MPA Legislative Update — 2009
From: Doug Crews
The Missouri General Assembly adjourned May 15.
Here are bills, of interest to Missouri Press Association, that were approved by the General Assembly.
(And, near the bottom of this list are bills that did not pass during this session of the General Assembly.)
Bills that passed are awaiting the signature of Gov. Jay Nixon.
Deadline for the Governor to sign bills is July 14.
Passed: CCS SS SCS HCS HB 62 — CRIME
This bill changes the laws regarding crime. Among its main provisions, the bill:
Requires a photograph to be taken of an incarcerated individual prior to release and made available to the victim upon his or her request (Section 217.439);
Creates the crime of promoting online sexual solicitation if the person or entity knowingly allows a web-based classified service owned or operated by a person or entity to be used by individuals to post advertisements promoting prostitution, enticing a child to engage in sexual conduct, or promoting sexual
trafficking of a child after receiving notice from the Attorney General that the advertisement is prohibited. Anyone promoting online sexual solicitation will be guilty of a felony, punishable by a $5,000 fine for each day of violation (Section 3).
Passed: SCS HCS HB 177 & HCS HB 622 — COURT RECORDS FOR SEXUAL OFFENSES
This bill gives the judge presiding over a domestic assault, sexual assault, stalking, or forcible rape case the discretion to publicly disclose identifying information regarding the defendant which could be used to identify or locate the victim of the crime. The victim may provide a statement regarding whether or not he or she wants the information to remain closed. The judge must consider the statement of the victim and the welfare and safety of the victim in determining whether to disclose the information.
Passed: SS#2 SCS HCS HB 191 — TAXATION
This bill changes the laws regarding taxation.
TAX INCREMENT FINANCING REPORTING (Section 99.865)
(1) Requires the Director of the Department of Economic Development to submit its annual tax increment financing (TIF) report to the State Auditor;
(2) Prohibits municipalities which fail to comply with state TIF reporting requirements from implementing any new TIF project for at least five years; and
(3) Requires the State Auditor to post information provided in the annual reports of municipalities to the his or her web site in a searchable database available to the public.
TRANSPORTATION DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS (Sections 105.145, 238.207,
238.212, and 238.235)
(1) Requires the boards of directors of transportation development districts to submit an annual report of financial transactions to the State Auditor as required of political subdivisions under Section 105.145. Failure to submit a timely copy of the annual financial statement will result in a fine of up to $500 per day;
(2) Requires petitions to create a district to include details of the budgeted expenditures, including estimated expenditures for real physical improvements, estimated land acquisition expenses, estimated expenses for professional services, and estimated interest charges;
(3) Requires the circuit court to order a public hearing on the creation and funding of a proposed district if the petition to create a district was filed by the owners of all real property within the proposed district.
TAX CREDIT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS (Sections 135.802 and 135.805)
(1) Requires the number of estimated jobs created as a result of tax credits to be reported by all recipients, if applicable, as part of the Tax Credit Accounting Act of 2004;
(2) Requires all tax credit recipients to report annually for three years following the issuance of the tax credits the actual number of jobs created as a result of the tax credits. This provision does not apply to recipients of domestic and social, environmental, or financial and insurance tax credits; and
(3) Requires the Department of Economic Development to publish the information in the reports on its web site and on the Missouri Accountability Portal.
Also, the bill:
(11) Allows records relating to intellectual property, sales projections, or business plans that are submitted by an individual, corporation, or other business entity to a public institution of higher education to remain closed (Section 610.021);
(12) Allows records pertaining to a business prospect with which the Department of Economic Development; the Missouri Economic Development, Export, and Infrastructure Board; or a Regional Planning Commission is currently negotiating to remain closed (Section 620.014);
(15) Establishes the Big Government Get Off My Back Act which prohibits user fees imposed by the state from increasing for four years from the effective date of the bill unless the fee increase is to implement a federal program administered by the state or is a result of an act of the General Assembly. For four years, beginning on the effective date of the bill, any state agency proposing a rule must certify that it does not have an adverse impact on small businesses with fewer than 25 employees; certify that it is necessary to protect the life, health, or safety of the public; or exempt any small business with fewer than 25 employees from coverage. Rules established as a result of a federal mandate or to implement a federal program administered by the state or an act of the General Assembly are excluded from these provisions (Section 1).
Passed: CCS HCS HB 246 — SURFACE MINING AND GRAVEL EXCAVATION
This bill allows a property owner, an operator conducting gravel removal at the request of a property owner, or a political subdivision who contracts with an operator for excavation to remove and sell excess gravel without a permit if the primary purpose for removal is to manage seasonal gravel accretion on property not used primarily for gravel mining.
Any person filing a complaint with the department for an alleged violation of the provisions of the bill must identify himself or herself by name and telephone number; specify the date and location of the violation; and provide adequate information as determined by the department of the violation. Any records, statements, or communications submitted by any person to the department will be confidential and used solely by the department to investigate the alleged violation.
Passed: SS HCS HB 481 — COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS
This bill changes the laws regarding courts and judicial proceedings. In its main provisions, the bill:
Establishes a two-year statute of limitation for any action regarding injurious falsehood (similar to libel) (Section 516.140);
Allows the court, upon motion, to award court costs and attorney fees to the state in cases where the state is a party (Section 1);
Clarifies and confirms existing law (1) that all public notices required by law shall be published in newspapers qualified under section 493.050, RSMo., and (2) that certain persons are prohibited from profiting from certain contracts for advertising, express or implied, made with any newspaper (Section 2);
Requires only the last four digits to be listed on certain family court filing documents and the full number to be kept on file in a confidential case filing sheet (Chapters 452 and 454 and Section 509.520).
Passed: HCS HB 485 — SEISMIC SAFETY COMMISSION
This bill removes the requirement that one member, but specifies that no more than two, of the Seismic Safety Commission within the Department of Public Safety be appointed from each of the specified professional areas and adds public education to the list of professional areas from which members may be appointed.
The bill also specifies that a quorum will consist of a majority of the appointed members, but not less than seven, and may be met by electronic attendance and the nonvoting participation of the staff of the legislative members of the commission. Currently, a quorum must consist of nine members.
Passed: SCS HB 544 — OVERSIGHT OF PUBLIC FUNDS
This bill changes the laws regarding the oversight of public funds and access to the dome of the State Capitol.
JOINT COMMITTEE ON RECOVERY ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY
The bill establishes the Joint Committee on Recovery Accountability and Transparency to coordinate and conduct oversight of moneys received by the state and any political subdivision from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. The duties of the committee include:
(1) Reviewing whether the reporting of contracts and grants using these funds meet applicable standards and specify the purpose of the contract or grant and performance measures;
(2) Reviewing whether applicable competition requirements to contracts and grants using these funds have been satisfied;
(3) Reviewing these funds to determine whether wasteful spending, poor contract or grant management, or other abuses are occurring and referring appropriate matters for investigation to the Attorney General or the agency that disbursed these funds;
(4) Receiving regular reports from the Commissioner of the Office of Administration, or his or her designee, regarding these funds;
(5) Submitting annual reports to the Governor and General Assembly that summarize its findings. All reports must be made publicly available and posted on the Governor’s, the General Assembly’s, and each state agency’s web site except for portions which would disclose information that is not subject to disclosure under state law; and
(6) Making recommendations to agencies on measures to prevent, fraud, waste, and abuse regarding these funds. No later than 30 days after receipt of a recommendation, an agency must submit a report to the Governor and General Assembly stating whether the agency agrees or disagrees with the recommendation and any action the agency will take to implement the recommendations.
MISSOURI ACCOUNTABILITY PORTAL
The commissioner is required to maintain the Missouri Accountability Portal established in Executive Order 07-24 as a free Internet-based tool allowing citizens to demand fiscal discipline and responsibility. The portal will consist of an easy-to-search database of financial transactions related to the purchase of goods and services and the distribution of funds for state programs. The portal must be updated each business day and
maintained as the primary source of information about the activities of state government.
ACCESS TO THE STATE CAPITOL DOME
The commissioner must provide each member of the General Assembly with a key that accesses the dome of the State Capitol.
The provisions of the bill regarding the joint committee will expire March 1, 2012.
Passed: CCS SS SCS HCS HB 577 — REGULATION OF INSURANCE
This bill changes the laws regarding the regulation of insurance.
MO HEALTHNET DATA TRANSPARENCY (Section 208.192)
The MO HealthNet Division within the Department of Health and Senior Services must implement, by August 28, 2010, a program to make available on its web site nonaggregated data on MO HealthNet participants collected under the federal Medicaid Statistical Information System. The information must contain no identifying information in accordance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy requirements. When implementing the program, the division director is required to ensure:
(1) The information is available in a format that is easily accessible, useable, and understandable to the public;
(2) The information is current and updated at least once quarterly. The division director is authorized to contract with a public or private entity to update the data;
(3) Health care provider information identifies the provider by name; and
(4) The division director periodically solicits comments from individuals accessing the information to determine how best to improve the program.
Beginning August 28, 2011, the division director must submit an annual report to the General Assembly and the MO HealthNet Oversight Committee on the progress of the program. By August 28, 2011, the division director must submit a report to the General Assembly and the MO HealthNet Oversight Committee on the
feasibility, costs, and benefits of expanding the program to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
AUDITED FINANCIAL REPORTS OF CERTAIN INSURERS (Sections 375.1025
The bill changes the laws regarding audited financial reports for certain insurers. In its main provisions, the bill:
(1) Exempts insurers with less than $1 million in direct premiums written in Missouri and less than 1,000 policies or certificate holders nationwide in a calendar year from the financial report auditing requirements unless the Director of the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration finds that an audit is necessary;
(2) Exempts foreign or alien insurers from filing a report of internal control over financial reporting when the insurer has filed a substantially similar report in another state;
(3) Specifies that a similar 30-day extension is granted for the filing of the management’s report of internal control over financial reporting when an insurer has been granted an extension of the June 1 filing date for audit reports;
(4) Requires certain insurers to designate a group of individuals as its audit committee;
(5) Changes the content requirements for the financial report;
(6) Adds several provisions regarding the qualifications of the certified public accountant for an insurer’s annual audited financial report;
(7) Specifies that an insurer can apply, in writing, to the department director for permission to file audited combined financial statements in certain situations;
(8) Removes the statement of liability insurance coverage from the required contents of the accountant’s letter;
(9) Requires an accountant to have an understanding of the internal control of the insurer to plan the audit;
(10) Requires an insurer to provide the department director with a written communication of any unresolved material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting noted during the audit and the completed or proposed actions to correct them, unless the actions have been described in the accountant’s
(11) Establishes the membership requirements and functions of the audit committee;
(12) Specifies that false or misleading statements to an accountant in connection with any audit, review, or required communication will be considered a level three violation under Section 374.049; and
(13) Requires certain insurers to file a report of internal control over financial reporting and establishes the requirements for these reports.
Passed: HCS HB 620 & 671 — BINGO
This bill changes the laws regarding bingo. In its main provisions, the bill:
Increases the amount which may be used for advertising from 2% to 10% of the total amount expended from bingo receipts;
Removes the advertising provision which prohibits licensees from referencing aggregate values of bingo prizes;
Prohibits bingo games from operating between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. Currently, no games can be conducted between midnight and 10 a.m.;
Passed: HB 859 — RETENTION OF BUILDING OR TECHNICAL CODES
Currently, a county, fire protection district, or municipality that adopts building or technical codes by reference is required to file and keep three copies of the code in its clerk’s office for public use or inspection. This bill reduces the required number of copies to one.
Passed: SCS HB 866 — COMPLAINTS AGAINST CERTAIN LICENSED PROFESSIONALS
This bill allows the State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts and the State Committee for Social Workers within the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration to remove unsubstantiated complaints made against licensed social workers and physicians by offenders who have been
ordered into custody, detained, or held by the Department of Mental Health as sexually violent predators.
Passed: HJR 15 — PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR DISABLED PRISONERS OF WAR
Upon voter approval, this proposed constitutional amendment exempts from property taxation all real property used as a homestead by a former prisoner of war who has a total service-connected disability.
Passed: HCS/SB 196 – The act modifies provisions relating to the procedure for detaching territory from a public water supply district.
When a petition for detachment is submitted to the circuit court by someone other than the district’s board of directors, the district shall be named as a defendant and a copy of the petition shall be served upon the district by certified or registered mail at least 35 days before the hearing.
Current law requires notice of the petition to detach to be published in a newspaper in each county containing any portion of the proposed territory. The act instead requires that notice be published in a newspaper in the county in which the hearing will be held as well as in a newspaper with circulation in the proposed territory.
The act adds the district itself as an allowable entity to make an exception or objection to a proposed detachment. The act modifies the language required to be posted in the newspaper to mirror the statutory requirements.
Passed: HCS#2/SS/SB 291 – This act modifies many provisions relating to education. Among them:
PUBLIC ACCESS TO EDUCATION MATERIALS AND RECORDS: This act requires the State Board of Education to provide seven days’ written notice to members of board meetings. It also changes from four, to three, the number of members needed to request a meeting of the board. Any business that comes before the board must be made available by free electronic record at least seven business days prior to any meeting. All records of decision, votes, exhibits, or outcomes must be available by free electronic media within forty-eight hours of the conclusion of a meeting. any materials prepared for board members must be delivered to the members at least five days before the meeting. (Section 161.072)
This act requires the Commissioner of Education to study and evaluate the progress, or lack thereof, in achieving instructional goals, and make these findings available by free public electronic media. (Section 161.122)
Current law requires that public and nonpublic high schools report certain information about students age sixteen and older who drop out of school to the state literacy hotline. This act requires that records and reports based upon the school reports be made available by free electronic record on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website on the first business day of each month. Identifying information of individual students must be excluded. (Section 167.275)
SCHOOL DISTRICT RECORDS: This act allows school districts to maintain permanent records in a digital or electronic format. School districts must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, suggestions, and recommendations when using digital or electronic storage media and must not use them beyond the manufacturer suggested or recommended period of time.
EMPLOYEE BACKGROUND CHECKS AND FINGERPRINT RECORDS: An employee background check and fingerprint record is good for one year and transferable from district to district or to a private or parochial school. A teacher’s change in certification will not affect the transferability of records.
SCHOOL BOARDS AND AGREEMENTS WITH CERTAIN POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS: This act authorizes any school board to enter into an agreement with the county in which the school district is located, or a city, town, or village that is wholly or partially located within the boundaries of the school district to acquire, construct, improve, extend, repair, remodel, or finance sites, buildings, facilities, furnishings, and equipment for the school district’s educational purposes. An agreement may provide for the present or future acquisition of an ownership in the facilities, including joint ventures.
Passed: CCS/HCS/SB 296 – This act modifies laws regarding the state legal expense fund, cemetery operators, physician assistants, the division of professional registration, the board for architects, professional engineers, professional land surveyors, and landscape architects, dental care professionals, nurses, pharmacy, the board of cosmetology and the board of barber examiners, and mental health benefits. Among the changes:
WORKFORCE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT (Section 324.001)
This section authorizes boards or commissions under the authority of the Division of Professional Registration to collect and analyze information required to support workforce planning and policy development. This information shall not be publicly disclosed so as to identify a specific health care provider.
Passed: HCS/SCS/SB 338 – Under Executive Order 07-07 (2007), the administration of the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund was transferred from the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to the Department of Public Safety. This act would reflect such transfer in statute. Also, upon the victim’s request, a photograph shall be taken of the incarcerated individual prior to release and given to the crime victim.
Passed: SB 485 – In this bill, the Missouri Ethics Commission is required to redact any bank account number contained on a campaign committee’s statement of organization before it makes the statement public.
Passed: SCS/SJR 5 – This constitutional amendment, if approved by voters, would require the assessors in charter counties, except Jackson County, to be elected officials.
Here are bills, monitored by the Missouri Press Association, that DID NOT PASS the General Assembly this session:
CLOSED POLICE INTERNAL INVESTIGATION REPORTS
The original House Bill 62 contained numerous provisions of the failed omnibus crime prevention bill from the 2006 legislative session. Included in the legislation was a provision to close records associated with an internal investigation of a police officer. The closed record provision DID NOT PASS.
MISSOURI OPEN MEETINGS AND RECORDS LAW
House Bill 316 sponsored by Rep. Tim Jones (R-Eureka) provided for numerous changes to the Missouri Sunshine Law. While the bill passed the House, 159-0, the legislation died on the Senate calendar at the end of
Senate Bill 256 proposed county bidding changes, similar to House Bill 376. SB 256 DID NOT PASS.
FINANCIAL INTEREST STATEMENTS FILINGS
Senate Bill 66, sponsored by Senator Delbert Scott (R-Lowry City), made changes to financial interest statements filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Current law requires elected officials, candidates for elective office, and certain other officials of a political subdivision with an operating budget of over $1 million
to file financial interest statements. This act changed the operating budget floor to those over $2 million. The bill DID NOT PASS.
FAIR TAX FAILS
HB 318 by Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) – Required the Department of Revenue to develop methods for replacing the state individual and corporate income tax and the estate tax with a “fair tax” based on all new retail sales and services. The legislation could have instituted a sales tax on advertising in newspapers and other media. The bill DID NOT PASS.
REQUIRED “PAID FOR BY” LINE FOR POLITICAL ROBO CALLS
Political “ROBO calls” would be required to include a message stating the identity of the entity paying for the message, according to Senate Bill 65, sponsored by Senator Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville). The bill would also add cell phone and fax numbers to the state “no call” list. The bill DID NOT PASS.
ANDREW JACKSON VOTE RESTORATION ACT
House Bill 173, sponsored by Rep. Stan Cox (R-Sedalia). Currently, nonpartisan elections in political subdivisions and special districts, except for municipalities, may be canceled if the number of candidates filing for a position is equal to the number of positions available. This bill would establish the Andrew Jackson Vote Restoration Act which would repeal these provisions and require elections to always be held.
The bill DID NOT PASS.
CLOSING OF COUNTY RECORDS ON POLICE EMPLOYEES AND FAMILY
House Bill 1034 sponsored by Rep. Kenny Jones (R-California). HB 1034 would prohibit a county assessor from releasing the home address or any other information in his or her records regarding any peace officer or a member of the peace officer’s immediate family (parents, spouse, children, brothers, sisters) upon a written request to the assessor along with proof that the person is eligible to make the request. During testimony, the
Missouri Press Association noted its concern with the closing of property tax records. The bill DID NOT PASS.
BIDDING ADVERTISEMENT THRESHOLDS / INTERNET PUBLIC NOTICES
House Bill 376 contained provisions, raising the advertising threshold on county purchases. Currently, counties are not required to obtain bids on any purchase of $4,500 or less and notice must be posted for a proposed single feasible source purchase of $3,000 or more. The bill increased both thresholds to $6,000 and required counties to advertise in a newspaper for the single feasible source purchase of $6,000 or more. Senator Joan Bray (D-St. Louis) attached an amendment to HB 376 that would have allowed cities in St. Louis County to post their semi-annual city financial statement on city web sites, rather than publish the statement in newspapers. HB 376 DID NOT PASS.
Here are the vote totals for House Bill 376, which was defeated, 46-108:
Representative Hobbs moved that CCR SS SCS HB 376, as amended, be adopted.
Which motion was defeated by the following vote:
ABSENT WITH LEAVE: 008