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Your voice needed: Key votes in the Missouri House

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With three important business priorities soon to be tested on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives, the Missouri Chamber is asking for the business community to join us in advocating for Paycheck Protection and reforms to Missouri’s expert witness and collateral source statutes.

In each case, the measures are expected to either pass or fail by a small margin. Adding your voice to this discussion could help these proposals become law in Missouri. Please contact your House member and ask him or her to support these three issues.

Paycheck Protection: House Bill 1891

The Missouri General Assembly has already passed Paycheck Protection. However, a veto by Gov. Jay Nixon means that lawmakers must now override the veto for the bill to become law.

House Bill 1891 is sponsored by Rep. Holly Rehder, a Republican from Sikeston. Her bill would require public employee labor unions to get annual written permission from each employee before withholding union dues or using those dues for political purposes.

A veto override requires 109 votes in the Missouri House. Earlier this year, the bill passed the House on two occasions with 110 and 109 votes.

Collateral source reforms: Senate Bill 847

Senate Bill 847 would clarify that in a lawsuit, an injured person can recover only the actual medial costs he or she incurred.

The bill would alter Missouri’s current collateral source rule, which bars the admissibility of trial evidence showing when a plaintiff’s medical losses have been compensated from other sources. Plaintiffs can make money bringing suits for injuries that may already be covered by other sources or claim phantom damages.

jobsbadgeSenate Bill 847 is sponsored by Sen. Ed Emery, a Republican from Lamar. The bill faced obstacles to pass through a House committee and the floor vote is expected to be close as well.

Expert witness reforms: Senate Bill 591

Senate Bill 591 would help ensure the credibility of the people who testify as experts in Missouri legal proceedings.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson, a Republican from Bolivar, would require that people who testify as expert witnesses must actually have expert knowledge of the topic.

The bill would provide the same high standards for trial evidence that is required in federal courts and many other states. Called the Daubert standard, it ensures that only evidence deemed relevant, reliable and provided by qualified individuals will be admitted as expert testimony.

Vocal support from business community members helped this bill advance through a closely divided House committee. A similar effort will likely be needed for the bill to survive the House floor.

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