Around the State
House Speaker Elijah Haahr recently announced the creation of the Interim Committee on Oversight of Local Taxation. Haahr formed the interim committee to evaluate how local governments are determining taxes and are impacted by current tax policy, property tax and other taxes.
“Missourians across the state have raised serious concerns on how counties access property tax values and the fairness of what is being taxed,” Haahr said. “While the General Assembly continues to ensure Missourians keep more of their hard-earned money, we will remain vigilant that counties are not in return deviously raising Missourians’ taxes.”
Speaker Haahr said he expects the committee to ask a lot of hard questions regarding the impact the state’s tax policies have on local communities. He expects the committee to explore many different areas outside of county property assessments, and to continue last session’s conversation on Internet sales tax and examine how local communities are stacking sales taxes.
Haahr added, “By reviewing the process of determining sales and property taxes, the committee will provide the General Assembly with the full picture of how our state policies impact local communities. We know Missourians want to be a low-tax state and what taxes they do owe, they want to know are calculated justly and correctly. We will protect Missourians in this area from the state level all the way down to our local government levels.”
The committee will hold its first hearing Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, at Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City.
As usual, I will continue with a summary of Truly Agreed and Finally Passed (TAFP’d) bills. This week begins Senate bills and includes court and legal issues. I will once again proceed by number.
Bills Truly Agreed and Finally Passed (TAFP’d)
CCS SCS SB 83 -- COURT PROCEEDINGS
This provision requires a party intending to relocate a child subject to a custody or visitation agreement to notify any other parties entitled to custody or visitation of their right to file a motion seeking an order to prevent the relocation and an accompanying affidavit setting forth the specific good faith factual basis for opposing the relocation within 30 days of receipt of the notice (Section 452.377).
Save the Family Farm Act
This bill creates the “Save the Family Farm Act,” creating new provisions regulating the partition of property among heirs. This bill only applies to property that is determined by a court to be “heirs property,” as defined in the bill and specifies that if any cotenant requests partition by sale of heirs property the court shall send notice to all other cotenants that they may buy all the interests of the cotenant requesting partition by sale. All cotenants are given 45 days to respond to the court notice. After the expiration of 45 days it specifies the procedure for dividing property based on the interest of the cotenants. These provisions apply to all partition actions filed on or after Aug. 28, 2019.
Currently, grandparents may file a motion to modify a decree of dissolution when they have been unreasonably denied a right to visit their grandchildren for a period of 90 days. This bill changes that time period to 60 days.
This bill removes a provision requiring the Director of the Public Defender’s Office to prepare a plan to establish district offices, which would coincide with existing judicial circuits.
SB 84 -- GEOLOGIC RESOURCES FEE
This bill extends the Geologic Resources Fee collected by the Department of Natural Resources for a surface mining permit from Dec. 31, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2025.
SCS SB 89 -- RELATED TO TRANSPORTATION
This bill requires any person, company, or corporation engaged in the business of renting or leasing motor vehicles, trailers, boats, or outboard motors, which are to be used exclusively for rental or lease purposes, and not for resale, to apply to the Director of the Department of Revenue for authority to operate as a leasing or rental company and pay an annual fee of $250 for such authority.
Additionally, every applicant to be a lease or rental company will furnish with the application a corporate surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit issued by any state or federal financial institution in the penal sum of $100,000, on a form approved by the department.
Any person, company, or corporation engaged in the business of renting or leasing 3,500 or more motor vehicles which are to be used exclusively for rental or leasing purposes and not for resale, and that has applied to the Director of the Department of Revenue for authority to operate as a leasing company may also operate as a registered fleet owner.
The Director of the Department of Revenue may issue license plates to a fleet owner after he or she completes an application, as designed by the director, and payment of an annual fee of $360 for the first 10 plates and $36 for each additional plate for fleet vehicles. The payment and issuance of such plates shall be in lieu of registering each motor vehicle with the director as otherwise provided by law. These motor vehicles will not be exempt from safety and emission inspections required by law, but these inspections will not be required to be presented to the director.
Registrations for fleets are on an annual or biannual basis. If an applicant elects a biennial registration, the annual fleet license plate fees are doubled and the agent fee is collected in an amount equal to the fee for two years.
Prior to the issuance of fleet license plates, the applicant must provide proof of insurance as required under current law.
The authority of a recipient of a lease or rental company license issued by the director as prescribed in Section 144.070 to operate as a fleet owner as provided in this section shall expire on January 1st of the licensure period.
A lease or rental company operating fleet license plates issued under these provisions shall make available, upon request, to the Director of the Department of Revenue and all Missouri law enforcement agencies any corresponding vehicle and registration information that may be requested as specified by the bill.
This bill relates to commercial driver’s licenses. This bill adds test score documents from Missouri commercial third-party tester examiners to an exemption from the prohibition against retaining certain driver’s license application materials. The bill specifies that skills and written test waiver documents may be retained for commercial driver’s instruction permits in addition to commercial driver’s license applicants.
The bill specifies that commercial driver’s instruction permits shall be nonrenewable and lengthens, from six months to one year, the period for which the permits are valid. This bill increases, from $5 to $10, the fee for a commercial driver’s instruction permit, and specifies that the fee for a duplicate shall be $5. This bill also repeals a provision allowing for the issuance of a 30-day commercial driver’s instruction permit. The bill specifies that applicants for a commercial driver's license shall complete an entry-level driver training program as required under federal law.
The Director of Revenue currently has the authority to waive the driving skills test for a commercial driver’s license for qualified military applicants. This bill allows the Director of Revenue to also waive the written test, and to waive the skills and written tests for commercial driver’s instruction permits. The bill repeals the list of specific requirements an applicant must certify that he or she meets, and specifies that the applicant shall meet all federal and state qualifications and shall be required to complete applicable tests that are not waived.
Beginning Dec. 1, 2019, the Department of Revenue shall certify as a third-party tester any private education institution or other private entity, provided the necessary qualifications are met.
This bill allows for the use of an electronic verification system, approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to receive medical examiner’s certificates for commercial driver’s license issuance.
This bill requires the Director of the Department of Revenue to revoke a driver’s license upon notification by a law enforcement officer that an individual was involved in a physical accident where his or her negligence contributed to his or her vehicle striking a worker or highway worker, as defined in the bill, within a properly designated construction or work zone, or emergency responder within a properly designated active emergency zone.
This bill modifies the inspection requirement for non-commercial motor vehicles, which is currently required in order to renew a motor vehicle license. New motor vehicles after being sold will not have to have an inspection until after 10 years or the vehicle odometer reads 150,000 miles.
Currently, an untitled, homemade trailer that is 16 feet or more in length must have a certificate of inspection. This bill requires all homemade trailers to have a certificate of inspection and increases the inspection fee from $10 to $25. The State Highway Patrol or other authorized law enforcement agency shall issue the vehicle examination certificate. The Superintendent of the State Highway Patrol shall provide law enforcement agencies performing the inspections with the needed forms.
SCS SB 90 -- EMPLOYMENT SECURITY
This bill modifies various provisions relating to employment security.
This bill specifies that a person claiming unemployment benefits is required to make three work search contacts during any week in which such benefits are claimed. Additionally, the bill modifies the following provisions to either require or allow for communication with the Division of Employment Security through electronic means:
(1) All employers of 50 or more workers are required to report quarterly wage information to the division in an electronic format prescribed by the division, provided that, if good cause is shown, the director may permit filing in paper form;
(2) Any notice, determination, decision, or other paper required in Chapter 288, RSMo, may be transmitted solely by electronic means, unless an alternative manner is requested; and
(3) Any function required to be performed by the division may be performed by a computer or other automated means.
The records of the division shall constitute prima facie evidence of the date of the electronic transmission of any notice, determination, or other paper electronically transmitted in Chapter 288.
Currently, the Division of Employment Security is required to send certain notices to employers personally or by registered mail to the last known principal place of business of the employer. This amendment modifies those provisions by requiring such notice to be served by certified mail directed to the last known address of the employer, except in the case of any notice of the assessment of contributions, interest, or penalties after an original assessment of contributions, interest, or penalties are not paid when due, in which case further notice may be sent by mail to the last known address of the employer.
SCS SB 101 -- HEARING AID DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM
This bill requires the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to establish, subject to appropriations, a statewide hearing aid distribution program to provide financial assistance to certain low-income individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to obtain hearing aids. All assessments for need and distribution of hearing aids shall be performed by a licensed audiologist hearing instrument specialist or licensed physician. The bill creates the “Statewide Hearing Aid Distribution Fund,” which shall not include any funds from the Assistive Technology Trust Fund or the Deaf Relay Service and Equipment Distribution Program Fund. The Commission may accept gifts, donations, grants, and bequests for the program.
For more complete information on each bill, please see: https://house.mo.gov/LegislationSP.aspx
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.