Senator Cunningham’s Legislative Column for May 18, 2017

Cunningham Updated Banner March 2017

The First Regular Session of the 99th General Assembly ended on May 12. This year there was passionate debate on a variety of topics, more so than in years past. The Legislature was able to make compromises for the betterment of our state and overall we passed 75 pieces of legislation.

Lawmakers passed legislation that has been debated, but not passed, for decades. Senate Bill 19 is a Right to Work law, which allows union employees to opt out of paying unions for the cost of being represented. The governor signed this legislation months ago.

The General Assembly passed Senate Bill 66, which protects the current workers’ compensation system and adds much-needed reforms by carefully balancing the need for protections for injured workers and the need to keep the state’s business community and job creation efforts intact.

This bill restores the standard of proof in workers’ compensation discrimination cases. This bill also contains a provision that modifies the definition of “maximum medical improvement” to the point at which the injured employee’s medical condition can no longer reasonably improve as determined by the employer’s physician. Temporary total and temporary partial disability benefits will only continue until the employee reaches maximum medical improvement and are not payable if the employee returns to work. Benefits will not exceed 400 weeks.

We have also sent several bills to the governor that make much needed changes to Missouri’s legal system, Senate Bill 43 will make it much more difficult for a worker to sue a former employer for discrimination or harassment.

On Wednesday, May 18, the governor announced the Legislature will hold a special session beginning on Monday, May 22. One piece of legislation will be discussed, which will be a bill that, among other things, will bring hundreds of jobs to the state of Missouri.

As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.