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16 April 2010

Schupp: A "Taxing" Week, Changes in Election Laws, Bright Flight Increases

From requirement of photo ID for voters to DWI legislation to election reform, it was a week filled with impassioned debate.  I was excited to have been successful in encouraging the chair of the Tax Reform Committee to bring forward a bill providing for property tax deferral for senior citizens on fixed incomes.  This legislation, sponsored by my good friend, Representative Jake Zimmerman, has been around for a long time.  I testified in support back in the early part of the decade when I served on the School Board.  Ironically, while the bill was heard in my committee, I could not be there due to the routine scheduling conflict with another one of my committees where I was offering amendments.

If I said it was a "taxing" week...well, you understand.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve.



Rep. Schupp and other women representatives participated in Hat Day as part of Winning Women's Day at the Capitol.

This week on the House floor


The House gave preliminary approval to a proposed constitutional amendment requiring three-fifths (60%) supermajority for Missouri voters to ratify future constitutional amendments. If the measure clears both chambers, it would be subject to voter approval.
This resolution, HJR 78, also contains a provision that would allow amendments ratified with just a simple majority between Nov. 1, 2001, and Nov 1, 2010, to be repealed with a simple majority. This provision only applies to a few amendments, but, as the bill sponsor agreed upon questioning, was to make sure a 2006 amendment that narrowly passed prohibiting the outlawing of stem cell research could be repealed by a simple majority. In other words, stem cell opponents want to be able to overturn the ability to engage in stem cell research in this state by simple majority.

The House heard two additional election bills, HB 1966 and HJR 64, which each have two key components:

First, the bills allow for "no excuse required" early voting in elections.

The second part of each bill requires all voters to present photo identification to vote.  The debate on these two separate provisions was vigorous.  While both sections passed, there is evidence demonstrating that requirement of a photo ID is a burden on the poor, elderly and disabled and will disenfranchise many who would otherwise be involved in the electoral process.

Committee News

Higher Education

SB 733—Legislation proposing changes to the Bright Flight Scholarship program was heard this week.  The changes would increase the amount top scholars (those scoring in the top 3% statewide on the ACT or SAT) receive to a maximum award of $3000.  Depending upon appropriations, if there is enough revenue for each student scoring in this top tier, awards of up to $1000 will be given to students scoring in the 4th and 5th percentile.

A new provision was just distributed that attempts to close records when the university (or public institution) is working in cooperation with a private institution to promote economic development.  The idea is that the protection of intellectual property is an essential tool in business development, competition and negotiation.

As a staunch believer in open government and the importance of the Sunshine Law to all of us,  I am waiting to hear from various professionals to understand fully the ramifications of this proposed change in law.   It seems reasonable that this information should remain private during the development period.  That stated, it is not clear to me what the broader implications of this change might be.

Tax Reform

A bill [SB883] to allow for the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of St. Peters to levy a license tax on hotels and motels failed in committee.

Property tax deferral for senior citizens on fixed income (HB 1835) was heard in committee.  As mentioned earlier, I was not able to be present.  I look forward to the Executive Session when committee members can have discussion, debate, create amendments and vote on the bill.

Children and Families

Last week I wrote about a piece of Senate legislation [SB855] which would allow the State Registrar to issue heritage birth or marriage certificates celebrating the unique heritage of Missourians.  This week, at the 11th hour, the Children and Families committee chair put forward a substitute bill adding provisions allowing any  adopted person, age 21 or older, to acquire an unaltered birth certificate.  Simply put, this legislation undermines any promise: implied, perceived or actual that allowed the birth mother of an adopted child to remain anonymous.

While proponents of this issue state that no biological parents have stepped forward to, or have gone on record as opposing this legislation, it is clear that doing so would change their status of anonymity.  Today's technology provides many opportunities for birth parents to reach out to their adopted children if they so desire.

The chair did not have the committee vote to remove this section, since it was clear that the provision would have been voted out of the bill.

Budget News


From the Dem Caucus Communications Director

The Senate passed its version of a more than $23 billion state operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year, cutting $453.8 million in proposed spending recommended by Gov. Jay Nixon in January. The Senate cuts are roughly double the $224 million in reductions the House of Representatives approved last month. Because the state's revenue projections have worsened significantly in the months since he offered his proposed FY 2011 budget, Nixon is generally supportive of lawmakers' actions to further reduce spending.
The full Senate reversed a committee's decisions to eliminate the $37.5 million needed to fund the Career Ladder program, which provides teachers extra pay for extra duties, and to cut an additional $14.8 million for colleges and universities, which had agreed to freeze in-state tuition for the 2010-2011 school year in exchange for a cut of no more than $50 million. By agreeing to limit the cut to the agreed amount, the tuition deal remains in place. House and Senate negotiators must now work out a final version of the budget, which both chambers must approve no later than May 7. 


Gov. Jay Nixon signed a midyear state spending bill into law on April 13 but declared that a controversial provision of the measure that would exempt 152 local school districts from sharing in a $43 million shortfall in education funding for the final months of the 2010 fiscal year is unconstitutional and won't be enforced. As a result, all 523 Missouri school districts are expected to get a 2 percent cut in their expected state funding for the current school year, although it possible a lawsuit could be filed challenging the governor's interpretation.
A provision of HB 2014 exempts "hold harmless" school districts from the cuts. Hold harmless districts have their state funding frozen at FY 2005 levels. If the hold harmless status is enforced, the provision would result in the remaining 371 districts enduring even deeper cuts than the 2 percent called for in the governor's plan.
In a signing statement attached to the bill, Nixon said the disputed provision violates the Missouri Constitution's ban against legislating in appropriations bills. Although the statement carries no legal weight, it potentially could serve as warning against hold harmless districts suing to enforce the provision. The districts in the 82nd State House district are all "Hold Harmless."

Green Tip of the Week

Consumer Tips for Getting an Energize Missouri Appliance Rebate

Five things consumers need to know about the program

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, APRIL 14, 2010 - A federally-funded home appliance rebate program is intended to improve energy efficiency and stimulate the economy using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or Recovery Act. States around the nation are giving rebates to consumers to replace inefficient home appliances with energy-efficient models.

Missouri's $5.6 million Energize Missouri Appliance Rebate Program starts April 19 and will fund rebates for five appliance categories - space heating, space cooling, water heaters, clothes washers and dishwashers. Consumers can qualify for rebates from $75 to $500 with a maximum of $575 for multiple appliances. The department anticipates issuing 48,000 rebates during the program. Rebate reservations are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Experience in other states shows the program is very popular, and the funds will go fast.

Missouri has scheduled its rebate program to coincide with the "Show Me Green" ENERGY STAR® sales tax holiday. Consumers who wish to take advantage of the rebate program and the state sales tax holiday must purchase the ENERGY STAR appliances between April 19-25 in participating retail and installation contractor businesses.

Consumers should plan ahead and be ready to buy the qualified appliance when the programs begin next week. Here are five ways to maximize consumer savings:
  1. Learn more about the Energize Missouri Appliance Rebate Program.
    Consumers must purchase ENERGY STAR appliances to replace older, less efficient models. Consumers must recycle the old appliance to qualify for a rebate. Consumers may want to consider the following steps to help during the rebate program.
    • Step 1 - Make a Purchase:  Starting April 19, consumers may visit a participating retailer or installation contractor partner to purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances and reserve a rebate.
    • Step 2 - Reserve a Rebate:  Starting April 21, a limited number of rebates will be available for consumers to reserve directly online at or via telephone at 877-541-4848. The program's online reservation system will enable consumers to quickly and easily reserve a rebate and print out their rebate application directly from a web-enabled computer. Participation in this program is expected to be high. This could mean longer wait times if consumers try to reserve a rebate on the phone instead of at the store or online. Consumers will have 60 days after reserving a rebate to purchase a qualified appliance from a participating retailer or installation contractor.
    • Step 3 - Recycle:  Most participating retailers and installation contractors will collect and recycle the old appliance when they deliver the new appliance. Consumers can also recycle their old appliance at a recycling facility or turn-in event. Consumers must show proof of recycling. Visit the Web site at for details on recycling.
    • Step 4 - Document and Mail:  Consumers must sign and mail their completed rebate application form along with the proof of purchase, residency and recycling to Energize Missouri Appliance Rebate Program, Dept 21282 P.O. Box 3688, Medina, OH 44258-3688 within 60 days of making a reservation. Consumers can expect to receive a rebate check(s) for valid claims within 4-6 weeks from the day they mail in their rebate application.
  2. Meet the Eligibility Requirements - Consumers will qualify for a rebate only if they meet all of the following conditions:
    • Must be a Missouri resident and 18 years of age or older.
    • Own the property where the appliances will be installed, with the exception of clothes washers. Renters are eligible for clothes washer rebates.
    • Buy only one appliance per appliance category per address. Rebates range from $75 to $500 with a $575 maximum rebate allowed for multiple appliances.
    • Purchase an ENERGY STAR-qualified appliance from a participating retailer or installation contractor.
    • Mail in the rebate application form along with all required support documentation postmarked within 60 days of making the reservation.
  3. Buy on April 19 or 20 - Consumers best chance for securing a rebate is through a participating retailer or installation contractor. The funds may go quickly.  If a particular retailer or installation contractor is not currently registered as a partner in the program, consumers may contact them to participate.
  4. Keep a Copy of the Paperwork - To secure a rebate, consumers are required to mail in a copy of their completed and signed rebate application (with unique ID#), proof of purchase, proof of residency and proof of recycling. Consumers should make sure to save copies of all of the paperwork!
  5. Enjoy the Savings - ENERGY STAR qualified appliances are designed to use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard appliances, resulting in savings for the consumer, as well as reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants.
To learn more about the Energize Missouri Appliance Rebate Program and to find your local participating retailers, please visit

Information provided by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Parade Help!

Help needed! Can we use your red or blue convertible??

While we will using my Dad's white Pontiac convertible in the annual Creve Coeur Days Parade on May 16, we are also looking for a red and a blue convertible to drive some of our friends while the rest of us walk the parade route.  Are you able to help?

We will have lots of fun and want to give some friends who will have trouble walking a red, whiteor bluestylish ride. We will have t-shirts to wear and hope it will be another day of wonderful weather. Please let us know if you have a red or blue convertible you are willing to drive (we will provide the passengers) or whether you'd just like to walk with us and join in the fun!!

I love a Parade! How about you? If so, Join me in the Creve Coeur Days Parade on Sunday, May 16.   Call my office for details.


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 including:

  • Beyond Housing
  • Bi-Lingual International Assistance Services
  • Bread for the World
  • Catch A Falling Star
  • Center for Women in Transition
  • Gateway Greening
  • Gateway to Hope
  • Immigrant & Refugee Women's Program
  • International Institute
  • Jewish Family & Children's Service
  • Kids Place
  • Lead Prevention Coalition
  • Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
  • Lydia's House
  • Meals on Wheels
  • National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section
  • Operation Food Search
  • Ready Readers
  • South Side Day Nursery
  • Voices for Children
  • and more...
Please bring a donation of food to benefit area food pantries

CAP is a coalition of faith-based and civic organizations convened by the JCRC and dedicated to the goal of reducing poverty.   Co-sponsors include (partial list):
  • Alliance of Students Against Poverty at Washington University
  • Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri
  • Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls
  • International Institute
  • Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis
  • Jewish Family & Children's Service
  • Lutheran Family & Children's Services
  • Missouri Association for Social Welfare
  • National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section
  • St. Louis Clergy Coalition
  • St. Louis Hillel at Washington University
  • Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice
  • Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
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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