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Senate committee votes to protect arbitration

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A Missouri Senate committee has passed a bill to help preserve arbitration as a fair, low-cost tool that employers and employees can use to resolve disputes without turning to the courts.

Missouri court decisions have eroded the system of arbitration and as a result, many of the workplace arbitration agreements that currently exist in Missouri may not be enforceable.

Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, a Republican from Parkville, is sponsoring Senate Bill 154. The legislation makes it clear that in arbitration agreements between an employer and employee that include certain provisions, the arbitrator must make all initial decisions rather than taking the dispute to court. This would help resolve disputes in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

On Feb. 14, a Senate committee unanimously passed the bill.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports this legislation. During a recent hearing on the bill, Matt Panik, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs testified in favor of the bill.

“This bill provides undeniable clarity for when arbitration agreements will be enforceable and the terms that have to be in those agreements to make them valid,” Panik said. “We feel that both parties will be on equal footing through the arbitration process, making the process fairer.”

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