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Mo. lawmakers react to MOSIRA law being struck down

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
Mo. Capitol

Many Missouri lawmakers are expressing disappointment over Tuesday's ruling that struck down the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, more commonly known as "MOSIRA."

The measure would have used revenues generated by a group of science and high-tech companies to create a pool to lure more such companies to Missouri and to keep the ones already here from leaving. State Senator Luann Ridgeway(R, Smithville) is not happy with the ruling.

“I represent (a district) in the greater Kansas City area," Ridgeway said.  "We would love to have MOSIRA to help us better compete with other neighboring states, including Kansas, that has Kansas Bio(science).”

Ridgeway is also a candidate for Lt. Governor.

Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) sponsored the bill during last year's special session, but says passing it again this year is contingent on reaching an agreement with the House on reforming tax credits.

“We’re redeeming upwards of $650 million of (tax credits)," Mayer said.  "If we’re going to fund MOSIRA by taking away revenue from the state, we need to reduce tax credits and other programs to pay for the legislation.”

Last year’s MOSIRA bill contained enacting language that was contingent on the passage of a wide-ranging tax credit bill, which did not pass.  In his ruling Tuesday, Cole County Judge Daniel Green said that the failure of the tax credit bill rendered the MOSIRA law unconstitutional.

Some lawmakers were concerned that MOSIRA would be used to lure companies to Missouri that conduct research into human cloning and embryonic stem cell use. State Representative Linda Black (D, Bonne Terre) is a self-described "pro-life Democrat."

“The embryonic component is very real," Black said.  "I think that we have to put some safety measures in place to make sure that taxpayer’s dollars are going exactly for what we are intending and designating those taxpayer’s dollars to go for.”

Black says any new bill should contain safeguards against human cloning, abortion and embryonic stem cell research, but should also be a stand-alone bill that’s not tied to the passage of tax credits. 

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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