AIM for Good Business Issue Articles
Nathan Dampf, AIM Director of Communications, 4/21/2011
GOVERNOR NIXON CONSIDERS THREE BILLS ON HIS DESK TO HELP MISSOURI BUSINESS
On Monday Associated Industries of Missouri delivered an e-ALERT to membership asking our members to contact Governor Nixon’s office and encourage his signature on Senate Bill 19 and Senate Bill 188.
Senate Bill 19 eliminates the Missouri Corporation Franchise Tax over a 5-year period and caps the amount existing corporations owe at the 2010 levels. Governor Nixon’s signature on this piece of legislation would promote economic prosperity by allowing existing businesses to use those tax dollars for new hires or new Missouri investments.
Senate Bill 188 revises several parts of Missouri employment law. The legislation:
- Eliminates supervisor liability;
- Limits discrimination claims to the federal standard (requiring discrimination to be a "motivating factor" in the decision to dismiss the employee); and
- Allows "whistleblower" protections to only those employees that are notifying authorities of actual wrongdoing by the employer.
Opponents of SB188 argue that it damages the rights of employees. The bill eliminates no such rights, but simply complies with standards already set by our federal government.
“Over the years, employers have been guilty until proven innocent in our Missouri courts,” explained McCarty. “AIM thanks the General Assembly for acting now to protect Missouri employers from frivolous lawsuits that hinder our Missouri businesses from creating or retaining jobs. We ask Governor Nixon to sign the bill into law.”
Office of Governor Jay Nixon
P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Another measure that has passed the General Assembly and lays on Nixon’s desk is Senate Bill 113 which revises the Puppy Mill Protection Act, enacted by the November 2010 Proposition B vote. The language in Prop. B limited breeders to no more than 50 dogs. It was later discovered some dog breeders would be unable to maintain a business if such a limit were in place; roughly 1,300 dog breeders would have been put out of business.
Rallies were held in Jefferson City by both dog breeders impacted by the negative consequences and anti-animal cruelty advocates who supported Prop. B. Advocates for Prop. B and against the SB113 provisions from the Humane Society for the United States, stated at their rally, “As long as Missouri leads the nation for puppy mill busts, we’re not going anywhere.” SB113 should change that statistic since one of the major issues with Missouri mills is lack of enforcement. The bill calls for $1.1 million to add more enforcement officers within the Missouri Department of Agriculture to visit and review Missouri dog breeders.
SENATE APPROVES $23 BILLION BUDGET
Missouri’s constitution requires a state budget to be approved by May 6th. This week, the Senate approved their version of the $23.2 billion budget that still needs to be approved by the House of Representatives before going to Governor Nixon. In many cases, the budget is the same as that of the current year, however costs have increased across several education and health services departments for Missouri.
One of the sticking points in this year’s Senate budget debate targeted the use of one-time federal funds. Missouri has used the “one-time” federal funds in the past to alleviate the cuts, but this year, several senators have argued against using the federal funds in order to shrink next year’s budget shortfall. The Senate Appropriations Chair, Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) disagreed.
“There will be a hole, but ... we are better off waiting until we have more accurate information to see what that amount is," Schaefer said.
The budget bills will now move to the House of Representatives where House members will review the differences and most likely send each bill to a conference committee consisting of House and Senate members who will hash out the differing opinions to come up with a compromise acceptable to both houses.
SECOND INJURY FUND TAX INCREASE ONE STEP AWAY FROM HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE
Wednesday, the House Rules Committee met to pass the tax increase measure to maintain Missouri’s broken Second Injury Fund. Several business groups, including Associated Industries of Missouri, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Associated General Contractors, Associated Builders and Contractors, Missouri Grocers Association and the Missouri Retailers Association, have opposed the tax increase measure proposed by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and supported by the AFL-CIO and Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.
The committee voted to “do pass” House Bill 893, sponsored by Rep. Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Barnes (R-Jefferson City). The sponsors are trying to preempt a bad court decision that puts the state General Revenue on the hook for paying SIF claims. The business associations mentioned above have stressed the need for reforms since 2005. The legislature is now putting Missouri business on the hook due to the inaction over those years.
The original bill would have increased the fund’s surcharge by an amount determined by the Director of the Missouri Department of Labor to be sufficient to pay claims. The substitute approved this week would subject businesses to a one percent increase and cut off future claims against the fund.
HOUSE LIMITS ACTIVITY THIS WEEK AS REDISTRICTING DEBATE CONTINUES
The Missouri House did not go into session on Monday or Thursday hoping to work a deal on the congressional redistricting map proposed by Representative John Diehl (R-St. Louis County) in House Bill 193. The versions contain a few differences around the St. Louis and Kansas City districts and what the adjoining districts should include. The differing opinions can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.