2021 Missouri Legislative Review

by Paul Hamby, Maysville

The Missouri Legislative session officially ended on May 14. Making new laws is not easy and it should not be. Approx 2,200 bills were filed; 69 passed. And some of those 69 were very bad for your liberty and your bank account.

SAPA, the Second Amendment Preservation Act passed.  House Rep Jered Taylor is the very type of bill sponsor we always need for Liberty legislation. No matter how strong the opposition - nor where it came from, he stood up to fight for our rights and navigate this bill, HB85, to a successful vote in both the House and Senate. Companion bills were filed by Freshman Rep. Bishop Davidson and Senator Eric Burlison. Thousands of Missouri citizens spoke up in support of SAPA. County Commissioners across the state passed resolutions in support of SAPA. Current and former county sheriffs went to Jefferson City to voice support and help resolve concerns and conflicts. Senate sponsor Eric Burlison was key in getting all the parties involved to find common ground. Please take a moment to thank Reps. Taylor, Davidson and Senator Eric Burlison. Locally, Rep. Eggleston, Rep. Allen Andrews, Rep. Dean Van Schoiack and Rep. Randy Railsback voted Yes for SAPA. Senator Dan Hegeman and Senator Cindy O’Laughlin voted Yes for SAPA.

Missouri Local Government Expenditure Database HB271; Increases transparency of local government spending; Makes county and municipal expenditures available at no charge to all via a local or statewide website. Establishes that County commissioners have jurisdiction over the non-court areas of Missouri courthouses. Imposes 30-day limit on emergency declarations before renewal. Provides some restrictions for local health departments. Vaccine Pass Ports shall not be used in Missouri to prevent access to public transportation.

Rep. Eggleston, Rep. Allen Andrews, Rep. Dean Van Schoiack and Rep. Randy Railsback voted Yes. Senator Dan Hegeman and Senator Cindy O’Laughlin voted Yes.

Governor Parson’s top 3 priorities passed.  2 of the 3 increase taxes and grow state government.

Fuel Tax Increase SB262 Senate; President Pro Tem Schatz and Senator Hegeman’s number 1 goal this session was to increase the fuel taxes. Schatz’s behavior in accomplishing this is some of the worst I have ever seen from legislative leadership. He was properly called out on the Missouri House and Senate floor for his bullying tactics. Yet he succeeded. Do we need more money for roads? Yes, but there are millions of dollars available right now in a budget surplus, and hundreds of millions more coming from Biden’s Infrastructure Plan. Amendments were drafted but not successful to create accountability to MoDOT for their poor spending choices and other missteps and to put the issue on the ballot for a vote of the people again. Fearing a fourth loss at the polls, Senator Schatz insisted this pass in the legislature. The bill includes a rebate for Missouri residents. If you are willing to save your receipts you can mail them into the MODOR and get a rebate. That will require many more employees at the Missouri Department of Revenue.

Rep. Eggleston and Senator Cindy O’Laughlin voted against the tax increase.  

Rep. Allen Andrews, Rep. Randy Railsback, Rep. Dean Van Schoiack and Senator Hegeman voted for the tax increase.

Wayfair SB153 & HB554 - Forces out of state sellers to become a tax collector for merchandise shipped to Missouri, with some exceptions. The proponents correctly say that the current market is not a level playing field. It is not now, never has been, and never will be. This law does not level the playing field. It is a tax increase on your family if you purchase online. And it grows the Department of Revenue, who will add many, perhaps hundreds of employees to keep track of all the data. It also is the final peg in the national infrastructure database created to implement a National Sales Tax. Senator Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, and Rep. J. Eggleston, R-Maysville, worked together to pass the bill.

Rep. Eggleston, Rep. Allen Andrews, Rep. Dean Van Schoiack and Rep. Randy Railsback voted Yes for Wayfair Tax increase. Senator Hegeman and Senator O’Laughlin voted Yes for Wayfair tax increase.

Covid Liability SB 51; There is a legitimate concern that businesses, churches, and other organizations could be sued for someone getting COVID after visiting their location. Nearly impossible to prove, but with the way juries award damages, Governor Parson rightfully asked for a bill to protect from liability. However there are some very bad parts of this bill that empower local health authorities during a pandemic. Did we not learn from 2020? There were better bills than SB51, but that is the one that made it across the finish line.  

Rep. Eggleston, Rep. Allen Andrews, Rep. Dean Van Schoiack and Rep. Randy Railsback voted Yes. Senator Dan Hegeman and Senator Cindy O’Laughlin voted Yes.

One issue that passed but should not have;

PDMP SB 63 - We successfully stopped this bill for more than a decade, but in 2021 it passed. This creates a government database to monitor your prescription drugs and then share that information with Doctors, Pharmacists, Law Enforcement, FBI and others. The proponents say it will reduce opioid addiction. Certainly a noble cause, but 49 other states have passed similar laws, and it does not make much if any difference. It does put your privacy at risk and create more government lists for you to be on and will require the state of Missouri to hire more people to create an Internet database for users across the country to access. Less Liberty and privacy, More Government.  

Rep. J Eggleston, Rep. Dean Van Schoiack and Senator Cindy O’Laughlin voted No.  

Rep. Allen Andrews, Rep. Randy Railsback and Senator Hegeman voted Yes.

Issues that did not make it to a floor vote;

Election reform; After what happened in the 2020 elections, it is hard to believe that an election reform bill did not pass. Dozens of bills were filed regarding election reform. Requiring Photo ID. Hand Marked Paper Ballots. Discontinue use of Electronic Voting Machines. Limit early voting to 3 weeks. Thousands of Missouri citizens spoke up. Numerous hearings were held. Good bills passed out of committee. Governor Parson should call a special session for election integrity reform. 

Power Line Authorization SB508; Would require permission from the County Commission of every county that a power line crosses before the state PSC could issue a permit. One of the purposes of this bill is to provide local tools to fight the Green New Deal scheme and to stop abuse via eminent domain that is detrimental to family farmers. SB508 Empowers local control. One hearing was held. Did not come up for a floor vote.

It's important to note that a bill will be heard in sometimes 4 - 6 committees. Plus a floor debate in the house and a floor debate in the senate, and if amended in one chamber, it must go back to the other side for a final vote. To pass, a bill with exactly the same language must pass both chambers of the legislature. This is one reason a legislator might vote yes in a committee hearing but on the final amended bill will vote no, because even though the bill title is the same, by the time it gets amended and substituted, the added amendments sometimes kill the bill.

Four senators not mentioned above should be recognized for their Liberty Principled Stands and votes in the state legislature. Please join me in thanking them; Senator Mike Moon, Senator Bob Onder, Senator Rick Brattin, and Senator Bill Eigel. Find Contact info for Missouri State Senators at senate.mo.gov. For Missouri State Representatives house.mo.gov

“And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.”  --  Frédéric Bastiat - "The Law"

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