Thursday, January 12, 2017

Missouri House passes lobbyist gift ban

(From Speaker of the House Todd Richardson)

With inauguration day behind us, the House set out to make an impact in its first full week of session. Unlike in previous General Assemblies, committees were assigned and bills had begun to be referred from day one setting the stage for major pieces of priority legislation to swiftly make their way to the governor’s desk. Our members are committed to a legislature and a government which actually works to make Missouri a better place instead of becoming gridlocked and bogged down in petty politics. The first fruits of that labor bore out this week. Check out some of those accomplishments below.
Banning Undue Lobbyist Influence
The House took meaningful steps towards passing the first lobbyist gift ban in the history of the state this week as House Bill 60, sponsored by Rep. Justin Alferman, was perfected with overwhelming bipartisan support and now faces only one more round of approval before being sent to the Senate for consideration. The legislation prohibits individuals from receiving personally consumable gifts from lobbyists. I stated on the first day of session that this would be the first bill sent over to the Senate and we are on the cusp of that accomplishment. It continues the work we did last year to encourage a positive culture in our state capitol. The House majority caucus is committed to giving Missourians a government they can trust and believe in.
Right-to-Work Legislation Heads towards the House Floor
The House is set to consider right-to-work legislation amongst the full body next week after House Bills 91, 42, 131, 265, & 314 passed out of the committee process. These bills, handled by HB 91 sponsor Rep. Holly Rehder, are a key component of the first meaningful labor reform our state has seen in decades. Employment in states that have adopted right-to-work legislation increased 13.4% between 2002 and 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, employment remained stagnant in states without right-to-wrok over the same period, only increasing by a meager 0.6%. In addition to stronger employment growth, right-to-work states have also seen significantly better growth in Real Personal Income for workers according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the six right-to-work states that border Missouri, Real Personal Income grew 9.6% between 2008 and 2014. In contrast, Real Personal Income only grew 3.5% in Missouri and its two neighboring non-right-to-work states. Right-to-work legislation gives employees a choice to join a labor union instead of being forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment. It is a necessary step in making Missouri more business-friendly and setting a foundation for strong, stable economic development. Should these bills be passed next week, they will then be sent to the Senate for deliberation.
Eliminating Regulations on Transportation Network Companies
The House began taking action to reform the regulatory framework of the state of Missouri this week with House Bill 130 receiving approval from the General Laws committee. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Kirk Mathews, would create a clear framework for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. This framework would help to replace the stifling regulations preventing these innovative and disruptive technologies from thriving. It will also protect consumers while still encouraging vibrant free-market competition. House Bill 130 is just one of many proposals aimed at cutting through the burdensome red tape suffocating Missouri businesses. This legislation will move to the Senate should it receive approval from the full chamber.

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