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2017 Missouri Legislative Update

The bills approved by the Missouri General Assembly go into effect on August 28, 2017. There were a number of bills passed by the House and Senate of interest to local governments. The following is a list of several of the bills passed by the General Assembly which cities and governmental bodies in the region should review carefully:

House Bill 451 – Many statutes relate only to cities within a certain population range, some of which are very broad, and some of which are quite narrow. This bill would clarify that, if a city is subject to a statute that is applicable only to cities with a certain population, such city remains subject to the statute if it subsequently loses population and falls out of the statutory range. A recent decision from the Court of Appeals, Missouri-American Water Co. v. Office of the Public Counsel, had suggested that only the City of St. Louis remained subject to such laws upon a loss in population. That case was ultimately decided by the Missouri Supreme Court on other grounds. This bill would resolve any uncertainty by amending the statute to explicitly state that any city is still subject to a statute with a population range if the city loses population and falls out of the range. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on July 7.

House Bill 130 – This bill provides authorization for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services to operate statewide, establishes a regulatory framework for such companies, and preempts local ordinances in conflict with state law. Drivers for traditional taxicab companies regulated by the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission are no longer required to undergo a background check by the Highway Patrol. The Commission can adopt its own regulations to conduct background checks through third parties. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on April 24.

House Bill 1194 – This bill repeals local minimum wage ordinances that exceed the minimum wage established by state law. Only the City of St. Louis had such an ordinance remaining in effect. The Governor took no action on this bill, so it will become law on August 28, 2017. This law will preempt St. Louis’ minimum wage ordinance. Additionally, this bill will preempt the higher minimum wage that was approved by voters in Kansas City earlier this month.

Senate Bill 111 – This bill would require political subdivisions with a bond rating of AA+ or higher to issue such debts through a competitive process unless such political subdivision employs the services of a “municipal advisor,” which is defined in the bill. Additionally, this bill provides that a conviction for a federal misdemeanor would no longer disqualify a person from holding public office. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on July 11.

House Bill 190 – This bill provides that community colleges can adopt traffic regulations on streets within their campuses. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on June 20.

Senate Bill 112 – All political subdivisions must submit an annual financial report to the State Auditor. This bill would require the State Auditor to report any political subdivision failing to submit an annual financial statement to the Department of Revenue, which can fine the political subdivision $500 per day of noncompliance. Under current law, this penalty only applies to transportation development districts. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on July 11.

Senate Bill 128 – This bill was vetoed by the Governor on July 14. The bill would provide that the county prosecuting attorney or a police department may request an audit of any political division by the State Auditor. It also provides that a municipal judge can serve more than five municipalities if they are part of a consolidated court system (such as the consolidated courts established in St. Ann and Normandy).

Additionally, this bill provides that if a defendant is held in custody on a warrant for a minor traffic violation, the judge can waive or reduce the fine. Furthermore, it provides that all tickets for minor traffic violations must state the date and time of the court hearing or the ticket is void. Some cities presently write “TVB” in the box for a court date or only provide notice of a court date if the ticket has not been paid through a traffic violation bureau within 30 days. This practice would be prohibited under this bill. Finally, this bill provides that any person found guilty of driving while intoxicated must attend a victim impact panel.

Senate Bill 182 – This bill provides that political subdivisions, in letting contracts for repair, remodeling, or demolition of a facility, cannot require bidders to enter into a project labor agreement, or give preference to bidders that offer to enter into such agreement. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on May 30.

Senate Bill 5 – 2nd Special Session – This bill enacted numerous restrictions and regulations relating to abortion. The bill grants authority to the Attorney General to prosecute violations of state laws relating to abortion anywhere in the state. Further, this bill preempts cities from enacting an ordinance that prohibits, restricts, or adversely affects an “alternatives to abortion agency” or its employees. The bill states that cities may enforce their zoning, land use, and building code regulations with regard to such agency. The bill also preempts local ordinances requiring real estate agents to conduct real estate transactions with abortion providers, and local ordinances requiring health plans to include benefits not required by state law. This bill was signed by the Governor on July 26. Since it was passed at a special session, it will go into effect ninety days after the Governor’s signature, which will be October 24, 2017.

Legislation passed during the regular session that was vetoed by the Governor could become law by a vote of two-thirds majorities of both the House and the Senate during the veto session in September. The Governor has indicated he may call additional special sessions. Local governments should pay close attention to any legislation passed in a special session that would undermine or erode the authority of local governments.

For more information, please contact Brian J. Malone at bmalone@lashlybaer.com, or at 314-436-8375, or contact your Lashly & Baer attorney.

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