LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 5/7/2021

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 5-7-21

May 7, 2021

 The legislature is finalizing the budget today.  Next week will be very hectic as a great number of bills will be considered.  The session ends next Friday at 6:00 pm so there will be no update on the 14th.  Changes from the last report are in red.  Bills which have not been perfected have been deleted.  Bills which have not passed one chamber are unlikely to pass and have been lined through.

 Economic Development Bills

 SB 22 (Koenig) – modifies several provisions relating to tax increment financing.  This act modifies the definitions of “blighted area” and “conservation area” and creates new definitions for “port infrastructure projects”, “retail area”, and “retail infrastructure projects”.   This act modifies local tax increment financing projects by providing that a study shall be conducted by a party other than the proponent of the redevelopment plan, which details how the area meets the definition of an area eligible to receive tax increment financing.  This act also provides that retail areas, as defined in the act, shall not receive tax increment financing unless such financing is exclusively utilized to fund retail infrastructure projects, as defined in the act, or unless such area is a blighted or conservation area.   This act prohibits new projects from being authorized in any Greenfield area.   Current law allows districts and counties imposing a property tax for the purposes of providing emergency services to be entitled to reimbursement from the special allocation fund of a portion of the district’s or county’s tax increment. For projects approved after August 28, 2021, this act modifies such provision to allow reimbursement to ambulance districts, fire protection districts, and governing bodies operating a 911 center providing dispatch services and which impose economic activity taxes for such purposes.  (Oppose) Ways & Means Committee.  Heard 2/4.  Passed Committed 2/4.  Perfected 3/2.  Passed Senate 3/4.  House Economic Development Committee.  Heard 3/25.  Passed Committee 4/1.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Committee.  Informal House 3rd Reading Calendar.

Election Bills

HB 556 (Eggleston) – imposes a labeling requirement for political subdivision and special district ballot measures beginning with “Proposition A” and so on consecutively to “Proposition Z” and continuing with double letters in alphabetical order if necessary. If a measure is labeled, but not voted upon at the next election, then it retains its letter designation until it has been voted on.  Elections Committee.  Heard 2/3.  Passed Committee. 2/10.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Committee 2/18.  Perfected 4/13.  Passed House 4/19.  Senate General Laws Committee.  Heard 4/27.

Miscellaneous Bills

 HB 27 (Walsh) – requires posting notice, required under Section 610.020 of 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. In addition, public governmental bodies must post proposed and adopted rules, ordinances, laws, or regulations on their website and social media pages within 24 hours after the meeting at which they are proposed or adopted exclusive of weekends and holidays.  Government Accountability Committee.  Heard 3/8.  Passed Committee 3/22.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Committee 3/25.  Perfected 4/13.  Passed House 4/15.  Senate Government Accountability Committee.  Heard 4/29.

 HB 75 (Murphy) – provides time limited authority for political subdivisions to order closures of businesses, churches, schools, or other public gatherings for reasons of public health or safety. A public official is authorized to order closure for up to 15 days, then for a second period of up to 15 days upon approval of the government entity’s legislative body. The order closure may be extended an addition 10 days at a time up to three times upon a 2/3’s vote of the governmental entity’s legislative body. After three extensions of 10 days any additional 10 day extension shall be upon unanimous approval of the government entity’s legislative body.  Small Business Committee.  Heard 1/26.  Passed Committee 2/2.  Referred Rules Committee.  Returned to Small Business Committee.  Passed Committee 2/23.  Referred Rules Committee 2/25.  Passed Committee 2/25.  Perfected 3/3.  Passed House 3/11.  Senate Health/ Pensions Committee.  Heard 3/31.  Passed Committee 4/15.  Senate Informal 3rd Reading Calendar.

 HB 271 (Wiemann) – 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.  Emerging Issues Committee.  Heard 1/26.  Passed Committee 2/2.  Referred Rules Committee 2/3.  Passed Rules Committee 2/4.  Perfected 2/10.  Passed House 2/18.  Senate Local Government Committee.  Heard 3/31.  Passed Committee 4/14.  Passed Senate 4/28.  In Conference.  Language added in Senate prohibiting political subdivisions from enacting new taxes and fees on satellite and/or streaming services.  (Oppose)

HB 362 (DeGroot) – allows a public governmental body to close records if the records are related to email addresses and telephone numbers submitted to a public governmental body by individuals or entities for the sole purpose of receiving electronic or other communications.  Support.  Emerging Issues Committee.  (Support) Heard 1/26.  Passed Committee 2/2.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Rules Committee 2/4.  Perfected 2/10.  Passed House 2/18.  Senate Governmental Accountability Committee.  Heard 3/25.  Passed Committee 4/1.  Passed Senate with amendments 5/3.  House adopts Senate amendments.  Truly Agreed and Finally Passed 5/6.

 HB 512 (Lovasco) – requires the Missouri Ethics Commission to investigate violations of election statutes relating to the use of public funds for political advertising purposes on printed materials. Any person may file a complaint against a state department or its director for violations. If the Missouri Ethics Commission or a court determines that there has been a violation of section 115.646, it shall impose penalties such as subjecting the department, director of state department, political subdivision, or principal officer of the subdivision or special district, to civil penalties in an amount equal to 10 times the expenditure that violated the section or $10,000, whichever is greater. The defendant will also be ordered to pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and court costs. Downsizing Government Committee.  Heard 2/17.  Passed Committee 2/24.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Committee 3/4.  Perfected 4/13.  Defeated on 3rd Reading.

Public Safety Bills

 HB 52 (Schnelting) – currently, it is a crime to board a bus with a dangerous or deadly weapon or carry such a weapon in a terminal. This bill allows a concealed carry permit holder to lawfully carry firearms on public transportation, as defined in the bill. Anyone with a permit may also carry a firearm while traveling by bus. A person with or without a permit may transport a firearm in a non-functioning state by bus if ammunition is not available. This bill does not apply to property of Amtrak or any partnership in which Amtrak engages.  General Laws Committee.  Heard 2/1.  Passed Committee 2/8.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Committee 2/18.  Perfected 3/3.  Passed House 3/8.  Senate General Laws Committee.  Heard 3/30.  Passed Committee 4/8.

 HB 295 (Roberts) – establishes the “Peace Officer Basic Training Tuition Reimbursement Fund”, which will consist of money appropriated by the General Assembly, as well as any gifts, bequests, or donations, and the funds are to be used solely for the administration of the reimbursement program.  Qualifying government entities that pay for a person to attend the academy may submit for tuition reimbursement.  Crime Prevention Committee.  Heard 2/17.  Passed Committee 2/23.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Committee 2/25.  Perfected 3/24.  Passed House 3/29.  Senate Transportation/Public Safety Committee.

 HB 876 (Dogan) – creates several provisions relating to law enforcement agency accountability. The language bans choke holds, defines sexual misconduct by police officers, creates peace officer training certification requirements, and establishes certification requirements for law enforcement officers looking for employment in Missouri. During the Committee’s discussion, substitute language was adopted to modify the bill to mirror the Senate version by clarifying the definition of chokehold and sexual misconduct by a police officer while on duty.  Crime Prevention Committee.  Heard 2/17.  Passed Committee 3/1.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Committee 3/3.  Perfected 4/26.  Informal 3rd Reading Calendar.

 SB 26 (Eigel) – creates provisions relating to public safety, including defunding police, Offense of Unlawful Traffic Interference and Law Enforcement Officer Disciplinary Actions.  General Laws Committee.  Heard 1/26.  Passed Committee 2/2.  Perfected 2/22.  Passed Senate 2/25.  House Crime Prevention Committee.  Heard 3/22.  Passed Committee 3/29.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Committee 4/8.  Passed House with numerous amendments 5/4.  In conference.

 SB 289 (Brown) – under current law, all licensed peace officers, as a condition of licensure, must obtain continuing law enforcement education and maintain a current address of record on file with the POST Commission. This act provides that in addition to those requirements for licensure, peace officers must submit to being fingerprinted on or before January 1, 2022, and every six years after for the purposes of a criminal history background check and enrollment in the state and federal Rap Back Program. Additionally, any time a peace officer is commissioned with a different law enforcement agency he or she must submit to being fingerprinted. The criminal history background check shall include the records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The resulting report shall be forwarded to the peace officer’s law enforcement agency. The Rap Back enrollment shall be for the purposes of peace officer disciplinary reports as required by law.  Law enforcement officers and law enforcement agencies shall take all necessary steps to maintain officer enrollment in Rap Back for as long as an officer is commissioned with that agency. All law enforcement agencies shall enroll in the state and federal Rap Back programs on or before January 1, 2022.  Transportation/Public Safety Committee.  Heard 2/9.  Passed Committee 2/23.  Perfected 3/31.  Passed Senate 4/1.  House Government Accountability Committee.  Heard 4/19.  Passed Committee 4/26.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Committee.  House 3rd reading calendar.

Taxation & Revenue Bills

 HB 554 (Eggleston) – implements Wayfair sales and use tax law.  Amended to eliminate voter re-approval of use taxes previously approved.  Lowers income tax. Amended on House floor to prohibit municipal taxes, licenses and fees on video or streaming services. (Oppose) Ways & Means Committee.  Heard 2/10.  Passed Committee 2/17.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Committee 2/22.  Perfected 3/9.  Passed House 3/11.  Senate Ways & Means Committee.  Heard 4/1.  Passed Committee 5/4. 

 HJR 17 (Kidd) – constitutional amendment authorizes a tax exemption phased-in at 20% increments over five years to equal 100% of the amount of real property tax paid on a senior citizen’s primary residence.  Any qualified taxpayer that utilizes a service in a political subdivision that is authorized to impose a real property tax will be liable to pay that portion of their property tax for that tax year.  Ways & Means Committee.  Heard 3/3.  Passed Committee 3/10.  Referred Rules Committee.  Passed Committee 3/23.  Perfected 4/26.  3rd Reading Calendar.

 SB 153 (Koenig) – enacts the Wayfair sales and use tax law and revises the St. Louis County use tax ballot language and use tax distribution.  Amended to include video franchise reduction beginning on 2023.  A House Committee Substitute was offered that removes the cash operating fund, revises the Earned Income Tax Credit language to look more like language contained in HB 1139, speeds up the income tax reduction, and requires a second local use tax vote.   Ways & Means Committee.  Heard 2/11.  Passed Committee 2/25.  Perfected 3/10.  Passed Senate 3/11.  House Ways & Means Committee.  Heard 4/14. Passed Committee 4/21.  Informal 3rd Reading Calendar.  Senator Koenig said after the hearing and said he remains steadfast in his opposition to the second local use tax vote.  It is important to understand that the bill has been changed to require cities and counties that have already passed a local use tax, to go back to the voters to pass another local use tax in order to capture revenue from any “new” online transactions. No one really seems to know how this would work and what problems a second local use tax election would create.
It is important for those cities that have already passed a local use tax, to contact their state representative to let them know how difficult it would be for cities to go back to the voters to ask for another local use tax.  The League has consistently taken the position that this is not a new use tax and, therefore, a second use tax vote is not necessary.  

Transportation and Vehicle Bills

 SB 262 (Schatz) – increases the tax by 2.5 cents per year over a period of 5 years. When the act is fully implemented, the excise tax on motor fuel will be 32 cents per gallon. Citizens could apply for a refund of the additional tax amount. (Support) Transportation/Public Safety Committee.  Heard 2/2.  Committee Substitute Passed Committee 2/9.  Perfected 3/10.  Passed Senate 3/11.   House Transportation Committee.  Heard 4/21.  Passed Committee 4/26.  Referred Rules Committee.

 Utility, Cable and Video Bills

 SB 27 (Crawford) – modifies provisions relating to county officials.  Local Government Committee.  Heard 1/27.  Passed Committee 2/3.  Perfected 2/24.  Passed Senate 3/4.  House Downsizing Government Committee.  Heard 4/28.  Passed Committee 4/29.   House 3rd Reading Calendar.  Language added in Senate Committee prohibiting political subdivisions from enacting new taxes and fees on satellite and/or streaming services.  (Oppose)

SB 108 (Cierpiot) – allows two or more municipalities to form a broadband infrastructure improvement district for the delivery of broadband internet service to the residents of such municipalities. A district created under the act shall have to power to contract with a broadband internet service provider to provide broadband internet service to the residents of the district.  A district may finance the provision or expansion of broadband internet service through grants, loans, bonds, user fees, or a sales tax, not to exceed one percent. The act also sets forth the composition and operation of the district governing board.  Amended on Senate floor to prohibit municipal taxes, licenses and fees on video or streaming services. (Oppose) Commerce Committee.  Heard 2/10.  Passed Committee 2/24.  Perfected 3/24.  Passed Senate 3/25.  House Utilities Committee.  Heard 4/29.

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