Missouri Supreme Court Strikes Down Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA)
March 19th, 2013
Efforts to grow Missouri’s economy suffered a setback on Tuesday, March 19th when the Missouri Supreme Court ruled to uphold a February 2012 lower court ruling blocking of the implementation of MOSIRA. While disappointed with the ruling, the MOSIRA Coalition, a statewide coalition of industry, academic, business and civic organizations led by the Missouri Biotechnology Association, will continue working with state leaders to develop and implement meaningful efforts to grow Missouri’s economy in high-tech areas.
“The entire MOSIRA coalition is disappointed in this ruling, knowing MOSIRA’s potential to create economic development and 21st century jobs”, Kelly Gillespie, Executive Director, Missouri Biotechnology Association stated. But we will continue to support positive legislation for the biotech, high-tech and other technology industries, making Missouri a top contender in creating and retaining companies in these industries.
The MOSIRA Coalition is disappointed that the State of Missouri continues to be left without a long-term blueprint for leveraging the biosciences, information technology and other technology industries in our state as true drivers of economic development. When MOSIRA was passed by the General Assembly during the 2011 special session, it reflected landmark, technology-based economic development legislation, a broad 25-year statewide strategy and funding framework for direct investment in high-tech innovation. If it had been upheld, MOSIRA would have provided Missouri with a 21st Century job growth strategy focusing on high-growth industries and foster economic growth through the creation, attraction and retention of quality jobs in our state.
Whether MOSIRA is law or not, the next real challenge is to secure meaningful, scalable funding to accelerate the growth of Missouri’s biotech industry, building on Missouri’s existing technology strengths and enhancing the national position of the state as a leader in life sciences research and technology. Stable support for high-tech innovation will help retain and grow science and technology companies in Missouri.
Moving forward, the MOSIRA Coalition will continue to work diligently to secure funding for the Missouri Technology Corporation and advance supportive state policies that promote our state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Experience has show that even modest levels of investment in MTC has produced game-changing results for Missouri’s entrepreneurial and innovation economy, including the launch of the IDEA Funds that is helping start-up companies raise private capital; the Arch Grants program; the creation and expansion of the Information Technology Entrepreneur Network (ITEN), the launch of the Digital Sandbox KC, creation of the Bio Entrepreneur Development Program, expansion of the Missouri Innovation Center, and other initiatives.
Members of the MOSIRA Coalition include: Missouri Biotechnology Association; Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Missouri Economic Development Council; St. Louis Regional Chamber; Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce; City of Kansas City; St. Louis County Economic Council; Civic Council of Greater Kansas City; Regional Economic Development, Inc. (Columbia); BioSTL (formerly St. Louis Coalition for Plant & Life Sciences); and Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute.
Attorney General Chris Koster has appealed the MOSIRA ruling by Cole County Circuit Court Judge Dan Green from February 20, 2012. On September 19, 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court will hear this appeal centered on the issue of severability. Judge Green ruled the Senate’s inclusion of a contingency clause was an unconstitutional interference on executive branch authority, but went on to throw the entire MOSIRA statute out because of this technicality.
The statewide MOSIRA Coalition is disappointed. MOSIRA has enjoyed bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature for a number of years. Missouri deserves the economic benefit of MOSIRA, and the business community deserves the follow-through of this General Assembly. MOBIO will continue to work with the legislature to bring recurring, scalable and meaningful funding to the Missouri Technology Corporation.
MOBIO, on behalf of the MOSIRA Coalition, and its General Counsel Pat Woolley filed an Amicus Brief with the Supreme Court. The brief addresses three key issues: First, the Trial Court erroneously applied the law and should have severed off Section B, which would have allowed for MOSIRA to become law. Secondly, as a public policy matter, severance is a good thing for the business community, as it creates certainty. This is because without severance, legislators could sabotage bills by putting on an unconstitutional provision, thus forcing a court to throw out the entire bill. And lastly, the Trial Court's reasoning would create a chilling effect on the legislative process. The Trial Court's analysis, if implemented, would force the courts to look at all bills with similar language, determine which language is included in the bill that passed that was not included in other bills, and then point to the different language as the sole reason the bill passed. Legislative intent and those seeking to claim it would become the newest distraction to subvert legislative progress.
2012 Regular Session
MOSIRA bills were filed in both chambers during the 2012 regular session, and after being referred to the respective economic development committees, they received no attention. Once the lower court ruled on MOSIRA from Special Session 2011, the legislature did not address any economic development legislation and seemed content to await the results of the next election.
Governor Nixon Signs Special Session Version of MOSIRA
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 - Signing ceremony for MOSIRA at the Donald Danforth Plant
Science Center in St. Louis, MO. State officials in attendance were Governor Jay Nixon and state
legislators from left to right: Rep. Clem Smith, Rep. Scott Sifton, Rep. Margo McNeil,
Senator Eric Schmitt, Rep. Jill Schupp, Rep. Mary Nichols and Rep. Eileen McGeoghegan
2011 Special Session
On Friday, September 23rd Senate Bill 7, the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA), was given final approval by the Missouri House of Representatives, sending this bill, that originated in the Senate on to the Governor for his approval. MOSIRA reflects landmark technology-based economic development legislation, the broadest statewide strategy for direct investment in innovation to date.
MOSIRA's journey in the Special Session began in the Senate as President Pro Tem Rob Mayer sponsored the omnibus economic development legislation in Senate Bill 8. SB 8, better known as the Aerotropolis Bill, contained incentives for international cargo shippers to use St. Louis, Governor Nixon's Compete Missouri, data storage centers, Kansas City retention monies, and sweeping tax credit sunsets and caps recommended by the Tax Credit Review Commission. MOSIRA was originally included in SB 8, but during the committee hearing, Senator Mayer, fearing a Hammerschmidt violation of conjoining multiple subjects within one bill, removed MOSIRA and presented it as an independent piece of legislation, Senate Bill 7. Following Senate debate, MOSIRA was passed out of the Missouri Senate with a 30-4 vote on September 14th. The bill then moved on to the House.
In the House, there were two critical votes, and our MOSIRA Coalition prevailed on both.
First, an amendment was offered to make MOSIRA subject to a restrictive anti-stem cell section of previous law. This amendment reflected poison pill language that the MOSIRA Coalition predicted would jeopardize the entire intent of this economic development bill. A vote against the amendment was a vote in support of our MOBIO position. The amendment, advocated with immense pressure by Missouri Right to Life, was defeated by a vote of 68 for, 74 against. (See amendment vote.)
Following the house debate on the above amendment, which was provided to give pro-life legislators an opportunity for an up or down vote, the House backed away from their House Committee Substitute for SB 7, and instead took up and passed the senate version of MOSIRA, thereby avoiding the need to go to a conference committee. MOSIRA was approved on a final vote by the House of 94-48. (See final house vote.)
MOBIO extends congratulations to the entire life sciences community, and specifically our partners within the MOSIRA Coalition who have collaborated for the past several years to reach this legislative achievement. By working together, the MOSIRA Coalition showed that incredible political hurdles can be overcome with a strategic effort built on persistence and facts.
MOBIO members should be exceptionally proud of this achievement, and appreciative of our citizen legislators who embraced the meaningful opportunities of biotech job creation.
2011 MOSIRA Briefing Paper
The MOSIRA Coaltion drafted a briefing paper that was distributed to the entire General Assembly in the summer of 2011. This attachment is large, and may be slow to download. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to have a copy forwarded to you.
Click Document - Full Version
The MOSIRA legislation creates the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act for the purposes of enhancing the national position of the state to make it a leader in life sciences and technology, to help retain, grow and enhance both existing and new science and technology companies in Missouri, and to enhance the high-tech workforce development environment to foster economic growth and create quality jobs for all Missouri residents.
The Act does not create any new taxes nor does it seek budget money currently being directed to Missouri general revenues. Rather, after a set base year, it will capture part of the increase in gross receipts from state income taxes generated by employees working within designated science and innovation fields.
The Act will strengthen the governing authority of the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) which will be overseen by a private-sector oriented board of directors with expert advisory boards to ensure projects are science based with the greatest potential economic return to the citizens of Missouri.
The Act is written broadly to enable the MTC to undertake the strongest opportunities, such projects could include: recruitment of aligned companies to Missouri; company creation; capital formation; infrastructure needs including incubators, lab space, research parks and district development; professional workforce training at all levels; and attracting and retaining scientists, entrepreneurs, and others with science expertise to Missouri.
State report calls for MOSIRA
On April 11, 2011 theStrategic Initiative for Economic Growth final report was released by Governor Jay Nixon and representatives from across Missouri. This link provides details behind tactic 4.1: "Develop a Science and Technology/Innovation Fund in Missouri to facilitate the creation of best-practice capital-provision, support and infrastructure-dvelopment programs and projects". This initiative engaged representatives from business, labor, higher education, and economic development to chart a path for transforming the Missouri economy into a long-term, sustainable, 21st century growth economy. The report is research-based, data-driven and holistic process to define Missouri's future roadmap for economic success.
Dan Getman, Ph.D., Chairman- Missouri Biotechnology Association and Rep. John Diehl testify for MOSIRA.
Please keep an eye on MOSIRA progress at this location and learn how you can help!