2023 Legislative Update – April 14

In Legislative News, Legislative Reports, Legislative Resources, MPA Legislative Resources On
- Updated

Four Weeks Remain for 2023 Session

This was a short week due to the Easter holiday, both chambers dedicated the majority of the week working diligently and swiftly through their perfection floor calendars. The House and Senate committees continue to work long hours while not in session with floor debate. As time is quickly running out, one can start to see the panic set in while House and Senate members are starting to eye every opportunity available to advance their proposals to Governor Parson’s desk. With only four short weeks remaining, activity is expected to become more chaotic as the last day of session looms.

NFL Draft in KC
There is less than three weeks before the NFL Draft will be held in Kansas City. Forbes has just released a prediction the NFL Draft will bring in more than $100 million to the economy with consumers spending on hotels, restaurants, merchandise, transportation and food and beverage services. The NFL has also predicted nearly 300,000 people will be in attendance throughout the three-day event.

Recreational Cannabis Sales
On Monday, the Department of Health and Senior Services announced recreational cannabis sales grew more than 22% to $93.5 million in March, the second month of Missouri’s legal recreational cannabis market. Medical sales grew 5% to $32.7 million, bringing total cannabis sales in March to $126.2 million. The numbers reaffirm that Missouri is on pace to achieve $1 billion in annual sales, which could make it the fastest state to reach the milestone.

DEI Letter
On Tuesday, a letter was delivered to every Senator regarding the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) language which was added to the FY 2024 budget and the FY 2023 supplemental budget by Representative Doug Richey (R-Excelsior Springs). The letter includes signatures from over 150 Missouri businesses and non-profit leaders asking them to remove the language from the final budget. The letter asserts multiple programs and services offered in Missouri are required by their accrediting bodies to incorporate some version of DEI concepts and could affect accreditation and federal funding. The letter also advised this would adversely impact Missouri’s ability to contract with private companies for contract work.

Budget Update
The House Budget Committee convened this week to review the committee substitutes and mark-up of HBs 17 (Deferred Maintenance-Reappropriation), 18 (Capital Improvements-Maintenance and Repair), 19 (Capital Improvements-Construction Renovation – mostly reappropriated funds) and 20 (ARPA and Higher Education Transformation Projects – with a 50/50 match). The Chairman’s mega amendment, which was distributed on Tuesday, made few changes within the bills beyond swapping the funding sources for some of the projects. The entirety of $859 million for I-70 was placed within HB 19 and also includes $32 million for I-44 improvements and an environmental study. The substitute further includes $100 million for minor and low maintenance roads and makes a transfer of $158 million to the Budget Reserve fund. During the mark-up process on Thursday committee members may offer amendments to further modify the bills and those amendments were released early Thursday morning. The amendments include attempting to restore funding to libraries, attempting to fund various transportation projects, attempting to add an additional $30 million for NextGen 911, attempting to remove all funding for various state park renovations, and attempting to add various projects for higher education facilities. Once the mark-up process is complete the full House will debate the bills where further amendments may be made. The bills will then be sent to the Senate for further consideration.

It is anticipated the Senate will finally begin crafting their version of the FY 2024 budget late next week once they receive the remaining capital improvement and ARPA bills.

Committee Activity

Regulatory Sandbox Act
The Senate Economic Development and Tax Policy Committee convened Tuesday afternoon to discuss HB 268, sponsored by Representative Alex Riley (R-Springfield). The bill is the House companion to SB 3, sponsored by Senator Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) and creates the Regulatory Sandbox Act which provides small businesses creating innovative products in all industries a way to waive or suspend certain regulations for two years by applying to the Regulatory Relief Office created within the Department of Economic Development. The bill also eliminates the Small Business Fairness Board because they have not had a quorum or the capability to meet over the past ten years. Additionally, the bill provides clean-up language, defines terms, and modifies the duties and member make-ups of the various boards. The bill also requires the Sandbox Director to notify the public on the department’s website when an applicant is approved in the program. United WE, Associated Industries of Missouri, NFIB, Next Missouri and Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented supporting testimony. The Sierra Club and an environmental law attorney presented opposing testimony stating this would allow potential harm to the environment if businesses were allowed to evade state and federal regulations.Media Literacy, Critical Thinking & Appropriate Online Behavior
The House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee convened Wednesday morning to consider passage of HB 492, sponsored by Representative Jim Murphy (R-St. Louis Co). The bill requires DESE to develop a two-year “media literacy and critical thinking” pilot program in five to seven school districts across the state beginning in the 2024-25 school year with the purpose of promoting student’s ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and participate in all forms of media with an emphasis on appropriate online behavior. After no discussion, the committee passed the bill by a 13-1 vote.Release of Anonymous Complaint
The Senate Health and Welfare Committee convened Thursday morning to consider passage of HB 677, sponsored by Representative Ron Copeland (R-Salem). The bill allows for the release of the identity of a complainant by the Office of the Child Advocate in the case of an ongoing law enforcement investigation. Committee members expressed concern the language was too broad and could open complete files without due cause. The Office of Child Advocate presented supporting testimony. No opposing testimony was presented to the committee. The committee reconvened Thursday morning to consider passage of HB 677. During committee discussion, substitute language was adopted to narrow the title and include HB 1010, which prohibits the disclosure of personally identifiable information of children by childcare facilities receiving state funding. Once modified, the committee passed the bill by a 7-0 vote.

Probation, Parole Information
House Bill 776 (Bennie Cook, R-Houston). Currently, information and data obtained by a probation or parole officer is privileged information and not receivable in any court. HB 776 modifies that provision to allow an exception for the receipt of this privileged information by a court for lawful criminal matters. The bill was heard by the House Judiciary Committee on April 12. Information only testimony was presented by the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. The committee took no action on the bill.

Initiative Petitions and Referendums
The House Elections and Elected Officials convened Tuesday morning to consider HB 834, sponsored by Representative Jim Murphy (R- St. Louis). This bill mandates the Secretary of State to create fact sheets for authorized initiative and referendum petitions. The sponsor informed the committee a substitute would be forthcoming to remove the Secretary of State from determining whether or not somebody is in violation because that is the responsibility of the courts. The committee was concerned about the cost of printing facts sheets for the signees. Jobs with Justice, a private citizen, Missouri Voter Protection Coalition and League of Women Voters of Missouri presented opposing testimony. The Secretary of State provided informational testimony to clarify on the time restraint and comments on the initiative petitions. No supporting testimony was presented to the committee.

Administrative Rule Oversight
The House Special Committee on Government Accountability convened Wednesday afternoon to consider passage of HB 884, sponsored by Representative Scott Cupps (R-Shell Knob). The bill requires legislative review of any administrative rule that is expected to cost more than $250,000 to implement. After brief committee discussion, the bill was passed by a 12-4 vote.  

Powers of the State Auditor
The House Special Committee on Government Accountability convened Wednesday afternoon to discuss HB 1175, sponsored by Representative Phil Christofanelli (R- St Peters). The bill provides that the Auditor may audit all or part of any political subdivision or government entity if, after an investigation, the auditor believes improper governmental activity has occurred. The State Auditor’s Office testified in support of the bill. No opposing testimony was presented.

Transparency & Parents Bill of Rights
The House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee convened in public session on Tuesday morning to discuss SB 4, sponsored by Senator Andrew Koenig (R-Manchester). The bill establishes the “Parents Bill of Rights,” providing certain rights and expectations not to be denied to parents of school children. Additionally, the bill prohibits the use of the 1619 Project to teach race relations or the inclusion of Critical Race Theory within instruction or as a requirement for course completion and requires school districts to post curriculum, training, and instructional materials used for course completion online for parental review. Lastly, the legislation allows school districts to decide whether to allow student participation in athletic contests by gender based on public vote and requires cultural history in teacher training, clarifies parents will have two businesses days with the Parents Bill of Rights provisions when requesting information, and accounts for homelessness in regard to weighted average. During committee discussion, a concern was raised over prohibitions of access to online material potentially impacting the ability of educators to use sites such as YouTube or content sharing platforms. The Opportunity Solutions Project supported the bill. PROMO, NAACP, MONEA, and Equity in Education Partnership opposed the bill.

Voting in Improvement Districts
The House Committee on Tax Reform convened Tuesday afternoon to consider passage of SB 96, sponsored by Senator Andrew Koenig (R-Manchester). The bill requires special taxing districts to be approved by a 2/3 vote before being established. During committee discussion, substitute language was adopted to include HB 713, which repeals provisions requiring the county assessors must use the October issue of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association Official Used Care Guide to determine the true value of a motor vehicle and requires the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) be used for all vehicles as acquired annually by the State Tax Commission for the original value in money of all motor vehicle assessment valuations; HB 519, seeks to align the gas tax refund with your income tax refund and base the refund on calendar tax year instead of State fiscal year; HB 816, seek to eliminate the corporate income tax and exempts social security benefits from income taxes; and HB 1144, which specifies that if a political subdivision submits a tax proposal for a new or increased tax authorized under a specific statute and it does not pass, the proposal cannot be submitted again for four years following the rejection. During committee discussion, the committee substitute was further modified to include HB 764, which prohibits discriminatory regulations placed on cryptocurrency. Additionally, the committee substitute was amended to include HB 648, which updates the description of Clay County to its current status and includes Jackson County in a statute that authorizes a sales tax dedicated to fire protection districts upon voter approval. Once modified, the committee passed the bill by an 8-3 vote.

Authority of the State Auditor
The Senate Government Accountability Committee convened Thursday morning to discuss SB 645, sponsored by Senator Travis Fitzwater (R-Holts Summit). The bill modifies the authority and powers the State Auditor is granted. Specifically, the bill allows the Auditor the power to conduct an audit on political subdivisions, county collector’s offices and insurance funds without first being invited and grants the Office of the State Auditor subpoena power. The Office of State Auditor presented supporting testimony. No opposing testimony was presented to the committee.

Income Tax Rates
The House Ways and Means Committee convened Thursday morning to consider passage of SJR 3, sponsored by Senator Andrew Koenig (R-Manchester). This constitutional amendment, if approved by the voters, prohibits the General Assembly from setting a state income tax rate exceeding 5.5%. The resolution also modifies a provision prohibiting sales taxes levied on transactions not taxed as of January 1, 2015, by providing an exception for sales and use taxes on subscriptions, licenses for digital products, and online purchases of tangible personal property. After no discussion, the committee passed the resolution by an 8-1 vote.

Tax Exemption for Childcare Facilities
The House Children and Families Committee convened Tuesday morning to consider passage of SJR 26, sponsored by Senator Travis Fitzwater (R-Holts Summit). Upon voter approval, the resolution would exempt personal, or business property used for the purpose of operating a childcare facility from taxation. There was no discussion before the committee passed the bill by a 7-2 vote.

Floor Activity

Personal Privacy Protection Act
The House dedicated floor time Tuesday to revisit HB 1064, sponsored by Representative Ben Baker (R-Neosho). The bill seeks 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. During debate, the sponsor successfully amended the bill to add negotiated language for the Missouri Ethics Commission regarding financial disclosure reports for committees and candidates, for the Office of Administration to ensure the Transparency Portal is restarted, and negotiated language with the state’s two zoos to ensure donors may choose to have their contributions made public. After a brief debate, the House passed the bill by a 105-27 vote. The bill now will be sent to the Senate for further consideration.

Upcoming Hearings

House-General Laws
04/17/2023 12:00 PM
Committee Hearing, HR 5HB74 Kelley – Excludes information about the reporters of complaints against child care facilities from public requests for records of such complaintsHouse-Special Committee on Government Accountability
04/17/2023 12:00 PM
Committee Hearing, HR 7

HB1283 Lovasco – Creates the “Public Domain Preservation Act”

Executive Session:
HB1175 Christofanelli – Modifies powers of the state auditor

Senate-Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence
04/17/2023 12:30 PM
Committee Hearing, SCR 1

SB432 Gannon – Establishes the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act, which provides procedures for dismissal of causes of action based public expression

House-Rules-Legislative Oversight
04/17/2023 1:30 PM
Committee Hearing, HR 4

Executive Session:
HB646 Lovasco – Allows members of the general assembly to serve as ex-officio members of boards, commissions, councils or legislative bodies within their district

House-Rules-Administrative Oversight
04/17/2023 1:45 PM
Committee Hearing, HR 4

Executive Session:
HB400 McGirl – Modifies provisions relating to posting requirements for delinquent tax notices

House-Economic Development
04/17/2023 2:30 PM
Committee Hearing, Joint Committee Room (Room 117)

Executive Session:
SB3 Hoskins – Modifies provisions relating to the promotion of business development

Senate-Education and Workforce Development
04/18/2023 8:00 AM
Committee Hearing, Senate Lounge

SB691 Razer – Provides for the confidentiality of certain investment information submitted to a public institution of higher education

Senate-Appropriations
04/18/2023 2:00 PM or 15 minutes upon adjournment
Committee Hearing, SCR 2

HB12 Smith – Appropriates fund for the Chief Executive’s Office and Mansion, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Missouri Prosecuting Attorneys and Circuit Attorneys Retirement Systems, and the Judiciary and the Office of the State Public Defender, and the several divisions and programs thereof, and for the payment of salaries and mileage of members of the State Senate and the House of Representatives and contingent expenses of the General Assembly

Senate-Appropriations
04/19/2023 9:30 AM or 15 minutes upon adjournment
Committee Hearing, SCR 2

HB12 Smith – Appropriates fund for the Chief Executive’s Office and Mansion, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Missouri Prosecuting Attorneys and Circuit Attorneys Retirement Systems, and the Judiciary and the Office of the State Public Defender, and the several divisions and programs thereof, and for the payment of salaries and mileage of members of the State Senate and the House of Representatives and contingent expenses of the General Assembly

House-Judiciary
04/19/2023 4:30 PM or upon adjournment
Committee Hearing, HR 7

Executive Session:
HB371 Falkner – Establishes provisions relating to the removal of certain court records from automated case management systems

HB405 McGaugh – Establishes the offense of tampering with an elected county official

HB444 Schnelting – Provides for the redaction of personal identifying information of minors and next friends from public court automation systems

HB750 Perkins – Establishes the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act

HB776 Cook – Modifies provisions relating to certain privileged information

SB72 Trent – Modifies provisions relating to judicial privacy, including establishing the Judicial Privacy Act, the offense of unlawful posting of certain information, and the inclusion of personal information of minors in certain court documents

SB103 Crawford – Modifies provisions relating to court operations, including court automation, compensation for court reporters, and court surcharges for expungement petitions

Senate-Appropriations
04/20/2023 8:00 AM
Committee Hearing, SCR 2

HB12 Smith – Appropriates fund for the Chief Executive’s Office and Mansion, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Missouri Prosecuting Attorneys and Circuit Attorneys Retirement Systems, and the Judiciary and the Office of the State Public Defender, and the several divisions and programs thereof, and for the payment of salaries and mileage of members of the State Senate and the House of Representatives and contingent expenses of the General Assembly

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