Saving the Pro-Life Pregnancy Resource Center Tax Credit

Here’s today’s press release on saving the pro-life pregnancy resource center tax credit which, without the amendment, would have expired in 2015. Side-note: quick-thinking saved the day here. This was an amendment-to-another-amendment. The original saved the food pantry tax credit – which I support. As soon as debate started, I thought, “Whoa, why don’t we have an amendment to save the pregnancy resource center tax credit too.” Much thanks to the reps who killed time to give House Research enough time to draft the amendment to the amendment in the middle of debate.

Jefferson City, MO – Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) successfully amended the jobs bill under consideration by the Missouri House Thursday to save pro-life pregnancy resource center tax credits from expiration in 2015.

“Pregnancy resource centers offer assistance, comfort and support to mothers facing difficult pregnancies,” Barnes said. “These centers save and improve the lives of both Missouri mothers and children.”

The pregnancy resource center tax credits provide personal income tax credits to Missouri taxpayers who make donations supporting these life-affirming charitable organizations. Without Barnes’ amendment, the credits would have expired in 2015.

Stream-bank Erosion on the Maries River

These pictures are from today’s float trip on the Maries River. The gondolier in the front is Rep. Bill Reiboldt from Neosho. We had a great time. And thanks to the presentation by Rep. Tom Loehner, learned a lot about stream-bank erosion issues and the problems of land-owners on the Maries River.

Debating the Facebook Fix

Maybe I Should Have Turned Down the Third Cup of Coffee

Unconstitutional Balls of Wax

I heard from a lot of people this weekend about my quote in this AP article on the Facebook fix. Here’s the quote:

The only two House members to vote against the repeal Friday were Republican Jay Barnes of Jefferson City and Democrat Mike Colona of St. Louis. Both are attorneys. And both suggested that local school districts could end up adopting policies that still infringe on free speech, essentially multiplying the lawsuits that could be filed.

“We just traded one big unconstitutional ball of wax for 529 little balls of wax,” Barnes said.

Governor Nixon has not stated whether he’s going to sign the bill or not.

 

House Passes Huge Jobs Bill – Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act

The House truly agreed and finally passed the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act today by a bi-partisan vote of 94 to 48. I voted in favor of the bill because it has the potential to be a significant source of job growth for our state.

The bill’s goal is to encourage the growth of Missouri-grown technology businesses through investments that do not require any new taxes or budget money currently being directed to state general revenues. Instead, MoSIRA captures a portion of the increased taxes collected from science and innovation professions and businesses and directs it to a fund that will be used to help Missouri researchers commercialize their products.  Kansas has a similar law that has allowed to poach dozens of Missouri companies from the Missouri side of the Kansas City border.

Here are some examples of projects that have been funded in the past by the Missouri Technology Corporation, the existing entity that will be given better tools to help create jobs by this bill:

  • Missouri Plant Science Center in Mexico, Missouri – MTC worked with Mizzou and the city of Mexico to develop a 25,000 square foot manufacturing facility dedicated to health and nutrition products derived from soybeans – a huge crop for our state.
  • Animal Health Workforce Development Training Laboratory in St. Joseph, Missouri – MTC worked with Missouri Western to build the Kit Bond Science and Technology incubator providing students with hands-on training in bio-manufacturing.
  • Missouri Center for Advanced Power Systems Research in Joplin, Missouri – MTC worked with Missouri Southern to create a university-industry partnership on advanced battery development and manufacturing, resulting in what is believed to the first-in-the-nation minor in energy storage and battery technology.
  • SCD Probiotics, LLC in Kansas City, Missouri – MTC worked with the state Department of Economic Development, and local stakeholders in Kansas City to kick-start growth and expansion of SCD Probiotics line of “good bacteria” products for use in agriculture, health, and industry. MTC’s investment, which was leveraged with significant private investment, is expected to result in 62 new jobs for the state of Missouri.

Like anything worth doing, MoSIRA was not absent controversy. One group claimed that MoSIRA could be used to fund unethical stem cell research in our state. I disagree, and voted against that group’s amendment for six reasons:

  • The amendment was unconstitutional because (1) there is clear Missouri case law stating that the legislature cannot bind future legislators, and that’s what this amendment would have done; and (2) the amendment conflicts with Article III, Section 38 of the Missouri Constitution – adopted in 2006 through Amendment 2.  We take an oath to defend the constitution that I take seriously (see my vote on the Facebook bill). I opposed Amendment 2, but we have to recognize that it is now the law of our state. This amendment picks the wrong battleground. The appropriate place for this debate would be with a proposed amendment to our state constitution.
  • The appropriate place for this debate would be with a proposed amendment to our state constitution. The amendment merely referred to another state statute which says the same thing. I believe that other statute is likely unconstitutional because of Article III, Section 38 of the Missouri Constitution.
  • There was a non-severability clause in the amendment which meant that, if the amendment was found unconstitutional (as I believe it is), then the entire bill would have been declared unconstitutional – effectively killing this jobs bill at a time of nine-plus percent unemployment.
  • MoSIRA is not a “research” bill. It is a “commercialization” bill. Thus, there is no real threat of the fund being used for research purposes.
  • The Missouri Technology Corporation has never attempted to fund anything related to unethical stem cell research.
  • Every year the Missouri General Assembly passes budget bills which ban public moneys from being expended for this research. That’s the place where these pro-life amendments are necessary – and constitutional. I voted for it last year, and will vote for it again next year, and every year into the future.

Why I Voted No on the So-Called Facebook Fix

Last week, the Missouri Senate passed the so-called Facebook fix by unanimous vote. This morning, the Missouri House passed the bill by a vote of 139 to 2. I was one of the two. Here’s why:

The current law bans Internet communications, including Facebook, between teachers and students. Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled it unconstitutional last month.  Everyone agreed the law had to be fixed. The right way to fix it would have been to just repeal the law. Instead, the so-called “fix” mandates that each of Missouri’s 529 different school districts adopt a policy of its own on “the use of electronic media” to “prevent improper communications between staff members and students.”

That’s a noble goal. But the devil’s in the details.

First, the vast majority most of the behavior this law attempts to stop is ALREADY illegal.  Elected officials have a tendency to react to bad things that happen in our society with an urge to just, “do something” to prove to the public that we care about the issue. The simple fact is that we can’t legislate immoral and criminal behavior out of our state by passing law after law to make it illegal. Making it criminal one time is enough.

Second, there’s a chance that this “fix” merely trades one unconstitutional state law for hundreds of unconstitutional local school board rules. My concern is for the teachers of this state who, rather than having to fight a single state statute now, may be left to their own devices to take on an unconstitutional rule at the local level. In addition, there’s the very real possibility that the “fix” will result in more litigation against school districts around the state on the same First Amendment issues that caused our state law to be struck as constitutional.

Does all this make me a stick in the mud? Probably. But I believe the First Amendment is the most important of all our constitutional rights, and it’s worth being a stick in the mud to defend the First Amendment rights of all Missourians.

Why I Oppose a No-Standards “Compete Missouri”

KRCG’s Kermit Miller interviewed me yesterday regarding “Compete Missouri,” part of the wide-ranging economic development proposal being considered in Special Session. My thoughts:

I hate cliches. Good writers never use them. But a cliche only becomes a cliche because its usually true. In this case, Lord Action once said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Compete Missouri seeks to consolidate six different economic development programs into one. The problem is that this program would be placed nearly entirely under the discretion of the Department of Economic Development – and hence, one person, the Governor. This would create what I believe to be a dangerous opportunity for corruption or, at the very least, the frequent appearance of corruption in Missouri government.

Major employers in our state frequently give campaign donations to every serious candidate for governor. Inevitably, a company that made a donation to the current or future governor would receive one of these subsides. Then the stories would start. We’ve recently seen this exact scenario play out with the SynCare contract.

Economic development programs should have clear, written rules that aren’t subject to the ability of one company or another to grease the skids with campaign donations or hire the slickest lawyers and lobbyists.

Gov. Nixon has honorable intentions in pushing for Compete Missouri. But the end result would be an invitation to corruption for future governors – Republican or Democrat. Regardless of whether anything corrupt ever occurred, allegations of corruption would loom over many decisions to award subsidies.

Special Session – The Easy Stuff

On today’s agenda: access to the Rainy Day Fund to pay for disaster clean-up costs around the state; moving our primary elections to jump through the hoops required by our national political parties; local control for the St. Louis Police Department; and tax amnesty (meant to raise revenue for the state by encouraging payment of taxes that might otherwise never be collected). I voted yes on all.

New Nuclear Power Has True Consensus

Many folks say you need “consensus” to move a bill forward in special session. The nuclear plant legislation has the support of more elected officials and interest groups than the current economic development bill being considered by the General Assembly. Here’s the list. Elected officials were placed on the list by the following criteria: House members listed voted for an ESP amendment during regular session. Senate members listed co-sponsored the legislation filed by Senator Kehoe. I’d also note that, since there have been some small changes to the earlier legislation, some elected leaders may change their vote. The vast majority will not change their vote. They support the concept – and will support the bill with small changes. The members of MIEC have “agreed” to legislative language – but moved the goal posts by saying their agreement isn’t enough to support such legislation in special session. In any case, here’s the list:

Supporters of New Nuclear Energy in Missouri

Missouri ESP Alliance members
Ameren Missouri
Kansas City Power & Light
Empire Distirct Electric
Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Missouri Public Utility Association

MIEC Members (agree to language)
Noranda Aluminum, Inc.
Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
BioKyowa, Inc.
Boeing Company
Doe Run
Enbridge
Explorer Pipeline
General Motors Corporation
GKN Aerospace
Hussman Corporation
JW Aluminum
Monsanto
Precoat Metals
Procter & Gamble Company
Nestle Purina Pet Care
Saint Gobain
Solutia
U.S. Silica Company

Local Chambers of Commerce
Camdenton Area Chamber of Commerce
Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce
Maryland Heights Chamber of Commerce
Eldon Area Chamber of Commerce

Economic Development Agencies
Missouri CORE
Rolla Regional Economic Commission
Gateway Leadership Foundation
Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Council
East Central Missouri Development Association
Northeast Missouri Development Partnership
Lake of the Ozarks Regional Economic Development Council
Missouri Economic Development Council
Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Commission

Local Governments
Callaway County Commission
City of California
City of Lebanon
City of Kirkwood
Camden County Commission
City of Osage Beach
City of Linn Creek
City of Rolla
City of Holts Summit
City of Independence
City of Kirkwood
City of Odessa
City of LaPlata

School Districts
Eldon School District

Small Businesses
Alliant Bank
Diamond Pet Foods
Fred Weber, Inc.
Mississippi Lime
Farmer Holding Company
Edison Welding Institute
Valcor Engineering
Consolidated Power Supply
Custom Alloy Corporation
Eaton Corporation
Rotork Controls, Inc.
Tioga Pipe Supply Company, Inc.
Kinectrics
GCA Services Group, Inc.
Headway Workforce Solutions
Curtiss Wright Flow Control
Cives Steel Company
Tioga Pipe Supply, Inc
The Brock Group
EES Engineering & Services
Ascendent Engineering
Avisco, Inc
ISCO Industries
AT&F Nuclear, Inc.
Kinectrics US Inc.
Kennametal
Paxton & Vierling Steel
BendTec Inc.
Crane Nuclear, Inc.
nStone Corporation
MRC – McJunkin Red Man Corporation
Team Industrial Service
Fastenal Company
Brauer Supply Company
Fabick Cat Power Systems, Inc.
St. Louis Fluid System Technologies
MACTEC, Inc.
Corrigan Company
J.P. Bushnell
Alberici Constructors
Schaeffer Marketing Group, Inc.
Continental Fabricators, Inc
Alberici Constructors
Carl F. Gast Co
United/Anco Services, Inc.
RHMC
ROCK HILL MECHNICAL CORP
Will Electronics
Wolseley Industrial Group
Pangea Group
Murphy Company
PayneCrest Electric
Murphy Company
Wolseley Industrial Group
Schneider Electric Company
Durkin Equipment Company, Inc.
Paul C. Rizzo Associates, Inc
Terracon Consultants, Inc.
Siemens Energy
MetalTek International
Hunter Modular Construction
LightGuard – A Philips Company
GCA Services
Clarke Power Service, Inc
Midwest Towers, Inc
AES Raptor, LLC
Airgas Mid America
Airgas
Cent. Mo. Prof. Serv. Inc.
GREDELL Engineering Resources, Inc.
Practical Concepts Consulting, LLC
Graybar Electric Co
Terracon Consultants, Inc.
Archon Engineering
Shaw Group
Butler Supply
Mertens Construction Company, Inc.
Fastenal
Butler Supply
ESAB Welding & Cutting
Mueller Services
Western States Fire Protection
Terracon Consultants, Inc.
Kiewit Power Nuclear Co.
Hirschfeld Industries
VALVtechnologies Inc
Ascendent Engineering
Premier Technology, Inc.
Diversified Metal Products, Inc
H-Y Tech Mechanical & Construction Services, LLC
IMI Nuclear
Oregon Iron Works, Inc.
Burns & McDonnell

Rural Electric Cooperatives
Atchison-Holt
Barry
Barton County
Black River
Boone
Callaway Electric Cooperative
Central Electric Power
Central Missouri
Citizens
Co-Mo
Consolidated
Cuivre River
Crawford
Farmers’
Gascosage
Grundy
Howard
Howell-Oregon
Intercounty
Laclede
Lewis County
M & A Power
Missouri Rural
New-Mac
North Central
Northeast MO Electric Power
NW Electric Power
Osage Valley
Ozark
Ozark Border
Pemiscot-Dunklin
Platte-Clay
Ralls County
Sac Osage
Se-Ma-No
Sho-Me Power
Southwest
Three Rivers
Tri-County
United
Webster
West Central
White River Valley

Municipal/Public Utilities
Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities
Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission
Rolla Board of Public Works
Fulton
City of Trenton
Carrollton Municipal Utilities
Carthage Water & Electric Plant
Chillicothe Municipal Utilities
City of Albany
City of Butler
City of Fayette
City of Fulton
CIty of Higginsville
City of Independence
CIty of Jackson
City of Kahoka
City of La Plata
City of Marceline
CIty of Milan
City of Odessa
CIty of Paris
City of Shelbina
City of West Plains
Kirkwood Electric
Macon Municipal Utilities
Palmyra Board of Public Works
City of Rockport

Labor Unions
Missouri AFL-CIO
COLUMBIA, JEFFERSON CITY, MO & VICINITY BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL
JOPLIN BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL
KANSAS CITY BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL
NORTHEAST BUILDING & TRADES COUNCIL
SEDALIA BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL
SOUTHEAST BUILIDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL
SPRINGFIELD BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL
ST. JOSEPH BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL
ST. LOUIS BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL
BAC LOCAL 15 MO/KS
BOILERMAKERS LU 27
BOILERMAKERS LU 83
BRICKLAYERS LU 1
D.C. #2 PAINTERS
HEAT & FROST INSULATORS & ASBESTOS WORKERS LU 1
HEAT & FROST INSULATORS & ASBESTOS WORKERS LU 63
IBEW 11TH DIST.
IBEW LU 1439
IBEW LU 1455
IBEW LU 2
IBEW LU 257
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF ELEVATOR CONSTRUCTORS LU 3
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS LU 148
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS LU 513
IRONWORKERS LU 396
LABORERS LU 662
PIPEFITTERS LU 533
PLUMBERS & PIPEFITTERS LU 178
PLUMBERS & PIPEFITTERS LU 45
Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Union 562
PLUMBERS LU 8
ROOFERS LU 20
SHEET METAL WORKERS LU 2
SHEET METAL WORKERS LU 36
TEAMSTERS LU 833
UA ROAD SPRINKLER FITTERS LU 669

SENATE SPONSORS OF NUCLEAR ENERGY LEGISLATION
Senator Mike Kehoe
Senator Brad Lager
Senator Robin Wright-Jones
Senator Kurt Schaefer
Senator Kevin Engler
Senator Tim Green
Senator Ryan McKenna
Senator Ron Richard
Senator Mike Parson
Senator Tom Dempsey
Senator Bill Stouffer
Senator Jay Wasson
Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal
Senator Brian Nieves
Senator Jim Lembke
Senator Jane Cunningham
Senator Bob Dixon
Senator Rob Schaaf
Senator Scott Rupp

REPRESENTATIVES WHO VOTED FOR AN NUCLEAR ENERGY AMENDMENT
Representative Allen
Representative Asbury
Representative Atkins
Representative Aull
Representative Bahr
Representative Barnes
Representative Bernskoetter
Representative Black
Representative Brattin
Representative Brown
Representative Burlison
Representative Carter
Representative Casey
Representative Cauthorn
Representative Cierpiot
Representative Colona
Representative Conway 14
Representative Conway 27
Representative Crawford
Representative Cross
Representative Curtman
Representative Davis
Representative Day
Representative Dennison
Representative Dieckhaus
Representative Diehl
Representative Dugger
Representative Elmer
Representative Entlicher
Representative Fallert
Representative Fisher
Representative Fitzwater
Representative Flanagan
Representative Fraker
Representative Franklin
Representative Franz
Representative Frederick
Representative Fuhr
Representative Funderburk
Representative Gatschenberger
Representative Gosen
Representative Grisamore
Representative Guernsey
Representative Haeffner
Representative Harris
Representative Higdon
Representative Hinson
Representative Hoskins
Representative Houghton
Representative Hubbard
Representative Hummel
Representative Johnson
Representative Jones 63
Representative Jones 89
Representative Jones 117
Representative Kandor
Representative Kelley 126
Representative Kelly 24
Representative Koenig
Representative Korman
Representative Kratky
Representative Lair
Representative Lampe
Representative Largent
Representative Lassiter
Representative McCaherty
Representative McCann-Beatty
Representative McDonald
Representative McGeoghegan
Representative McGhee
Representative McNary
Representative Meadows
Representative Molendorp
Representative Montecillo
Representative Nance
Representative Newman
Representative Nichols
Representative Pace
Representative Parksinson
Representative Pierson
Representative Pollack
Representative Quinn
Representative Redmon
Representative Reiboldt
Representative Riddle
Representative Rizzo
Representative Rowland
Representative Ruzicka
Representative Schad
Representative Scharnhorst
Representative Schatz
Representative Schneider
Representative Schoeller
Representative Shively
Representative Shumake
Representative Sifton
Representative Smith 71
Representative Smith 150
Representative Solon
Representative Spreng
Representative Still
Representative Stream
Representative Swearingen
Representative Talboy
Representative Thomson
Representative Torpey
Representative Wallingford
Representative Walton-Gray
Representative Webb
Representative Wells
Representative Weter
Representative White
Representative Wieland
Representative Wyatt
Representative Zerr
Speaker Tilley

Finished with Out-of-State Special Interests Moving the Goal Posts on Affordable Energy for Missouri

The short of it – after acceding to all the demands of the special interest opponents of the early site permit legislation – those opponents have now said they can’t support a bill unless it essentially has the support of every person in the state of Missouri. I’m tired of playing Charlie Brown to the Lucy of a handful of out-of-state publicly-traded companies more concerned about next quarter’s earnings report than the long term future of our state. I believe the other supporters of the bill are as well. Maybe we’ll just wait until 2013 and pass it without acceding to any of their demands.