass crazy.
· Bloomberg notches Clayton as #4 on the passive income ladder. See it here.
Happy birthday to Mike Sutherland, Mike Thomson, PJ White, and Ron Leone.