|MML Legislative Activity|
Key Legislative Contact Information
Hearings Next Week – ALERT, Action Needed!
Hearings will be held on two bills of significant interest to municipal officials. Both bills will be heard at Noon on Wednesday, February 22. We need municipal officials to testify on both bills. The MML will appear in opposition to both bills, but it is important to have testimony from municipal officials who can give firsthand accounts of the bills effects on their communities. Please contact the League office if you plan to testify on these bills.
· SB 354 (Sen. Rowden) Uniform Wireless Communication Infrastructure Deployment Act—This bill adds wireless antenna’s and adjacent facilities to the "Uniform Wireless Communication Infrastructure Deployment Act” passed into law in 2013 and grants wireless companies the right to use the public right of way to deploy wireless antennas. This bill limits a municipality’s ability to control the placement of antennas and “adjacent” equipment on municipal rights of way.
SB 354 will be heard by the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee at Noon on Wednesday, February 22 in the Senate Lounge located on the third floor of the Capitol.
If you are not able to attend the hearing, we urge you to contact members of the committee and urge them to preserve municipal supervision over the rights of way in your community.
· HB 905 (Rep. DeGroot) Prohibiting Municipal Breed Specific Dog Ordinances – Bill bans municipalities from enacting dog ordinances that single out a specific breed of dog, such as pit bulls. (MML Opposes)
The House Local Government Committee will hear HB 905 at Noon on Wednesday, February 22 in House Hearing Room 1, located in the basement of the Capitol.
If you are not able to attend the hearing, we urge you to contact members of the committee and ask them to oppose HB 905. Tell committee members of any experiences your city has had with pit bulls and other breeds of dogs.
This Week at the Capitol
Although no “Be My Valentine” cards were exchanged, the two hundred and sixty municipal officials who attended the MML Legislative Conference this week did hear from legislators about key legislative issues. Municipal officials also had an opportunity to meet with their legislative delegation to express their views on the many bills affecting municipalities.
The Senate Local Government and Elections Committee held hearings on two bills of municipal interest:
The Missouri Municipal League and Missouri Association of Counties testified in support of the bill.
The Missouri Press Association and Missouri Realtors Association testified in opposition.
· SB 186 – (Sen. Emery) Municipal Broadband – The bill sponsor offered a Senate Committee Substitute for SB 186 (SCS/SB 186). The substitute bill requires a municipality to first receive voter approval before offering broadband services.
CenturyLink testified in support.
The Missouri Public Utility Alliance, Missouri Municipal League, Google, city of Independence, Carthage Water and Electric and Missouri Realtors Association spoke in opposition to the bill.
The House General Laws Committee held hearings on two bills of municipal interest:
· HB 380 - (Rep. Plocher) Municipal Courts - This bill allows a municipal court to order credit for time served when an individual has been held in custody for any matter related to a minor traffic violation. Further, the bill requires any summons for a minor traffic violation to include the date and time a defendant is to appear in court when the defendant is first provided the summons. If the summons does not include such information when first given to the defendant, the summons will be void.
· HB 424 - (Rep. Cornejo) Open Meetings and Records Law (“Sunshine Law”) – The Missouri Municipal League, Missouri School Administrators Coalition and others have worked with the bill sponsor and the Missouri Press Association to clarify provisions of the “Sunshine Law”.
HB 424 is the results of those discussions. The bill clarifies the wording and intent of the “Sunshine Law. Discussions are still taking place which will likely result in the committee offering a substitute bill.
The Missouri Press Association testified in support. There was no testimony in opposition.
With the budget discussions well under way at the Capitol, many organizations are starting to voice their concerns about the Governor’s budget recommendations. While there are many cuts that have been recommended, nonprofit organizations that serve senior citizens and people with disabilities find themselves facing the possibility of losing $52 million a year in state funding. This would affect about 20,000 people who currently qualify for nursing home care or in-home care. Higher education is facing a cut of around $159 million if the budget committees stick to Governor Greitens’ recommendations. Lawmakers say that the higher education budget is an easy target because it is one area of the budget where they know that revenues can be raised through other means like tuition and fee increases. According to the Auditor’s office, tuition and fees have risen about 138 percent over the past six years and cover about 30 percent of a university’s budget. Pursuant to Missouri law, colleges and universities cannot raise their tuition above the rate of inflation without receiving a waiver from the Department of Higher Education.
Governor Greitens Releases Proposed Budget
On Thursday, Governor Eric Greitens released his proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget. This $27.6 billion proposal estimates a 3.8% growth in revenue. It also makes more than $572 million in cuts across state government and eliminates 188 state employee jobs. His budget maintains funding for K-12 education and includes $3.3 billion for the school foundation formula. It also contains several million dollars for vulnerable children; specifically, $13 million for special education services, $10.7 million to care for children who have been abused, neglected and removed from their home, and $1.8 million for foster care and adoption resources centers. Other highlights include: $5.5 million for veterans’ services, homes, and cemeteries; $56.8 million to fully fund the state employee pension fund and maintain state employee health benefits; $2.5 million for drug courts and veterans’ treatment courts; $11 million to help fight the opioid epidemic; and $2.5 million in funding for the Public Defenders’ Office. A complete copy of the Governor’s proposed budget can be viewed at: https://oa.mo.gov/fiscal-year-2018-executive-budget.
House Committee Conducts Hearing on Prevailing Wage
The House Economic Development Committee held a hearing several bills (HB 78, HB 104, HB 132, HB 309 and HB 476) pertaining to prevailing wage. These bills ranged from a total repeal of the prevailing wage statutes to exempting projects under a specified dollar amount. The Missouri Municipal League testified in support for all these bills, highlighting the need to reform a broken prevailing wage program.
Please contact your state representative and senator giving them examples of projects on hold or costs that were affected by Missouri’s prevailing law and urge them to support reforms to prevailing wage.
Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program Under Attack
The historic preservation tax credit program has never seen the pressure which is being applied during this session. Several bills have been introduced which would severely impact this important revitalization tool. Two Senate bills pushed by Senator Koenig will devastate the program. SB285 would reduce the cap by $90 million and would limit total projects by nearly $450 million annually. This bill has been heard in the Senate Ways and Means committee. SB226 which would eliminate the sale, transferability or assignment of tax credits would in all reality kill the program. The bill is waiting for referral. One additional bill which is problematic is SB6 which would cut the cap by $60 million. This bill has been voted out of the Senate Economic Development committee and will be placed on the Senate Calendar. This bill could limit potentially $300 million in projects. Senator Richard, President Pro Tem is the sponsor. The historic preservation tax credit program has been one of the most effective economic development tools available to cities and towns across the state. Projects have been built in over 80 cities and has resulted in $8.2 billion in total project costs since the start of the program in 1998. The program generates an average of $500 million in projects annually.
We urge you to contact your state representative and senator and inform them how the historic preservation tax credit program has helped your city.
Uniform Wireless Communication Infrastructure Deployment Act
HB656 (Rep. Rhoads) and SB 354 (Sen. Rowden) - These bills add small wireless facilities to the "Uniform Wireless Communication Infrastructure Deployment Act" passed into law in 2013 and grant wireless companies the right to use the public right-of-way to deploy wireless antennas. These bills limit a municipality’s ability to control the placement of antennas and “adjacent” equipment.
Hearings dates have not been set for these bills. MML staff, the Missouri Public Utility Alliance and city representatives are working with the bill sponsors and telecom industry representatives to remove language restricting municipal oversight and control over the public rights of way.
Senate Passes Right-to-Work Legislation
After three days of debate, the Senate passed SB 19, the right-to-work legislation, by a vote of 21-12. Those who oppose the bill spent ample time discussing their concerns. SB 19 now moves to the House where a hearing is expected to be held soon.
Senate Takes First Steps Toward Advancing Prescription Drug Monitoring Legislation
The Senate Committee on Health and Pensions held a hearing on the prescription drug monitoring bills (SB 74 and SB 231). These measures create a list of prescribed medications that individuals are currently taking in order to alert doctors of patients who are going to multiple doctors to acquire certain prescribed drugs. The committee voted the SCS SB 74 “do pass” by a vote of 5-2.
Municipally-Owned Water or Sewer
The House Local Government Committee held a hearing this week on HB 247, a bill sponsored by Representative Alferman. HB 247 reduces the number of votes required in 4th class and special charter cities to authorize the sale of a municipally-owned water and sewer facility. Currently, two-thirds of the voters must ratify a sale; the bill changes that to a majority vote. Also, the bill provides that a municipally owned water or sewer system may be sold without voter ratification when the municipally-owned water or sewer system serves less than fifty percent of the city's population.
Testifying in opposition to the bill were the Missouri Municipal League, Missouri Public Utility Alliance and the Missouri Rural Water Association. Missouri American Water Company testified in support of the legislation.
Population Designations in Statute
HB 451 (Rep. Austin), also heard in the House Local Government Committee, provides that once any city, county, or other political subdivision has come under the terms of a statute requiring a specified population, a subsequent change in population will not remove the city, county or political subdivision from operation of that law.
Those testifying Support were the Missouri Municipal League, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry; St. Louis Regional Chamber; Municipal League of Metro St Louis; Missouri American Water Company, City of Springfield; Greene County; and Missouri Association of Counties. No on one testified in opposition.
Transportation Network Companies (Uber, Lyft)
The House passed the ride-sharing legislation (HB 130) this week by a vote of 140-16. This bill creates statewide regulations for companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in the state. It now moves to the Senate where it awaits referral to committee.
There has been a lot of discussion this week about Amazon’s decision to begin collecting taxes on internet purchases made by Missouri residents. This development further illustrates the importance of cities passing a local use tax. In order for municipalities to take advantage of Amazon’s sales a municipality must have first enacted a voter approved use tax. This will also be needed when Congress authorizes the levying of state and local taxes on all internet and catalog sales. Once Congress has acted, each state must standardize their sales and use tax laws. This will present some problems for Missouri cities due to differences in state and local sales tax statutes. These differences must be standardized. Streamline sales tax legislation has been introduced this session to standardize Missouri’s sales tax statutes (SB105, sponsored by Senator Wallingford). We have met with Senator Wallingford and other groups interested in this issue to work toward a bill without unintended consequences.
Other News around the Capitol
The Governor created the Committee on Simple, Fair & Low Taxes this week. It will consist of four members appointed by the Governor, three members appointed by the Speaker of the House and three members appointed by the Senate Pro Tem. They will examine the tax laws, including tax credits, in the states contiguous to Missouri and make recommendations regarding how to simplify our tax structure.
MML Capitol Report
The Senate Committee on General Laws heard testimony this week at its hearing on two Prevailing Wage bills. Senate Bill 29 defines maintenance and repair and exempts this type of work from the prevailing wage law. Senate Bill 20 would simply repeal the law and eliminate prevailing wages. The Missouri Municipal League testified in support of these bills, highlighting the need to reform a broken system. Also, testifying in support were the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Show-Me Institute, HGH Companies, Missouri School Boards Association and the City of Nevada. We expect that the Prevailing Wage bills will be voted out of committee next week in the Senate.
In the meantime, just before the Senate adjourned on Thursday, the Senate Minority Floor Leader announced, “The filibuster starts now.” It will be a long week in the Senate next week.
On Tuesday, the Senate-Judiciary/Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee held a hearing on SB 81 (Sen. Dixon), relating to municipal court community service alternative provisions enacted in 2016 in
SB 572. Currently no associated costs for community service can be charged to a defendant. This bill would allow defendants to be charged for costs. MML staff testified in support. There was no opposition testimony.
Transportation Network Companies (Uber, Lyft)
The Senate-Transportation/Infrastructure/Pub. Safety Committee held a hearing on SB 185 (Sen. Onder) which enacts a regulatory scheme for "Transportation network companies" ("TNCs"). The bill provides that TNCs and TNC drivers are not common carriers, contract carriers, motor carriers, taxicab service or association, or for-hire vehicle services. TNC drivers need not register their vehicles as commercial or for-hire.
SB 185 preempts local regulation of TNCs, instead requiring these companies to acquire a permit from the Missouri Department of Revenue and pay an annual $5,000 fee. No per-car or per-driver fees may be charged by a municipality. TNCs must maintain agents within the state of Missouri. This act provides that the statutes relating to regional taxicab districts shall not apply to TNCs, TNC drivers, or TNC services.
Testifying in support of the bill were residents of Jefferson City with sight disabilities, Lyft, St. Charles county executive, St. Charles Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson City municipal prosecutor, Uber, Uber driver-Columbia, MO Chamber of Commerce. The President of the St. Louis Cab Company testified in opposition to the bill. The St. Louis Taxi Commission testified for informational purposes only.
Sales Tax on Deliveries
The Senate Committee on Ways and Means voted the SCS SB 16 “do pass” this week by a vote of 5-0. This bill seeks to clarify in the law that sales and use taxes should not be charged on delivery services. In
a recent court decision delivery fees were ruled to be taxable. Before the ruling these fees were not subject to the state and local sales tax.
The House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety heard three bills this week aimed at protecting the lives of police officers, fire fighters and emergency responders. Two of the bills (HB 302 and HB 228) establish a Blue Alert System, a program which would send out suspect information across the state in relation to crimes committed against police officers. The third bill (HB 57) seeks to redefine the definition of a hate crime to include certain crimes against law enforcement officers and first responders.
Other News Around the Capitol
• Governor Greitens withheld more than $146 million from the FY 2017 budget this week. This was in addition to the $200 million recently withheld by former Governor Jay Nixon just days before leaving office. Higher education took the hardest hit, while other cuts came from tourism advertising, capital improvements, the Missouri Works Job Development Fund and K-12 transportation funding.
• On Tuesday evening, Governor Greitens delivered his first State of the State Address in a joint session of the House and Senate. His speech focused on job growth, protecting peace officers, ethics and tort reform, removing burdensome regulations, and downsizing state government.
• The Governor nominated Carol Comer to be his Director of the Department of Natural Resources. Ms. Comer most recently worked as the Commissioner of Indiana's Department of Environmental Management.
MML CAPITOL REPORT:
Senate Ways and Means Committee
• SB 16 (Kraus) - sales tax exemption for delivery charges. (response to recent MO Supreme Court Alberici decision).
Support: AIM, NFIB, MO Chamber of Commerce, MO Concrete Assoc., MO Retail Assoc., MO Rental Dealers, MO Limestone Producers, MO Trucking Assoc., MO Budget Project., MO Restaurant Assoc., National Restaurant Assoc.
No opposition testimony.
• SB 17 (Kraus) - three-year phase out of corporate income taxes.
House-Economic Development Committee
House General Laws Committee
• HB 130 Matthews - Relating to transportation network companies.
Support: Lyft, Uber, City of Springfield, St. Charles County, Uber drivers from Jefferson City and Columbia, St. Charles Economic Development Councils, Greater St. Charles Area C of C, and O'Fallon C of C.
Opposition: St. Louis Taxi Company - wants parity for taxis and ride sharing
Information only: St. Louis Metropolitan Taxi Commission
• Executive Session: HB 130
HCSHB 130, as amended voted Do Pass. 11 - 1.
• First meeting for House Local Government Committee. No bill assignments to date.
• House Economic Development Committee to take up prevailing wage bills
99th General Assembly Convenes
The Missouri House and Senate opened the 2017 Legislative Session at noon on Wednesday by swearing in 163 members of the House and 18 members of the Senate. The first days of the session were taken up by ceremonial and housekeeping activities.
When the Legislature convened this week, there were 406 pre-filed bills and 16 House Joint Resolutions. Senators pre-filed 244 bills and 12 Senate Joint Resolutions. Members in both chambers have until March 1 to introduce bills, so we will see many more bills introduced.
In his opening address, Speaker of the House, Representative Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) outlined House legislative priorities for the session. Speaker Richardson's address focused on right to work, tort reform, economic development, education reform, and regulation of ride sharing (Uber and Lyft). The Speaker indicated that right-to-work legislation will move swiftly through the legislative process.
Pro Tem Richard’s address to the Senate focused on the history of the Senate Chamber. He reminded the Senators that their work is adding to that rich history. Senator Richard, together with the Majority Floor Leader, Senator Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City), laid out the Senate Republicans’ priorities in a separate interview. They said their party will focus on creating a smaller, better government that helps to create more jobs and meaningful work opportunities. They said they will also focus on tort reform and look forward to working collaboratively with the new Governor.
Key House Committees
Key Senate Committees
Enhanced Capitol Security
For those who plan to visit the Capitol this session, be prepared for delays entering the Missouri State Capitol Building. Effective January 10 there will be enhanced security measures at the Capitol. Everyone will be required to enter through either the first floor, South carriage entrance (facing the Supreme Court Building) or the west entrance on the first floor. Visitors will be subject to search, including exposure to x-ray conveyors and walk-through magnetometers. Unauthorized weapons of any kind are prohibited. A concealed carry permit does not make an allowance for a firearm to be brought into the Capitol.
- Richard Sheets, MML Deputy Director
Thank You MML Member Officials! Deputy Director Richard Sheets thanks Missouri municipal officials in this video for their continued work to keep their local legislators informed of local government needs.