By Collin Reischman
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — About two weeks ago, the Missouri Supreme Court knocked down the Missouri Science Innovation and Reinvestment Act — a law passed during a 2011 special session called by the General Assembly.
The law diverted a small portion of state funding generated by growth in special, high-tech research businesses. It passed the Senate during 2011 with a clause making its effect contingent on the passage of an unrelated bill. Because the unrelated bill did not pass, the Supreme Court ruled implementation of MOSIRA unconstitutional.
While the bill has wide, bipartisan support, it seems unlikely the legislature will address the Supreme Court’s ruling, given the lateness of the decision during their session. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said he was unaware of any legislation addressing MOSIRA.
“Unfortunately, the decision was so late I’m not sure if there is a legislative vehicle to move it,” Jones said. “I’ve supported the bill in the past and I’ll continue to support it. I believe there are sufficient protections for those concerned with embryonic stem cell research.”
Jones was hesitant to commit to moving MOSIRA legislation through the House next year if the matter is not addressed during 2013.
“I’ve supported it in the past, I can tell you that I voted for it, and my position hasn’t changed,” Jones said.
Whether the legislature will be able to address MOSIRA next year with elections approaching is unclear.
Missouri Right to Life — a group that opposes the bill — is a major advocacy group and fundraising base throughout the state. They have spoken out repeatedly against the bill. Susan Klein, legislative liaison for the organization, said the group will continue to watch the issue.
“We would be neutral if the language in this bill was neutral,” Klein said. “I think the people pushing the bill have too much invested for it not to come back up. Our position has been very clear, we aren’t trying to stop adult stem cell research. Our fight is about protecting unborn human life.”
To contact Collin Reischman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @Collin_MOTimes.