The Second Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly closed Friday at 6 PM. During this year, the General Assembly passed 139 bills. Two are of particular interest to me: SB 700, sponsored by Senator Schatz, contained an amendment from me to exempt volunteers for veteran service organizations (VSOs) from workers compensation requirements. This will help VSO budgets as it was a double cost--VSOs already carry liability insurance. Also, my amendment for a statewide student portal for higher education was included as an amendment for SB 997 sponsored by Senator Pearce.
During the next few weeks, I will list the bills that have been Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed, and now sit on the governor's desk awaiting executive action. This week's list concerns senate bills.
Truly Agree and Finally Passed Bills (SBs)
SB 572 - Modifies various provisions regarding municipalities and counties
Currently, every municipality located within St. Louis County must provide certain municipal and financial services and reports. This act modifies the list of services that municipalities must offer. The annual audit by a certified public accountant of the municipality's finances that includes a report on internal controls to prevent misuse of funds no longer has to be prepared by a qualified financial consultant. This act also provides that the ordinance must provide to the owner of the property a written notice which describes the condition of the lot, what action will remedy the nuisance, and provides not less than ten days to abate or commence removal of each condition identified in the notice.
SB 578 - Establishes the Missouri Commercial Receivership Act and exempts firearms from attachment in bankruptcy proceedings
This act allows certain circuits to appoint an additional circuit court marshal, authorizes an additional judge in certain circuits when indicated by a judicial performance report, adds an additional judge to the 26th Judicial Circuit, excludes firearms from attachment in bankruptcy, and establishes the Missouri Commercial Receivership Act.
SB 579 - Modifies provisions relating to infection reporting of health care facilities and telehealth services
This act 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. This act requires the Infection Control Advisory Panel to make recommendations to the Department regarding CMS' reporting requirements by January 1, 2017. The panel recommendations shall address which hospitals shall be required, as a condition of licensure, to use specified national networks for data collection, risk analysis and adjustment, or public reporting of infection data.
SB 588 - Modifies provisions relating to petitions for the expungement of criminal records
Current law requires a $100 surcharge to be paid for petitions for expungement of criminal records. This act raises the amount of the surcharge to $500 and provides that the judge may waive the surcharge if the petitioner is indigent. Under current law, a person may petition the court in which the person was found guilty for the expungement of records relating to a list of specified offenses. A person may file multiple petitions throughout the state and have multiple offenses expunged, but may only file one petition per circuit court.
This act repeals the limitation on the number of petitions per circuit court, allows a person who was arrested but not sentenced to apply for expungement, and allows a person to petition, over the course of a lifetime, for the expungement of records for any number of infractions, no more than two misdemeanor offenses or ordinance violations that carry jail time, and no more than one felony offense. If the violations or offenses were charged at the same time or involve the same course of conduct, the person may include all the related offenses or violations in the same petition and it only counts as a petition for one offense or violation. This act lists certain crimes and ordinance violations that may not be expunged.
SB 590 - Modifies provisions related to crime
During the 2014 session, the General Assembly passed a large-scale revision of the Missouri Criminal Code, which included the addition of a Class E felony and a modification of the terms of imprisonment for Class C, D, and E felonies. Under current law, the maximum term for a class C felony is seven years and the maximum term for a Class D felony is four years. Beginning January 1, 2017, when SB 491 (2014) takes effect, the term of imprisonment for a Class C felony will be three to 10 years, the maximum term for a Class D felony will be seven years, and the maximum term for a Class E felony will be four years.
To reflect the change in the authorized terms of imprisonment, this act modifies several crimes once classified as Class C felonies to make them Class D felonies and crimes once classified as Class D felonies have become Class E felonies.
SB 591 - Modifies provisions relating to expert witnesses
This act provides that current standards for admitting expert testimony in a civil action shall apply to legal actions adjudicated in probate court, juvenile court, family courts, or in actions involving divorce, marriage, adoption, child support orders, or protective orders.
SB 607 - Requires the Department of Social Services to contract with a third party to verify eligibility for public assistance programs
This act requires, among other provisions, that the Department of Social Services, by January 1, 2017, to contract with a private vendor to verify that eligibility requirements are being met by recipients of public assistance, including the supplemental nutrition assistance program, temporary assistance for needy families, child care assistance, and MO HealthNet. The Department will retain final determination of eligibility. The Department and the contractor are required to file an annual report with the Governor and the General Assembly regarding the eligibility data.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.
Serving the Constituents of the 51st District,