2016 Legislation Signed into Law
Although the majority of state lawmakers headed home to their districts when session adjourned on May 13, the Second Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly did not officially conclude until midnight on May 30. Under the Missouri Constitution, the governor then has 45 days to sign, veto or allow legislation to lapse into law without his signature. The deadline for the governor to sign legislation is Thursday, July 14, 2016. The following bills were all passed during the 2016 session and have been signed into law by the governor.
Passed by the Legislature in late April, Senate Bill 620 establishes minimum graduation requirements for a career and technical education (CTE) certificate that a student can earn in addition to their high school diploma. Providing students with both technical and core academic skills, CTE is an important piece of our education system. Students entering high school in the 2017-2018 school year and thereafter will be eligible for a CTE certificate.
We approved Senate Bill 968 in an effort to make higher education more affordable for our military service personnel. This legislation allows current members of the Missouri National Guard and members of a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces to receive in-state residency status for the purposes of tuition at any public four-year institution of higher education or in-district residency status for any two-year public institution.
House Bill 1583 seeks to strengthen anti-bullying policies in Missouri schools and ensure our school districts are taking solid steps to end bullying behavior in schools. The measure defines cyber-bullying and requires that anti-bullying policies treat all students equally. House Bill 1583 also contains provisions relating to suicide awareness and prevention programs in Missouri schools. Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, any licensed educator may annually complete up to two hours of training or professional development in youth suicide awareness and prevention. In addition, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) shall develop guidelines and materials for training or professional development in youth suicide awareness and prevention, and each Missouri school district will be required to adopt a policy on youth suicide awareness and prevention by July 1, 2018.
Also pertaining to education are:
- Senate Bill 711, requiring thirty minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation instruction and training during high school;
- Senate Bill 997, establishing several provisions relating to higher education, such as public service loan forgiveness, the Dual Credit Scholarship and corresponding Dual Credit Scholarship Fund, and the Wartime Veteran’s Survivor Grant;
- House Bill 1681, exempting yoga teacher training courses, programs or schools from provisions regulating proprietary schools; and
- House Bill 2428, changing the term “guidance counselor” to “school counselor” in the laws relating to education.
One of the major highlights of this session is that we were able to move three smart, substantive ethics reform measures across the finish line. House Bill 1979 imposes a six-month rule for lobbying by former members of the General Assembly, former statewide elected officials and former holders of an office that required Senate confirmation; the bill applies to all current and future legislators. House Bill 1983 specifies that no statewide elected official or member of the General Assembly shall serve as a paid political consultant. Finally, House Bill 2203 will help curb corruption of campaign funds by requiring former public officials to dissolve their candidate campaign committees before registering as lobbyists. It also restricts former lawmakers from converting campaign funds into personal gains.
House Bill 1721 changes the laws regarding credit union supervision so that audits are consistent with federal standards. House Bill 2125 authorizes financial institutions to offer and conduct savings promotion plans. A savings promotion program is a contest that offers a participant changes to win prizes if he or she makes a minimum deposit into an eligible account.
We passed a number of health care measures this session that will make the Show-Me State a stronger, healthier place to live, work and raise a family.
Telehealth, or telemedicine, is the delivery of health care services via information and communication technologies. It is generally more cost-effective and provides communities, especially those in rural areas, with greater access to high-quality medical care, specialists and some of the latest medical technologies. Senate Bill 579 expands the number of providers and health care sites that are eligible to provide telehealth services under Missouri’s Medicaid program, MO HealthNet. It also requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to include carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in its list of communicable or infectious diseases which must be reported to the Department. CRE are a family of germs that are difficult to treat because they have high levels of resistance to antibiotics.
Two measures will make it easier for Missourians to access affordable specialty drugs: Senate Bill 875 allows a pharmacist to select a less expensive, FDA-approved interchangeable biological product when filling a biological product prescription; and House Bill 2029 prohibits insurance companies from requiring patients to first try cheaper generic drugs before agreeing to cover more expensive brand medications.
Also pertaining to health care are:
- House Bill 1534, expanding the expiration date on various federal reimbursement allowances (Ground Ambulance, Nursing Facility, etc.) for two years;
- House Bill 1565, raising the MO HealthNet asset limit for benefit recipients who are blind, aged or disabled; and
- House Bill 1696, requiring the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to provide grants to organizations that provide services to deaf-blind persons.
Retirement and Unemployment Benefits
House Bill 1443 allows a political subdivision that has a retirement plan similar to the Missouri Local Government Employees’ Retirement System (LAGERS) to enter into an agreement with LAGERS to assume all duties and responsibilities of operating the political subdivision’s prior plan if it is a current employer in LAGERS or will become a member employer in LAGERS. The employer’s prior plan will be a frozen plan administered by LAGERS.
Currently, when an individual or employer repays the state for overpayment of unemployment compensation benefits, payments made toward the penalty amount due are credited to the Special Employment Security Fund. House Bill 1530 requires 15 percent of the total amount of benefits fraudulently obtained to be deposited into the Unemployment Compensation Fund, and the remaining penalty amount must be credited to the Special Employment Security Fund.
Under current law, banking corporations or associations bidding to become the depositaries of the funds of a county are required to submit a certified check not less than the proportion of 1.5 percent of the county general revenue of the preceding year. Senate Bill 660 changes that to an amount not less than $2,500.
Senate Bill 986 authorizes the conveyance of certain state properties in Jackson, Phelps, Macon, Cole and Buchanan counties.
House Bill 1684 allows certain cities, towns or villages to consolidate when they have entered into one or more intergovernmental agreements related to municipal services, are separated by a distance of not more than one mile and are connected by at least two publicly maintained right of ways.
House Bill 1941 excludes any fantasy contest from gambling or advance gambling activity. It creates the Missouri Fantasy Sports Consumer Protection Act and requires operators of websites engaged in daily fantasy sports games in Missouri to apply for and receive annual licenses from the Gaming Commission prior to operation. Players must be over 21 years of age and shall not be allowed to choose preselected teams of athletes or select athletes through an auto-draft that does not involve any input or control by the player. Contests cannot be based on the collegiate, high school, or youth athletics or performances, among other provisions.
House Bill 2150 requires life insurance companies to compare policies, annuities and accounts against a death master file for potential matches and to either pay beneficiaries or remit unclaimed benefits to the state treasurer.
Public Safety and the Judicial System
Senate Bill 572 modifies provisions relating to municipal courts, local abatement ordinances and disincorporation procedures. It lowers the maximum allowable fine for a minor traffic violation from $300 to $225 and prohibits a municipal judge from serving on more than five municipal courts. Senate Bill 572 also adds non-moving violations to the calculation for annual general revenue limits that can come from fines and court costs and states that municipalities may face disincorporation if they fail to remit excess annual general operating revenue to the Department of Revenue for the county school fund, among other provisions.
Senate Bill 624 addresses the rapid rise of credit and debit card fraud. The measure makes it a Class B felony to physically take or attempt to take property from a person when the property is owned by or in the custody of a financial institution. Physically taking property from a person is currently a Class D felony, unless the property is $25,000 or more in which case it is a Class C felony. In addition, SB 624 makes it a Class A misdemeanor if a person knowingly possesses a fraudulently obtained credit or debit card.
We also passed legislation making it easier for victims of domestic violence to recover their cell phone number from their abuser. Senate Bill 838 allows Missouri courts to order a cell phone carrier to transfer the billing responsibility and rights of a cell phone number from a wireless account holder, including the rights to the cell phone number of any minor children, to a petitioner when he or she has obtained an order of protection against the account holder.
Also pertaining to public safety and the judicial system are:
- Senate Bill 585, dividing the 38th Judicial Circuit and creating a new single-county 46th Judicial Circuit;
- Senate Bill 905, changing the effective date of the repeal and enactment of certain provisions of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act;
- House Bill 1877, changing the laws regarding the child abuse and neglect central registry and the reentry of children previously released from Children’s Division custody; and
- House Bill 2355, creating the Missouri State Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, which must provide consultation and recommendations regarding ongoing best practices within the juvenile court system and juvenile officer standards;
House Bill 1593 provides that the 10 percent per month penalty for which a collector or collector-treasurer is liable upon failure to make payment due on settlement does not apply to collections related to taxes paid under protest or as part of a disputed settlement.
House Bill 2140 changes the laws regarding sales tax on automobiles and establishes the “Missouri Task Force on Fair, Nondiscriminatory Local Taxation Concerning Motor Vehicles, Trailers, Boats, and Outboard Motors.”
Most of these measures have an effective date of Aug. 28, 2016, but those containing an emergency clause will take effect upon the governor’s signature. Missouri lawmakers will have the opportunity to override any of the governor’s vetoes during September’s annual veto session.
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 email@example.com or visit me on the Web at www.senate.mo.gov/richard.