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Senate committee hears bill to protect arbitration agreements

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Rep. Kevin Corlew testifies to the Missouri Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee.

Rep. Kevin Corlew testifies to the Missouri Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee.

Rep. Kevin Corlew spoke to the Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee this week about House Bill 1718, which would protect employers’ rights in arbitration agreements. Missouri has gained an unflattering reputation as one of the most difficult states to enforce arbitration agreements. This legislation is designed to change that trend.

“This legislation respects the freedoms of employers and employees to contract with one another on the matter in which they will resolve disputes. If there is an agreement in place, they will be required to take their disputes to an arbitrator,” Corlew testified. “Parties have to mutually agree to an arbitrator which benefits both parties and agreements cannot be unilaterally changed. This is fair to both employers and employees.”

jobsbadgeMissouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry member Hallmark testified in support.

“Missouri state courts routinely strike down arbitration agreements that federal and appeals courts uphold,” said Janet Mark, associate general counsel for Hallmark Cards, Inc. “The Missouri courts are unique and quite notorious for their hostility toward arbitration agreements between employers and employees. Over the past eight to ten years they have created an anti-business environment where they have eviscerated long-standing legal principals relating to contracts.”

The Missouri Chamber is in support of the bill.

“We must improve the litigation climate in Missouri for businesses and this is a cost effective way for our businesses and their employees to resolve disputes,” Brian Bunten, general counsel for the Missouri Chamber, testified.

For more information on this issue, please contact Bunten at bbunten@mochamber.com or by phone at 573.634.3511.

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