The 2022 Missouri General Assembly adjourned its regular session on Friday, May 13. Per the state’s Constitution, the session will officially adjourn sine die on May 30. At that point, all legislation that has been “truly agreed to and finally passed” by the Legislature will be transmitted to Governor Mike Parson for his action. The Governor has 45 days upon receiving the bills to act, which is July 15. The Governor may either sign a bill into law, veto the legislation, or take no action which allows the bill to go into effect. If vetoed, the General Assembly can override the Governor’s objection during its September 14 veto session.
All legislation will take effect on Aug, 28, 2022, unless a different date is specified in the legislation.
SEVERAL PRIORITY BILLS REACH GOVERNOR’S DESK IN LAST WEEK OF SESSION
In a session that was politically and ideologically divisive, House and Senate leaders successfully passed some of their key priorities. Much of the first three months of the year was dominated by debate over the redistricting map for Missouri’s eight U.S. Congressional districts. The Senate’s Conservative Caucus, a caucus of seven members of the 24-member Republican majority caucus, pushed hard for passage of a Congressional map that they believed would result in seven Republicans and one Democrat for the Missouri delegation. The current Missouri delegation consists of six Republicans and two Democrats. The House sent two separate versions of the map and the Senate debated numerous versions to which hours of debate and lengthy filibusters blocked any compromises. However, on the second to last day of the session, the Senate found a path to pass a Congressional map that was agreeable by the House, and it has been sent to the Governor’s desk. The map as passed is expected to keep the Missouri Congressional makeup the same with six Republicans and two Democrats.
Also, the General Assembly passed legislation that is referred to as “election integrity” to which the state will once again require photo identification to vote, block outside funding for election authorities (often referred to as “Zuckerbucks”), require actual paper ballots and no touch screen voting machines, and allow two-week excuse-free absentee voting at county clerks’ offices with a photo i.d.
Overall, 43 non-budget bills were passed in 2022, which is significantly fewer than the average 155 bills per session. Some other major bills to pass include eminent domain reforms, reforms to funding of the Kansas City Police Department, COVID restrictions related to visitation policies at medical facilities, tax credits using federal funds for all taxpayers, K-12 education reading readiness, and funding of public charter schools.
BUDGET BILLS APPROVED; NEW PROGRAMS CREATED WITH FEDERAL ARPA FUNDS
With little fanfare, the House and Senate budget leaders found compromise on the state operating budget for Fiscal Year 2023 and passed $12 billion worth of federal funds for numerous special projects and grants for items such as rural broadband, public water systems, new state crime lab, K-12 education and transportation, and higher education. Overall, the total state spending authorized by the 2022 appropriations bills exceeds $49 billion, while the current budget year with supplemental appropriations exceeded $40 billion. In addition to the federal American Recovery Plan (ARPA) dollars, the state’s general revenue collections (primarily income and sales tax) are up $2.5B from last year. In addition to the two supplemental bills passed this year, 16 general operating budget bills were passed for FY 23 without much uncertainty. The bill that most people focused on was HB 3020 that appropriated the $2.9B in ARPA money. Major items in the budget included:
- $500M set aside for a tax rebate program for qualifying Missourians;
- $2.5B for expanded eligibility under the state Medicaid program;
- $925M for Medicaid payments to increase payments to providers serving people with developmental disabilities, nursing home patients, and those hoping to remain at home;
- $461M for construction projects at the 13 four-year university campuses, community colleges, and State Technical College;
- $411M for water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades including the abatement of lead in drinking water;
- $300M for the state capitol building’s interior work;
- $250M to expand broadband internet access for homes and businesses in remote locations;
- $214M to fully fund the state’s share of public school transportation costs.
Issues to watch moving into FY 23 include the state’s general revenue numbers and the ability to process and allocate all the ARPA funding in one year and the need to further appropriate in FY 24.
KEY UPCOMING DATES
- June 30, 2022 – Last day for the Governor to Sign or Veto Appropriation Bills
- July 1, 2022 – First day of Fiscal Year 2023
- July 14, 2022 – Last day for the Governor to Sign or Veto Bills
- August 2, 2022 – MO Primary Election
- August 28, 2022 – Date Most Legislation Takes Effect (unless another date is specified)
- September 14, 2022 – Veto Session
- November 8, 2022 – MO General Election
TRULY AGREED TO AND FINALLY PASSED BILLS
HOUSE BILL 1606 – POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS
This bill changes laws regarding political subdivisions.
COUNTY FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
All non-charter counties are required, by June 30th, to prepare and publish in a qualified newspaper a financial statement for the previous year. Currently, these requirements only apply to counties of the first classification. The financial statement must include the name, office, and current gross annual salary of each elected or appointed county official. The county clerk or other officer responsible for the preparation of the financial statement must preserve the documents relied upon in the making of the financial statements and shall provide an electronic copy free of charge to any newspaper requesting a copy of the data. The sections previously dealing with county financial statements and their publication for counties of the second, third, and fourth classifications are repealed.
MARITAL STATUS REQUIRED ON DEEDS
This bill requires that the marital status of all grantors on a deed and other documents presented for recording to recorders of deeds are required. The recorder must not accept any document unless such information is provided.
PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE REQUIREMENTS
The bill requires the governing body of the applicable city or county to provide notice of public hearing of Neighborhood Improvement Districts (NIDs) or Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) regarding procedures of those districts also be given to the Department of Revenue (DOR), which shall publish such information on its website. It also requires the governing body establishing the NID or CID to submit certain information to the State Auditor and DOR, and prohibits any NID or CID property assessments from being collected until the required information is submitted.
For any improved parcel of land identified as being vacant by St. Louis City operating under the Municipal Land Reutilization Law, the city collector must, within no more than two years after delinquency, file suit in the circuit court against such lands or lots to enforce the lien of the state and the city as provided under the Municipal Land Reutilization Act. The failure of the collector to bring suit within two years will not constitute a defense or bar an action for the collection of taxes.
Currently, a suit for the foreclosure of certain tax liens begins by filing a petition with the circuit clerk and the land utilization authority. For each petition filed, the city collector must make available to the public a list detailing each parcel included in the suit.
For any improved nonhomestead parcel, any person having any right, title or interest in, or lien upon, any parcel of real estate may redeem the parcel at any time prior to the time of the foreclosure sale of the real estate by paying all of the sums due as of the date of redemption to the city collector, including all debts owed to the city.
The city collector must mail a notice to the people named in the petition as having an interest in the parcel, or people otherwise known to the collector, at the address most likely to inform the parties of the proceedings.
The city collector must file with the court an affidavit of compliance with all notice requirements for the suit prior to any sheriff’s sale. The affidavit must include the identities of all parties to whom notice was attempted and by what means. For notices returned undeliverable, the collector’s affidavit must certify what additional attempt was made and by what means.
The receipt of surplus funds will constitute a bar to any claim of right, title or interest in, or lien upon the parcel of real estate by the fund recipient. Currently, if the parcel of real estate is auctioned off at a sheriff’s foreclosure sale for a sum greater than the total amount necessary to pay all the tax bills included in the judgment, all proceedings in the suit shall be ordered dismissed as to taxes owned.
No later than 120 days prior to the sheriff’s sale, the collector must obtain a title abstract or report on any unredeemed parcels, which shall include all conveyances, liens, and charges against the real estate, and the names and mailing addresses of any interested parties and lienholders. Additionally, no later than 20 days prior to the sheriff’s sale, the collector must send notice of the sale to the interested parties which shall include the date, time, and place of the sale and other information as provided in the bill.
The bill also modifies the requirement that the collector shall send notice of the sale to the parties having interest in the parcel no later than 40 days prior to the sheriff’s sale, rather than 20 days. The notice must be sent to the addresses most likely to inform the parties of the proceedings.
Finally, no later than 20 days prior to the sheriff’s sale, the sheriff must post a written notice on the parcel in a conspicuous location and attached to a structure. The notice must describe the property and advise that it is the subject of delinquent land tax collection proceedings and that it may be sold for the payment of delinquent taxes. This notice must also contain other information as provided in the bill. The sheriff must also attempt in person notice no later than 20 days prior to the sale to any person found at the property.
The city collector cannot enter into a redemption contract with respect to any improved parcel not occupied as a homestead. On an annual basis, the city collector will make publicly available the number of parcels under redemption contract.
The court must stay the sale of any parcel to be sold under foreclosure in an action for temporary possession of real property for rehabilitation, provided that the party who has brought such an action has, upon order of the court, paid to the circuit court the principal amount of all land taxes then due under the foreclosure judgment prior to the date of sale. Upon the granting by a court of temporary possession of the property, the court must direct payment to the collector of all principal land taxes paid to the circuit court. Additionally, the court shall order the permanent extinguishment of penalties and interest arising from actions to collect delinquent land taxes.
If the owner of the parcel moves for restoration of possession, the owner must pay into the circuit court all land tax amounts currently due, including all penalties, interest, attorney’s fees, and court costs retroactive to the date of accrual. If the court orders the property be restored to the owner, all funds paid on the principal land taxes shall be returned to the payer and all funds paid to the circuit court by the owner will be paid out to the collector.
No person will be eligible to bid at the time of the sheriff’s sale unless the person has, no later than 10 days before the sale date, demonstrated to the collector or sheriff that they are not the owner of any parcel of real estate in the city which is subject to delinquent taxes or fees. The collector or sheriff may require prospective bidders to submit an affidavit attesting to the bid requirements of this bill.
Within six months after the sheriff sells the parcel of real estate, the court must set a hearing to confirm or set aside the foreclosure sale. The court’s judgment must include a specific finding that adequate notice was provided to all necessary parties.
If there are any surplus funds from the sale then 10% of the funds shall be distributed to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund of the city or its equivalent. The city may also, by ordinance, elect to allocate a portion of its share of the sale proceeds towards a fund for the purpose of defending against claims challenging the sufficiency of notice.
The purchasers of the property must agree that in the event of their failure to obtain an occupancy permit prior to any subsequent transfer of the property, they will pay $5,000 in damages without proof of loss or damages, except these damages shall not constitute a lien on the property. If any purchaser applies for an occupancy permit and inspectors do not inspect the parcel in 120 days, the cost of the application shall be dedicated to the sheriff for the purpose of providing notice to interested parties.
If the sale is not confirmed within six months after the sale, any set-aside of the sale may include a penalty of 25% of the bid amount over the opening bid amount and shall be paid to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund of the city or its equivalent.
Provisions relating to the recording of a sheriff’s deed are modified. All such deeds must be recorded with the recorder of deeds within two months after the court confirms the sale, if no proceeding to set aside the confirmation judgment is before the court. The sheriff’s deed will be prima facie evidence that the suit and all proceedings met the requirements of law.
The provision is repealed that after two years from the date of the recording of the deed, there shall be a presumption that the suit and all proceedings met the requirements of law and no suit may be filed to attack the validity of the claim.
TAX INCREMENT FINANCING
A tax increment financing commission is required to provide notice of a public hearing prior to adoption of a redevelopment plan or project also to be given to the Department of Revenue, which must publish the information on its website. The bill also requires the governing body establishing the redevelopment to submit certain information to the State Auditor and DOR, and prohibits depositing any payments in lieu of taxes into the special allocation fund until the required information is submitted.
REQUIRED ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS TO AUDITOR
This bill changes the laws regarding the consequences to a political subdivision for failure to file an annual financial statement with the State Auditor as required, which consequence is a fine. Any political subdivision that has gross revenues of less than $5,000 or that has not levied a tax is not subject to the fine. If a political subdivision has outstanding fines due when filing its first annual financial statement after January 1, 2023, the Director of Revenue will make a one-time downward adjustment of the total amount due by at least 90%. In addition, the Director of the Department of Revenue has the authority to make a one-time downward adjustment to any fine he or she deems uncollectible.
DELINQUENT PROPERTY TAX AUCTIONS
This bill allows a county collector to hold an auction of lands with delinquent property taxes through electronic media at the same time as the auction is held in-person.
TRANSPORTATION DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS
This bill requires notice that a petition has been filed to create a Transportation Development District (TDD) to also be given to the Department of Revenue (DOR), which shall publish the information on its website. It also requires the governing body establishing a TDD to submit certain information to the State Auditor and DOR, and prohibits any district taxes from being collected until the required information is submitted.
HOUSE BILL 2090 – PAYMENT OF FUNDS FROM THE STATE TREASURY
INCOME TAX CREDIT (Section 1)
For the 2021 tax year, this bill allows a qualified taxpayer, as defined in the bill, to claim a one-time nonrefundable tax credit in the amount equal to the lesser of each taxpayer’s Missouri income tax due for the tax year ending in 2021, or $500 if filing an individual return, or $1,000 if filing married combined return.
The Department of Revenue shall automatically adjust each qualified taxpayer’s return for the 2021 tax year and shall issue refunds if necessary to qualified taxpayers.
Among other qualifications described in the bill, in order to be a qualified taxpayer under this provision, a person must have a Missouri adjusted gross income of less than $150,000 if filing an individual tax return, or less than $300,000 if a married couple filing a combined income tax return.
The Director of Revenue shall not authorize more than $500 million in tax credits under the bill. If the total amount of tax credits claimed by qualified taxpayers exceeds $500 million, the amount of the credit shall be prorated.
VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS (Section 2)
The bill prohibits requiring any state employee to receive a vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of commencing or continuing employment.
The bill contains provisions that do not apply to any state employee who is employed by the following facilities:
(1) Any facility that meets the definition of hospital in Section 197.020;
(2) Any long term care facility that licensed under Chapter 198;
(3) Any entity that meets the definition of facility in Section 199.170; or
(4) Any facility certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
HOUSE BILL 2400 – BUSINESS ENTITIES
PERSONAL PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT
This bill establishes the “Personal Privacy Protection Act” prohibiting public agencies, from disclosing or requiring the disclosure of personal information. Specifically, public agencies are prohibited from:
(1) Requiring any individual to provide the public agency with personal information or otherwise compel the release of such personal information;
(2) Requiring any entity exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code to provide the public agency with personal information or otherwise compel the release of personal information;
(3) Releasing, publicizing, or otherwise publicly disclosing personal information in possession of a public agency; or
(4) Requesting or requiring a current or prospective contractor or grantee with the public agency to provide the public agency with a list of entities exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code to which it has provided financial or nonfinancial support.
The bill contains various exceptions to these prohibitions. Any person or entity may bring a civil action for appropriate injunctive relief, damages, or both. Furthermore, a person who knowingly violates a prohibition in this bill is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
LLC CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS
The bill permits any limited liability company that has not elected to be classified as a corporation under federal law to make campaign contributions to any committee, provided such limited liability company has been in existence for at least one year prior to making such contribution and such entity submits a form to the Missouri Ethics Commission indicating that such LLC is a legitimate business with a legitimate business interest and is not created for the sole purpose of making campaign contributions.
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 116 – NATIONAL GUARD
Upon voter approval, this proposed Constitutional amendment would establish a “Missouri Department of the National Guard” in charge of the Adjutant General appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, charged with providing the state militia, upholding the Constitutional rights and liberties of Missourians, and other defense and security mechanisms as may be required.
SENATE BILL 724 – POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS
This bill modifies the provisions related to financial statements of political subdivisions.
COUNTY FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
The bill changes the date counties must prepare and publish their financial statements from the first Monday in March to June 30th of each year. Additionally, the county treasurer may not pay the county commission until notice is received from the state auditor that the county’s financial statement has been published in a newspaper after the first day of July.
The bill requires second, third, and fourth class counties to produce and publish a county annual financial statement in the same manner as first class counties. The financial statement must include the name, office, and current gross annual salary of each elected or appointed county official.
The county clerk or other county officer preparing the financial statement must provide an electronic copy of the data used to create the financial statement without charge to the newspaper requesting the data.
Finally, the newspaper publishing the financial statement must charge and receive no more than its regular local classified advertising rate as published 30 days before the publication of the financial statement.
SENATE BILL 745 – UTILITIES
This bill modifies provisions related to public utilities.
This bill adds individually identifiable customer usage and billing records for customers of municipally owned utilities to the list of records that are exempt from disclosure under the Sunshine Law, except that a municipally owned utility must make available the customer’s name, billing address, location of service and dates of service for a commercial service account. Section 442.404 of this bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2023.
SENATE BILL 758 – PROCEDURES FOR CERTAIN PUBLIC PROJECTS FOR FACILITIES
This bill modifies various provisions relating to procedures for certain public projects for facilities.
BIDDING ON CERTAIN PUBLIC PROJECTS
All contracts for projects, the cost of which exceeds $25,000, entered into by any city containing 500,000 inhabitants or more shall be let to the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder or bidders after publication of an advertisement for a period of 10 days or more in a newspaper in the county where the work is located, in two daily newspapers in the state which do not have less than 50,000 daily circulation, and on the website of the city or through an electronic procurement system.
All contracts for projects entered into by an officer or agency of the state in excess of $100,000 shall be let to the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder or bidders based on preestablished criteria after publication of an advertisement for a period of 10 days or more in a newspaper in the county where the work is located, in one daily newspaper in the state which does not have less than 50,000 daily circulation, and on the website of the officer or agency or through an electronic procurement system.
SINGLE FEASIBLE SOURCE PURCHASING AUTHORITY
Currently, the Commissioner of the Office of Administration may, when in the Commissioner’s best judgment it is in the best interests of the state, delegate the Commissioner’s procurement authority to an individual department, provided that in the case of single feasible source purchasing authority in excess of $5,000 the authority must be specifically delegated by the Commissioner. This bill increases that threshold to $10,000.
SENATE BILLS 775, 751 & 640 – JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS
This bill modifies provisions relating to judicial proceedings.
CLOSED RECORDS OF VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
Currently, certain identifiable information of victims of domestic assault or stalking shall be closed and redacted from public record. This bills adds that such identifiable information shall also include, but shall not be limited to, the victim’s personal email address, birth date, health status, or any information from a forensic testing report.
This bill also repeals provisions relating to when a court may disclose such identifying information of a victim and provides that any person who is requesting identifying information of a victim and who has a legitimate interest in obtaining such information may petition the court for an in camera inspection of the records. If the court determines the person is entitled to all or any part of such records, the court may order production and disclosure of the records, but only if the court determines that the disclosure to the person or entity would not compromise the welfare or safety of the victim.
SENATE BILL 820 – UTILITIES
This act modifies provisions relating to utilities.
INTERNET ACCESS IN THE STATE CAPITOL
Beginning January 1, 2024, high speed wi-fi internet access shall be provided to the public within the State Capitol building and on Capitol grounds.
SUNSHINE LAW – RECORDS OF MUNICIPAL UTILITIES
This act adds individually identifiable customer usage and billing records for customers of a municipally owned utility, unless the records are requested by the customer or authorized for release by the customer, to the list of records that may be closed under the Sunshine Law. A municipally owned utility shall make available to the public the customer’s name, billing address, location of service, and dates of service provided for any commercial service account.
BROADBAND INTERNET GRANT PROGRAM
For an application to receive grant moneys from the Broadband Internet Grant Program to expand access to broadband internet service in unserved and underserved areas of the state to be considered, an applicant shall provide the Department of Economic Development with certain data detailed in the act.
The Department of Economic Development shall implement a program to increase high-speed internet access in unserved and underserved areas.
OFFICE OF BROADBAND DEVELOPMENT
This act authorizes the state office of broadband development to engage in pre-operational site inspections for broadband providers to which it has provided grants or loans.
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 38 – POLICE DEPARTMENT FUNDING
Currently, the General Assembly cannot require a city to increase an activity or service beyond that required by existing law unless a state appropriation is made to pay the city for any increase costs.
This proposed Constitutional amendment, if approved by the voters, provides an exception to allow the General Assembly to pass a law before December 31, 2026, that increases minimum funding for a police force established by a state board of police commissioners to ensure they have additional resources to serve their communities.
DID NOT PASS BILLS
REGULATORY SANDBOX ACT DOESN’T PLAY OUT
House Bill 2587 (Riley, R-Springfield) and Senate Bill 1068 (Hoskins, R-Warrensburg) were bills to assist businesses and entrepreneurs by identifying state laws or regulations that could be waived for participating businesses with innovative products during a two-year period. HB 2587 passed the House on April 6 and was debated on the Senate floor on May 11 while a dozen Senate amendments were added to the bill. The bill was then referred to the Senate Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee and died. SB 1068 was voted “do pass” by the Senate Small Business and Industry Committee on March 22 but did not advance.
INITIATIVE PETITION REFORM BILLS FAIL
At least 17 House bills and three Senate bills that would have asked voters statewide to amend the Missouri Constitution’s current initiative petition process did not pass the General Assembly. As an example, House Joint Resolution 91 (Eggleston, R-Maysville) would require sponsors of initiative petitions proposing Constitutional amendments to collect signatures in each of Missouri’s eight Congressional districts. Then, when placed on the statewide ballot, a two-thirds majority vote of the people would be required for approval of a new amendment. Currently, signatures are required in six of the eight Congressional districts and a simple majority of voters can approve such amendments. HJR 91 passed the House on March 10 and was heard on April 13 by the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee where the bill died.
CYBERSECURITY LEGISLATION TANKS
Senate Bill 674 (Hoskins, R-Warrensburg) and House Bill 2436 (Houx, R-Warrensburg) were bills creating a Department of Economic Development grant program requiring a 10 percent match for employers to enhance cybersecurity in their businesses. SB 674 died on the Senate Informal Perfection Calendar. HB 2436 was mired in a House Rules Committee since mid-February.
GAMING EFFORTS FAIL TO PASS AFTER MUCH DISCUSSION AND EFFORT
Several bills were filed this session to address sports wagering and video lottery machines. Bills included:
- SB 632 (Hegeman, R- Cosby)-grey market illegal machines
- SB 642, 643 and 906 (Hoskins, R- Warrensburg) regarding sports wagering, video lottery control act and gaming
- SB 764 and 1061 (Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville) regarding sports wagering
- SB 686 (May, D- St. Louis) regarding the video lottery control act
- HB 1666 and 2556 (Christofanelli, R-St. Peters) regarding sports wagering
- HB 2144 (Murphy, R- St. Louis) regarding sports wagering
- HB 2502 (Houx, R- Warrensburg) regarding sports wagering
- HB 2752 (Griffith, R-Jefferson City) regarding sports wagering
HB 2502 and 2556 became the vehicles to move a sports wagering platform that was agreeable to the casinos, betting platforms, sports teams and the general assembly. Progress was made on the bills including HB 2502 and 2556 passing the House but stalling in the Senate. At the end of the day, the casinos (with the exception of Bally’s) were unwilling to agree to a deal that would have allowed no new entry of video lottery machines in exchange for higher licensing fees and a two-year review of the program.
EFFORTS TO DELETE OR DELAY STATE GAS TAX INCREASE FAIL
House Bill 1594 (Walsh, R-Ashland), House Bill 1906 (Shaul, R-Imperial), House Bill 2758 (Evans, R-West Plains), House Bill 2801 (Schwadron, R-St. Charles), House Bill 2813 (Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit), House Bill 2884 (Mayhew, R-Crocker), House Bill 2888 (Mayhew, R-Crocker), Senate Bill 782 (Moon, R-Halltown), Senate Bill 811 (Eigel, R-Weldon Spring), Senate Bill 1149 (White, R-Joplin). Multiple bills were filed to delete or to place on holiday the state’s new 2.5 cents per gallon motor vehicle fuel tax which went into effect in October 2021. The tax is set to increase each year for four more years for a total of 12.5 cents hike. None of the bills passed. Advancing the furthest, HB 1594 and HB 2758 received hearings in House committees but died on the House Informal Perfection Calendar. HB 1594 would have repealed the tax increase. HB 2758 would have simplified requirements for vehicle owners to receive gas tax credits.
SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSIBILITY NOT APPROVED
House Bill 1585 (Murphy, R-St. Louis) would have created the “Show-Me Digital Health Act” requiring the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop curriculum regarding social media platforms, cyberbullying, ways to identify online misinformation, the responsible use of social media, and to provide the curriculum to school districts by the 2024-25 school year. The bill was voted “do pass” by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on Feb. 1, emerged from a House Rules Committee on February 24, but died on the House Informal Perfection Calendar.
BILLS DIE THAT WOULD CLOSE CERTAIN COURT RECORDS
Several bills were not approved by the General Assembly that would have removed certain information from court records. House Bill 1599 (Falkner, R-St. Joseph) would have established provisions relating to the removal of certain court records (misdemeanors of deceased after person has been deceased for six months) from automated case management systems. House Bill 2033 (DeGroot, R-Ellisville) would limit public access to certain court records found on CaseNet. House Bill 2791 (Taylor, R-Republic) would amend Missouri Supreme Court Rule 4.07, which relates to information required to be provided on a filing information sheet in every civil, domestic relations, and probate case filed, including the person’s name, date of birth, and social security number. None of the three bills received hearings by House committees.
DRONE BILL FALLS IN HOUSE
House Bill 1619 (Van Schoiack, R-Savannah) prohibited the use of a drone or unmanned aircraft to photograph, film, videotape, create an image, or livestream another person or personal property of another person, with exceptions. The bill was debated on the House floor on March 1 but was laid over. The bill eventually died on the House Informal Perfection Calendar.
CRONKITE NEW VOICES ACT BILLS NOT HEARD
House Bill 1668 (Christofanelli, R-St. Peters) and Senate Bill 855 (Washington, D-Kansas City) were bills establishing the Cronkite New Voice Act and providing First Amendment rights to high school and college journalism students. The House bill was referred to the House Emerging Issues Committee and the Senate bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee, but neither bill received a committee hearing.
SELF-STORAGE AUCTION NOTICES BILL DIES
House Bill 1689 (Hardwick, R-Waynesville) would change the laws regarding liens on stored property, eliminating public notice in newspaper of storage-unit property auctions. The bill was heard Jan. 20 by the House General Laws Committee and amended onto House Bill 2289 (Andrews, R-Grant City). While HB 2289, as amended, passed the House on April 6, it died in the Senate’s General Laws Committee. The storage-unit language also was amended onto Senate Bill 968 which did not pass.
ELIMINATING DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME FAILS
Several bills that would have eliminated Daylight Saving Time barely saw the light of day in the General Assembly. House Bill 1735 (O’Donnell, R-St. Louis) and House Bill 1761 (Sander, R-Lone Jack) are bills that would have established Daylight Saving Time as the New Standard Time. HB 1735 and HB 1761 received hearings by the House Downsizing State Government Committee in late January and were voted “do pass” on Feb. 9. House Bill 1889 (Rogers, D-Kansas City) would have eliminated Daylight Saving Time. HB 1889 did not receive a hearing. The three bills died.
PACE ASSESSMENTS LEGISLATION DOES NOT ADVANCE
House Bill 1879 (McGirl, R-Potosi) would require that a county assessor enter into a collection contract with a Clean Energy Development Board for the collection of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) assessments. The bill did not receive a hearing in the House.
LEGAL NEWSPAPER QUALIFICATIONS BILL DIES
House Bill 2289 (Andrews, R-Grant City) would have changed requirements for a newspaper to legally qualify to publish public notices. The bill would change a new newspaper’s publishing requirements from three years to one year, and a defunct newspaper could be resurrected by a successor within 90 days rather than 30 days in statute today. HB 2289 was heard Jan. 20 by the House General Laws Committee and voted “do pass” on Jan. 31. The bill passed the House on April 6, was referred to the Senate’s General Laws Committee but died. The bill’s language was also amended onto Senate Bill 968 which did not pass.
EXPUNGE RECORDS, DESTROY RECORDS, FAILED
House Bill 2521 (Lovasco, R-O’Fallon) modified provisions relating to criminal records, the closure of arrest records, and destroying records that are expunged. The bill never received a hearing in the House. However, the bill’s language was amended onto House Bill 1637 (Schwadron, R-St. Charles). HB 1637 passed the House, received a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee and was voted “do pass” on April 27. However, the bill died in the Senate’s Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee.
ANTI-SLAPP BILLS EXPERIENCE SOME MOVEMENT
House Bill 2624 (Perkins, R-Bowling Green), Senate Bill 1219 (Gannon, R-DeSoto), along with House Bill 2634 (Lovasco, R-O’Fallon), are bills that would establish the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act, anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) legislation. Unlike most previous years, two of the bills received committee hearings and some attention as amendments to other bills. SB 1219 was voted “do pass” by the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 19. HB 2624 was voted “do pass” by the House Judiciary Committee on April 28. The anti-SLAPP language was also added by the House Judiciary Committee as an amendment to a House Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 968 (Burlison, R-Battlefield). SB 968 passed the House, as amended, on May 12, but was sent to conference and died.
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO SUNSHINE LAW STATUTES DO NOT PASS
Senate Bill 930 (Koenig, R-Manchester), Senate Bill 1135 (Hegeman, R-Cosby), and House Bill 2049 (DeGroot, R-Ellisville) were bills that would have modified Missouri’s Sunshine Law but none of the bills passed. Among changes that were proposed: government “transitory records” that do not have substantial administrative or operational value could be closed; drafts of proposed legislation could be closed; more secret meetings of members of a public governmental body could be closed; records’ requests could require response in five days rather than three days; redaction of documents could be charged to the records requester. SB 1135 and HB 2049 did not receive committee hearings. SB 930 was heard by the Senate Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee on March 10. Its language was amended onto Senate Bill 741 (Crawford, R-Buffalo) on April 21, and was amended onto House Bill 2120 (Taylor, R-Republic) on May 3 but the negative sunshine language did not cross the General Assembly’s finish line in any bill.
NON-DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FIREARMS COMPANIES
Senate Bill 1048 (Brattin, R-Harrisonville) provided that when a public entity enters into a contract with a company, the company must have written verification that it does not have a policy or practice that discriminates against a firearms company or a firearms trade group. The bill was heard March 29 by the Senate Insurance and Banking Committee, voted “do pass” by the committee on April 12, but did not advance.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO REDUCE INCOME TAX RATE AND ALLOW SALES TAXES ON SUBSCRIPTIONS, LICENSES FOR DIGITAL PRODUCTS AND ONLINE PURCHASES FAILS TO PASS
SJR 33 (Koenig, R- Manchester) and HJR 125 (Christofanelli, R- St. Peters) would have gone to the ballot as a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited the General Assembly from setting a state tax rate exceeding 5.9% but would have enabled political subdivisions from going to the ballot to create sales tax obligations on the sale of subscriptions, licenses for digital products and online purchases of tangible personal property. SJR 33 passed the Senate and sat on the House calendar but did not pass. HJR 125 failed to move out of the House.