GM Day in the Senate?
The expectation is that today is “GM Day” in the Missouri Senate. As always, things change and it could be when the Senate convenes at 2PM, the two sides are talking about a compromise and Floor Leader Caleb Rowden chugs through the calendar while the they negotiate.
But, it’s not shaping up that way right now.
Instead it looks like a showdown. On one side is the governor’s office pushing the incentive package for General Motors investment (along with some items from their economic development agenda). On the other is the Senate’s Conservative Caucus which has resisted those items all session, namely the “closing fund,” and the FastTrack program.
The governor’s office – and one source says actually the governor himself – is quarterbacking this. And even though folks counseled the governor to leave his other EcoDevo stuff out and only push what is necessary for GM here we are. His Republican legislative partners, with a little heavy sighing and eye-rolling, are going along for the ride.
The governor’s office directed the GM package to be added to a Senate bill in the House so that we’d end up in this position: it comes back to the Senate and is not amendable. The Senate can either pass the bill or move to send it to conference. The Conservative Caucus can’t attempt to strip out the House’s additions.
The gambit in all of this is that GM – and the “real” jobs that they represent – would entice the St. Charles senators to turn a blind eye to the other parts of the governor’s wish-list that they find offensive. But over the weekend they made it clear that they would not accept the closing fund as the price of the GM incentives.
So after a session of watching the Conservative Caucus stymie the his priorities – items that weren’t supposed to be difficult to achieve – it feels like the governor is itching for a rumble. And now he has it.
But perhaps Parson’s forgotten his time in the Senate. This Conservative Caucus numbers six. Six can hold the floor indefinitely. That’s three pairs of two. If each pair holds the floor for four hours, that gives intervals of eight hours of rest/sleep to the others when necessarily. And if, for whatever reason, Dems should decide not to help out on quorum calls, you’d need most of the Republican regulars to be present (and awake) to trudge to the floor to keep a quorum.
In other words, if they have the will, and maintain their solidarity, they can stop anything from passing during this final week. Anything.
What All This Means
If GM does take Monday and Tuesday. And if you assume (rightly or wrongly) that leadership is planning Friday PQs on abortion and/or CLEAN, that means you’re down to two days work for everyone else’s priorities to squeeze through.
Lobbyist mind-meld… contract lobbyists have a portfolio of issues. So they’ll be playing defense on some items and want Senate drama to knot up the chamber to make their defensive positions easier; but they also need to pass some items for clients, so they’re looking for windows of calm and steady action when their bills might slip through. These final days are long.
An Early Preview of the Debate
Rob Dixon, Director of the Department of Economic Development, took to twitter last night to make the case of the GM package as a whole. See it here. Here ran through “rumors” and “facts.” For example….
RUMOR: GM doesn’t want Fast Track.
FACT: We met with GM on April 25. Two things happened: 1)They asked for workforce & infrastructure support and a program like the expired Mfg Jobs Act 2)They asked us to advance the full legislative package including Fast Track & Deal Closing….
RUMOR: This only benefits GM. We’re picking winners & losers.
FACT: The Governor’s proposal benefits industries in every corner of MO. It tackles the top challenges shared by GM, Ford and hundreds of other businesses large and small in our state - workforce & infrastructure….
And Sen. Bill Eigel offered his rebuttals. See it here.
I have not had a single representative or lobbyist of GM tell me that Fasttrack program is a condition of this expansion. Not one….
FACT: No other company but GM gets paid by Missouri under this plan. Thousands of companies in St Charles won’t get a dime under this plan. It is absolutely picking winners and losers…
Drew Rogers (Rogers For Progress) and Patty Lewis (Voters for Patty Lewis) formed candidate committees to run for House 25. Both are Democrats. The current incumbent, Rep. Greg Razor, won’t be running for a third term, but is running for state senate instead.
Kelli Dunaway formed a candidate committee (Kelli Dunaway For County Council) to run for St. Louis County Council District 2 as a Democrat. This is Sam Page’s old seat.
Transystems Corporation Missouri PAC – Federal was formed. Its treasurer is Julie Frigon.
Jeffrey Aboussie added STL Land Development LLC, and MC District Cooling.
Eapen Thampy added MO Cann Pharma LLC.
Happy birthdays to former Rep. Beth Low, and Corey Jackson.