Senator Ron Richard’s Legislative Column for the Week of Jan. 18

Richard Column

Legislative News

We had another busy week in the Missouri Senate, with the first bills coming up for floor debate and committees continuing to move bills through the process at a fast pace. On Wednesday evening, state lawmakers gathered in the House chamber to hear the governor lay out his legislative priorities for 2017 at the annual State of the State address.

Pictured above, a group of CPAs visit the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

The speech also coincides with the release of the governor’s budget recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year, a significantly more noteworthy occasion as it marks the beginning of the budget process. Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee will use the governor’s recommendations to craft the Senate’s version of the state budget. During the coming weeks, the Appropriations Committee will also hear testimony from various state departments and agencies on their financial needs for the next fiscal year. It is a lengthy process, but it is the most important task the Legislature undertakes each year.

On Tuesday the Senate took up and perfected Senate Bill 591, relating to expert witness testimony. The measure seeks to align Missouri’s outdated standards for providing expert witness testimony to those of the updated Daubert Standard, which has been adopted by the federal court system and a majority of other states. The standard allows our judges to act as gatekeepers so juries are not subjected to irrelevant or unreliable testimony. Senate Bill 591 does not affect the standards used for admitting expert testimony in cases assigned to probate court, juvenile court or family court, or in actions involving divorce, marriage, adoption, child support orders or protective orders. The Senate voted today to send SB 591 to the House.

The Senate also voted this week to split up the 38th Judicial Circuit, which consists of nearby Christian and Taney counties. They are the only two first-class counties in the state that are not separated into single judicial circuits. At the time the 38th Judicial Circuit was created, Taney County heard very few court cases; however, Taney County’s case load has caught up to, if not surpassed, Christian County’s in recent years, due in large part to the growth of Branson. In addition, the Supreme Court has identified Taney County as the most backlogged and overworked circuit in the state. If signed into law, Senate Bill 585 would help alleviate these issues by moving Taney County under a new single-county 46th Judicial Circuit, while Christian County remains in the 38th Circuit.

Helpful Consumer Financial Information

This week, the Heartland Credit Union Association offers information to help you better understand new chip-enabled technology. Financial institutions are now issuing chip-enabled credit and debit cards. You may have already received one without even knowing. Or, you may not know why you received one or what to do with it. That’s okay — you are not alone.

What is a chip card?

A chip card is a credit or debit card containing an embedded chip that encrypts, protects and stores cardholder data. Chip technology is considered a more secure alternative to the magnetic stripe card and is the next evolution of electronic payments.

How will I know I have a chip card?

Look for a metallic, thumbnail-sized square on the front of the card. That’s the chip. If it isn’t there, you don’t have a chip card.

What is the benefit of using a chip card?

Chip cards are harder to counterfeit than magnetic stripe cards. Rather than sending card information to a merchant when you buy something, chip cards send a unique code that cannot be reused. It’s like stealing an expired password.

How do I use a chip card?

Simply insert the chip card into the terminal with the chip facing up and follow the prompts on the screen. Then, remove the card from the terminal when prompted. It’s similar to what you already do today. However, some merchants may not be set up for chip transactions.

Can I still swipe a chip card to pay?

The only reason to swipe your chip card is if the merchant is not yet chip-activated. When you swipe a chip card, you lose all the added security benefits of chip technology.

Does the chip prevent card fraud?

Chip cards are a step forward in fraud prevention. However, they do NOT protect you completely from card fraud. A chip card does not prevent online and other types of card-not-present fraud. Using a chip card would not have protected you from the widespread merchant data breaches, such as Target and Home Depot. As a consumer you must stay vigilant, check your accounts often and report any unusual activity to your card issuer immediately.

Contact Me

I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2173. You may write to me at Senator Ron Richard, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, 201 W. Capitol Ave., Rm. 326, Jefferson City, MO 65101; e-mail me at or visit me on the Web at

– END –