A life sciences jobs bill signed into law last year but blocked this year was heard today by the Missouri Supreme Court.
The Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, or MOSIRA, would use a funding mechanism to draw more high-tech jobs to Missouri. Known then as Senate Bill 7, it included language tying its passage to that of a tax credit bill (Senate Bill 8), which did not pass during the 2011 special legislative session. Governor Jay Nixon (D) signed the MOSIRA bill, anyway, but Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green (R) ruled it unconstitutional in February because of the language tying it to the dead bill. Solicitor General Jim Layton argued for the state before the High Court, saying that the MOSIRA bill can be legally severed from the other bill.
“SB 7 never passed without Section B (Senate Bill 8)," Layton said. "That same statement could be made about every piece of legislation that ever passes the General Assembly.”
Attorney Steve Clark argued for the plaintiffs, who want to bar MOSIRA from taking effect.
“The legislature made very clear, abundantly clear, that it did not intend Section A (Senate Bill 7) to become effective unless and until Senate Bill 8 passed and was signed by the Governor," Clark said. "It’s not so often that we have such a clear statement of the legislature’s intent.”
The main plaintiff is the pro-life group Missouri Roundtable for Life, which says MOSIRA would open the door to companies that research human cloning. The Missouri Supreme Court will rule on the case later.