The Missouri General Assembly ended the 2021 legislative session Friday, May 14 at 6:00 p.m. with some major accomplishments in the 69 bills that crossed the finish line. Over 2,270 bills had been filed for the 2021 session and many of the provisions of these bills were added as amendments to the other bills that reached the Governor’s desk.
The Senate Republican caucus suffered a breakdown on the night before the final day of session. This breakdown created a situation in which the Senate Democrats controlled the Senate floor Friday morning and early afternoon, and the upper chamber adjourned at about 2:00 and took up no business on the final day. However, the House continued working until the 6:00 p.m. final bell on the last day and accomplished several of the leadership’s priorities.
Legislation that was passed and sent to Governor Mike Parson’s desk include bills dealing with the collection of internet sales tax on purchases from online retailers (commonly known as the Wayfair bill); an increase in the motor vehicle fuel tax which will raise Missouri’s gas tax at the pumps by 12.5 cents per gallon over the next five years; prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), which will allow doctors and pharmacists to track opioid prescriptions statewide; protecting businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits; and the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA) that would nullify any federal law affecting Missourians on gun ownership or gun possession.
Issues that did not get resolved include the voter-approved Medicaid expansion plan that would cover an estimated 275,000 new enrollees; various bills involving election requirements such as voter photo identification and redistricting for the 2022 elections; legislation that would make sports betting legal in some form in Missouri; and renewal of the FRA (federal reimbursement allowance), a tax on hospitals and medical providers that earns federal matching dollars for Missouri to help fund Medicaid payments. The FRA expires in September, so a Special Session on that issue is for certain, session date uncertain. COVID-19-related federal funding is on its way to Missouri, but guidance and authority on how to spend those dollars are needed, possibly requiring a Special Session. Legislators also will be returning to Jefferson City in September for their constitutionally required Veto Session.
Legislators created several large omnibus bills on various subjects such as local government, transportation, education, foster children, professional registration, insurance, financial institutions, taxes, and utilities, and these bills contained provisions filed as stand-alone bills. The use of omnibus bills allowed for many provisions to reach the Governor’s desk.
Below you will find our “End of Session Report” that outlines legislation that reached final passage. In addition, we have listed issues that we have been tracking all session that did not pass. As you probably know, it is often what did not pass that is more important than what did pass. Our office would happily send you a copy of any of the bills listed below, and we are happy to provide any additional details on the issues as requested.
We truly appreciate the opportunity to represent your interests in Jefferson City, and please do not hesitate to reach out any time we can be of assistance. We hope you and your family are safe and healthy. Have a great summer.
TRULY AGREED TO AND FINALLY PASSED BILLS
Newspapers of the Missouri Press Association dodged many bullets during the 2021 legislative session, as several bills would have affected public notices in newspapers, but those bills did not pass.
Legislation that could have pulled Unclaimed Property notices from newspapers, a priority of the current State Treasurer, was amended to a handful of House and Senate bills, but they did not pass. Bills that would eliminate newspaper public notice when self-storage businesses auction property because of non-payment of unit rent, did not pass. Legislation, supported by the Missouri Press Association, that would condense the county financial statement published annually in newspapers, did not pass.
What did pass? A Sunshine Law bill did pass that clouds open records of email addresses submitted by residents seeking to receive newsletters, advisories, and alerts from political subdivisions. Also, a bill did pass that prohibits The Missouri Lottery from releasing winners’ names. And a bill passed including language that counties are not required to advertise or seek bids on expenditures of $12,000 or less (currently the expenditures’ threshold is $6,000 or less).
HOUSE BILL 271 – LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Wiemann, R-O’Fallon)
MISSOURI LOCAL GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE DATABASE
This bill establishes the “Missouri Local Government Expenditure Database”, to be maintained by the Office of Administration. For each fiscal year beginning after December 31, 2022, the database must include extensive information about a given municipality’s or county’s expenditures and the vendors to whom payments were made.
The database must be accessible by the public without charge and have multiple ways to search and filter the information. A municipality or county may voluntarily participate in the database, or may be required to participate if a petition process used by its residents is used to require participation as specified in the bill. A link to the database on a municipal or county website is required.
The Office of Administration may stipulate a format for information and will provide a template for municipalities and counties to use in sending information. Other duties and responsibilities of the Office of Administration regarding the database are detailed in the bill. Financial reimbursement to municipalities and counties for costs associated with the database is authorized.
COMPETITIVE BID PROCESS
Currently, all contracts and purchases made by a county shall be given to the lowest and best bidder after opportunity for competition, except that advertising is not required in the case of contracts or purchases involving an expenditure of less than $6,000. It is not necessary to obtain bids on any purchases in the amount of $6,000 or less made from any one person or corporation during any period of 90 days.
Additionally, the county commission may waive the requirement of competitive bidding, except on any single feasible source purchase where the estimated expenditure is over $6,000, the commission shall post notice of the proposed purchase and advertise the commission’s intent in at least one daily and one weekly newspaper in regular circulation.
This bill changes the threshold from $6,000 to $12,000 for these expenditures. It shall not be necessary to advertise or obtain bids for expenditures less than $12,000.
PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS
A political subdivision shall not issue a public health order, defined in the bill as an order, ordinance, rule, or regulation issued in response to an actual or perceived threat to public health for the purpose of preventing the spread of a contagious disease, during a state of emergency declared by the governor that directly or indirectly closes, partially closes, or places restrictions on the opening of or access to any one or more businesses, churches, schools, or other places of gathering or assembly for a period of time longer than 30 calendar days in a 180-day period. Such orders may be extended more than once upon a simple majority vote of the political subdivision’s governing body.
A political subdivision shall not issue a public health order of general applicability during a time other than a state of emergency that directly or indirectly closes an entire classification of businesses, churches, schools, or other places of gathering or assembly for a period of time longer than 21 days in a 180-day period. Such orders may be extended more than once upon a two-thirds vote of the political subdivision’s governing body.
The governing bodies of the political subdivisions issuing orders under this bill shall at all times have the authority to terminate an order issued or extended under this section upon a simple majority vote of the body.
No rule promulgated by the Department of Health and Senior Services shall authorize a local public health official to create or enforce any public health orders inconsistent with this bill.
Finally, this bill modifies provisions that a county health board shall not impose standards or requirements on an agricultural operation that are inconsistent with, in addition to, different from, or more stringent than any other law or regulation concerning such agricultural operations. These provisions contain an emergency clause.
EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS
This bill prohibits the contribution or expenditure of public funds by any school district or by any officer, employee, or agent of any school district:
(1) To support or oppose the nomination or election of any candidate for public office;
(2) To support or oppose the passage or defeat of any ballot measure;
(3) To any committee supporting or opposing candidates or ballot measures; or
(4) To pay debts or obligations of any candidate or committee previously incurred for the above purposes.
The bill additionally prohibits the contribution or expenditure of public funds by any officer, employee, or agent of any political subdivision to pay debts or obligations of any candidate or committee previously incurred for the purposes described above. Any purposeful violation of this bill is punishable as a class four election offense.
DOCUMENTATION OF VACCINATION
This bill provides that no county, city, town, or village receiving public funds shall require documentation of an individual having received a vaccination against COVID-19 in order for the individual to access transportation system or services or any other public accommodations.
HOUSE BILL 273 – PROFESSIONAL REGISTRATION (Hannegan, R-St. Charles)
REAL ESTATE LICENSEES
This bill specifies that the Missouri Real Estate Commission may cause a complaint to be filed with the Administrative Hearing Commission against any licensed or previously licensed real estate broker, salesperson, broker-salesperson, appraiser, or appraisal manager for advertisements or solicitations which include a name or team name that uses the terms “realty”, “brokerage”, “company”, or any other terms that can be construed to advertise a real estate company other than the licensee or a licensed business entity with whom the licensee is associated. The Commission may consider the context of the advertisement or solicitation when determining whether there has been a violation of this act.
This bill allows a real estate broker to pay compensation directly to a business entity, as defined in the bill, owned by a licensed real estate salesperson or broker-salesperson formed for the purpose of receiving compensation earned by such licensee. The business entity shall not be required to be licensed and may be co-owned by an unlicensed spouse, a licensed spouse associated with the same broker as the licensee, or one or more other licensees associated with the same broker as the licensee.
HOUSE BILL 297 – HIGHER EDUCATION (Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau)
Under this act, a postsecondary educational institution shall not uphold any rule, requirement, standard, or other limitation that prevents a student athlete from fully participating in intercollegiate athletics without penalty for earning compensation for the use of such athlete’s name, image, or likeness rights, or athletic reputation. Such compensation shall not affect a student athlete’s grant-in-aid or stipend eligibility, amount, duration, or renewal. Such institution shall also not interfere with a student athlete’s participation based on obtaining representation in relation to contracts or legal matters. Grant-in-aid and stipends shall not be construed as compensation for the use of a student athlete’s name, image, or likeness rights, or athletic reputation.
Student athletes shall not enter into apparel, equipment, or beverage contracts requiring advertisement for such products during official, mandatory team activities which conflict with a term in a contract of a postsecondary educational institution.
Student athletes shall not enter into any contract for compensation for the use of such athlete’s name, image, or likeness rights, or athletic reputation without the consent of such institution if the contracts conflicts with a term in a license or contract of such institution. Before the execution of any contract compensating a student athlete for the use of such athlete’s name, image, likeness, or athletic reputation, regardless of whether a conflict exists, the student athlete shall disclose the contract to the institution.
Postsecondary educational institutions shall not compensate or cause compensation to a student athlete, prospective student athlete, or such an individual’s family for the use of the individual’s name, image, or likeness rights, or athletic reputation.
No contract of a college athletic program shall prevent a student athlete from receiving compensation for the use of such athlete’s name, image, or likeness rights, or athletic reputation outside of official, mandatory team activities recorded in writing made publicly available upon request.
Institutions that enter into commercial agreements that directly or indirectly use a student athlete’s name, image, or likeness rights, or athletic reputation, shall conduct a financial development program for student athletes, as described in the act.
Student athletes shall be represented only by an attorney or agent licensed in Missouri.
A student athlete may bring a civil suit for an injunction and actual damages against third parties in violation of this act. Such suit shall be brought in the county where the violation has occurred or will occur. Prevailing plaintiffs shall be awarded damages and court costs. Students bringing an action against a violator of the act shall not be deprived of any legal protections with respect to controversies arising under this act.
Legal settlements shall not conflict with this act.
This act applies only to contracts entered into, modified, or renewed on or after August 28, 2021.
HOUSE BILL 362 — MODIFIES THE SUNSHINE LAW (DeGroot, R-Ellisville)
The bill closes email addresses and telephone numbers submitted to a public governmental body by persons or entities for the sole purpose of receiving electronic or other communications limited to newsletters, notifications, advisories, and alerts. The bill allows a public governmental body to close records of utility usage and bill records for customers of public utilities unless the customer requests them or authorizes their release. The bill allows a public governmental body to close records related to security and evacuation procedures, including software or surveillance companies that secure the building, for public governmental property. Regarding fees for public records, a request for public records to a public governmental body shall be considered withdrawn if the requester fails to remit all fees within 30 days of a request for payment of fees by the public governmental body, prior to the making of copies. And, if the same or a substantially similar request for public records is made within six months after the expiration of the 30-day period, then the public governmental body may request payment of the same fees made for the original request that has expired in addition to any allowable fees necessary to fulfill the subsequent request. During the 2021 session, portions of this bill were also included in SB 214 (Hough, R-Springfield), HB 177 (Ellebracht, D-Liberty), and HB 657 (Trent, R-Springfield).
HOUSE BILL 402 – LOTTERY WINNERS NAMES (Jay Mosley, D-Florissant)
The bill prohibits the Missouri State Lottery Commission, the state lottery, or any employee of the state lottery to release or publish the name of any person who wins the state lottery, unless the winner requests his or her name be released. SB 272 (Angela Mosley, D-Florissant) was an identical Senate bill. The representative and the senator are husband-wife.
HOUSE BILL 432 – BIRTH MATCH PROGRAM (Kelly, R-Mountain Grove)
AUDIO RECORDING FOR CERTAIN SCHOOL MEETINGS
This bill prevents any public school districts and charter schools from prohibiting a parent or guardian from audio recording any meeting held under the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or a Section 504 plan meeting (Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973).
Districts or charter schools may not require parents to provide more than 24 hours notice in order to record said meeting, and no school district employee who reports a violation under this section shall be subject to discharge, retaliation, or any other adverse employment action for reporting.
HOUSE BILL 476 – PROFESSIONAL REGISTRATION (Grier, R-Chesterfield)
REAL ESTATE BROKERS
The bill allows a real estate broker to pay compensation directly to a business entity, as defined in the bill, owned by a licensed real estate salesperson or broker-salesperson formed for the purpose of receiving compensation earned by such licensee.
The business entity shall not be required to be licensed and may be co-owned by an unlicensed spouse, a licensed spouse associated with the same broker as the licensee, or one or more other licensees associated with the same broker as the licensee.
Under this bill, the Missouri Real Estate Commission may cause a complaint to be filed with the Administrative Hearing Commission against any licensed or previously licensed real estate broker, salesperson, broker-salesperson, appraiser, or appraisal manager for advertisements or solicitations which include a name or team name that uses the terms “realty”, “brokerage”, “company”, or any other terms that can be construed to advertise a real estate company other than the licensee or a licensed business entity with whom the licensee is associated. The Commission may consider the context of the advertisement or solicitation when determining whether there has been a violation of this bill. These provisions have an effective of January 1, 2024.
HOUSE BILL 661 – TRANSPORTATION (Ruth, R-Festus)
PUBLICATION OF COST ESTIMATES FOR WORK ON THE STATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM
This act specifies that the Highways and Transportation Commission shall publish on the Department of Transportation’s official website its cost estimate and project completion date for any construction, maintenance, or repair work on the state highway system at the time bidding on a contract for the work first closes.
RECORDS FOR THE SALE OF CATALYTIC CONVERTERS
This act requires records of sales of certain metals to be maintained for 3 years rather than 2 years. A transaction that includes a detached catalytic converter shall occur at the fixed place of business of the purchaser. A detached catalytic converter shall be maintained for 5 business days before it is altered, modified, disassembled, or destroyed.
Anyone licensed for selling motor vehicle parts as set forth in statute who knowingly purchases a stolen detached catalytic converter shall be subject to penalties as set forth in the act.
Currently, every purchaser or collector of, or dealer in, junk, scrap metal, or any second hand property is required to maintain written or electronic records for each purchase or trade in which certain types of material are obtained for value, with exceptions. This act repeals the exception to the records requirement for any transaction for which the total amount paid for all regulated material purchased or sold does not exceed $50, unless the material is a catalytic converter.
The records requirement of the act does not apply to transactions for which the seller has an existing business relationship with the purchaser and for which the seller is paid by check or by electronic funds transfer, or the seller produces an acceptable identification, which shall be a copy of the driver’s license or photo identification issued by the state or by the U.S. government or agency thereof, and a copy is retained by the purchaser.
HOUSE BILL 734 – UTILITIES (O’Donnell, R-St. Louis)
RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES
The board of directors of a rural electric cooperative shall have the power to set the time and place of the annual meeting and also to provide for voting by proxy, electronic means, by mail, or any combination thereof, and to prescribe the conditions under which such voting shall be exercised. The meeting requirement may be satisfied through virtual means.
This provision expires on August 28, 2022.
SENATE BILL 26 – PUBLIC SAFETY (Eigel, R-St. Charles)
PHYSICAL SECURITY MEASURES
No political subdivision shall enact any ordinance that regulates the physical security measures around private property, except that a political subdivision may regulate the aesthetics of physical security measures, access to public right-of-way, structural soundness of physical security measures, or changes to the drainage of a property.
POLICE USE OF FORCE DATABASE (Section 590.1265)
This act establishes the “Police Use of Force Transparency Act of 2021.”
Each law enforcement agency shall, at least annually, collect and report local data on use-of-force incidents involving peace officers to the National Use of Force Data Collection through the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Additionally, each law enforcement agency shall submit such information to the Department of Public Safety. The personally identifying information of individual peace officers shall not be included in the reports. The Department of Public Safety shall, no later than June 30, 2022, develop standards and procedures governing the collection and reporting of use-of-force data. The standards shall be consistent with the requirements, definitions, and methods of the National Use of Force Data Collection administered by the FBI.
The Department of Public Safety shall publish the data reported by law enforcement agencies in a publicly available report. Finally, the Department of Public Safety shall undertake an analysis of any trends and disparities in rates of use of force by all law enforcement agencies, with a report to be released to the public no later than January 1, 2025. The report shall be updated at least every five years.
EXPUNGEMENT (Section 610.140)
Under current law, any rights that were restricted as a collateral consequence of a person’s criminal record shall be restored upon issuance of the order of expungement. This act adds that if a person was convicted of a federal misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, an order of expungement granted under this act shall be considered a complete removal of all effects of the expunged conviction.
SENATE BILL 44 – UTILITIES (White, R-Joplin)
RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES
Under the act, the board of directors of a rural electric cooperative shall have the power to set the time and place of the annual meeting and also to provide for voting by proxy, electronic means, by mail, or any combination thereof, and to prescribe the conditions under which such voting shall be exercised. The meeting requirement may be satisfied through virtual means.
This provision expires on August 28, 2022.
SENATE BILL 51 – COVID-19 LIABILITY (Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville)
COVID-19 Exposure Action
No individual or entity engaged in businesses, services, activities, or accommodations shall be liable in any COVID-19 exposure action, as defined in the act, unless the plaintiff can prove by clear and convincing evidence that:
(1) The individual or entity engaged in recklessness or willful misconduct that caused an actual exposure to COVID-19; and
(2) The actual exposure caused personal injury to the plaintiff.
Additionally, no religious organization, as defined in the act, shall be liable in any COVID-19 exposure action, unless the plaintiff can prove intentional misconduct.
There is a rebuttable presumption of an assumption of risk by a plaintiff in an exposure claim when the individual or entity posts and maintains signs in a clearly visible location at the entrance of the premises or provides written notice containing the warning notice specified in the act. No religious organization shall be required to post or maintain a sign or provide written notice containing the warning notice.
Any adoption or change to a policy, practice, or procedure by an individual to address or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 after the exposure shall not be considered evidence of liability or culpability. Additionally, nothing in this provision shall require an individual or entity to establish a written or published policy addressing the spread of COVID-19, including any policy requiring or mandating vaccination or requiring proof of vaccination.
No individual or entity shall be held liable for the acts or omissions of a third party unless the individual or entity has an obligation under general common law principles or the third party was an agent of the individual or entity.
A COVID-19 exposure action shall not be commenced in any Missouri court later than two years after the date of the actual, alleged, feared, or potential exposure to COVID-19.
COVID-19 Medical Liability Action
A health care provider, as defined in the act, shall not be liable in a COVID-19 medical liability action, as defined in the act, unless the plaintiff can prove recklessness or willful misconduct by the health care provider and that the personal injury was caused by such recklessness or willful misconduct. An elective procedure that is delayed for good cause shall not be considered recklessness or willful misconduct.
A COVID-19 medical liability action may not be commenced in any Missouri court later than one year after the date of the discovery of the alleged harm, damage, breach, or tort unless tolled for proof of fraud, intentional concealment, or the presence of a foreign body which has no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose or effect.
COVID-19 Products Liability Action
No individual or entity who designs, manufactures, imports, distributes, labels, packages, leases, sells, or donates a covered product, as defined in the act, shall be liable in a COVID-19 products liability action, as defined in the act, if the individual or entity:
(1) Does not make the covered product in the ordinary course of business;
(2) Does make the covered product in the ordinary course of business and the emergency required the product to be made in a modified manufacturing process that is outside the ordinary course of business; or
(3) Does make the covered product in the ordinary course of business and use of the covered product is different from its recommended purpose and used in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
For a plaintiff to prevail in a COVID-19 products liability action, the plaintiff shall prove, by clear and convincing evidence, recklessness or willful misconduct by the individual or entity and that such recklessness or misconduct caused the personal injury.
This act shall not apply to any fraud in connection with the advertisement of a covered product. This provision applies to any claim for damages that has a causal relationship with the administration to or use by an individual of a covered product. Additionally, this provision shall apply only to covered products administered or used for the treatment of or protection against COVID-19 and applies to any such covered product regardless of whether the product is obtained by donation, commercial sale, or any other means of distribution by federal, state, or local officials or by the private sector.
A COVID-19 products liability action shall not be commenced later than two years after the date of the alleged harm, damage, breach, or tort unless tolled for proof of fraud or intentional concealment.
Punitive Damages in COVID-19 Related Actions
Punitive damages may be awarded in any COVID-19 related action, but shall not exceed an amount in excess of nine times the amount of compensatory damages.
Application of this Act
The provisions of this act expire four years after the effective date of this act.
This act creates a new cause of action and replaces any such common law cause of action. Furthermore, this act preempts and supersedes any state law related to the recovery for personal injuries covered under a COVID-19 related action unless the provisions of state law impose stricter limits on damages or liabilities for personal injury. The provisions of this act shall not expand any liability or limit any defense otherwise available.
This act shall not be construed to:
(1) Affect the applicability of the Workers’ Compensation Law and chapters of law relating to discriminatory practices, employee-employer relations, and landlord-tenant relations for residential property;
(2) Impair, limit, or affect the authority of the state or local government to bring any criminal, civil, or administrative enforcement actions against any individual or entity nor shall it affect causes of action for intentional discrimination;
(3) Require or mandate a vaccination or affect the applicability of any provision of law creating a cause of action for a vaccine-related personal injury;
(4) Prohibit an individual or entity engaged in businesses, services, activities, or accommodations from instituting a cause of action regarding an order issued by the state or local government that requires an individual or entity to temporarily or permanently cease the operation of such business;
(5) Affect the applicability of any provision of law providing a cause of action for breach of a contract insuring against business interruption or for failure or refusal to pay a contract insuring against business interruption;
(6) Affect the applicability of any provision of law providing a cause of action alleging price gouging, non-educational related canceled events, or payment of membership fees; and
(7) Affect the applicability of any provision of law providing a cause of action for breach of a contract against an educational institution for the refund of tuition or costs.
SENATE BILL 53 – COURTS, PRISONS, AND POLICE (Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville)
The bill modifies provisions relating to judicial proceedings and law enforcement officers. Defendants in municipal courts who may be held in jail for 15 days or more would not be charged fees for police reports or video records relevant to a traffic stop or arrest. No person will be required to disclose, by testimony or otherwise, a privileged communication between a person who submits a report of alleged criminal activity to a crime stoppers organization and the person who accepts the report on behalf of the organization or to produce, under subpoena, any records, documentary evidence, opinions, or decisions related to the privileged communication. The bill creates the offense of unlawful posting of personally identifying information over the internet if a person knowingly posts the name, home address, Social Security number and other personal information of any law enforcement officer, corrections officer, parole officer, judge, commissioner, or prosecuting attorney, or their immediate family members, with the intent to cause great bodily harm or death to the person, a class E felony. Individual police officers will submit to fingerprinting for a criminal history background check, including records of the FBI, and enroll and maintain enrollment in the state and federal Rap Back programs. The bill establishes the “Police Use-of-Force Transparency Act,” and police agencies shall collect and report data on use-of-force incidents involving police, whose personal identities shall not be included. The data shall be submitted to the Department of Public Safety which shall publish the data on its website. The bill also includes modifications to some expungements.
SENATE BILL 86 – PUBLIC FUNDS (Hegeman, R-Cosby)
This act prohibits the contribution or expenditure of public funds by any school district or by any officer, employee, or agent of any school district:
• To support or oppose the nomination or election of any candidate for public office;
• To support or oppose the passage or defeat of any ballot measure;
• To any committee supporting or opposing candidates or ballot measures; or
• To pay debts or obligations of any candidate or committee previously incurred for the above purposes.
The act additionally prohibits the contribution or expenditure of public funds by any officer, employee, or agent of any political subdivision to pay debts or obligations of any candidate or committee previously incurred for the purposes described above.
Any purposeful violation of this act is punishable as a class four election offense.
The act also creates new provisions relating to educational assistance organizations (EAOs). Specifically, notwithstanding the provisions of the truly agreed to and finally passed HB 349 (2021) to the contrary, the act prohibits the annual increase to the cumulative amount of tax credits that can be issued for purposes of contributions to EAOs when the amount of tax credits reaches $50 million. Furthermore, the cumulative amount of tax credits that may be allocated to all taxpayers contributing to EAOs in the first year of the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program shall not exceed $25 million.
The act limits the number of EAOs that can be certified to no more than 10 in any single school year, with no more than 6 having their principal place of business in:
· Greene County;
· Jackson County;
· St. Charles County;
· St. Louis County; and
· St. Louis City.
The act creates the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Board. The State Treasurer is permitted to delegate duties assigned to him under the truly agreed to and finally passed HB 349 (2021) to the Board.
Four percent of the total qualifying contributions received by each EAO per calendar year is required to be deposited in the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Fund to be used by the State Treasurer for marketing and administrative expenses or the costs incurred in administering the program, whichever is less.
SENATE BILL 153 – TAXATION (Koenig, R-Manchester)
USE TAX MAPPING
Current law requires the Department of Revenue to create and maintain a mapping feature on its website that displays various sales tax information. This act requires such mapping feature to include use tax information. Political subdivisions collecting a use tax shall send such data to the Department of Revenue by January 1, 2022, and the Department shall implement the mapping feature using the use tax data by July 1, 2022.
By July 1, 2022, the Department shall update the mapping feature to include the total sales tax rate for combined rates of overlapping sales taxes levied and the total use tax rate for combined rates of overlapping use taxes levied.
If the boundaries of a political subdivision in which a sales or use tax has been imposed shall thereafter be changed or altered, the political subdivision shall forward such changes to the Department, as described in the act.
DID NOT PASS BILLS
HOUSE BILL 27 – MODIFIES THE SUNSHINE LAW (Walsh, R-Ashland)
The bill requires posting notice, required under the Sunshine Law, of meeting times, dates, places, and agendas as well as minutes of open meetings on a public governmental body’s website and social media pages. Also, public governmental bodies must post proposed and adopted rules, ordinances, laws, or regulations on their website and social media pages within three days after the meeting at which they are proposed or adopted exclusive of weekends and holidays. If a municipality does not have a website, it is not required to create one for this purpose. The bill passed the House but died after a Senate committee hearing.
HOUSE BILL 29 – EMPLOYEE SALARIES (Walsh, R-Ashland)
The bill adds all public employee retirement systems and quasi-governmental entity employee salaries to the government accountability portal. Passed the House but died after a Senate committee hearing.
HOUSE BILL 74 – MEDIA LITERACY COMMITTEE (Murphy, R-St. Louis)
The bill establishes the “Joint Committee on Media Literacy” comprised of 14 members; three appointed by the Speaker of the House, three appointed by the President Pro Tem of the Senate, and eight appointed by the Governor. The purpose of the committee shall be to conduct a study on teaching “media literacy’” the set of skills required to critically assess, analyze, create, and participate in the information and media environment in all of its formats including, but not limited to, advertising, film and television, journalism, music and radio, magazine and book publishing, websites, and mobile applications. The committee would meet at least once during each legislative session. The bill did not receive a committee hearing and died.
HOUSE BILL 146 – CLOSING CASENET RECORDS (DeGroot, R-Ellisville)
The bill limits access to certain court records on CASENET, except records may be accessed by court personnel, law enforcement agencies, judges, prosecutors, a defendant’s attorney, or any other person needing access to such record if deemed necessary by the court. Bill did not receive a House committee hearing and died.
HOUSE BILL 174 – GOVERNMENT SOCIAL MEDIA (Ellebracht, D-Liberty)
The bill modifies provisions of the Sunshine Law relating to social media pages of a public governmental body or its members; electronic mail, text messaging, direct or private messaging through social media accounts of a member; and access to public records to members of the public in usable electronic formats. The bill was not heard in House committee and died.
HOUSE BILL 290 – ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT (Roberts, R-Joplin)
The bill states that a person commits the offense of organized retail theft if the person, alone or in concert with others, commits a series of thefts of retail merchandise against a merchant with the intent to return the merchandise to the merchant for value or resell the merchandise for value. Portions of the bill could adversely affect online advertising. The bill received two hearings in House Public Safety Committee but died.
HOUSE BILL 333 – ELECTION LAW CHANGES (Simmons, R-Washington)
The bill amends statutory regulations of the initiative petition process. The bill changes the format of petition signature sheets and requires a $500 refundable filing fee for each initiative or referendum petition. The bill allows the Secretary of State’s Petition Publications Fund to pay for any refunds. The deadline for submitting sample sheets to circulate petitions for signatures will be no earlier than 12 weeks following a general election. The bill specifies that any court ordered changes to a ballot title results in the invalidation of signatures collected prior to the order. The House passed the bill, Senate Local Government and Elections Committee voted Do Pass, but the bill died on the Senate calendar.
HOUSE BILL 334 – ABSENTEE VOTING (Simmons, R-Washington)
The bill makes changes to absentee voting, establishes voter photo identification requirements at the polls and the use of provisional ballots, and repeals notice by the secretary of state explaining personal identification requirements for voting. The House passed the bill, the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee voted Do Pass, but the bill died.
HOUSE BILL 366 – GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT (Gregory, R-St. Louis)
This bill establishes the “Special Joint Committee on Government Oversight” to hear residents’ complaints against county health officials, including City of St. Louis health officials. Seven members from the House and seven members from the Senate would be appointed to the committee. The bill died after being referred to the House Special Committee on Government Accountability.
HOUSE BILL 381 – COUNTY FINANCIAL STATEMENT (McGaugh, R-Carrollton)
The bill requires a condensed county financial statement to be published in local newspapers in counties of the first, second, third, or fourth classification. Missouri Press Association supports the bill language. The bill was passed by the House and was added as amendments to SB 27 (Crawford, R-Buffalo) and HB 441 (Falkner, R-St. Joseph), but none of the bills passed.
HOUSE BILL 428 – POLICE BODY CAMERAS (Proudie, D-Kinloch)
The bill requires peace officers to wear body cameras during interactions with members of the public. The Department of Public Safety is to develop guidelines, including the retention and release of data recorded by body cameras, and access to the data recorded by body cameras. The guidelines developed by the department shall follow section 610.100. The bill did not receive a House committee hearing and died.
HOUSE BILL 480 – STUDENT PRESS FREEDOMS (Christofanelli, R-St. Peters)
The bill establishes the “Cronkite New Voices Act” to strengthen freedom of the press rights of college and high school students. The bill was voted Do Pass by the House Elementary and Secondary Committee but did not advance.
SENATE BILL 434 – STUDENT PRESS FREEDOMS (Washington, D-Kansas City)
The bill establishes the “Cronkite New Voices Act” to strengthen freedom of the press rights of college and high school students. The bill was voted Do Pass by the Senate Progress & Development Committee, placed on the Senate Informal Calendar, but died.
HOUSE BILL 482 – SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP (Coleman, R-Grain Valley)
The bill establishes the “Stop Social Media Censorship Act,” which prohibits certain social media websites, defined in the bill, from intentionally censoring the political or religious speech of a Missouri resident and provides the user a cause of action against a social media website that censors such speech. Hate speech will not be a justifiable basis for a social media website to censor users. The bill received a House committee hearing on Feb. 22 but died.
HOUSE BILL 512 – UNCLAIMED PROPERTY NOTICES (Lovasco, R-O’Fallon)
The original bill modified provisions for expenditure of public funds on printed matter. A House committee amended the bill to include modification of the unclaimed property notice requirements of the State Treasurer. The bill would allow the State Treasurer to use any method he or she deems appropriate and consistent with the intent to notify the owners of the property. Notice in newspapers could be eliminated. After receiving support by three House committees, the bill was defeated on the House floor by a vote of 72-82 on April 19.
HOUSE BILL 616 – BODY CAMERA TASK FORCE (Rogers, D-Kansas City)
The bill establishes a “Task Force on Body-Worn Cameras” to include 23 members. One member representing the Missouri Sunshine Coalition and one member representing the news media would serve on the task force. The bill did not receive a hearing in the House and died.
HOUSE BILL 711 – PUBLIC DOMAIN PRESERVATION (Lovasco, R-O’Fallon)
The bill establishes the “Public Domain Preservation Act,” which provides that if produced as part of a person’s official duties, federal copyright or patent protection shall not be asserted for judicial opinions; administrative rulings; legislative enactments; public ordinances; or any other material produced by an officer, employee, director, board member, or agent of the state of Missouri, any state department, political subdivision, or special district of this state. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee but did not receive a hearing.
HOUSE BILL 764 – SUCCESSOR NEWSPAPERS (Andrews, R-Grant City)
Currently, to legally qualify as a newspaper to publish public notices, a newspaper must have been published regularly for a period of three years; or must be the successor newspaper to a defunct newspaper that begins publication no later than 30 days after the termination of the prior newspaper. This bill reduces the time of regular publication from three years to one year and increases the time period from 30 days to 90 days within which a successor newspaper must begin publication. The bill also allows a newspaper that has been purchased or newly established by another newspaper that satisfies these conditions to qualify. The bill was passed by the House but died without a hearing in the Senate. A House amendment was added to the bill with language of HB 1135 (Hardwick, R-Waynesville), regarding elimination of public notices for self-storage unit property auctions.
HOUSE BILL 783 – ONLINE TERMS OF SERVICE (Trent, R-Springfield)
The bill specifies that the terms of service of an online business must clearly state prohibited acts or conduct that could result in suspension or termination of a user’s account, banning a user, or censoring or flagging a user’s account or conduct. An online business must require users to agree to these terms separately from other terms of service. The Attorney General is to enforce the requirements. After a House committee hearing on Feb. 22, the bill died.
HOUSE BILL 848, 617 & 822 – DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME (Sander, R-Lone Jack)
A handful of bills were filed to establish the “Daylight Saving as New Standard Time Pact” consisting of Missouri and any other state desiring to abstain from observation of Daylight Saving Time (DST). The bill exempts all areas of the state from the federal DST provisions. In the year in which a majority of states bordering Missouri have passed legislation entering those states into the Pact, each state will switch clocks to Daylight Saving for the last time and DST will be eliminated. The bill passed the House, received a hearing in the Senate Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee, and the issue died.
HOUSE BILL 850 – ELECTION REFORM (Wiemann, R-O’Fallon)
The bill restricts the jurisdiction of courts to rewrite or modify summary statements and ballot language that is approved by the General Assembly to a vote of the people. The bill was passed by the House. The Senate debated the bill on the floor and added amendments requiring St. Louis County candidates filing for office to prove they have paid their taxes; requiring the Department of Revenue to transmit voter registration information of new drivers to election authorities; requiring paper ballots to be used instead of electronic or touch-screen voting; and establishing in 2022 primary and run-off elections in June and August, respectively, for candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress and statewide offices. The bill was third read and passed by the Senate on May 13, then referred to the House Fiscal Review Committee where the bill died.
HOUSE BILL 900 – SLAPP (Lovasco, R-O’Fallon)
The SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) bill specifies that all laws in Missouri must be construed to afford qualified immunity from lawsuits and liability for any defendant or counter-defendant in any action that impacts the defendant’s or counter-defendant’s First Amendment rights, and the bill provides procedures for defending against such suits. The bill received a House hearing, was placed on the House Informal Calendar, but died.
HOUSE BILL 904 – HIGHWAY PATROL RECORDS FEES (Ruth, R-Festus)
Where there are allowable fees of less than $5 for records requested under Chapter 43 or Chapter 610, RSMo, under this bill the State Highway Patrol is authorized to charge a minimum fee of $5. The superintendent of the Highway Patrol may increase the minimum fee by $1 every other year, but the minimum fee must not exceed $10. If a person requesting records fails to remit all fees within 30 days of the Highway Patrol requesting payment of the fees for the records, the records request will be considered withdrawn. SENATE BILL 429 (Brown, R-Rolla) was an identical bill. Neither bill passed. The bill language was added to SB 4 (Wieland, R-Imperial), but it did not pass.
HOUSE BILL 926 – UNCLAIMED PROPERTY NOTICES (McGaugh, R-Carrollton)
The bill modifies the requirements for the publication of statewide ballot measures by the Secretary of State to be in conformity with the current Missouri Constitution, or as amended in the future. HB 926 also modifies the unclaimed property notice requirements required to be made by the State Treasurer, allowing the State Treasurer to use any method he or she deems appropriate and consistent with the intent to notify the owners of the property. HB 926 was heard in a House committee but died.
HOUSE BILL 1005 – SOURCE CITATIONS IN POLITICAL ADS (Morse, R-Dexter)
The bill requires print, electronic, and broadcast forms of political advertising that make factual claims about the content of newspapers, journals, books, or similar materials to include a citation to such sources listing the author, title, source, page number, and date of publication. The bill did not receive a House committee hearing and died.
HOUSE BILL 1008 – STORAGE AUCTION NOTICES (Hardwick, R-Waynesville)
The original bill modifies provisions relating to covenants between business entities and employees, distributors, dealers, franchisees. The bill passed the House but not before an amendment was added to the bill by Rep. Hardwick, regarding the advertising of auctions held by self-storage businesses (HB 1135). The bill died in the Senate.
HOUSE BILL 1135 – STORAGE AUCTION NOTICES (Hardwick, R-Waynesville)
Currently, notice to sell defaulted property must be made in the classified section of a newspaper in the jurisdiction. This bill allows newspaper notice OR allows the seller to advertise in any other commercially reasonable manner. The advertisement is commercially reasonable if at least three independent bidders view or arrive at the sale. The bill was voted Do Pass by the House-Rules-Administrative Oversight Committee, then died.
HOUSE BILL 1151 – PROTECTING EXPRESSION (Perkins, R-Bowling Green)
The bill creates the “Uniform Public Expression Protection Act,” which relates to causes of action filed against persons who exercise certain constitutional rights. The bill specifies that when an individual, estate, trust, partnership, business or nonprofit entity, governmental unit, or other legal entity has a cause of action filed against them based upon their communication in a governmental proceeding or on an issue under consideration in a governmental proceeding, or when they exercise their right of freedom of speech or of the press, the right to assemble, or the right of association, they may file a special motion to dismiss the cause of action. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee but did not receive a hearing and died.
HOUSE BILL 1231 – SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP (Bailey, R-Eureka)
The bill establishes the “Stop Social Media Censorship Act,” which prohibits certain social media websites, defined in the bill, from intentionally censoring the political or religious speech of a Missouri resident and provides the user a cause of action against a social media website that censors such speech. Hate speech will not be a justifiable basis for a social media website to censor users. The bill was referred to a House committee in February but died.
HOUSE BILL 1345 – UNCLAIMED PROPERTY NOTICES (Cupps, R-Shell Knob)
The bill modifies and creates new provisions relating to the requirements for the publication of statewide ballot measures by the Secretary of State to be in conformity with the current Missouri Constitution. HB 1345 also modifies the unclaimed property notice requirements required to be made by the State Treasurer. The bill allows the State Treasurer to use any method he or she deems appropriate and consistent with the intent to notify the owners of the property. Bill is same as HB 926 and HB 512. After two House committee hearings, the bill was placed on the House Informal Calendar, and died.
HJR 20 – INITIATIVE PETITIONS (Henderson, R-Bonne Terre)
The House Elections and Elected Officials Committee worked much of the session on election reform and in February voted Do Pass on seven bills that would change the initiative petition process for amending the state constitution. House Joint Resolution 20, if passed by a statewide vote of the people, would require initiative petitions to be approved by both houses of the general assembly after the initiative petition has received the required number of signatures but before it is placed on the ballot. Also, the bill would require initiative petitions to be signed by 10 percent of the legal voters in each of the eight Congressional districts in the state, and statewide ballot issues would require a two-thirds supermajority vote to amend the state constitution. (Current law requires signatures of eight percent of legal voters in six of eight Congressional districts, and statewide ballot issues to amend the constitution only require a majority of votes for approval.) The bill passed the House but died on the Senate floor calendar.
SENATE BILL 27 – POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS STATUTES (Crawford, R-Buffalo)
Under current law, a county clerk may transmit in the form of a warrant the amount due for a grant, salary, pay, and expenses to the county treasurer. This bill provides that, upon request, the county treasurer shall have access to any financially relevant document in the possession of any county official for the purposes of processing a warrant. The bill was passed by the Senate but died on the House floor calendar. House amendments had been added relating to Unclaimed Property Notices and the condensed version of the County Financial Statement.
SENATE BILL 91 – UNCLAIMED PROPERTY NOTICES (Riddle, R-Fulton)
The original bill modifies provisions relating to judicial proceedings. Previously passed by Senate, an amendment was added in the House Judiciary Committee regarding Unclaimed Property Notices. The bill died on the House floor calendar.
SENATE BILL 149 – INITIATIVES AND REFERENDUMS (Onder, R-Lake St. Louis)
The bill modifies and creates several new provisions relating to the initiative and referendum process, including creating the Secretary of State’s Petition Publications Fund. The purpose of the Petition Publications Fund is to pay any refunds to persons submitting petitions that become certified and to also pay publication expenses incurred in submitting statewide ballot measures to the voters. The bill was voted Do Pass by the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee but died on the Senate calendar.
SENATE BILL 180 – ADMINISTRATIVE RULES REVIEW (Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville)
The bill requires that any state agency adopting or amending a rule shall rescind a rule that is unnecessary, obsolete, or burdensome. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules may grant an exception to this requirement upon the agency’s application for good cause. All rules shall expire five years after the year in which the rule takes effect unless the rule contains an earlier expiration date. All rules in effect on Jan. 1, 2022, shall expire on Jan. 1, 2027. The expiration date shall be extended each time that an unexpired rule is amended and the requirement of rescinded unnecessary, obsolete, or burdensome rules shall not apply to orders of rulemaking reauthorizing expiring rules. Additionally, these provisions shall not apply to proposed or existing rules promulgated by a board, commission, committee, council, or office assigned to the Division of Professional Registration. The bill was voted Do Pass by the Senate General Laws Committee but did not advance.
SENATE BILL 222 – SECURITY BREACHES (Beck, D-St. Louis)
Under current law, a person that owns or licenses personal information of Missouri residents is required to provide notice to the affected consumer of a breach of security and such notification shall be made without unreasonable delay. The bill changes the notification time to within 14 business days of the discovery or notification of the breach. The bill was referred to committee but did not receive a hearing.
SENATE BILL 239 – STATE HIGHWAY SYSTEMS BIDS (Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville)
This bill requires MoDOT to publish its cost estimate and project completion date for any construction, maintenance or repair work on the state highway system at the time bidding on a contract closes. This bill passed the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee but did not advance.
SENATE BILL 325 – PUBLIC NOTICES ON MPA WEBSITE (Hegeman, R-Cosby)
The bill provides that all public notices required to be published in a newspaper shall also be posted on a website established and maintained by Missouri newspapers, at no additional cost to any person or entity responsible for directing the notice be published. When any such notice is required to be published more than once, the newspaper may not charge for the second and successive insertions of the notice at a rate greater than 85 percent of the newspaper’s regular local classified advertising rate. This legislation was also introduced in 2020 and 2019, supported by Missouri Press Association. The bill was referred to Senate General Laws Committee but did not receive a hearing.
SENATE BILL 336 – PROTECTING YOUNG MINDS (Brattin, R-Harrisonville)
The bill shall be known and may be cited as the “Protect Young Minds Online Act.” Under the bill, an internet service provider shall authenticate access to obscene websites and redirect an obscene website to a web page that provides the subscriber, as defined in the bill, the ability to enter an authentication to gain access to the obscene website. A mechanism to create an authentication shall be provided to subscribers who are 18 years of age or older. The authentication shall be required at each attempt to access an obscene website and shall be changed every three months. The bill received a Senate committee hearing, was voted Do Pass, but died.
SENATE BILL 408 – UNCLAIMED PROPERTY NOTICES (Wieland, R-Imperial)
The bill modifies the notice requirements required to be made by the State Treasurer for purposes of disposing of unclaimed property and would allow the State Treasurer to use any method of notification to owners of the property. Currently, notice must be published annually in a newspaper in each county once a week for two successive weeks. Newspaper notice could be eliminated under this legislation. The bill was heard by the Senate General Laws Committee, voted “Do Pass” by the committee, but died on the Senate floor calendar.
SENATE BILL 433 – LEGAL NOTICES ON THE WEB (Wieland, R-Imperial)
The bill modifies the requirements for the publication of statewide ballot measures by the Secretary of State to be in conformity with the current Missouri Constitution, or as amended in the future. It also modifies the unclaimed property notice requirements required to be made by the State Treasurer. Also, under current law, many legal notices are required to be published by a public body or an organization regulated by the state in a newspaper of general circulation within a particular area. The bill provides that publication of legal notice by a public body or an organization regulated by the state shall be considered to have been met if it is posted on the Legal Notices Website required to be established and maintained by the Office of Administration, according to the bill. The bill was referred to the Senate General Laws Committee, but was not heard by the committee, and died.
SENATE BILL 594 – STORAGE UNIT PROPERTY NOTICES (Moon, R-Halltown)
Currently, notice to sell defaulted property must be made by a storage unit business in the classified section of a newspaper in the jurisdiction. The bill allows newspaper notice OR allows the seller to advertise in any other commercially reasonable manner. The advertisement is commercially reasonable if at least three independent bidders view or arrive at the sale. The bill was referred to Senate committee but did not receive a hearing and died.
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTIONS – ELECTION REFORMS
Several SJRs, requiring a vote of the people, were proposed to reform Missouri election laws. None of them passed the Senate. SJR 2 (Onder, R-Lake St. Louis) would modify the process for getting an initiative petition on the ballot. SJR 8 (Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit) contained several provisions relating to elections. SJR 11 (Burlison, R-Republic) would modify the initiative petition process. SJR 19 (Cierpiot (R-Lee’s Summit) would modify signature requirements for initiative petitions. The bills were referred to Senate Local Government and Elections Committee. Only SJR 2 emerged from committee but died on the Senate floor calendar.