Journal of the Senate
SECOND REGULAR SESSION
SIXTH DAY--THURSDAY, JANUARY 11, 1996
President Wilson in the Chair.
The Chaplain offered the following prayer:
Dear Lord, with every call for help, with every request, with every special interest, help us to remember that every person's dreams, fantasies, goals and ideas are as important as ours. Amen. The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was recited.
A quorum being established, the Senate proceeded with its business.
The Journal of the previous day was read and approved.
The following Senators were present during the day's proceedings:
|Absent with leave--Senators|
|The Lieutenant Governor was present.|
Mr. President: I am instructed by the House of Representatives to inform the Senate that the House has offered into and adopted HR 82.
|Speaker Pro Tem||Fletcher Daniels|
|Chief Clerk||Douglas Burnett|
|Chaplain||Fr. Hugh Behan|
Mr. President: I am instructed by the House of Representatives to inform the Senate that the House has offered into and adopted HCR 1.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a committee of ten (10) from the House be appointed by the Speaker to act with a committee of ten (10) from the Senate, appointed by the President Pro Tem, to wait upon the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri and inform His Honor that the House of Representatives and Senate of the Eighty-Eighth General Assembly, Second Regular Session, are now organized and ready for business and to receive any message or communication that His Honor may desire to submit, and that the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives be directed to inform the Senate of the adoption of this resolution.
In which the concurrence of the Senate is respectfully requested.
Mr. President: I am instructed by the House of Representatives to inform the Senate that the Speaker has appointed the following Representatives to act with a committee of ten from the Senate to wait upon the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: Representatives Witt, Harlan, Hosmer, Smith, Days, May, Murray (135), Ridgeway, Gibbons, Richardson and Naeger.
Senator Lybyer offered Senate Resolution No. 728, regarding the Ninetieth Birthday of Mrs. Flossie Ellen Glenn, Vienna, which was adopted.
Senator Howard offered Senate Resolution No. 729, regarding Helena Ruhl, Qulin, which was adopted.
Senator Howard offered Senate Resolution No. 730, regarding Mr. Alvin (Buddy) Bess, Poplar Bluff, which was adopted.
On motion of Senator Mathewson, HCR 1 was adopted by the following vote:
|Absent with leave--Senators|
Senator Banks moved that the Senate recess to repair to the House of Representatives to receive a message from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Honorable John C. Holstein, which motion prevailed.
On roll call the following Senators were present:
|Absent with leave--Senators|
On roll call the following Representatives were present:
|Ballard||Barnett (4)||Bartelsmeyer||Bennett (15)|
|Clayton||Cooper||Crum (112)||Daniels (41)|
|Kelley (47)||Kelly (27)||Kessel||Klumb|
|Luetkenhaus||Marshall (26)||Marshall (133)||May (108)|
|Wiggins||Williams (121)||Williams (159)||Witt|
|Mr. Speaker 133|
|Absent and Absent with Leave Representatives|
|Crump (152)||Daniel (42)||Elliott||Foley|
|Sheldon (104)||Surface||Thomason (163)||Ward|
The Joint Committee appointed to wait upon the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John C. Holstein, escorted the Chief Justice to the dais where he delivered the State of the Judiciary Address to the Joint Assembly:
John C. Holstein, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Missouri
January 11, 1996
It is a great honor to be the twelfth chief justice since the tradition began in 1974 to be invited to speak to the General Assembly. Both you and I, as public servants, are privileged to stand here today on the broad shoulders of earlier chief justices, senators, representatives, and members of the executive branch. Their foresight in designing and implementing our state system of justice reflects immense wisdom. They were progressive when progress was called for. They exercised restraint when restraint was appropriate.
In recent years the General Assembly has upheld that great tradition. You have continued to provide the tools necessary to make the delivery of justice to Missouri citizens better, faster and more efficient than ever before. The backlogs and delays that exist in other states do not exist in Missouri. The General Assembly has been most helpful in two particular areas. First, in order to meet the challenge presented by an unprecedented growth rate in caseloads, prior chief justices have come to the legislature to seek funding for judicial transfer programs, and for the broader use of our senior judges. The General Assembly and the Governor have responded favorably to those requests in the past. As a result, tens of thousands of cases have been disposed of by judges on transfer and by senior judges. We are grateful to the other two branches of government for assisting the courts. All Missourians should be enormously grateful to the senior judges and to the judges who have been transferred, often at considerable inconvenience and, in the case of senior judges, without receiving full compensation. Last year alone, the number of days our senior judges worked were equivalent to more than 10 full-time sitting judges.
The second area in which the General Assembly in recent years has been most helpful is in providing the courts with ability to automate. Beginning in 1994, the legislature provided for a funding mechanism to develop a statewide computerized court system. The General Assembly has challenged us to create a court system that is more accessible and more effective than ever before.
Meetings are being held around the state with those who will use electronic courts -- appellate judges, trial judges, clerks, attorneys, and state agencies, who routinely need access to court information. We are now beginning to see the first fruit of the court automation project. Through arrangements made with the Court Automation Committee, Missouri statutes and Missouri cases going back to 1950 are now available on compact disk to all trial judges in the state who want them. We hope to put more of our Supreme Court publications, Approved Instructions and judicial bench books on computer disk in the near future. A judge traveling a circuit may carry a complete Missouri law library in a briefcase. In the future, we may be able to have such a library on line. Plans are being made for the Missouri Bar and the Missouri State Courts Administrator to have a home page on the internet so that lawyers and citizens alike may access information about the courts. Lawyers will be able to register for continuing legal education programs, and information regarding selecting a lawyer, small claims court, or recent court decisions may be located by citizens.
A more important and certainly the more costly aspect of the project is the contract entered into this fall to design an architecture which will provide a statewide judicial information system that will take us well into the next century. Ultimately, that system will allow us the option of electronic filings of pleadings, giving of notices, and archiving of court records for retrieval on a 24-hour-a-day basis. Video conferencing will be included in the plan so that some court proceedings may be conducted from remote locations. The contract will give us an architecture for a computer system which will not become obsolete before the system is completed.
As originally conceived, our court automation project required ten years of funding. As you know, the court automation bill as it finally passed only provided for five years of funding. I again commend to you the need to consider extending that funding for the five additional years necessary to complete the project.
As we enter into court automation, we are making every effort not to computerize merely for the sake of computerization. Now is the time to eliminate bad practices and procedure. Every aspect of our judicial process must be open to thorough examination.
The story is told about a young wife who baked a ham every Sunday. Every Sunday she cut the ends of the ham off before she baked it. After watching her do this for a few weeks, her young husband asked her why she did it. She said, "I do it because my mother did it." She then called her mother and asked her why she cut the ends off the ham. Her mother said, "My mother did it." So grandma was called. She asked grandma why she cut the ends off the ham. Grandma replied, "Simple. My pan was too small."
We are trying to be careful as we computerize not to perpetuate a senseless practice merely because "that's how grandma did it." We should not become so steeped in tradition that we are incapable of change.
To obtain the full benefit of computerization will undoubtedly require some statutory changes. We will be coming to you to assist us in making the necessary changes so that we do not continue to cut the ends off the ham.
This brings me to legislation which we are going to ask you to consider and, hopefully, pass during this session of the legislature. It has to do with our present system of court costs. As most of you are aware, that system is extremely complex. Court costs have been used and, in the view of some, overused as a revenue enhancement device. Court costs and fees have historically been a method for offsetting some of the public cost of operating the court system from the users of that system. To ask those who most directly benefit from operation of the court to share in the costs of its operation is not inherently wrong.
At the same time, for the court to fulfill its role and to provide citizens their constitutional rights to due process, access must not be prevented or unduly restricted by the amount of court costs or by the proliferation of costs unrelated to court operations that are charged. The costs for filing circuit civil cases has risen from $60 in 1982 to over $100 in 1995. These costs, surcharges and fees may occur within the case due to service of process, payment of jury fees, copying fees, court reporter transcript fees, etc. These must be sorted out and billed by the clerks of the court. Then the costs must be distributed to the proper agency. Each of you have been provided with a diagram of our court costs system. Larger versions of that same diagram have been set up in the front of each of the two galleries.
The diagram graphically illustrates the present system and why court costs are a prime target for reengineering as we enter the electronic age. The current court costs system is scattered through more than seventy sections of the statutes, beginning in chapter 14 and concluding in chapter 595 of the Revised Statutes. Under the current billing system, the billing may be quite late. It is not at all unusual that the responsible party is dead or that an attorney has lost contact with his or her client who is the responsible party. The billing system is unnecessarily complex. In one associate circuit court, I was shown a receipt form that was more than eighteen inches wide merely so that it could have a box to be filled in for each of the separate court costs involved.
Auditing is quite difficult. There is no system of immediate electronic audit that follows a case from filing through the judge's entry of orders, including assessment of fines and costs, and on to the clerk, who collects the costs, and then to the state or county agencies that receive the funds. Much of this is done manually. Naturally, it must await a manual audit. As you know, those audits often occur only every two or three years.
The final problem and, perhaps, the most important problem, is the public's perception that costs are too high and too complicated. We have regularly heard complaints from people that costs and fines in one county are significantly different for the same type case a few counties away.
Here are the basic solutions which the legislation proposes:
First, to the maximum extent possible, all court costs should be placed in one chapter. In that chapter should be found not only provisions for the amount but the procedures for collection and distribution of the funds. By doing that, it is less likely that some fee or cost required to be collected by law will be missed or will not reach the proper account. In addition, terminology used in all statutes relating to various costs, fees and surcharges will be defined and made uniform.
Second, to the maximum extent possible, funds will be distributed more rapidly to the appropriate state and local government agencies. Provision should be made for electronic transfers of funds to the appropriate agencies at the state and county level.
Third, we hope to provide courts with the same flexibility accorded executive agencies for establishing charges that are directly related to the costs of services provided, such as mileage, copying papers, jury fees, and the like. To the maximum extent possible, these fees should be uniform. Costs charged in one type case in St. Charles County should not vary significantly from costs charged for the same type case in Clay County. Just like executive fees, these charges should always be subject to legislative review but, like executive agencies, the Supreme Court should have the ability to adopt uniform rules regarding the amount of costs which should properly be recovered from the parties.
Fourth, as part of court automation, a clear trail of what money is collected and where it goes that is capable of electronic audit must be established. If all the fines and costs in a particular case are not collected, that case should be flagged immediately in the system so that at least two people, perhaps the judge who assessed the fine and costs, and clerk responsible for collecting them, will be aware of the shortfall. Court automation, coupled with simplification in court costs in a unified code using uniform terminology and uniform fee schedules, should result in accurate and timely billing, collection and disbursement of court costs.
There may be some immediate costs related to this legislation. I would hope that in the long term, collections would in fact be enhanced. As you can guess from the diagram, there may be some holes in the bucket. If we can make court costs simpler, uniform, understandable and efficient, that will be a major step in earning the confidence of the people we all serve.
I wish I could say that legislation to simplify and clarify court costs is simple and clear. As you can see from the diagram, you are being asked to untie a gordian knot of court costs that has developed over many, many years and to do so without reducing revenues. As we undertake this task, I am reminded that sometimes the hardest things we do can be the most rewarding.
Returning for a moment to the subject of court automation, I wish to point out we have placed a high priority on the planning phase of court automation. We have demanded from our consultants an organized, well thought out approach to automation which sidesteps waste and false starts made by other states who fell into the temptation of quick solutions and wholesale purchases of hardware and off-the-shelf software. As we bring forward the plan, and as you see the complexity of what is required to create the statewide system that is envisioned, we hope that the system will earn your trust, confidence and support.
In this regard, we are hopeful that you will ask questions and closely follow the court automation project as well as our efforts to simplify, clarify and make more efficient the billing, collection and distribution of court costs.
There are other less costly but nonetheless important matters that we have placed before the legislature this year for consideration. One such matter is court security. I would not want to see our courthouses turned into fortresses. But insuring the safety of court staff, lawyers and litigants is essential. Court security in our circuit courts around the state is largely the responsibility of county government. Most county governments have taken that responsibility quite seriously, particularly in view of the events that occurred in Oklahoma City last year. Currently, our Supreme Court security staff is very small. Security equipment that is standard in most urban courthouses, most federal courthouses and some of the courts of appeals is not available for the Supreme Court. A committee appointed last year by the Supreme Court is working on overall recommendations for court security in the state. One of their immediate recommendations is that we strengthen the security of our own building across the street. While we have been fortunate to not have any serious incidents, we would not want to wait until something actually occurs to take action.
The Governor's Commission on the Judiciary recently made nineteen specific recommendations regarding the judicial system. While neither the Judicial Conference nor the Supreme Court has taken a position on the recommendations, I can assure you that members of the judiciary have closely observed the Governor's Commission in its deliberations. The Commission's report is thoughtful and thorough. I commend them for their work. I commend their report to you for your careful consideration. If we in the judiciary can be of any assistance to you, we will gladly make ourselves available for discussing specific topics included in the Commission's report and how those topics will affect court operations.
As previously noted, daunting caseloads are facing the courts in Missouri. In the last ten years, excluding traffic and municipal cases, the overall caseload has grown 25%. In two specific areas, domestic relations and felonies, the growth rate has been even more startling. In domestic relations, the annual number of cases filed has increased 59%. Seventy-four percent more felony cases were filed in 1995 than in 1985.
One way the trial judges have met the challenge is by moving cases faster. The Supreme Court has established case disposition guidelines. Basically, those guidelines provide a framework within which trial judges can measure whether the cases are moving through a particular judge's court within a reasonable time. By proper use of the guidelines, judges are in a better position to track their own efficiency. However, I have always been cautious to remind everyone that the quality of justice cannot be measured by how fast we dispose of cases. Every case and every court's docket is unique. Every case involves the life, liberty or property of some real person. The delivery of quality justice remains the primary focus of our work.
Educational programs have assisted in handling caseloads. In the early 1980's, a program was established to ensure that Missouri's trial judges had an opportunity at least once annually to receive an update on changes in the statutes, new case law, and the most current information regarding procedures. This year, for the first time, we are asking for a significant increase in our training budget to provide regional in-service training programs for the clerical staff. Just as it is important that judges keep up to date on new law and innovations in court administration, it is also critical that our clerks be given similar opportunities for continuing education, particularly in view of constantly increasing caseloads. Included in our budget for this year is additional funding to provide training to the clerks of our courts in various locations in the state. We are seeking approval of that important program.
It would be wrong for me to leave you with the impression that transfer programs, continuing education programs, and case disposition guidelines imposed by the Supreme Court were entirely responsible for this state's ability to deal with what appears to be an overwhelming caseload. In point of fact, our trial judges and court clerks simply work harder, longer, and smarter than before. That has given us the ability to meet the challenge of the last ten years. Excluding traffic cases, on average, every judge in Missouri today must dispose of 250 more cases per year than a judge did ten years ago. Ten years ago, the clerks of our state courts were handling $93 million in child support collections. This past year, those collections had rocketed to over $300 million. We should all take great pride in what our trial judges and court clerks have accomplished.
The one fact that remains clear is that this growth pattern in caseloads is almost certain to continue into the future. As we face new challenges, there will be an ever greater necessity to give trial courts and clerks the additional tools necessary to help meet the growing demand for services.
At the beginning of my comments, I spoke of the great debt we owe to the members of the General Assembly who, over the course of many years, designed our system of justice. One significant piece of legislation was Missouri's civil code which became effective ten days before I was born. The civil code formed the basis for the Missouri Supreme Court Rules. The Code contained a remarkably simple phrase that established the vision for the Missouri justice system. The statute said that all the laws relating to practices of the courts should be "construed to secure a just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action." Those same words were incorporated into Missouri's Supreme Court rules in 1972. I look forward to working with you as we continue to make a just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every case a reality for the citizens of Missouri.
On motion of Senator Banks, the Joint Session was dissolved and the Senators returned to the Chamber where they were called to order by Senator Wiggins.
SB 760--By Maxwell and Graves.
An Act to repeal sections 142.029 and 274.030, RSMo 1994, and section 142.028, RSMo Supp. 1995, relating to adding value to agricultural products, and to enact four new sections relating to the same subject, with an expiration date.
SB 761--By Maxwell.
An Act to repeal sections 276.401, 276.411, 276.421, 276.423, 276.426, 276.436, 276.441, 276.456, 276.461, 276.471, 276.486, 276.491, 276.501, 276.506, 276.511, 276.516, 411.115, 411.131, 411.180, 411.260, 411.261, 411.271, 411.278, 411.280, 411.283, 411.287, 411.321, 411.323, 411.325, 411.391, 411.405, 411.471, 411.517, 411.518 and 411.519, RSMo 1994, and sections 411.026 and 411.070, RSMo Supp. 1995, relating to agricultural products, and to enact in lieu thereof thirty-six new sections relating to the same subject, with penalty provisions and with an emergency clause.
SB 762--By Maxwell.
An Act relating to regulation and registration of interior designers, with penalty provisions.
SB 763--By Banks.
An Act to repeal section 376.406, RSMo 1994, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections for the purpose of improving access to immunization for children.
SB 764--By Banks.
An Act relating to health insurance.
SB 765--By Caskey.
An Act to amend chapter 362, RSMo, by adding one new section relating to certain banking practices, with a termination date.
SB 766--By Caskey.
An Act to repeal section 267.122, RSMo Supp. 1995, relating to animal health laboratory fees, and enacting one new section relating to the same subject.
SB 767--By House.
An Act to repeal sections 376.960, 376.961, 376.962, 376.964, 376.965, 376.966, 376.968, 376.970, 376.973, 376.975, 376.978, 376.980, 376.984, 376.986, 376.989, 379.930, 379.934, 379.936, 379.938, 379.940, 379.942, 379.943, 379.944, 379.948, and 379.952, RSMo 1994, and section 376.982, RSMo Supp. 1995, relating to certain health care coverage, and to enact in lieu thereof eight new sections relating to the same subject, with a contingent effective date for certain sections.
SB 768--By Howard.
An Act to repeal sections 402.215 and 473.657, RSMo 1994, relating to Missouri family trust, and to enact three new sections relating to the same subject.
SB 769--By Quick.
An Act to repeal sections 595.025 and 595.045, RSMo 1994, relating to the crime victims' compensation fund, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections relating to the same subject.
SB 770--By Treppler.
An Act to repeal section 313.822, RSMo 1994, relating to excursion gambling boats, and to enact one new section relating to the same subject.
SB 771--By Treppler.
An Act to amend chapter 29, RSMo, by adding one new section relating to compliance with audits, with penalty provisions.
SB 772--By Clay.
An Act to amend chapter 376, RSMo, by adding four new sections relating to managed health care plans.
SB 773--By Goode.
An Act to repeal sections 36.030, 36.031, 36.040, 36.050, 36.100, 36.110, 36.120, 36.140, 36.170, 36.180, 36.190, 36.210, 36.240, 36.250, 36.260, 36.280, 36.300, 36.320, 36.330, 36.360, 36.390 and 36.510, RSMo 1994, and section 36.020, RSMo Supp. 1995, relating to Missouri merit system and uniform classification and pay system, and to enact in lieu thereof twenty-three new sections relating to the same subject.
SB 774--By Klarich and Moseley.
An Act to repeal section 509.290, RSMo 1994, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections for the purpose of requiring the courts of this state to apply the doctrine of forum nonconveniens in civil cases.
SB 775--By Kinder.
An Act to repeal section 94.875, RSMo 1994, relating to certain tourism taxes, and to enact in lieu thereof one new section relating to the same subject.
SB 776--By Moseley.
An Act to repeal sections 338.070, 338.100 and 338.365, RSMo 1994, relating to pharmacies, and to enact in lieu thereof five new sections relating to the same subject.
SB 777--By Moseley.
An Act relating to court costs.
Mr. President: Your Committee on Gubernatorial Appointments, to which were referred the following appointments, begs leave to report that it has considered the same and recommends that the Senate do give its advice and consent to the following:
Elizabeth M. "Betty" Linke, Brenda S. Lampton, Norwood A. Creason, Larry G. Foster and Ida B. Cox as members of the State Fair Commission;
Robert E. Loch, Jr., as a member of the Board of Regents for Northwest Missouri State University;
Nicklyn B. Foster and Lynn A. Harmon, as members of the Central Missouri State University Board of Regents;
Ruth A. McGowan, as a member of the Board of Curators for Lincoln University;
Nathan R. Williams, Jr., as a member of the Advisory Council on Emergency Medical Services;
Harvey L. Cooper, as a member of the Missouri Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities;
Mary Lynn Richter, as a member of the Missouri Head Injury Advisory Council;
James E. Tuscher, as chairman of the Governor's Council on Disability;
Barry J. Drucker, as a member of the Missouri State Milk Board;
Richard H. Guth, Russell G. Schergen, Suzan Jean Mehalko, Cynthia R. Bryant, Elizabeth C. Zahner, Catherine D. Lauman and Daniel C. Ottoline, Sr., as members of the Elevator Safety Board.
Senator Mathewson requested unanimous consent of the Senate to vote on the above reports in one motion. There being no objection, the request was granted.
Senator Mathewson moved that the committee reports be adopted, and the Senate do give its advice and consent to the above appointments, which motion prevailed.
On behalf of Senator Staples, Chairman of the Committee on Transportation, Senator Mathewson submitted the following report:
Mr. President: Your Committee on Transportation, to which was referred SB 503, begs leave to report that it has considered the same and recommends that the bill do pass, with Senate Committee Amendment No. 1.
(1) "Commercial vehicle enforcement officers", employees of the Missouri state highway patrol who are not members of the patrol but who are appointed by the superintendent of the highway patrol to enforce the laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to commercial vehicles, trailers, special mobile equipment and drivers of such vehicles;
(2) "Commercial vehicle inspectors", employees of the Missouri state highway patrol who are not members of the patrol but who are appointed by the superintendent of the highway patrol to supervise or operate permanent or portable weigh stations in the enforcement of commercial vehicle laws;
(3) "Freeway", any state or federal divided highway with four or more lanes having limited access with no at-grade intersections;
[(3)] (4) "Members of the patrol", the superintendent, lieutenant colonel, majors, captains, director of radio, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals and patrolmen of the Missouri state highway patrol;
[(4)] (5) "Off-road vehicle", any vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, ice, snow, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain without benefit of a road or trail:
(a) Including, without limitation, the following:
b. All-terrain vehicles;
c. Dune buggies;
d. Multiwheel drive or low-pressure tire vehicles;
e. Vehicle using an endless belt, or tread or treads, or a combination of tread and low-pressure tires;
f. Motorcycles, trail bikes, minibikes and related vehicles;
g. Any other means of transportation deriving power from any source other than muscle or wind; and
(b) Excluding the following:
a. Registered motorboats;
c. Any military, fire or law enforcement vehicle;
d. Farm-type tractors and other self-propelled equipment for harvesting and transporting farm or forest products;
e. Any vehicle being used for farm purposes, earth moving, or construction while being used for such purposes on the work site;
f. Self-propelled lawnmowers, or lawn or garden tractors, or golf carts, while being used exclusively for their designed purpose; and
g. Any vehicle being used for the purpose of transporting a handicapped person;
[(5)] (6) "Person", any natural person, corporation, or other legal entity."; and
Further amend the title and enacting clause accordingly; and
Further amend said bill, page 2, section 304.010, line 8, by striking the word "and" and inserting in lieu thereof the following: "except when the speed limit for other vehicles is over sixty miles per hour, such trucks may be operated up to a speed which is five miles per hour less than the speed limit for other vehicles."; and further amend line 10, by inserting immediately after the word "any" the following: "federal interstate or any freeway, provided the freeway is at least ten miles in length ["; and further amend line 13, by striking the opening bracket "["; and
Further amend said bill and section, page 3, line 34, by inserting immediately after said line the following:
"4. The department of highways and transportation may lower or raise a speed limit set in subsection 2 of this section for particular sections of state highways, but only after a lower or higher speed limit is indicated by an engineering study and after holding public hearings in the areas affected. No speed limit shall be changed under this subsection unless the particular sections of the highways are at least ten miles in length."; and
Further amend said section by renumbering the remaining subsections accordingly.
Senator Russell introduced to the Senate, Bill Barr, Camdenton.
On motion of Senator Banks, the Senate adjourned until 4:00 p.m., Monday, January 15, 1996.