2023 Legislative Update – March 10

In Legislative News, Legislative Reports, Legislative Resources On
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Spring Break Begins

The House spent their week continuing to work swiftly and efficiently through their calendar. Meanwhile, the Senate ground to a halt after controversial legislation aimed at the transgender community was brought to the floor for debate. Although it appeared negotiations were ongoing, they quickly fell apart late Wednesday afternoon and the Senate abruptly adjourned before tempers could fully flare.

Spring break informally represents the half-way point in session. Upon return from the legislative spring break there will only be 8 weeks remaining before the mandatory adjournment date of May 12th. There is legislation regarding legalizing sports betting, investing in childcare and education and initiative petition reform that are still awaiting debate in both chambers. It will also be full steam ahead to get a budget done and to the governor by the May 5th deadline as the FY2024 budget is anticipated to be the largest spending plan in the state’s history.

With no legislative activity scheduled next week, you will not receive a report. Enjoy a much-needed break, and reporting will commence the following week!

On Tuesday, a federal judge overturned the Missouri Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA) that declared certain federal gun laws “invalid” if they don’t have a state-level equivalent, after the U.S. Department of Justice sued to overturn the measure. U.S. District Court Judge Brian Wimes wrote in the decision issued that Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act “is invalidated as unconstitutional in its entirety” for violating the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which ensures federal law trumps state law. “The Missouri General Assembly’s assertion that the Supremacy Clause does not extend to acts of Congress,” Wimes states, “does not make it so.” The 2021 law, passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly and signed by Governor Mike Parson, had sown confusion among Missouri law enforcement, who questioned how much they could cooperate with federal officials. The Justice Department had argued that the law “severely impairs federal criminal law enforcement operations” to fight gun crime in Missouri. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican, said he will appeal the decision. In a statement, he said he expects a “better result” before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the annual performance report for the 2021-2022 school year on Tuesday. The Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) sets expectations for a schools’ practices and student outcomes. It’s used to create an Annual Performance Report (APR) for each school district, or local education agency (LEA), across the state. More than 550 LEAs were scored and at least 120 schools scored 60% or below. More than 100 LEAs across the state scored a 0 for attendance. Also, 112 districts and charter schools scored low enough to be classified as provisionally accredited. While this data won’t be used to change distinction, a statement was released by DESE stating it’s a starting point to learn how to improve schools across the state.

The Senate Appropriations Committee convened Tuesday morning to receive a presentation regarding HBs 17, 18, 19 and 20. These are the reappropriations bill, the maintenance and repair bill, the new capital improvement bill, and the ARPA funding bill. The committee asked no questions and the presentation lasted less than 20 minutes. Later in the week the committee convened to review the tax credits administered by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce & Insurance, Department of Health & Senior Services, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Revenue, Department of Social Services, State Treasurer’s Office and the Department of Economic Development.

The House Budget Committee convened Tuesday afternoon to finish hearing from the Appropriation Sub-Committee’s chairman regarding changes made to the budgets of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Workforce and Higher Education, Department of Mental Health, Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Department of Social Services. Once those presentations were completed, the full Budget Committee was able to ask additional questions of the various departments over the course of the rest of the week. Committee members dedicated a full day Thursday to only the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as earlier in the week, the results of the 2021-2022 annual performance results for the school districts throughout the state were released and committee members had many questions regarding the process and the results.

Committee Activity

House Bill 405 (McGaugh, R-Carrollton) creates the offense of tampering with an elected county official, a class D felony, unless the violation results in bodily injury or death to the official or a member of the official’s family, in which case it is a class B felony. HB 405 was heard by the House Judiciary Committee on March 6. A person commits the offense of tampering with an elected county official if the person, with purpose to harass, intimidate or influence the official in the performance of his or her duties, disseminates the elected county official’s or the elected county official’s family’s personal information. Testimony in support of HB 405 was presented by the Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Authorities and the Missouri Association of Counties. There was no testimony in opposition. The committee took no action on the bill.HIGHWAY PATROL RECORDS FEE
The House Transportation Infrastructure Committee convened Tuesday morning to consider HB 443, sponsored by Representative Kyle Marquart (R- Washington). The bill requires the Missouri State Highway Patrol to charge a minimum cost of six dollars anytime an individual requests a crash record. During committee discussion, substitute language was adopted to include HB 731, modifies provisions relating to child safety seat requirements. Additionally, the substitute included HB 207, modifies provisions relating to motor vehicle inspection requirements prior to sale. During committee discussion, Representative Gretchen Bangert (D- Florissant) further amended the substitute to reduce the vehicle inspection exemption from 50,000 miles to 40,000 miles. Once modified, the committee passed the bill by a 13-0 vote.

House Bill 1118 (David Casteel, R-High Ridge) provides that any public notice required by law to be published in a newspaper instead must be published on the Secretary of State’s website. The Secretary of State must develop procedures for submission of the notices and create a specific page on its website that will contain all the notices in a searchable format. HB 1118 was heard by the House Government Efficiency and Downsizing Committee on March 8.

Rep. Casteel said the purpose of the bill is to save money for government and bring notices into the digital age. He suggested possibly putting notices on cities’ or counties’ websites or on social media platforms. He said he was not trying to kill the newspaper industry. Newspapers are struggling because of low circulation, he said. “I’m trying to get us into the modern age,” Casteel said. Rep. Darin Chappell (R-Rogersville) said he too approved of lowering costs for political subdivisions and suggested possibly giving local communities the option of publishing notices in newspapers or online.

Rep. Dean Van Schoiack (R-Savannah) asked Casteel if he knew how many legal notices are required by state law in newspapers. “Not as many as you think,” Casteel answered. Van Schoiack disagreed, saying this legislation would require a massive undertaking by the Secretary of State’s office, and it will “cost hometown newspapers.” How would citizens find public notices on the internet? he asked. Rep. Jim Murphy (R-St. Louis), chairman of the committee, said former Sen. Paul Wieland decided to take this on a few years ago. Murphy said Wieland’s bill listed every public notice in Missouri law, and “the bill was 7-1/2 inches thick.” What’s the purpose of notices? Murphy asked. Transparency, he said. Newspapers are the source of information for those living in rural areas, he remarked. “We tell the public we’re going to put those notices out there in newspapers for transparency,” Murphy said. Rep. Kemp Strickler (D-Lee’s Summit) said the legislation would disenfranchise older folks. Rep. Chantelle Nickson-Clark (D-Florrisant) said she supports new traditions, but is concerned of putting another entity out of business.

Testifying in favor of the bill was the Missouri County Collectors Association.

Testifying in opposition were: Beth Durreman, president of the Missouri Press Association and publisher in Lebanon, Mo. She said newspapers create conversations, and one fueling conversations is a public notice. Transparency to the public by third-party, independent newspapers means notices are distributed. Mark Millsap, general manager of newspapers in Jefferson City, Fulton, and California, Mo., also focused on transparency and asked, how will the public know that online notices are correct or are incorrect? “Newspapers are the clearinghouse for transparency,” he said. He also mentioned the fiscal note tied to the bill estimates the Secretary of State would be required to add two full-time employees to handle public notices. Millsap noted that most of the 207 Missouri newspapers have one person each on staff in charge of public notices. That’s hundreds of staff, and the fiscal note is not accurate. Mark Maassen, executive director of the Missouri Press Association, noted that some public notices require authentication by the newspaper with affidavits confirming they were published correctly. He cited a letter from Blue Ridge Bank in Kansas City that said such a bill would require more staff for its bank. Maassen also said the press association has operated its website, www.mopublicnotices.com, for more than a decade where public notices published in newspapers are posted at no charge. The website received more than 478,000 page views last year, Maassen said.

Information only testimony was presented by Trish Vincent of the Secretary of State’s office, who said such legislation would, for instance, move all of the State Treasurer’s unclaimed property listings onto the Secretary of State’s website. Those listings are now on the State Treasurer’s website. Vincent said the staff would not be in a position to review all the posted notices. The committee took no action on the bill.

House Bill 1120 (Hardwick, R-Waynesville) modifies requirements of the public notice for sale by an operator of a self-service storage facility for the sale of personal property of an occupant in default. HB 1120 allows the storage facility operator to advertise in the classified section of a newspaper prior to the sale, OR the operator may instead advertise in any other commercially reasonable manner such as online. The advertisement is “commercially reasonable” if at least three independent bidders attend the sale. The House Emerging Issues Committee voted “do pass” on HB 1120 by a vote of 12-0 on March 8.

House Joint Resolution 19 (Black, R-Marshfield) would require amendments to the state’s Constitution to need approval from a simple majority of the votes cast, as well as a majority of votes cast in a majority of State Senate districts, in order to pass the amendment. Currently, amendments to the Constitution that have been placed on the ballot require approval from a simple majority of statewide votes cast to pass. HCS for HJR 19 was voted “do pass” by the House Elections and Elected Officials Committee by a vote of 10-5 on March 7. The House Committee Substitute deleted the “official summary statement” or “ballot language” for the resolution that was in the original bill.

The Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee convened Wednesday morning to discuss passage of SB 191, sponsored by Senator Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Parkville). This act specifies that the Highways and Transportation Commission shall publish on the Department of Transportation’s official website project cost estimate and project completion date. After brief committee discussion, the bill was passed by a 5-0 vote.

The Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee met Tuesday morning to discuss SB 234, sponsored by Senator Ben Brown (R-Washington). The bill proposes to move elections to the office of school board to November general elections instead of being held during spring municipal elections. During committee discussion the sponsor cited increased awareness and participation in school board elections should they be moved to November. Missouri Century testified in support. The Missouri School Boards Association, St. Louis Public Schools, Greater KC School District, North Kansas City Schools, and Missouri NEA testified in opposition stating the school board elections would get lost in the November ballot.

Senate Joint Resolution 12 (Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit). Under current law, an initiative petition proposing a Constitutional amendment must contain a single subject and associated matters properly connected. SJR 12, if approved by the voters, would additionally stipulate that an initiative petition proposing a Constitutional amendment contains a single subject only if it does not extend beyond one sole purpose and only contains additions or changes that are necessary to effectuate a single legislative change. Requires a simple majority for approval. SJR 12 was voted “do pass” by the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee by a vote of 6-0 on March 12.

Floor Activity

House Bill 133 & 583 (Hudson, R-Cape Fair) creates the “Entertainment Industry Jobs Act.” Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, a qualified taxpayer shall be allowed a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the aggregate amount the taxpayer invested and expended as a rehearsal expense or tour expense in Missouri. To qualify, minimum rehearsal and tour requirements include (a) The purchase or rental of concert tour equipment, related services, or both, in an amount of at least one million dollars from a Missouri vendor for use in the rehearsal, on the tour, or both; (b) A rehearsal at a qualified rehearsal facility for a minimum of 10 days; and (c) The holding of at least two concerts in the state of Missouri. Such investments and expenses are defined in the bill, but with respect to a single employee, aggregate payroll expenses shall not include that portion of an employee’s salary that exceeds $2 million in the aggregate for a single tour. Any unused tax credits under this bill may be transferred or sold by a qualified taxpayer under certain conditions. The aggregate amount of tax credits awarded in a fiscal year under this bill shall not exceed $8 million. The provisions under this bill shall automatically sunset on Dec. 31, six years after the effective date. The legislation would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. The House perfected and printed HB 133 & 583 by voice vote on March 6. On March 8, the House third read and passed HB 133 & 583 by a vote of 110-39. The bill now moves to the Senate.LAND BANKS
The House dedicated floor time Wednesday to debate HB 587, sponsored by Representative Bill Owen (R-Springfield). The bill would allow cities who are over 1,500 inhabitants and are not already authorized to have a land bank, the ability to establish a land bank in their community. This legislation also allows for county commissions to establish land banks if they meet certain criteria. This year’s bill differs from last year’s version in that it now includes St. Louis County. During committee discussion, additional protections for property owners going through judicial foreclosures and clearly outlines the process for judicial foreclosures and limited the level of consanguinity to two levels was added. There was little debate before the House gave the first of two necessary approval votes.

House Bill 677 (Copeland, R-Salem) allows for the Office of Child Advocate to disclose to law enforcement the identity of any complainant or recipient along with their files as part of an investigation. HB 677 was perfected and printed by House voice vote on March 7. On March 9, The House third read and passed HB 677 by a vote of 141-7. The bill now moves to the Senate.

The House dedicated floor time Wednesday to debate HB 919, sponsored by Representative Adam Schnelting (R- St. Charles). The bill restricts any elected or appointed member or employee of any state agency from using or downloading on any social media platform owned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or a company that shares user data with them on state electronic devices. The bill also includes provisions from HB 1081 which modifies and establishes provisions related to recording conversations and protecting a person’s privacy. During debate, Representative Ben Baker successfully amended the bill to include provisions from HB 1064 which seek to modify the Personal Privacy Protection Act to allow public agencies to release, publicize, or otherwise publicly disclose personal information in the agency’s possession with the express, written permission of every individual who is identifiable from the potential release of the personal information. The amendment also allows for the disclosure for nonprofits to release information which has been voluntarily provided previously to public agencies, allows for law enforcement agencies to disclose information, and allows the disclosure of personal information to a labor union or employee association regarding employees in a bargaining unit represented by the union association. Once modified, the House provided the first of two necessary approval votes.

Upcoming Hearings

Senate-Local Government and Elections
03/20/2023 2:00 PM
Committee Hearing, SCR 2
SB98 Eigel – Modifies provisions relating to electionsHouse-Rules-Legislative Oversight
03/20/2023 2:15 PM
Committee Hearing, HR 4
Executive Session:
HB443 Marquart – Establishes minimum fees for certain Missouri State Highway Patrol records requests

House-Conservation and Natural Resources
03/20/2023 4:30 PM or upon adjournment
Committee Hearing, HR 6
HB50 Coleman – Modifies sunshine fee provisions for geographical information system data

House-Rules-Regulatory Oversight
03/20/2023 4:30 PM or upon adjournment
Committee Hearing, HR 4
Executive Session:
HB178 Vam Schoiack – Establishes the offense of unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft

House-Local Government
03/21/2023 8:00 AM
Committee Hearing, HR 7
HB344 McGirl – Allows county collectors in counties without a newspaper to post delinquent tax notices either in the courthouse or on the county website as an alternative to publishing such notice in a newspaper
HB400 McGirl – Modifies provisions relating to posting requirements for delinquent tax notices

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