Special Session, A Burial at Sea?
October 26, 2011

Kansas City Democratic Minority leader Mike Talboy calls the just-ended special session, “the Lost Legislative Session”.

The effort to pass a major economic development bill died quietly Tuesday. It was the political version of an anonymous burial at sea.

The AP reports it took about 40 seconds for Senate leader Rob Mayer to call the State Senate into Session. He then called on Republican Leader Senator Tom Dempsey, the only other senator present. Dempsey moved to adjourn. They both voted to adjourn, that was it.

The session’s major effort was to draw up and approve a jobs bill for the state. Kansas City officials and some local law makers were pushing for a jobs retention bill. They hoped that would provide enough extra tax incentives to keep existing Missouri companies from being lured across the state line into Kansas. Locally, it was referred to as ’business poaching’.

The economic development measures were caught in a battle between House and Senate Republicans over whether or not some reforms on tax credits should be permanent or limited to a certain amount of time.

The legislature did manage to pass a bills reforming Missouri’s ‘Facebook Law’. That will clear up language that will allow educators to use social media more freely in the classroom. Another measure, aimed at attracting more life science and high-tech companies into Missouri also passed. But that measure, the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, (MOSIRA), is linked to the dead jobs bill. Governor Jay Nixon’s office says it is looking at signing the measure despite the connection to the jobs bill.

The legislature also failed to move the Missouri presidential primary from February 7 back until March 6. Republican National Committee rules insisted the date be moved back, or the Missouri GOP would risk losing delegates to the national convention next summer.

Instead, the state GOP will hold a non-binding “beauty contest” primary on Feb.7. The delegate selection process will start with a statewide St. Patrick’s Day caucus on March 17.

According to the state, the session, that started September 6 and died Tuesday costs taxpayers about $280,000.

Kansas Biz Poaching a Big Item as Special Session Fires Up
September 6, 2011

Missouri lawmakers are convening for a special session of the legislature trying to whip the recession, at least in the Show-Me State.

In July, House Speaker Steve Tilley and Senate GOP Chief Rob Mayer outlined a plan for economic development for the state. Two days later, Governor Jay Nixon announced a similar plan and called the special session to start today.

One of the key elements in the session, an effort to boost Kansas City, Missouri’s ability to protect it’s jobs from being “poached” by Kansas.

The state of Kansas ability to lure businesses from one side of the state line to the other has created tensions between the two states. One of the major bills being offered wold strengthen Missouri’s ability to retain those jobs. Governor Nixon has indicated cash payments to companies could be part of the package.

IN his statement calling the session, Nixon said Missouri needs to “to streamline and update Missouri’s training programs, and to increase the efficiencies of the state’s business development incentives;”

““The people of Missouri expect us to work with one another to find common sense solutions,” said House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville in a statement earlier this summer.

With a tight state budget, the ability of the state is limited on how much can be spent pumping the economy.

That is why tax credit reform is the other key piece of the session. The state wants to scale back the size and number of credits Missouri can offer.

Yet at the same time one of the major pieces of the session is a call for $360 million in state support to create an air cargo hub at Lambert filed in St. Louis. The goal is to increase Missouri exports and  attract foreign trade to the region.

Here are some of the other items on the Special session agenda:

–Attracting more high-tech life science companies to the state under the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA).

 – State Tax Credit Reform, including some tax amnesty.

– Enacting legislation to increase exports and foreign trade through the development of an international air cargo hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. That’s often referred to as ‘Aerotropolis’.

-Moving the Missouri 2012 Presidential primary from February to March 6.

-Amending Missouri’s new ‘Facebook Law’, regulating teacher contact with students using social media

-Incentives to attract high-tech data centers to Missouri

-Offerig local control of the St. Louis Police Department.

Nixon Turns Down Call to Add ‘Facebook Law’ to Special Session
August 23, 2011

Just hours after the Missouri chapter of the national Association of teachers asked for it, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon quashed any talk of adding changes to the ‘Facebook Law’ to the September Special session.

Earlier Tuesday, both the Missouri NEA, and a spokesman for State Sen. Jane Cunningham offered the idea of adding the Facebook Law problem to the September session.

Teachers want a portion of the law cleared up. A part of the law that takes effect on August 28, teachers say, threatens their right to free speech.

The Missouri state teachers Association has filed suit against the state challenging a portion of the law.

That portions calls for school district to establish policies for using social media with students.

Some teachers worry school district may misinterpret that. They worry they’ll ban all use of social media by teachers in and out of the classroom.

Tuesday in Kansas City, Nixon poured cold water all over the idea of making the changes at the special session.

“It’s a narrow-focus special session”, he told KMBC TV. Nixon wants lawmakers to concentrate on passing bills and tax credit reforms that will lead to more jobs. The session is scheduled to start Sept. 6.

‘That’s what Missourians need. Missourians need people getting back to work,” he said.

An Independence special education teacher, Mindy Dix says the use of social media is quite common in the Missouri classroom these days.

“We set up Facebook pages for certain classes. Not being able to use Facebook, or Twitter or e-mail would be cumbersome for a lot of teachers.”

Nix is also head of the Independence School District chapter of the NEA.

Another NEA member who watches the legislature says they prefer the fix happen now. Christopher eager, however says the part of the law requiring districts to develop social media policies does not take effect until January. He did not know Nixon rejected the MoNEA call. But be added, “There is still time to fix things.