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26 October 2011

Tim Jones: House Pursues Conference Committee On Jobs Bill,

As the cool, fog shrouded evenings and brilliant sun drenched colorful days of autumn descend upon us across the Heartland, the Special Session is winding down as most eyes are firmly fixed on the 10 time World Champion St. Louis Cardinals as they make yet another run into the annals of baseball history…

On Monday, October 31st we also once again observe Halloween. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as a time to honor all saints and martyrs: the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the tradition of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. As the days begin to grow shorter and the nights get colder, we will usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement address, 2005.

2011 Special Session

Since September 6th, the Missouri General Assembly has been in special session with the goal of passing several major bills. With nearly 9 percent of Missourians unemployed, the Missouri House remains committed to the number one issue for Missourians - jobs.

On October 6th, the Missouri House took a major step in moving forward SB 8 which is a comprehensive jobs bill that will give Missouri’s economy the boost it needs to get back on track. After hours of debate on the House floor, the bill received an overwhelming positive bipartisan vote. The bill includes innovative tax incentives, reforms to existing programs, and an across the board tax cut for Missouri job creators. The bill also includes many new incentive programs that will help Missouri’s economy compete in the 21st century. The new incentives will help attract amateur sporting events to the state, encourage the creation of data storage centers, and create the Missouri Export Act, which creates incentives for exporting Missouri products. In addition to these new incentives, the bill provides funding for job training and creates a fund to retain companies that are considering leaving our state and attract businesses that are looking for a new location. The bill will also make dramatic changes that will create hundreds of millions in savings and ensure taxpayer protections for many incentive programs. The House lowered caps on two of Missouri’s largest programs and eliminated many underutilized and ineffective programs. With the savings created through these reforms, we passed an across the board tax cut for Missouri businesses. SB 8 was then sent to the Senate where we had hopes that it would move to the Governor’s desk for signature.

The Senate convened on October 17th and refused to take up and pass the House Committee Substitute for SB 8 as amended by the House. Consequently, on Thursday, October 20th, the Missouri House met and overwhelmingly approved a motion to continue efforts to reach a compromise. The House approved a motion to send the economic development bill (SB 8) to conference where selected members from both sides would work together to find common ground. The President Pro Tem of the Senate has continually indicated he wanted to send the bill to conference but apparently then changed his mind. While the House does have concerns about some of the provisions in the Senate version of the bill, the House always remained willing to sit down together with our Senate colleagues to iron out differences. I truly believe that a strong majority of my Senate colleagues want to move Missouri forward and accomplish the task of finding solutions to the challenges that this terrible economy has posed. Unfortunately, the Senate has been thwarted in its efforts by one or two Senators and their personal agendas. I will continue to look for ways to cooperate and work with the majority of my Senate colleagues who want to work for, and not against, a positive future for all Missourians. For more information on SB 8 and to read the full text of the bill, please access the following link:

House Approves Constitutional Amendment to Authorize Tax Credit Review Process

The House also approved a constitutional amendment (HJR 1) on October 20th that would create a tax credit review process if approved by voters. The Senate has asked for each of our tax credit programs to have sunset clauses – something that would set them to expire unless a vote of the Legislature extends the sunset. While we in the House believe in the idea of reviewing our tax credit programs on a regular basis, we are far less excited by the prospect of one senator having the ability to filibuster a vote to preserve a tax credit the majority of legislators overwhelmingly support. That is why the House approved HJR 1, which would require an up or down vote on our various tax credit programs every four years. The key difference between this and traditional sunsets is that the amendment we passed would require a vote be taken by the 50th legislative day every four years. This would prevent a filibuster by a particular senator and ensure the will of the majority ultimately determines the fate of each tax credit. It is something we believe is good public policy and we hope our colleagues in the Senate will agree. For more information on HJR 1 and to read the resolution, please access the following link:

House Members Urge Congress to Continue Support for F/A-18 Fighter Jet

Also last week, we took time to approve a resolution (HR 4672) to urge Congress to recognize the importance of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet program to our state. The plane is made by Boeing, which is one of the biggest employers in our state with more than 15,000 employees. More than 5,000 employees are directly associated with production of the F/A-18. For the year 2010 alone, Boeing contributed significantly to our economy by purchasing more than $764 million of materials from 969 Missouri suppliers. The company’s impact on our economy cannot be overstated and the importance of the F/A-18 Super Hornet to our nation’s security cannot be denied. For more information on HR 4672 and to read the resolution, please access the following link:

Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) Passes Missouri Legislature with Strong Majority in Both Chambers!

On September 23rd, the Missouri House gave final approval to SB 7, the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) signifying the state’s commitment to innovation and technology-based economic development. MOSIRA will provide a predictable, stable source of state funding to invest in advanced technology entrepreneurial infrastructure and foster 21st Century jobs in growing industries like biotechnology. MOSIRA is a pro-growth, pro-jobs bill with NO fiscal note (completely subject to appropriations based solely on net gains!) that will keep Missouri extremely competitive in the fast growing 21st century field of Bio-Tech and Bio-Science. The passage of this bill is a major step forward for the St. Louis region and for Missouri.

The House passed MOSIRA by a margin of 94-48 showing broad support for the measure. There were false allegations that the bill would fund human cloning research and an effort to pass a “poison pill” amendment that would have raised Constitutional questions and subjected MOSIRA to never-ending court battles. For those Missourians who are pro-life, the bill is subject to appropriations, every single year, and continues notification procedures that provide stringent pro-life protections relating to prohibitions on public funding of stem cell research. For more information on SB 7 and to read the summary and full text of the bill, please feel free to access the following website:

Special Local Announcements

St. Louis Chase Homeownership Center may be able to help customers lower their monthly mortgage payment or interest rate and avoid foreclosure. They provide one-on-one meetings with a Chase Mortgage Counselor, extended hours of operation including evenings and Saturdays, and assistance for Spanish-speaking customers. Any Chase customer in need of mortgage assistance may call to make an appointment at 314.729.0421 or stop by the center at 9717 Landmark Parkway Drive, Suite 101, St. Louis, Missouri 63127. Their hours of operation are: Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Friday-9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

The City of Eureka would like to invite you to participate in the City of Eureka’s ‘Howl’oween dog event. The event will take place on Sunday, October 30th from 1-4 p.m. on Central Avenue. There will be live music, vendors, children’s activities, trick-or-treating and several dog related contests! The City’s last pet friendly event drew a crowd of over 1,000 participants.

The City of Eureka is again participating in the 2011 Home Improvement Program with its Community Development Block Grant funds which are administered by St. Louis County. The purpose of this program is to provide financial assistance to low/moderate income homeowners with home repairs which will correct code violations and safety hazards. For additional information, please contact Rose Loehr, City of Eureka at 314.615.4025.

The City of Eureka also recently entered into an agreement with St. Louis County to allow its residents to participate in a Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program. This program will allow the City to make low interest rate loans available to eligible residential property owners for upgrades that improve comfort and reduce energy costs in their homes. For additional information, please contact Anne Klein at aklein{at}st{dot}louisco{dot}com or by telephone at 314.615.7017.

News & Notes

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 State 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 Jody at our office at 573.751.0562, 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: 573.751.0562 or you can reach my primary assistant, Jody, at: jody{dot}williams{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 302 and Jody will be happy to meet and greet you!

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