Protecting Our State’s Business Community
Missouri is home to numerous businesses and manufacturing companies that create products used throughout the world. These businesses, big and small, play a vital role in our state’s economy. Unfortunately, many of these businesses have been forced to spend important resources dealing with what I believe are unnecessary and frivolous lawsuits. In order to stand up for our state’s business community, I have sponsored Senate Bill 7. This legislation gives individuals injured by a defective or unsafe product a 15-year window to file a lawsuit seeking damages against the company responsible for the product. The 15-year time period will begin once the product enters the stream of commerce. If a manufacturer, lessor or seller states in a warranty or advertisement that the product has an expected shelf life of more than 15 years, the warranty’s claim —plus an additional two years — will be the new timeframe in which a cause of action for product liability can take place.
We cannot expect products in our everyday lives to last forever. As a result, I do not believe it is fair to place undue expectations on our state’s manufacturers and small businesses. Many of the states surrounding Missouri have similar protections, most of which limit claims to 10 years or less. I believe a reasonable statute of repose is something that must be added to our laws if we expect Missouri to remain an attractive place for manufacturers to do business. To be clear, this legislation provides no protections to companies that are negligent or purposely hide defective products. It also doesn’t apply to actions against a manufacturer where the harm occurs during a product’s useful life.
On Thursday, Jan. 21, I presented this important legislation to the Government Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee. I am hopeful the committee will approve this commonsense, tort reform proposal in the near future and send it to the full Senate for further consideration.
Moving Forward with Missouri’s COVID Vaccination Plan
On Monday, Jan. 18, Phase 1B – Tier 2 of Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan was activated. This allows those administering the life-saving medicine to begin vaccinating adults age 65 and over, as well as any adult with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, heart conditions, a weakened immune system, severe obesity, pregnancy, Sickle Cell Disease, Type 2 Diabetes or individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. If you fall into any of these categories, please contact your local pharmacy or health care provider for information on vaccine availability and how best to receive one of the available vaccines.
For more information on our state’s vaccine distribution plan, I encourage you to visit covidvaccine.mo.gov. This website is a great resource regarding the rollout of the state’s vaccination plan, in addition to useful information about the available vaccines, definitions of those included in each phase of the state’s distribution plan and more. While we are anxious to return to a sense of normalcy, we are not out of the woods yet so please continue to take precautions. Stay safe out there, my friends, and may God bless you, our nation and our communities.
It is an honor to be your state senator, and my door is always open to your concerns, questions or comments. Please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-2757 or visit my web page at www.senate.mo.gov/riddle.