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16 August 2011

Kelley: Late Term Abortion Restrictions, Special Session Imminent

Over the past few weeks we have experienced record-breaking temperatures of 100+ degrees with heat indices well above 110 degrees. We are officially in the “Dog Days” of Summer! The Dog Days are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In Ancient Rome, the Dog Days extended from July 24th through August 24th. The Romans associated the Dog Days and hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the brightest star in the night sky and believed that it was responsible for the hot weather due to its close proximity to the Sun. Take heart, there will soon be reprieve, because the official start of Autumn is Saturday, September 22, a mere 38 days away!

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”—Muhammad Ali

Update on Legislation Passed in the First Regular Legislative Session of 2011

HB 213—Late Term Abortion Ban to Become Law of the Land

I am pleased to inform you that HB 213 will become the law of the land on August 28, 2011. Governor Nixon declined to take any action on the bill (he did not sign it or veto it), therefore, by operation of law, the bill will become effective this month. I supported HB 213 and feel it is truly a wonderful victory for promoting the sanctity of human life. HB 213 will place true restrictions on late-term abortions. The legislation will make it illegal to abort a child deemed capable of living outside the womb. Specifically, it will ban abortions after 20 weeks unless two doctors verify that the child is not viable; or the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman; or a continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the woman. For a child found to be unviable, a doctor would be required after performing the abortion to report to the state why the child was unviable. The state of Missouri has acted to protect and provide for the most needy—the unborn child! I am very honored to have sponsored this legislation in the House and that it received broad, overwhelming bi partisan support. To read the full text of HB 213, please access the following link:

Governor Nixon Calls for Special Session

The top issue for many of us in the Missouri Legislature this year is the need to promote jobs and economic development. We spent the regular session working toward this goal, but there is much more work to accomplish. The current conventional wisdom is that we should return in September and discuss further ideas for helping Missourians regain employment.

I believe it is the private sector—not government—that creates actual jobs. The best thing that government can provide is the infrastructure to incubate economic growth and then get out of the way by reducing the cost of doing business and reducing unnecessary regulations. If we return for a Special Session, the focus will be on a large economic development package we discussed during regular Session but on which time ultimately ran out. This legislation focuses on various economic development incentive plans AND an equal dose of tax credit reform. One of the proposals that you have probably heard about has been coined “Aerotropolis,” a cargo hub proposal for Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. The idea is to make St. Louis a major international trading hub, a move that supporters say would benefit all of Missouri, including those wanting to feed a hungry world with our farm products. Aerotropolis has both supporters and detractors. Those in favor say the plan would boost the state’s economy and add jobs just about everywhere in Missouri. Those who are against it say it would be a major expense that would cost more than it is worth. They make the argument, “If it is such a good idea, then investors would have already fronted the money for it.” We will see where the debate goes in September.

Tax credit reform could include the end of some tax credits and an expansion of others. There are several different ideas that have been floated, and I am sure there will be others by this fall’s Special Session.

Currently, the plan is to hold the Special Session in conjunction with the annual Veto Session, since lawmakers must already be in Jefferson City. Whatever the timing, we must continue to work to help businesses grow and provide more jobs in Missouri. The recession and slow economy have gone on far too long. We were able to accomplish a lot in terms of providing for job creation and economic development during the regular session. This must continue to be our focus.

Missouri’s Rainy Day Fund

Ever since a devastating tornado hit Joplin back in May, some questions have arisen over how to pay for the recovery efforts. The Governor started to withhold money from the Fiscal Year 2012 budget, in part, to afford this. But what about the “budget reserve,” a.k.a. the “rainy day” fund?

What we know now as the rainy day fund in Missouri was born of Senate Joint Resolution 25 in 1999 by then-Missouri Senator Larry Rohrbach. His proposal was placed on the ballot in 2000 and approved by 59 percent of the voters. This fund combined the “budget stabilization fund” of the early 1980s with the “cash operating reserve fund” that was created in 1986. The “rainy day fund” simply provides the ability to meet cash flow needs in times of emergencies or budget shortfalls.

The rainy day fund can be used to make cash operating transfers to meet the immediate cash requirements of the state without legislative authorization. These must be repaid by May 15th with interest, and no transfer can happen after May 15th. The state routinely uses the fund for this purpose. For instance, in Fiscal Year 2011, $150 million was transferred to the general revenue fund in March 2011 and was paid back in April 2011.

The fund may also be used in the event of a disaster or to meet budget shortfalls within the current fiscal year. In both cases, the Governor must request an emergency appropriation and the General Assembly must approve the bill by a two-thirds vote. The money must be repaid along with interest in equal payments during each of the three following fiscal years.

The fund has been used consistently to maintain cash flow and has never been used to stabilize the budget. Before the rainy day fund existed, the only time money was appropriated was in 1993 in response to widespread flooding. A special session was called in the fall of 1993 and $16.1 million was appropriated by the General Assembly to finance reconstruction after the flood.

Whether or not the rainy day fund will be tapped into to help pay for the Joplin tornado or flooding along the Missouri River, remains to be seen. It is another issue that will be debated in the near future.

News & Notes

I want to encourage you to search for any money or assets being held as Unclaimed Property by the Office of the State Treasurer. You may search for Unclaimed Property being held in your name so it can be returned to you as soon as possible at the following website:

Information on all Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed Summaries for the 2011 Legislative Session is available for your review on the Missouri House Website through the following link:

Thank you for reading this Interim Report. If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this report, please click the “Capitol Report Signup” button on my member home page at and enter the appropriate information. If you happen to see me in and around the District this summer, please feel free to introduce yourself and say hello! I have been very busy traveling all over the District and speaking to various groups about our many substantive legislative accomplishments. If you would like for me to speak to your group or community, please contact Tammy at our office at 573.751.2165, and we will be happy to accommodate you.

Finally, if we can ever be of any assistance to you at your State Capitol during the coming months even while we are in the Interim Session, please do not hesitate to contact us at: 573.751.2165 or you can reach my primary assistant, Tammy, at: tammy{dot}weber{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov. If you ever find yourself in or around Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit the Majority Leader’s Office in Room 201 and Tammy will be happy to meet and greet you!

Until my next update, I am, and remain, in your service.

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