CITY SALES TAX FOR CAPITOL IMPROVEMENTS ON AUGUST BALLOT
On Monday, May 17th the Jefferson City Council voted to places proposition H on the August 3rd municipal election ballot. Sales Tax H would renew the Jefferson City half cent sales tax for capital improvement projects and is estimated to raise approximately $5.6 million annually over five years. It has been estimated that the City Public Works Department would receive $16.5 million of the estimated $28 million raised from the sales tax renewal
2021 MISSOURI LEGISLATIVE SESSION COMES TO A CLOSE
The Missouri General Assembly ended the 2021 legislative session Friday, May 14 at 6:00 p.m. with some major accomplishments in the 69 bills that crossed the finish line. Over 2,270 bills had been filed for the 2021 session and many of the provisions of these bills were added as amendments to the other bills that reached the Governor’s desk.
The Senate Republican caucus suffered a breakdown on the night before the final day of session, this breakdown created a situation which the Senate Democrats controlled the Senate floor Friday morning and early afternoon, and the upper chamber adjourned at about 2:00 p.m and took up no business on the final day. However, the House continued working until the 6:00 p.m. final bell on the last day and accomplished several of the leadership priorities.
Legislation that was passed and sent to Governor Mike Parson’s desk include bills dealing with the collection of internet sales tax on purchases from online retailers (commonly known as the Wayfair bill); an increase in the motor vehicle fuel tax which will raise Missouri’s gas tax at the pumps by 12.5 cents per gallon over the next five years; prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), which will allow doctors and pharmacists to track opioid prescriptions statewide; protecting businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits; and the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA) that would nullify any federal law affecting Missourians on gun ownership or gun possession.
Issues that did not get resolved include the voter-approved Medicaid expansion plan that would cover an estimated 275,000 new enrollees; various bills involving election requirements such as voter photo identification and redistricting for the 2022 elections; legislation that would make sports betting legal in some form in Missouri; and renewal of the FRA (federal reimbursement allowance), a tax on hospitals and medical providers that earns federal matching dollars for Missouri to help fund Medicaid payments. The FRA expires in September, so a Special Session on that issue is for certain, session date uncertain. COVID-19-related federal funding is on its way to Missouri, but guidance and authority on how to spend those dollars are needed, possibly requiring a Special Session. Legislators also will be returning to Jefferson City in September for their constitutionally required Veto Session.
ROOFING CONTRACTOR REGISTRATION DOES NOT PASS
Senate Bill 326 (Beck, D-St. Louis) and House Bill 471 (Kidd, R-Indepedence) requires registration with the state of Missouri under certain conditions. An applicant for registration shall submit a completed application to the Department along with a nonrefundable fee of up to $200. An applicant has 90 days from the day the application is submitted to complete the application process. In order to receive a certificate of registration, an applicant shall file proof of motor vehicle insurance, a current worker’s compensation policy, and liability insurance. If an out-of-state applicant has had a license revoked or suspended in another state, he or she shall not be issued a certificate of registration. An out-of-state applicant shall also have a “no tax due” statement from the Department of Revenue before he or she is issued a certificate of registration.
Liability insurance shall be for not less than $1,000,000. If a registered roofing contractor is found to be operating without proper insurance, the contractor’s certificate of registration shall be suspended until the contractor furnishes proof of insurance to the Department. Additionally, such contractor shall be required to report proof of such insurance to the Department quarterly for two consecutive years.
No political subdivision of the state shall require a roofing contractor to be registered under the act in order to operate as a roofing contractor within the boundaries of such political subdivision. No political subdivision of the state shall require the inspection of a roof more than one time if the cost to construct or repair such roof is less than $10,000.
A registered roofing contractor shall affix the registration number and the registrant’s name to all of his or her contracts and bids. The Department shall maintain a list of registered roofing contractors on its website. Inclusion on the list does not constitute an endorsement by the Department.
These bills received public hearings in both legislative chambers and did not advance beyond committee. Senator Beck offered the language as an amendment to an omnibus professional licensing bill on the Senate Floor and was defeated on a voice vote. This issue has been before the legislature for several years and has been faced with opposition from numerous legislators.
SWIMMING POOL AND SPA CODE LEGISLATION DOES NOT PASS
House Bill 489 (Hicks, R-Dardenne Prairie) adopts the “International Swimming Pool and Spa Code” as it existed on May 1, 2020 and promulgated by the International Code Council, as the county and municipal swimming pool and spa code for the state. The code applies to all construction, alteration, remodeling, enlargement, and repair of swimming pools and spas in any county or municipality that elects to regulate pools and spas. Counties and municipalities are authorized to establish procedures for the administration and enforcement of the pool and spa code, and are authorized to adopt local amendments to the code or amendments made by the International Code Council. HB 489 had a hearing and was voted “do pass” from the House Small Business Committee. Groups testifying in support were the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, International Code Council, and Bi-State Pool Management, Inc. The bill did not receive any floor time this session and will likely return next session.
STATEWIDE MECHANICAL CONTRACTOR LICENSING ACT FAILS
House Bill 500 (Schroer, R-O’Fallon) and Senate Bill 11 (Schatz, R-Sullivan) establishes a statewide mechanical license. The statewide license must be recognized in all political subdivisions, even if they have established their own licensing standards. The bill sets up a process for registration and complaint processes for licensees. This bill was voted out of the House of Representatives as HB 500, but SB 11 faced a filibuster on the Senate floor and did not reach a vote for passage. This bill has been discussed over the past several years and has strong opposition from several St. Louis area Senators and various union trades.