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12 April 2010

Schupp: Taxes Due, House Aiming to Strengthen DWI Laws, Updates from Committees and the Budget

Rushing home to support a friend, visiting Bellefontaine Habilitation Center, sharing in the 90th anniversary celebration of Troop 11 of our Boy Scouts at Temple Israel, and visiting the incredible display of miniatures at the Tappmeyer House served to keep me busy during this weekend.  I am hopeful you, too, were able to enjoy the glorious weather and participate in the many activities and events that make our community so strong. 

All that stated, this look back on the politics and policies of the week relays a grim picture due to the constraints created by this challenging budget year.  Few programs and services will remain whole as the budget lines are drawn.  The question that we must be vigilante in considering is whether, in the end, the budget we have reflects our priorities.

We are still receiving your surveys.  Thank you for taking the time to weigh in.  We will post the results when collection and tabulating are done.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve.



Rep. Schupp and other St. Louis area representatives with members of St. Louis Children's Hospital in House side gallery on Thursday.


The deadline to file income tax is this coming Thursday, April 15.  If you have yet to file or need more information to file, feel free to visit the IRS website for your federal filing or the Missouri Department of Revenue's website for your state filing.

As always, if you have questions, feel free to contact our office and we will try our best to assist you.

This week on the House floor

Supplemental Spending Bill Eventually Approved

Colleagues and I heard recommendations, changed votes, and argued on the House floor over one particular piece of a supplemental bill [HB2014]. Interestingly, while this bill could be looked at as controversial in many ways, the heated discussion centered on the fact that the negative impact on school districts would only affect districts that are notcharacterized as "hold harmless." 

The districts that have schools located in the 82nd State House District include Pattonville, Parkway and Ladue. Each of those districts became designated as "hold harmless" when the foundation formula for funding education was changed less than a decade ago. 

Hold harmless districts, which are predominantly suburban districts and certain small rural districts with high local tax levies, don't receive annual increases from the state's education funding distribution formula. At the same time, because the formula, in essence, punishes districts that receive strong local support, the districts receive more than they would be allocated if they were funded through the formula.

This means that while our districts continue to receive some funding from the state, the funding remains at a relatively low and consistent level as state aid to all non-hold harmless districts changes...generally increasing over the years. 

With this year's underfunding of the foundation formula, there is an outcry from the non-hold harmless districts for all districts statewide to share in the cuts, lessening the pain to the non-hold harmless districts.  

The bill passed with no harm being done to the "hold harmless" districts. The Governor does have line-item veto power to remove the controversial provision that exempts hold harmless districts. If that happens, perhaps the "hold harmless" title will have to change.


Debate began this week on legislation on [HB 1695] which would create harsher penalties for those caught driving under the influence.  Due to an amendment drafting error, the work done to date on amendments on the house floor might require unraveling, meaning revisiting of the discussion, peeling back the layers of amendments and re-starting from the basic underlying bill.  There is now uncertainty as to whether this legislation will make it through the process during this legislative session.  This is a disappointment to so many who are working to make our roads and our families and friends safer.  While we will link you to the summary, keep in mind that the process and legislation require revisiting.  Click Here to get to the bill's summary.

Committee News

Higher Education

Legislation on the Access Missouri grant program that provides funds to undergraduate students based on need was passed out of our committee this week (HB 1812).  Should the new legislation make its way through the process, it will equalize grant payments to students whether they attend public or private four-year Missouri colleges or universities.  Currently, priviate school attendees receive about double the amount public school attendees receive.  Students who attend two- year schools will receive more money per year than they do currently, but still about half of what the four year attendees receive per year.

This program change will not start until 2014, and the sunset clause in the current legislation is removed in the new legislation.  And, of course, dollar amounts granted to students is always subject to the amount of money appropriated to the program.

While it passed unanimously, some of us still have questions about the timing of the legislation start date and lack of sunset that may be able to be addressed on the house floor.

Children and Families

HB 2384 establishes the Embryo Transfer Act which authorizes the legal relinquishment and subsequent transfer of human embryos.  While I am hopeful our chair will give us ample time to discuss the ramifications of this legislation (this is not always the case), I have concerns about the state's interest in intervening in these private legal matters.  

HB 855, a piece of Senate legislation, is very similar to a House bill that this committee heard earlier this session.  This bill would allow the State Registrar to issue heritage birth or marriage certificates celebrating the unique heritage of Missourians.  This was presented by Rep. Sater who made it clear that this is intended to be a revenue generator for the state.  I am hopeful we can amend the language to ensure that the costs are adequately addressed and covered.  It is a reasonable idea that has worked in other states.

Budget News


The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to eliminate the entire $37.5 million for the Career Ladder program that had been approved by the House for next year's state budget. This program provides about 18,000 teachers with extra duty salary supplements ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 a year.
The state splits the cost of Career Ladder with participating school districts. Because the state pays its share a year in arrears, money in next year's budget would reimburse districts for expenses incurred in the current school year. That means teachers who performed these extra duties this year will not receive payment for them.  The legislature has not taken action to provide appropriations in advance of the work being done, largely because it would cost the state double in one budget year. In the end, these cuts will break trust with the teachers who were operating in good faith.


While the House of Representatives agreed to limit cuts to higher education to about $50 million for the 2010-2011 academic year, the Senate Appropriations committee has moved forward a proposal to cut $65 million. This $15 million dollar difference will have a dramatic effect on college students who are hopeful about staving off tuition increases for the next year. The Governor had made a deal with public colleges and universities not to raise tuition in exchange for keeping the state cuts to higher education at $50 million.  The Governor will be working hard to lower these Senate-proposed cuts.


The Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) reports net state general revenue collections were down 17.8 percent, or $100.2 million in March 2010 as compared to last March. Year-to-date general revenue collections for FY 2010 are down 13.3 percent year-to-date compared to last year. This drop is from $5.4 billion to $4.68 billion.

Constituent Spotlight

Rep. Schupp participating with 3rd graders from Rossman School in a mock legislative session.  The students, accompanied by teacher Lynn Frankenberger, held a debate on a bill making baseball the official sport of Rossman School.

Green Tip of the Week

By: Jenna Scavuzzo

Spring Clean the GREEN way!
It is that time of the year again--spring cleaning time!  Before you break out the sprays and cloths, look at the labels on your cleaning products.

Most products are full of unhealthy chemicals such as alcohol, ammonia, bleach, formaldehyde and lye: substances that can cause nausea, inflammation and burning of the eyes and throat.  Not only are these harmful to you and your family but they are also unhealthy for the environment.  
If you want to choose the green way to clean, there are many ways to avoid these chemicals. Here are a few helpful ways to clean areas in your house with non-chemical cleaners:
Drain Cleaner: Pour a half-cup of baking soda down the sink and add at least a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain and wait a few minutes, then rinse with a mixture of boiling water and salt.

Window Cleaner: Mix two ounces of vinegar with a quart of water in a spray bottle.

Silver Polish: Put a sheet of aluminum foil into a plastic or glass bowl. Sprinkle the foil with salt and baking soda and fill the bowl with warm water. Soak your silver in the bowl and tarnish migrates to the foil. Dry and buff.

Brass Cleaner: Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle it with salt and rub the lemon on the metal. Buff with a cloth.

Rust Remover: Use vinegar to remove rust on nuts and bolts and other mineral deposits such as calcium deposits.

Save the Date: CAP Volunteer Fair

Sunday April 18, 2010
3:00 to 5:00 PM

Washington University, Mallinckrodt Center, Lower Level (The Gargoyle)

6445 Forsyth Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130

3:00 to 3:30 PM-Hear Keynote Speaker, Rev. E.G. Shields, Sr., President, St. Louis Clergy Coalition
3:30 to 5:00 PM-Visit with agencies in need of volunteers

Please bring a donation of food to benefit area food pantries
For more information about CAP and the various organizations attending and co-hosting the event, contact Gail Wechsler at 314-442-3894 or visit

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