Fixing Missouri’s job-crushing legal climate: Missouri Chamber releases 2020 Legislative Agenda
With Missouri’s job-crushing legal climate continuing to cost our state billions of dollars, 2020 is the year that the Missouri General Assembly must finally put this issue to rest. In a new report released on Dec. 10, the American Tort Reform Association named St. Louis the fifth worst Judicial Hellhole in the nation, noting that courtrooms in places like St. Louis “swing open the door for trial lawyers to sue for more money over more issues, regardless of the facts.” Excessive litigation costs in our state are leading to the estimated loss of more than 25,000 jobs and more than $1.5 billion in personal income in Missouri, according to the report.
Today, the Missouri Chamber is publishing a 2020 Legislative Agenda that includes a plan to fix this problem. Action is urgently needed as the state’s legal climate is currently ranked 44th in the nation by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. Having such a poor legal climate is a major problem for Missouri as 89 percent of business leaders nationwide say that a state’s litigation environment is likely to impact important business decisions. Missouri business leaders understand the threat caused by operating in a state where the court system is slanted against them. A Missouri Chamber Foundation survey of Missouri CEOs this fall found that 80 percent of chamber members could cite reasons to improve the state’s legal climate — with most mentioning how our current legal system is hurting our economy.
In addition to the focus on improving our legal climate, the Missouri Chamber will spend 2020 advocating for:
- Continued improvement to our state’s work to prepare Missourians for the workforce, an issue employers continue to rank as their most pressing concern.
- More investment in our roads and transportation infrastructure.
- A Missouri-based solution to rising health care costs.
- A new focus on bolstering our fast-growing technology industry. This is the first year the Missouri Chamber has published a technology agenda.
- Reforms to the workers’ compensation system, including legislation to help reduce insurance rates and clarify the law where it has been subjected to inconsistent judicial decisions.
Those are just a few broad highlights.
“There is a tendency in Jefferson City to lower expectations when a big election is about to happen. But the Missouri Chamber rejects that excuse,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Our 2020 Legislative Agenda comprises one of the most ambitious sets of policy goals our organization has ever published. We must act to improve our legal climate, prepare our workforce and invest in our infrastructure. Lowering our expectations in 2020 would be a huge missed opportunity. This year Missouri has a chance to outpace other states that end up bogged down in election drama. In a year when everyone is shouting for attention, let’s turn heads by making real progress.”