iweb analytics
About Us
Join AIM Now
Member Only Benefits
*Upcoming AIM Events
*Online Store
News & Information
Tax Information
Contact Us
My Professional Dev
My Events
Committees Leadership
Individual Directory
Organization Directory
Donate Funds
Article Details

AIM for Good Business Issue Articles

Employment Law Reform Receives Full House and Senate Committee Approval

Nathan Dampf, AIM Director of Communications, 2/25/2011


Late Wednesday afternoon, Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) informed its members that the Missouri House of Representatives gave first round approval to employment law reforms by a vote of 99-56. On Thursday, the House gave its final stamp of approval on legislation that will drastically protect employers from outrageous litigation and employees from discrimination.


AIM has discussed this issue in great detail with its membership for the past several years. And, this week, we walked the halls of the Capitol to help answer questions and doubts from legislators about the bill’s impact on business. On Wednesday and Thursday, Representative Kevin Elmer’s House Bill 205 passed with overwhelming support for Missouri business. The bill received its final vote from the House on Thursday where it passed after a 95-59 vote. The legislation now goes to the Senate where a committee recently gave its approval on similar legislation.


In a statement Wednesday, AIM President Ray McCarty commented, “This legislation helps protect employers from frivolous claims of discrimination by leveling the playing field between the Federal Human Rights Act and the Missouri Human Rights Act. The House action today gives Missouri’s business community more surety in the employment law arena. AIM would like to thank House Leadership for making this a priority and we look forward to continuing the fight in the Senate.”


The Senate is now host to the two pieces of legislation. The Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee, chaired by Senator Brad Lager (also the bill sponsor), voted Senate Bill 188 out of committee on Wednesday. The bill now sits on the Senate Calendar for debate. Whether the Senate will attempt to pass the House version or debate the Senate version is up to Senate leadership. If either House Bill 205 or Senate Bill 188 is amended after debate, they would need House approval before being considered by Governor Jay Nixon.


Over the years, judicial activism has forced costs up and profits down by giving more rights to employees: Granting jury trials; holding supervisors personally liable; granting whistleblower protections; and revising standards of reason for dismissal. House Bill 205 and Senate Bill 188 would fix those decisions and clarify the law by requiring plaintiffs to prove discrimination was “a motivating factor” as opposed to “a contributing factor” and protecting public entities and supervisors from litigation. When an employee is wrongfully dismissed, the bill limits how much dismissed employees can be compensated.


There were concerns that the legislation was in danger of failing in the House. The concern came from ten Republican Representatives who opposed the legislation:


-         Rep. Jason “Jay” Barnes (Jefferson City)

-         Rep. Melissa Leach (Springfield)

-         Rep. Nick Marshall (Parkville)

-         Rep. Mike McGhee (Odessa)

-         Rep. Myron Neth (Liberty)

-         Rep. Vicki Schneider (St. Charles)

-         Rep. Ryan Silvey (Kansas City)

-         Rep. Sheila Solon (Blue Springs)

-         Rep. Noel Torpey (Independence)

-         Rep. Ray Weter (Nixa)


AIM’s most experienced business lobbying team had worked along-side our members in the Capitol to ensure that all concerns were met before the bill was brought up. Those efforts even brought the support of one pro-business Democrat: Rep. Terry Swinger (D-Caruthersville).


“While AIM is disappointed we could not gather more Democratic votes, Representative Swinger’s support of House Bill 205 shows that this bill was purely a business issue,” said McCarty. “AIM thanks him for his support of business this week and throughout his tenure in the House of Representatives.”


Other Business Priorities to Advance this Week:



Senate Bill 110 (Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau) – The legislation prohibits Missouri’s minimum wage from exceeding the federal level. In 2006, Missouri voters on Proposition B which increased the state’s $5.25 minimum wage. The proposition also included an indexing provision which increases the minimum wage according to the Consumer Price Index. The legislation is one of AIM’s top priorities and a Fix the Six issues. AIM was there this week to testify on behalf of the legislation in the Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee on Tuesday.


Senate Bill 182 (Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-Smithville) – The bill expands the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board by adding staff to help administer the program. The Small Business Fairness Board is tasked with monitoring business policies and regulations that are discussed by policy makers and inform the public of the impact to business.


Senate Bill 202 (Sen. Jason Crowell) – AIM supported the “Paycheck Fairness Act” that requires employees to authorize amounts that are withheld from their paychecks for political donations or membership dues. The legislation has been filed for the past several years, but has made more strides this year compared to previous years.


Senate Bill 176 (Sen. Brian Munzlinger R-Lewis County) – AIM supported the legislation which alters Missouri’s prevailing wage law. Prevailing wage was originally implemented before the Civil War to stop southern slave owners from using slaves to outbid other contractors to construct public works projects. Over the years, the policy has inflated the costs of doing business by requiring entities to pay no lower than a county’s prevailing wage for a skilled laborer or trade.


House Bill 366 (Rep. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City) – AIM testified before the House Economic Development committee hearing this week and a Senate hearing last week and stressed the need for incentives to attract new data centers to Missouri and to ensure we keep the existing data centers already located in Missouri. 


House Bill 163 (Rep. Barney Fisher, R-Richards) – The legislation is another one of AIM’s and the Fix the Six Coalition priorities. It will remove the time limit for bonds issued to repay federal unemployment loans. It would allow bonds to be issued to repay the loans, thereby avoiding a tax increase on all Missouri employers. The bill was approved by the Senate Small Business Committee this week.


House Joint Resolution 8 (Rep. Andrew Koenig, R-Winchester) – Several legislators favor a “Fair Tax.” The issue has gained momentum over the past two years with the Tea Party movement. AIM does not have a position on the constitutional amendment since there are several uncertainties in regards to the rate and the ultimate impact on business. It was approved this week by the House Tax Reform Committee, also chaired by Rep. Koenig.