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Missouri Chamber sets priority legislation for remainder of session

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The Missouri General Assembly has announced plans to return to the Capitol on April 27 to finish out the legislative session.

“We will continue to work toward finding the right balance between protecting the safety of [Missouri Legislature] members, staff and the public and understanding the critical nature of the work we have been elected to do for the people of Missouri. We believe both are possible,” wrote Majority Floor Leader Sen. Caleb Rowden.

In light of this truncated schedule, the Missouri Chamber has set the following priority legislation for the remainder of session.

Legal Reform — Senate Bill 591

This bill changes procedures regarding pleading for punitive damages and the legal standard that must be met. It also contains reforms to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA), requiring commonsense changes including that plaintiffs must demonstrate they acted as a reasonable consumer and members of class actions must demonstrate individual harm.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program — House Bill 1693

This bill creates the Joint Oversight Task Force for Prescription Drug Monitoring, consisting of medical professionals who will identify and oversee a vendor who will collect and maintain patient prescription dispensation information. The information will be retained for a maximum of three years and will only be used to provide health care services to the patient. Passage of this PDMP will allow medicals professionals to better care for their patients and contribute to better outcomes related to the opioid epidemic in our state. Missouri is the only state without a PDMP.

License Reciprocity — House Bill 2046

Workforce continues to be a top issue for business in Missouri. This bill streamlines the process for licensed professionals to begin working in Missouri when they move here from another state. If individuals are licensed in another state, Missouri would recognize that licensure and that person would be able to start working more quickly, filling open positions sooner.

Wayfair (Internet Sales Tax) Senate Bill 648 / House Bill 1957

This legislation would allow collection of sales taxes on internet transactions from out-of-state sellers. Missouri is one of just two states to not adopt such changes since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to allow states to collect such taxes. Policymakers are still weighing what to do with additional revenue.

Gas Infrastructure — Senate Bill 618 /  House Bill 1992

This allows for safe and reliable delivery of natural gas. Maintaining the pipes and delivery systems is critically important to businesses and citizens across the state.

Apprenticeships — Senate Bill 877 / House Bill 1688

This bill proposes an alternative pathway to licensure that would allow individuals to take advantage of on-the-job training and stay in the workforce as they learn. The bill would enable an applicant with an 8th grade education or higher who has completed a federally approved apprenticeship program and passed any necessary examination to obtain an industry license. As Missouri ranks second in the nation in new and completed apprenticeships, it is vital that we maintain our position as a state committed to providing innovative on-the-job training opportunities to build a robust workforce.

Water Infrastructure – Senate Bill 592 / HB 2094

This will help water and sewer systems to be upgraded and repaired in a proactive manner, ensuring these vital services will be able to meet the needs of businesses and residents today and in the future.

To make the most of these last three weeks of the regular 2020 legislative session, this priority list of legislation important to the state’s business community will guide the Missouri Chamber’s focus in the Capitol. In the meantime, the Missouri Chamber is also working on a comprehensive, data-driven economic plan to position Missouri for a strong recovery once the coronavirus threat passes. More information on that agenda is forthcoming.

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