Coleman Legislation Update
My proposed Constitutional amendment, HJR 80, dealing with property tax assessments, was unanimously voted out of committee this week. We are very excited and encouraged that this bill had no opposition. HB 2615 (School COVID Mandates) was also voted out of committee this week. This bill would prohibit school districts (and staff) from mandating mask wearing or a Covid-19 vaccination as a condition to participate in school-sponsored extracurricular activities. HJR 80 and HB 2615 have both been assigned the House Rules- Administrative Oversight committee. HB 2616 raises the criminal charge associated with patronizing prostitution and was voted out of the House Rules-Administrative Oversight committee unanimously, as well. We are glad to see this bill steadily moving through the process. Lastly, HB 1641 which would make an employer liable for any injuries caused by employer mandated vaccination, has been placed on the informal House perfection calendar.
Missouri House Approves Plan to Legalize Sports Betting (HBs 2502 & 2556)
Missourians would be able to wager on college and professional sports under legislation approved by the House this week. Lawmakers gave approval to HB 2502 to allow legalized sports betting in Missouri in either casinos or through a licensed mobile app.
The bill is the result of a Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that struck down a federal prohibition on sports betting. Since that time, nearly 30 states, including many of Missouri’s neighboring states, have adopted legislation to allow some form of wagering on sporting events. Supporters noted that Missouri needs to legalize sports betting to keep revenues generated by the industry in the state.
One supporter noted, “It’s happening today. We’re not stopping it by not allowing it. It’s just going underground or it’s going across the border. We should be regulating this.”
HB 2502 would implement an 8% tax on sports wagers. Fiscal analysts estimate the tax would generate approximately $10 million annually for the state.
The bill’s sponsor noted that the legislation has the support of all of the state’s professional sports teams and five of the six companies who operate casinos in Missouri.
An amendment added to the bill requires an annual report to assess the social and economic effects of gaming in the state and to obtain information related to compulsive gambling. The provision would require the state to provide resources to assist individuals with a compulsive gambling problem.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Lawmakers Act to Protect the Rights of Landowners (HB 2005)
The Missouri House took action this week to protect land owners from having their property unlawfully seized through the misuse of eminent domain. House members gave initial approval to HB 2005, which is a direct response to the Grain Belt Express project that has the authority to use eminent domain to acquire land in Missouri.
Grain Belt Express is a high-voltage electric transmission line that will run approximately 800 miles from Kansas to Indiana. In 2019, the project was granted the authority to obtain land easements in Missouri through the use of eminent domain.
The bill’s sponsor told his colleagues, “The Grain Belt is a private out-of-state company that is using eminent domain as a public utility. There is very little benefit for the state of Missouri. Only six percent of the power is going to be used here in our state.”
The sponsor said the bill is a response to the land owners who are pleading with the legislature for help. He said the bill, “ensures utility projects in Missouri actually benefit the state of Missouri. It provides just compensation for land owners when their land is being taken from them and it’s being condemned. It also incentivizes negotiations outside the court process.”
HB 2005 would require that any electrical corporation that proposes building a transmission line must provide a minimum of 50% of its electrical load to Missouri consumers to be considered a public service and to be allowed to condemn property to construct the transmission. The bill also specifies that in condemnation proceedings, just compensation for agricultural or horticultural land will be 150% of fair market value, which will be determined by the court. Additionally, the bill states that in a condemnation proceeding for agricultural or horticultural land in which a court appoints three disinterested commissioners, at least one of the commissioners must be a farmer who has been farming in the county for at least 10 years.
The bill now requires another positive vote in the House before moving to the Senate.
Making Prescription Medications More Affordable (HB 1677)
Missourians could see lower prescription drug costs thanks to legislation approved by the Missouri House of Representatives. House members gave first-round approval to HB 1677 with the goal of improving transparency and accountability for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in Missouri.
PBMs are paid third-party administrators of prescription drug coverage for insurers and employers. They provide a wide variety of services including developing and maintaining formularies, processing claims, and negotiating discounts and rebates between payers and manufacturers. PBMs manage plans for millions of Americans.
The bill’s sponsor said the bill “will reduce prescription drug costs” and noted his bill is meant to help Missourians “understand what goes on with the rebate monies that PBMs are handling for their employers.”
The sponsor told his colleagues, “It offers transparency. It shows where the rebate moneys go and as you look at where the rebate money goes, you will determine that these PBMs are actually pocketing some of the rebate moneys that they collect that should be going back to the patients. This is a bill that puts the moneys back in the patients’ hands instead of paying shareholders’ dividends.”
HB 1677 would require PBMs to report the dollar amount of rebates collected from pharmaceutical manufacturers, the dollar amount of rebates that were not passed on, and the dollar amount of all fees and payments received from pharmaceutical manufacturers. The bill also specifies that PBMs must notify health carriers and pharmacies in writing of any potential conflict of interest, including but not limited to common ownership or any other relationship between the PBM and any other health carrier or pharmacy with which the PBM contracts.
Supporters say the legislation will help restore the balance in the health care system and ensure Missourians have sustainable access to medications and choice in where they receive their pharmacy services.
The bill now requires another vote in the House before moving to the Senate.
Bills Sent to the Senate
HB 2694 is meant to lessen the increases Missourians will see in their property taxes due to rising vehicle values. The bill modifies existing state law, which requires assessors to use the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) price guide to assess the values of Missourians’ cars. Instead of being restricted to using October’s NADA values, HB 2694 would allow assessors to use the trade-in value for a given vehicle from that edition or either of the last two years’ October NADA guides. Supporters say the market price of vehicles has increased 30 to 40 percent and the bill would allow for prices to stabilize without a large increase in Missourians' personal property taxes.
HB 1856 establishes the "Extended Learning Opportunities Act". An "extended learning opportunity" is an out-of-classroom learning experience that provides a student with enrichment opportunities, career readiness or employability skills opportunities such as internships or apprenticeships, any other approved educational opportunities. The bill requires that by the 2023-24 school year the State Board of Education and local school boards must inform students of the opportunity to participate and earn credit for extended learning opportunities. Supporters say the bill ensures students and their families are well-informed about opportunities for learning that extend beyond the classroom and that they are provided information on applying to receive credit for those experiences.
HB 1962 modifies the definition of "local log truck" and "local log truck tractor" to specify weight distribution and a total maximum weight for each truck, and updates weight and distance limits. In addition, the bill also sets fines for load-limit violations involving a local log truck or a local log truck tractor.
HB 2202 requires, for all school years on or after July 1, 2023, certain coursework and instruction in computer science in public and charter high schools. The bill also establishes the "Computer Science Education Task Force". The mission of the Task Force is to develop a state strategic plan for expansion of computer science education programs statewide. Supporters say the bill will help Missouri address the labor shortages experienced by technical industries that are seeking to hire individuals who have the computer science background and knowledge base.
HB 2382 exempts from the definition of "retail sale" or "sale at retail" for the purposes of sales tax law the purchase by persons operating hotels, motels, or other transient accommodation establishments of certain utilities, which are used to heat, cool, or provide water or power to the guests' accommodations, and which are included in the charge made for the accommodations. Supporters say the bill fixes a Supreme Court decision that disrupted common practice by making hotels pay sales tax twice.
HB 2193 requires that any member of Missouri Task Force One who is called to active duty be entitled to employment rights and discrimination protections when they are relieved from such duty. Supporters say the bill gives Task Force Once the same Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) rights that they get for working as a Federal asset. The bill will make sure they have the same protections against discrimination and reemployment rights.
HB 1606 requires all non-charter counties, by June 30th of each year, to prepare and publish in a qualified newspaper a financial statement for the previous year. The financial statement will include the name, office, and current gross annual salary of each elected or appointed county official. Supporters say the bill will allow small counties to publish notice in the same manner as large counties, using the condensed format of financial statements, and should result in savings for small counties.
HB 1984 modifies the Board membership of the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees' Retirement System by having the terms of the active employee representatives serving on the Board on August 28, 2026, to continue an additional two years until June 30, 2028 and after such date all terms of elected active employee representatives shall be for four years beginning July 1, 2028 and every four years thereafter. Supporters say the bill will help stagger the elected members of the board and prevent a loss of institutional knowledge every time an election occurs and all new members take office.
HB 2355 establishes the "Time-Critical Diagnosis Advisory Committee" for the purpose of improvement of public and professional education related to time-critical diagnosis, research endeavors, policies and recommendations for changes. Supporters say the bill improves services for time-critical medical conditions such as strokes and heart attacks.
HB 2163 provides that the surviving spouse will not be considered as next-of-kin if an action for dissolution of marriage has been filed and is pending in a court of competent jurisdiction. Additionally, the next-of-kin of a deceased person may delegate the final disposition of the deceased to an agent through a power of attorney. Supporters say the bill protects the interests of the deceased and surviving family members in the event the deceased had begun, but not finalized, divorce proceedings.
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