Government Relations 1/27/2010


Kristi Smith Wyatt, Chamber Interim President and Senior Vice President, Government Relations & Policy Development

Missouri Pundits Weigh In

The Chamber’s Missouri State Affairs Committee held its first meeting of 2010 last Friday.  Committee chair Steven Bledsoe of Blue Cross and Blue Shield moderated a panel of area journalists and pundits who are involved in Missouri state politics.  They included Yael Abouhalkah and Jason Noble of the Kansas City Star, Dave Drebes of the Arch City Chronicle and MO Scout, and Mary O’Halloran, a local communications consultant. 

The conversation was lively and as to be expected Yael and Mary exhibited the same back and forth banter as they do when featured on KCPT’s Ruckus.  Dave Drebes offered a unique perspective as the only non-Kansas Citian on the panel as did Jason Noble who walks the halls in Jefferson City. 

Issues included:

  • Governor’s State of the State address and his bi-partisan overtones, one panelist noted that Nixon sounded almost conservative. 
  • Ethics reform, Star Reporter Jason Noble noted there is such a big range for the legislature to consider.  Mary was optimistic real ethics reform could actually work and make a difference in the lives of Missourians. 
  • Earnings Tax Repeal, Dave Drebes, who always looks at this issue with St. Louis in mind,  says the proposal has a real chance of going somewhere considering the amount of money supporters of the repeal could pump into the effort.

Mark your calendar for the next meeting of The Chamber’s Missouri State Affairs Committee at noon on Friday, February 5 in The Chamber’s Board Room.  Guests will include Senator Luann Ridgeway (R-Smithville), House Minority Floor Leader Paul LeVota (D-Independence) & Representative Mike Talboy (D-Kansas City). 

Legislators Gather for Breakfast

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Johnson County Public Policy Council are sponsoring the Legislative Breakfast Series.  The purpose of these select Saturday morning breakfasts are to enhance the communication and exchange of information between the business community and the Johnson County state legislative delegation.  More information on the breakfast series, please contact Rochelle Butler at 816-374-5437. 

Legislators providing updates were Senator Karen Brownlee and Representatives Cindy Neighbor, Ray Merrick, Jill Quigley and Arlen Siegfreid

KCMO to Seek Help in DC

Yesterday’s Kansas City Missouri Committee got an update from representatives of Kansas City’s local Congressional delegation about federal fund projects in the region.  The overall theme was smaller projects should see funding, but the big ticket items, like highway and water projects, are most likely off the table for 2010.

Representatives from Senator Bond’s, Senator McCaskill’s and Congressman Cleavers’ offices gave updates on the latest happenings in DC.  They stated they will do all they can to help Kansas City, but many of those items will be on the back burner as Congress continues to wrestle with healthcare, climate change, and jobs.  

EPA Update, Johnson County Commissioner Peterson at EESI Meeting

Tuesday morning, The Chamber’s Energy, Environment, and Sustainability Initiative (EESI) met with David Tripp of Stinson Morrison and Hecker, who provided the group with extremely timely information regarding the EPA’s greenhouse gas reporting rule.  His presentation included:

  • What Types of Business & Industry in K.C. Area Will be Affected
  • What Other EPA and State Actions May Impact GHG Regulations
  • Brief Glimpse of EPA and Its Priorities

EESI members also spoke with Johnson County Commissioner Ed Peterson and Tom Gerend, the Assistant Director of Transportation at MARC.  Commissioner Peterson presented impressive sustainability efforts in Johnson County.  Gerend gave a detailed overview of the long-range plan that Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) has developed to address different regional growth scenarios. 

The next EESI meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 23 at 8:00 a.m.  Please contact Nora Lockton at 816-374-5402 if you have any questions.


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