2017 Legislation: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Following is a list of selected bills of note handled in the 2017 legislative session:

GOOD BILLS THAT PASSED

REAL ID (HB 151): Attempts to bring Missouri driver’s licenses and non-driver identification into compliance with the federal REAL ID of 2005.

FUND SWEEP (HCB 3, SENATE VERSION): Authorizes excess revenue sitting unused in various special state funds to be redirected for in-home and nursing home care in order to prevent more than 8,000 disabled or elderly Missourians losing their services. NOTE: The enacted Senate version replaced the original “bad” House version that sought to eliminate the modest “circuit breaker” for elderly and disabled Missourians who rent their homes.

UMKC CONSERVATORY (HCR 19): Authorizes the sale of $48 million in public revenue bonds for new music and dance conservatory building at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

PENSIONS (SB 62): Allows pensions for state employees to vest after five years of service instead of 10 years, returning the time period for vesting to what it was prior to 2011.

LEGAL EXPENSE FUND (SB 128): Requires the attorney general and state commissioner of administration to report all settlements and judgments paid from the State Legal Expense Fund on a monthly basis.

 

GOOD BILLS THAT DIDN’T PASS

LOBBYIST GIFT BAN (HB 60): Sought to prohibit elected officials from accepting gifts from lobbyists.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG MONITORING (HB 90): Sought to create a statewide database to monitor the prescription and dispensing of controlled substances.

PUBLIC EDUCATION (HB 118): Sought to rewrite the state law governing student transfers from unaccredited school districts to neighboring accredited districts, along with other changes relating to public education.

REVOLVING DOOR (HB 213): Sought to extend the waiting period for elected officials to become lobbyists after their term ends from the existing six months to five years.

MINIMUM WAGE (HB 167, HB 470, HB 516, HB 652): Sought to gradually increase the state minimum wage from $7.70 an hour to $15 an hour.

MISSOURI NONDISCRIMINATION ACT (HB 485, HB 846, HB 911, SB 338): Sought to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, banking or public accommodations. 

POLICE BODY CAMERAS (HB 504): Sought to require all uniformed law enforcement officers to wear a video camera while on duty to record any interaction with a member of the public.

DARK MONEY BAN (SB 73): Sought to require public disclosure of donations to secretive “dark money” committees that are used to circumvent campaign contribution limits and hide the source of political donations.

 

BAD BILLS THAT PASSED

EXPERT WITNESSES (HB 153): Increases the standards for admitting expert witness testimony in state court.

TORT CLAIMS (HB 339): Modifies statutory provisions relating to tort claims.

MINIMUM WAGE PREEMPTION (HB 1194): Prohibits cities from setting local minimum wages that are higher that the state minimum wage of $7.70 an hour. It will have the effect of invalidating a St. Louis ordinance that currently sets the city’s minimum wage at $10 an hour and which was slated to increase to $11 an hour in January.

RIGHT TO WORK (SB 19): Makes it a crime punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a $300 fine for businesses to negotiate labor contracts that require employees to pay dues for the union representation they receive.

COLLATERAL SOURCE (SB 31): Modifies the collateral source rule and allows litigants to introduce evidence of the actual cost, rather than the value, of medical care rendered.

DISCRIMINATION (SB 43): Makes it for difficult for victims of illegal discrimination to successfully pursue their claims under the Missouri Human Rights Act.

PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS (SB 182): Prohibits local governments from entering into project labor agreements on public works projects. Under a project labor agreement, a government entity agrees to follow union labor standards on public construction projects.

 

BAD BILLS THAT DIDN’T PASS

PREVAILING WAGE (HB 104): Sought to prohibit contractors and subcontractors on public works projects to being required to pay workers the local prevailing wage.

ABORTION (HB 194, SB 194): Sought to impose various new restrictions relating to abortion.

PAYCHECK DECEPTION (HB 251): Sought to impose new procedural barriers to the efficient and timely collection of union dues.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS (HB 288): Sought to cut the maximum weeks of unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to as low as 13 weeks, depending on the statewide unemployment rate.

PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS (SB 313): Sought to authorize $25 million a year in tax credits to pay for private school tuition.

CHARTER SCHOOLS (HB 634): Sought the statewide expansion of charter schools, which are currently limited to the Kansas City and St. Louis school districts.

MANDATORY ARIBTRATION (SB 45): Sought to allow employers to impose mandatory arbitration agreements on employees prohibiting courts from deciding disputes brought by employees.

 

OTHER BILLS THAT PASSED

RIDE SHARING (HB 130): Establishes a statewide regulatory framework for so-called “ride-sharing” services like Uber and Lyft, superseding and nullifying existing local regulations on such services.

SALARY COMMISSION (HCR 4): Rejects pay increases recommended by the State Salary Commission for lawmakers, statewide elected and judges.

TRANSPORTATION STUDY (HCR 47): Creates a task force to study ideas for improving funding for the state highway system.

CRIMINAL OFFENSES (SB 34): Makes various changes relating to criminal offenses and establishes a “blue alert” system to inform the public when a suspect alleged to have attacked a police officer is at large.

STL ZOO SALES TAX (SB 49): Authorizes voters in St. Louis City and St. Louis County to approve a one-eighth-cent sales tax to support the St. Louis Zoo.

 

OTHER BILLS THAT DIDN’T PASS

TRAFFIC CAMERAS (HB 275): Sought to statutorily prohibit the use of automated traffic enforcement systems to issue ticket for alleged red-light violations or speeding.

AIRBNB (HB 608): Sought to prevent local governments from enacting ordinances prohibiting residential dwelling rentals through online services such as Airbnb.