Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has expanded a special legislative session to include disaster aid for businesses and the repeal of a law limiting teacher-student interaction over the Internet. Nixon widened the agenda shortly after lawmakers convened in special session Tuesday to consider overhauling Missouri's business incentives.
Missouri’s special legislative session begins today and is focused primarily on an overhaul of Missouri’s tax credits. The plan would eliminate existing tax breaks for low-income seniors and disabled residents who live in rented homes. New incentives would be created for international cargo shippers at the St. Louis airport, computerized data centers, science and technology companies and the organizers of major amateur sporting events.
A Missouri tax break benefiting poor disabled and elderly people who live in rental housing could be on the chopping block when lawmakers convene Tuesday in a special session. The elimination of the tax break for renters is projected to save the state $855 million over the next 15 years.
Some lawmakers hope to redirect that money for new tax breaks intended to lure Chinese cargo planes to the St. Louis airport and more businesses to Missouri.
Both Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and Republican legislative leaders estimate it’ll take no more than two weeks to debate and pass bills dealing with a dozen issues, including air cargo tax credits, social media communications between teachers and students, and local control of the St. Louis Police Department.
Before leaving today for Kansas City, Marceline and St. Louis, he met with reporters in his State Capitol office. He told them passing the incentives are crucial for job creation, but that the overall number of tax breaks also needs to be reined in.
Updated 4:19 p.m. with comment from the Missouri State Teachers Association and Missouri State Sen. Jane Cunningham, the sponsor of the original bill which became law
From Todd Fuller of the Missouri State Teachers Association:
“It’s a sigh of relief for all teachers throughout the state who use social media, and it allows them to continue to use it in the positive way that they’re already using it and continue to interact with their students the way they have been.”
From Missouri State Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, who sponsored the bill. She acknowledges that there’s been confusion over what the restrictions will and won’t do, and says she has a solution:
“We have come up with some language that we feel like is ready to go…we don’t need to punt for more input, (I’m) not opposed to it, but we’ve got some agreed upon language with the stakeholders and we’re ready to clarify that language.”
Updated 1:11 p.m. with Gov. Nixon's action
Gov. Jay Nixon says he will add the teacher Internet issue to the agenda for a special legislative session that begins Sept. 6. Nixon says he wants lawmakers to repeal the new law.
His Friday announcement came shortly after a Missouri judge issued a preliminary injunction (see below) blocking the law from taking effect as scheduled on Sunday.
Updated 11:32 a.m. with link to full ruling
A Missouri judge has blocked a law restricting Internet communications between teachers and students from taking effect Sunday.
Nixon wants lawmakers to take up 11 items during next month’s special session. As expected, it includes providing tax credits for turning Lambert Airport in St. Louis into an international air cargo hub (the Aerotropolis proposal), and moving the state’s presidential primary from February to March.
As Democratic Governor Jay Nixon prepares to call lawmakers back to Jefferson City for a special session, the top Republican in the Missouri Senate wants disaster relief to be one of the issues included in the call.