Gossip from HRCC’s Summer Caucus
Tidbits from the House Republican Campaign’s Summer Caucus last weekend in Kansas City….
· As I wrote Saturday, a special session running concurrent with veto session is a real possibility.
· Rumors have the governor appointing some term-limited legislators to state positions between now and the start of session. One source threw out two names that they’re hearing in the rumormill…. Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer and Democratic Sen. Kiki Curls. We’ll see….
· Special election candidates Lee Ann Pitman (House 99) and Scott Cupps (House 158) were both in attendance.
· As was Rick Roeber, husband to recently deceased Rebecca Roeber. He said he wants to fulfill his wife’s legislative priorities. So it’s possible he may end up running for her seat.
· Handicapping the floor leader race, one observer says that Rep. Trent Curtis has locked up most of the SWMO votes, plus he’s got the Budget Chair’s support… “The race is between him and [Rep. Dean] Plocher. Plocher has the money edge, having donated over $100k to HRCC last cycle and still having over $100k on-hand plus a PAC.” Also, some think Plocher would be less aggressive on school choice issues; that’s reassuring to some rural reps.
· Rep. Hannah Kelley, meanwhile, sounds like the early frontrunner in the Assistant Floor Leader race.
· Some chatter about the MOScout bit that Nexus Group hosted new KC Mayor Quinton Lucas in STL in what appears to be an attempt to take the KC lobbying contract from Bill Gamble, who has been the lead lobbyist for KC for over 30 years. “If this was a corporate client, it would be frowned upon to court another lobbyists client in that manner...maybe the unwritten rules of poaching clients is different when it’s a political subdivision with new leadership?”
· Talk of an Eric Greitens comeback remains alive. This is paired with talk that Governor Mike Parson would eschew a second term for health reasons, and LG Mike Kehoe and SOS Jay Ashcroft would jump into a free-for-all. For the record, I’m skeptical on all this.
No indications that Republicans are considering any baby steps in gun control in the face of the weekend’s mass shootings. There was even a shooting Friday night just blocks from their shindig. Still, Rep. Dottie Bailey seemed to represent the consensus MOGOP opinion with this tweet…
“I agree, all law abiding citizens need to arm themselves against violent criminals. Let’s stop being soft targets and make the criminals think twice before they open fire on the innocent. #moleg”
Yikers! Used to be pretty much common sense that providing public safety was a proper function of government, not something that required every citizen to arm themselves.
Schupp Eyes Closing New Payday Loan Loopholers
NBC reports on a new internet start-up avoiding the regulatory framework on the payday loan industry by charging a “tip” instead of interest. Sen. Jill Schupp gets quoted. See it here.
Earnin, which was recently endorsed by the celebrity pastor T.D. Jakes and invested in by the rapper Nas, has taken great pains to avoid being seen as a traditional lender. The startup internally calls money transfers “activations” instead of “loans” and frames its business as a way of leveling the financial playing field for those without easy access to credit. But critics say that the company is effectively acting as a payday lender — providing small short-term loans at the equivalent of a high interest rate — while avoiding conventional lending regulations designed to protect consumers from getting in over their heads.
Earnin argues that it isn’t a lender at all because the company relies on tips rather than required fees and does not send debt collectors after customers who fail to repay the money. Earnin says it is exempt from a 2017 federal rule on payday lending that requires lenders to ensure that customers have the ability to repay the money they borrow, and from the Truth in Lending Act of 1968, which requires lenders to disclose their annual interest rate.
“This is absolutely a new and different way to skirt the laws around payday lending,” said Jill Schupp, a Democratic state senator from Missouri who represents the St. Louis suburbs and plans to revise her pending payday-lending regulation bill to encompass Earnin. “To use the word ‘tip’ instead of a usury charge, an interest rate or a fee, it’s just semantics,” Schupp said. “It’s the same thing at the end of the day.”
New MEC Opinion
Missouri Ethics Commission issued a new statement saying that there’s no conflict of interest preventing a “mayor from working for a contractor to oversee the punch list for a city project when the mayor will be removed from the process of creating the punch list and approving the final release of the contractor’s retainage.” See it here
RIP Bob Watson
Scott Charton shares on Twitter that Bob Watson passed away…
Sad to learn of weekend passing of Bob Watson, whose nearly 50 years in journalism included decades covering #moleg #mogov for Jefferson City @NewsTribune. Bob had been ill. He was a hard-working, even-handed and honest old-school newsman. And he was a kind, sweet man.
Tamitha Rene Ague added United States Association of Social Workers.
Heath Clarkston, Doug Nelson, and Kurt Schaefer added Newbridge Management LLC.
Charles Smith and Carol Weatherford deleted Missouri National Education Association.
Christopher Scott Hammann deleted Great State Strategies, LLC.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc – $10,000 from HCA Missouri Good Government Fund.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc – $15,000 from CFM Insurance Inc.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc – $15,000 from Dealers Interested in Government.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc – $10,000 from AGC of MO PAC.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc – $10,000 from MOSFA PAC Inc.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc – $10,000 from FEAPAC of Missouri.