Missouri Legislative Wrap-Up
The Missouri Legislature adjourned Friday, May 13 after a fairly busy session. It has been defined by what did not pass as much as by the bills that actually reached the Governor’s desk. Prominent initiatives that failed this year included the gas tax – the proceeds of which would help fund transportation needs; paycheck protection – a bill that would make changes to how union members pay dues; an omnibus energy bill – which pushed to reform state energy policies for electrical corporations and how rates are set; substantive ethics reform – such as a ban on lobbyist gifts; and various social measures. Many of these issues are expected to reappear next session.
However, legislators successfully passed the state budget this year with little controversy and it has been signed by the Governor. Other legislation that reached the finish line included Voter ID, expansive gun legislation, tort reform, and various low-level tax exemptions.
Overall, the legislature did not take up many issues that would directly affect the home building industry. Early in session, a bill was introduced that would have mandated statewide licensing for roofers, but it did not move forward past the committee stage.
The most significant achievement for Missouri home builders occurred on the second to last day of session, when legislators eliminated the sunset on fire sprinklers. Missouri Statute already prohibits the state and municipalities from mandating fire sprinklers in new home construction, but the provision was set to expire in 2024. HBA of Missouri members decided to look for an opportunity to eliminate that sunset. In an effort coordinated by the Springfield HBA and lobbyist Jewell Patek, it was added onto an omnibus public safety bill that passed with strong votes in the House and Senate. Barring any veto, the sunset on fire sprinklers is now permanently removed and the state can never require builders to install fire sprinklers in new homes.