House Approves Legislation to Protect Land Owners from Eminent Domain Abuse (HB 1062)
As hundreds of concerned land owners gathered in the State Capitol this week to rally in support of their property rights, the Missouri House of Representatives took action to prevent the misuse of the state’s eminent domain law. House members approved a bill that would specify that a private entity cannot use the power of eminent domain for the purposes of constructing above-ground power lines.
The bill comes in response to the proposed Grain Belt Express transmission line that would carry power generated by wind turbines in Kansas across Missouri to other states in the Midwest and neighboring states. The 750-mile line would run across eight northern Missouri counties — Buchanan, Clinton, Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Randolph, Monroe and Ralls — and would deliver a portion of the power it transmits to utilities and customers in Missouri.
In March the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a request made by Grain Belt Express to construct the high-voltage transmission line. As a result of the decision made by the PSC, developers would have the authority to utilize the power of eminent domain to obtain easement rights from landowners who are unwilling to sell.
The legislation approved by the House would prevent the use of eminent domain for the purpose of constructing the Grain Belt Express transmission line. Supporters of the bill said it is important to prohibit private companies from using eminent domain to maximize their profits for a project that will provide little benefit for Missouri consumers: less than 12 percent of the electricity carried by the transmission line would be sold to Missouri consumers.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
House Approves Bill to Improve License Renewal Process (HB 679)
Members of the Missouri House have approved legislation that would make it easier for residents to renew a driver’s license or a motor vehicle license. The legislation also would allow drivers to obtain a secure digital driver’s license in addition to the physical card-based license.
The bill would authorize the Missouri Department of Revenue to design and implement a remote driver’s license renewal system that would be accessed through the department's Internet website, or through self-service kiosks that would be available at one or more locations within the state. Missourians would also be able to use the kiosks to renew their motor vehicle license just as they currently can through the department’s website. This option would be available to residents who live in a county where property tax records are kept online.
The plan would be to roll out a handful of kiosks in select locations initially as a pilot project. If the kiosks prove successful and cost efficient, they would then be made available in more fee offices throughout the state. The expansion of the self-service kiosks would be subject to appropriation.
The bill is now under consideration by the Senate.
Lawmakers Approve Bill to Crack Down on Carjackers (HB 966)
The House gave approval this week to legislation that would create and define the crime of carjacking. Supporters say the bill would give consistency and clarity to Missouri law.
Bill sponsor David Gregory says it is necessary because Missouri does not currently have a law for prosecutors to charge vehicle hijacking under. Instead, prosecutors have to charge under a similar offense, such as robbery or theft. The bill sponsor says carjacking has become an epidemic that needs to be addressed, noting that St. Louis had 350 carjackings in 2018.
Gregory said, “Here’s the message I want to send. You carjack in the State of Missouri and you use a deadly weapon or threaten to use a deadly weapon, you’re going away. I think we send a very, very clear message. Carjacking will not be tolerated in the State of Missouri.”
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Bills Signed by the Governor
HB 14 is a supplemental appropriations bill that allows for the continued current operations of Missouri state government. The bill allocates nearly $468 million, including $189 million in General Revenue, $183 million in Federal Funds, and $97 million in Other Funds. Among other things, the bill provides funding for the Time Critical Diagnosis Unit and for the state’s Medical Marijuana Program.
HB 77 fixes a problem with the school retirement system that was created by language that was passed last session. The bill adds a provision that exempts anyone that retired as a teacher under the public school retirement system who is now employed by a public community college.
Status for My Bills
This week my tax penalty relief bill (HB 1094) passed out of the House and has been referred to the Senate. Also, HB 575 had a hearing in the Senate on Thursday, and HB 576 was voted out of House Rules and heads for the floor. Below is a complete list of the bills I have officially filed with a status report in the parentheses:
- HCR 16 – Urges Congress to recognize World War II Ghost Army (heard in Senate committee)
- HB 573 – Title IX proceedings due process requirements (Voted Do Pass out of Administrative Rules)
- HB574 – Companion to HB 573 (referred to Higher Education Committee)
- HB 575- Authorizes Campus Protection Officers (Heard in Senate Committee)
- HB 576 – Campus Free Expression (voted out of House Rules)
- HB 577 – National Motto displays in schools (not referred)
- HB 1093- Expands Dual Credit Fund (passed out of House Rules, amended onto HB 575)
- HB 1094 – Tax Penalty Relief for 2018 (Passed, sent to Senate)
I will keep you updated on these bills as we move through the second half of the session.
Other Bills Sent to the Senate
HB 1094 prevents penalties for delayed payments on outstanding income tax liabilities for the 2018 tax year, as long as a taxpayer timely files their return. There may be interest assessed on outstanding income tax liabilities, provided that no interest will be assessed before May 15, 2019 and any interest already paid will be refunded.
HB 301 requires certified nursing assistant training programs to be offered at skilled nursing or intermediate care facility units in Missouri veterans homes and hospitals. It also requires advanced practice nurses (APRNs) to be licensed by the Missouri Board of Nursing and sets out the requirements for that licensure.
HB 379 allows the Department of Natural Resources to award grants to preserve, protect, or restore historic county courthouses and historic county courthouse grounds.
HB 349 provides that the practices of cosmetology and barbering do not include shampooing.
HB 338 designates May 26th of each year as “Battle of St. Louis Memorial Day” to commemorate the only battle of the American Revolution fought in Missouri.
HB 816 allows an embalming apprentice to continue to be employed by the funeral establishment where the apprenticeship took place, for up to six months after the apprentice has completed the apprenticeship program but has not yet completed the examination or other requirements of licensure.
HB 932 allows prosecuting attorneys to develop multidisciplinary adult protection teams that protect elderly and other dependent persons from abuse.
HB 758 adds provisions relating to hospital inspections. Supporters say that this bill will ensure that there are no conflicts of interest between the department and the hospitals that they regulate and that the inspections will be unbiased and trustworthy. The bill also establishes the “Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act.”
HB 191 designates portions of specified State Highways as a Memorial Highway. It would designate a portion of Highway E in Lafayette County as the “Firefighter Jeff Sanders Memorial Highway.” The bill also designates a portion of State Highway 6 in Buchanan County as the “Firefighter Travis Owens Memorial Highway.” Additionally, it designates a portion of State Highway A in St. Charles County as the “Ralph Barrale Memorial Highway.”
HB 937 allows legislative liaisons, who are appointed to communicate between state agencies and departments and members of the General Assembly, to be exempt from the definition of “legislative lobbyist” under state law.
HB 930 allows the Commissioner of Administration to hold a reverse auction to procure merchandise, supplies, raw materials, or finished goods if price is the primary factor in evaluating bids.
HB 769 removes the requirement for the attorney general to reside in Jefferson City, the only statewide elected position to have such a requirement.
HB 1057 changes provisions relating to infection control data reporting.
HB 186 provides that a person who is injured by a product has 10 years after the sale or lease of the product to bring a suit for damages. Supporters say there needs to be certainty for manufacturers and distributors. They note that the United States Supreme Court has held that statutes of repose are legitimate limitations on bringing claims. They say Missouri defendants should be free from worry about liability after a certain amount of time has passed.
HB 1206 would modernize the bidding process for contracts for private entities to operate facilities or supply services on a state park.
HBs 281 and 570 allows school districts to implement alternative methods of instruction to avoid make-up days. Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, the bill allows a district to use an alternative instruction plan approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for up to 36 hours due to inclement weather.
HB 749 creates the “Towing Task Force” to make recommendations on overcharges, customer complaints, and the process for nonconsensual towing used by law enforcement.
HB 1151 removes an exemption from registration on the Sexual Offender Registry when a registrant is no longer required to register and his or her name must be removed from the registry under the provisions. The bill also removes sexual misconduct involving a child under Section 566.083, if it is a first offense and the punishment is less than one year, from Tier I of the registry. The legislation is meant to correct and clarify language regarding the registration of sexual offenders that was passed last year.
HB 756 requires health care professionals to utilize the process outlined in statute for claims for charges for unanticipated out-of-network care.
HB 943 allows the Board of Accountancy within the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration to obtain information regarding peer review from any approved American Institute for Certified Public Accountants peer review program.
HB 951 specifies that the Missouri Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the county sheriff for the county in which the facility is located, the United States Department of Agriculture, and any other federal or Missouri state agency with statutory or regulatory authority have exclusive authority to inspect the grounds or facilities in Missouri used for the production of eggs, milk or other dairy products, raising of livestock, or the production or raising of dogs or other animals not used to produce any food product.
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.