Week 17: Senate Filibuster Ends after 41 Hours and More Uncertainty Remains for Final Days

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The following is a legislative update from Clarkston Nelson, LLC concerning the Missouri General Assembly’s spring legislative session. Use the information within to inspire local coverage of issues important to your readers.

Senate Filibuster Ends after 41 Hours and More Uncertainty Remains for Final Day

The Missouri Senate was locked up into an extensive floor discussion for more than 41 hours from Tuesday morning to the early morning hours of Thursday. The Senate Freedom Caucus held up all progress to bring reforms to the state initiative petition process to the floor for passage. Members of the Senate leadership had plans for this week to debate and pass their Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2025 state operating budget. In addition, the Senate is facing a deadline to pass legislation to extend the sunset for the state FRA tax. The FRA stands for “federal reimbursement allowance,” and Missouri has had this program for almost 20 years, and it operates as a voluntary tax on the health care providers to generate state tax dollars to draw down federal matching tax dollars for the state Medicaid program. The FRA tax equates to approximately $4 billion + in state dollars for Medicaid and is viewed as essential to ensure the legislature can pass a balanced budget.

At the end of the debate on Thursday morning, the Senate Freedom Caucus yielded the floor on its filibuster to allow Senate Bill 748 to receive its first-round approval. SB 748 is the FRA tax and will need another roll call vote before being sent to the House on Monday. The plan for this coming Monday afternoon is for the Senate to take up the state operating budget for 2025 and send its version to the House. Upon receipt by the House, hopefully consensus can be reached with the House and Senate budget negotiators by 6:00 p.m. next Friday, May 10th. If unsuccessful, the state budget will need to be passed during a Special Session called by the Governor per the state Constitution. Capitol observers remain optimistic the state budget can be passed on time and a special session will be avoided. Next week will be very hectic due to the logjam created by the Senate filibuster and the lost time this week. It is unlikely the legislature will have time over the next two weeks to find consensus on many of the other policy bills as it now appears we will see a very limited amount of legislation reach the Governor’s desk by the end of session on May 17th at 6:00 p.m.

While tensions remain high and unpredictable, the time remaining is expected to be chaotic and several changes will be made to nearly all bills debated. Session is also expected to run throughout the next 10 days, while running late into each evening as they finalize the budget and work on any remaining priorities. Neither time nor ever-changing language will allow for your customary weekly reports. Instead, we will be sending updates immediately if action is taken on issues of importance to you in the final two weeks.

Session adjourns promptly at 6:00 PM on Friday, May 17. To-date only 5 bills have been Truly Agreed and Finally Passed, as bills continue to be sent to the Governor, we will work to sift through all legislation and amendments and send you a final legislative report shortly after adjournment. Feel free to contact our office anytime if you have any questions on the current status of legislation of interest.

Committee Activity

Omnibus Senate Education Committee Bill

On Tuesday morning, the Senate Select Committee on Empowering Missouri Parents and Children met in executive session to vote on SCS HB 1569, sponsored by Rep. Ann Kelley (R-Lamar). The “do pass” vote by the committee was 5-4. The Senate Committee Substitute added a number of education-related provisions. The bill now contains a pilot program for media literacy in schools; public school background checks on school personnel; reading instruction for kindergarten through third grade; voluntary cursive writing provisions; STEM grants for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; Career-Tech Certificate Program; Access Missouri financial assistance program; International Baccalaureate Examinations; Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant, and higher education transfer credit components.

Anti-SLAPP Legislation

On Monday afternoon, the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee met to hear HB 1886, sponsored by Rep. Rudy Veit (R-Wardsville), a comprehensive judicial proceedings bill and includes establishing the “Uniform Public Expression Protection Act,” known as anti-SLAPP. Other portions of the bill expand circumstances under which a limited liability company may be dissolved; establishes an alternative dispute resolution process to which a court may refer, by rule or court order, a single case or a category of cases; establishes the “Missouri Electronic Wills and Electronic Estate Planning Documents Act.” The bill also excludes “criminal proceedings” from the circumstances under which information and data obtained by a probation and parole officer is privileged information. The bill establishes the “Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act” and modifies the amount paid to a juror who serves. Testifying in support of the bill were Jean Maneke, representing the Missouri Press Association; Heath Clarkston, representing the Missouri Broadcasters Association; Institute for Free Speech, the Missouri Bar Association, Missouri Juvenile Justice Association, Missouri Network Against Child Abuse, Reizman Berger, PC, and the Missouri Supreme Court. There was no testimony in opposition.

The committee then went into executive session to vote on SCS SB 897, sponsored by Sen. Curtis Trent (R-Springfield), an omnibus bill relating to judicial proceedings. The committee “do pass” vote was 6-0. Sen. Trent said the substitute bill made a few minor changes to the original bill. The bill includes the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act (anti-SLAAP). Other provisions in the bill include a moratorium on political subdivisions on eviction proceedings, court dissolution of a LLC, alternative dispute resolution processes, classification of minors for orders of protection, the principal place of administration of a trust, uniform electronic wills and electronic estate planning documents, guardianship and conservatorship: appointment of grandparents and persons acting as parents, disclosure of third party legal funding, references to the child custody jurisdiction and enforcement act, compensation of jurors, St. Louis city circuit court civil case filing surcharge, admissibility of statements of children and vulnerable persons in criminal cases, Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act, property with collectible judgments filings, information received by probation and parole officers, offenses of enticement of a child and offense of patronizing prostitution, and crime victims’ compensation fund.

Changes in Redaction of Court Documents

On Monday afternoon, the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee gathered for a hearing on HB 2064, sponsored by Rep. John Black (R-Marshfield). HB 2064 is an omnibus civil proceedings bill that includes provisions amending state law related to what information must be redacted from court documents. The changes include redacting information concerning a victim or witness in a criminal case that is confidential “as otherwise provided by statute or prescribed in Missouri Supreme Court Rules of Criminal Procedure or Operating Rules.” It also adds any other information redacted for good cause by order of the court. Testifying in support of HB 2064 were Jean Maneke, representing the Missouri Press Association; the Missouri Bar Association, Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Missouri Supreme Court, Associated Industries of Missouri, Riezman Berger, PC, and Legal Shield. A lawyer from St. Louis testified in opposition of a portion of the bill.

Land Bank

The House Financial Institutions Committee met Tuesday afternoon to discuss passage of HB 2251, sponsored by Representative Michael Johnson (D-Kansas City). The bill modifies provisions relating to land bank agencies by requiring the land bank of Kansas City, Missouri to file quiet title actions. The intent of the bill is to update the procedures pertaining to land banks and to streamline the process. After no discussion, the committee passed the bill by a vote of 11-2.

Disclosure of Intimate Images Act

On Monday afternoon, the House Rules-Legislative Oversight Committee convened to discuss HB 2728, sponsored by Rep. Cameron Parker (R-Campbell). The bill establishes the “Uniform Civil Remedies for Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act.” HB 2728 provides that a person who is depicted in an intimate image, who is identifiable in the image, and who suffers a harm from a person’s intentional disclosure or threatened disclosure of the intimate image without the individual’s consent has a cause of action against the person if the person knew or acted with reckless disregard about whether the depicted individual consented to the disclosure, about whether the intimate image was private, and about whether the depicted individual was identifiable. The bill specifies certain exceptions to liability for disclosure of an intimate image. The bill allows statutory damages not to exceed $10,000 and allows punitive damages. The statute of limitation is four years from the date the disclosure was discovered or should have been discovered or from the date of the threat to disclose, respectively. According to the bill, a person is not liable if the person proves that disclosure of an intimate image was made in good faith in the reporting or investigation of the disclosure. The committee passed the bill by a vote of 9-0.

Commercial Transactions, Public Notices

On Monday afternoon, the Senate Insurance and Banking Committee met to hear then vote “do pass” on HCS HB 2780, sponsored by Rep. Justin Hicks (R-Lake St. Louis). The committee vote was 3-0. The bill revises and creates provisions relating to commercial transactions. An amendment in the House allows online notices instead of newspaper public notices for self-storage unit auctions, legislation opposed by the Missouri Press Association. The bill increases from $5,000 to $15,000 the maximum amount of insurance coverage available for self-storage unit contents. Also amended onto the bill was HB 1478, establishing the “Money Transmission Modernization Act of 2024.” HCS HB 2780 prohibits public entities from accepting payments using any central bank digital currency. The bill modifies Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) definitions. The bill makes hybrid transactions subject to the UCC under certain circumstances as specified in the bill. For jurisdiction, choice of law, and recognition of interbranch letters of credit, the bill provides that a branch of a bank is considered to be the address indicated in the branch’s undertaking. If more than one address is indicated, the branch is considered to be located at the address from which the undertaking was issued. The legislation deals with a person’s control of an electronic document. Testimony in favor of the bill, prior to the committee vote, was offered by the Missouri Bankers Association, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Missouri Division of Finance and the National Self-Storage Association.

Max’s Law, Criminal Expungements, and More

The House Judiciary Committee met Wednesday afternoon in executive session to consider SB 754, et al, sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Parkville). The legislation, as passed by the Senate, is an omnibus bill relating to public safety. Prior to voting, Rep. Dave Evans (R-West Plains), chair of the committee, said he wanted to keep the bill clean, without committee amendments, since Sen. Luetkemeyer is working to move several House bills in the Senate. The committee voted “do pass” on the bill, 10-2. The bill establishes “Max’s Law” which would increase the penalty for assaulting a law enforcement animal by making it a class A misdemeanor if the animal is injured, a class E felony if the animal is severely injured, and a class D felony if the assault results in the animal’s death. The bill also modifies provisions relating to funding for the Office of Public Defender; modifies provisions relating to certification of juveniles for trial as adults; establishes a conviction review unit; modifies provisions relating to expungement; and modifies provisions relating to eligibility for parole for juveniles. Other portions of the bill deal with jurisdiction of juvenile courts; arrests for traffic violations; motions to vacate or set aside judgments; persistent offenders and minimum prison terms for armed criminal action; creation of a cyber-crimes task force; endangering the welfare of a child; establish “Blair’s Law” which specifies that a person commits the offense of unlawful discharge of a firearm if he or she recklessly discharges a firearm within or into the city limits; establish “Valentine’s Law” which creates the offense of aggravated fleeing a stop or detention of a motor vehicle if the person knows that a law enforcement officer is attempting to detain the vehicle and the person flees at a high speed; and, along with a few other issues, provides that civilian review boards established by political subdivisions shall solely be limited to reviewing, investigating, making findings, and recommending disciplinary action against law enforcement officers.

Business Development 

The House Rules-Regulatory Oversight Committee convened Tuesday afternoon to consider passage of SB 894, sponsored by Senator Travis Fitzwater (R-Fulton). The bill establishes provisions relating to the promotion of business development. Specifically, the bill creates the Regulatory Sandbox Act which provides small businesses creating innovative products in all industries a way to waive or suspend certain regulations for two years by applying to the Regulatory Relief Office created within the Department of Economic Development. The bill also eliminates the Small Business Fairness Board because they have not had a quorum or the capability to meet over the past ten years. Additionally, the bill includes the Right-to-Start Act, which requires the Commissioner of Administration, in conjunction with the Office of Entrepreneurship, which is established by the act, to file a report with the General Assembly making recommendations on improving access and resources for new Missouri businesses that have been in operation for less than three years and also creates the Office of Entrepreneurship to promote policies and initiatives to support growth in Missouri. The committee voted the bill do pass.

Farmers’ Use of Water Confidential Information

On Monday afternoon, the House Rural Community Development Committee gathered to hear SB 1351, sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Parkville). Under SB 1351, any individually identifiable user information (name, mailing address, other contact information) obtained by the Division of Geology and Land Survey shall remain confidential and shall not be released to the public or disclosed in response to any Sunshine Law request. Sen. Luetkemeyer said the legislation is to “protect the privacy rights of Missouri’s farmers.” Sometimes environmental interest groups will “harass farmers” for using large amounts of water, he said. It was mentioned that farmers’ water usage information by county would still be available, but not the names and addresses of the users. It was noted there have only been four Sunshine Law requests for such information this year, and questions were raised by Rep. Michael Burton (D-Lakeshire), a committee member, about why this bill is necessary. He suggested that the legislation could even protect foreign entities’ farming interests. Testimony in favor of SB 1351 was presented by the Missouri Soybean Association, the Missouri Farm Bureau, the Missouri Corn Growers Association, all saying farmers have a right to keep their personal information closed if they are major water users. The Department of Natural Resources still can release county-wide information about water use, according to the Soybean Association’s witness. Testimony in opposition to SB 1351 was presented by Amorvine LLC, saying, ”We deserve to know who would be usurping our water.” Testifying for information only was Jean Maneke, representing the Missouri Press Association, saying she had not heard anything that endangers farmers on this topic, and she questioned the need of another exception to the Sunshine Law.


The House Rules-Legislative Oversight Committee convened Monday afternoon to discuss passage of SB 1359, sponsored by Senator Curtis Trent (R-Springfield). A committee substitute was previously adopted to include HB 1478, establishes the “Money Transmission Modernization Act of 2024” (MTMA) which replaces existing money transmission laws and ensures that states coordinate in areas of regulation and licensing to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burden, protect the public from financial crime, and protect customer funds; HB 2875, modifies provisions relating to eligibility for MO HealthNet benefits for persons who have been diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer; SB 927, increases the maximum insurance coverage that may be offered by self-service storage insurance providers; HB 2086, allows for lending institutions to charge for the cost of credit reports; HB 2063, modifies laws relating to commercial financing disclosures; and includes a provisions from SB 835, which repeals a provision enacted in 1883 that requires description of a woman’s status as “wife” when executing a notary’s certificate of acknowledgement form in the course of a real estate transaction with her husband. The committee passed the bill by a 9-0 vote.

County Officials

The House Rules-Administrative Oversight Committee convened Monday afternoon to consider passage of SB 1363, sponsored by Senator Crawford (R-Buffalo). The bill includes several provisions relating to county officials. Specifically, upon the approval of the salary commission, the bill allows counties to increase coroners’ salaries. Additionally, the bill allows county corners that fill the slot of sheriffs to receive that salary, allows salary commissions to amend the base salary schedule, allows county collectors to conduct tax sales via electronic media, allows county auditors to audit and examine claims, excludes the Boone County sheriff from the current salary schedule, and changes statutes concerning public administrators. During bill progression, the bill was amended to clarify a St. Louis City sheriff shall be required to hold a valid peace officer license within two years of being elected as sheriff and also clarifies the annual salary for a sheriff shall be no less than $50 thousand dollars a year. Substitute language was previously adopted which added HB 1522, which modifies provisions relating to the establishment of alternative county highway commissions in certain counties. Additionally, language was added which requires the Chief of Police to be elected in St. Charles County. The committee passed the bill by an 6-0 vote.

Penalties of Posting Unlawful Information

On Monday afternoon, the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee met in executive session to vote “do pass” on SCS SB 1400, sponsored by Sen. Ben Brown (R-Washington), a bill dealing with the unlawful posting of information on the Internet. The committee vote was 6-0. Under current law, a person commits the offense of unlawful posting if he or she knowingly posts certain information to cause great bodily harm or death or threatening to cause harm or death. SCS SB 1400 adds that a person shall also commit such offense if he or she knowingly posts certain information to intimidate or harass a person or obtain financial gain from the person and such offense shall be a class E felony. Penalties are increased in the bill for persons who are found guilty. SCS SB 1400 also deals with business records to be used as evidence in judicial cases without electronic signatures to be notarized.

Prohibition on Ranked Choice Voting Elections

On Tuesday afternoon, the House Elections and Elected Officials Committee gathered to conduct a hearing and then an executive session on SJR 78, sponsored by Sen. Ben Brown (R-Washington). SJR 78, if approved by voters, provides that only citizens of the U.S., 18 years old and older, who are residents of Missouri and of the political subdivision in which they vote are entitled to vote at all elections. Prohibited will be “ranked choice voting,” limiting voters to a single vote per candidate or issue. All elections shall be by paper ballot or by any mechanical method prescribed by law. The candidate who receives the greatest number of votes in a political party primary shall be the only candidate for that political party at the general election. The provision does not apply to any nonpartisan municipal election held in a city that had an ordinance in effect Nov. 5, 2024, that requires a preliminary election at which more than one candidate advances to a subsequent election. After a three-hour hearing, the committee entered executive session and voted “do pass” on SJR 78 by a vote of 10-4. During the hearing, supporting testimony was offered by Americans For Citizen Voting, Heritage Action for America, The Opportunity Solutions Project, and the Warren County Republican Committee. Testimony in opposition to the resolution was given by the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, Better Ballot KC, League of Women Voters of Missouri, ACLU of Missouri, an advocate of ranked choice voting, and Arnie Dienoff. Information only was offered by Dave Roland, an attorney with Freedom Center of Missouri, Mexico, Mo.

Floor Activity

Condensed County Financial Statement

On Thursday morning, the House brought up for perfection HB 2571, sponsored by Rep. Peggy McGaugh (R-Carrollton), a bill that requires a condensed county financial statement to be published on or before June 30 each year in local newspapers in all counties of the first, second, third, or fourth classification. The House perfected and printed the bill by voice vote, and another House vote is needed to send the bill to the Senate. The bill language includes publication of the name and current gross annual salary of each elected or appointed county official. Another portion of the bill deals with political subdivisions that fail to submit their required annual financial statements to the State Auditor and currently are fined $500 a day. The bill allows for a reduction or elimination of the fine under certain circumstances.

Upcoming Hearings

House-Rural Community Development
05/06/2024 1:00 PM
Committee Hearing, HR 1
Executive Session:
SB1351 Luetkemeyer – Creates a provision relating to the release of certain confidential information by the Missouri Geological Survey

House-Rules-Administrative Oversight
05/06/2024 2:00 PM
Committee Hearing, HR 4
Executive Session:
SJR78 Brown – Modifies provisions relating to elections

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