Thursday, March 09, 2017
Speaker of the House: Look what we did for business this week
This week the House took action to fix Missouri’s minimum wage law, ensure our state courts are fair to all litigants, and curb unnecessary government regulations that limit economic opportunity. You can read more about the legislative priorities advanced by the House this week below.
House Approves Minimum Wage Fix
The House took action in response to last week’s Missouri Supreme Court ruling by approving House Committee Substitute for House Bills 1194 and 1193. This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jason Chipman, ensures all municipalities in Missouri have a consistent minimum wage. This is the second time the court has overridden such a provision on the basis that the law passed by the General Assembly pertained to more than one topic. Rep. Chipman’s measure will reverse this egregious judicial overreach and is in compliance with the court’s Hammerschmidt ruling, preventing further judicial overreach.
Economic analyses have shown that raising the minimum wage does nothing to help low income workers. To the contrary, it hurts low income families the most by reducing economic opportunity for low-skilled workers and raising costs for consumers. Allowing individual municipalities within the state to set minimum wages creates even more serious concerns. If every municipality within Missouri were to set their own minimum wage, Missouri’s regulatory climate would become a quagmire nearly impossible for businesses to navigate, stunting economic growth and trapping more Missourians below the poverty line.
HBs 1194 & 1193 will now move over to the Senate for further consideration. Safeguarding and enhancing economic opportunity and growth in Missouri is priority one of the Missouri House. We will continue working to allow small businesses to thrive and improve the lives of all in our great state.
Ending Judicial Venue Shopping in Missouri
This week, the House furthered its goal of cleaning up Missouri’s judicial issues with reforms to its venue and jurisdiction laws. House Bills 460, 461, and 462, sponsored by Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, would make essential reforms to ensure every Missouri court is working to serve the residents of Missouri equally and fairly.
Due to a loophole in Missouri’s jurisdiction and venue rules, trial attorneys are allowed to bring a lawsuit in a Missouri court so long as one client is a resident within the circuit court district. Trial attorneys are then able to tack on up to ninety-eight other clients onto the same lawsuit. As a result, the circuit court of the City of St. Louis has become over-loaded with tort cases primarily concerning out-of-state clients and out-of-state companies.
Last year, St. Louis Circuit Court ruled against a company from New Jersey and awarded $72,000,000 to a plaintiff from Alabama, $70,000,000 to a plaintiff from California and $55,000,000 to a plaintiff from South Dakota. All of these clients, along with sixty-one others, were allowed to join the same case because one client lives in the city of St. Louis. These high-profile cases between out-of-state plaintiffs and defendants are clogging courts in St. Louis and preventing the citizens of the city from seeking justice in local courts.
HBs 460, 461, and 462 received approval from the House and now will face further consideration in the Senate. The House will continue working to improve Missouri’s legal climate to provide all Missourians with equal access to justice and make our court system fair to all litigants.
House Moves to Reduce Regulatory Burden on Missourians
As I stated in my opening address, it is imperative that the House takes action to reduce onerous professional licensure requirements and allow Missourians to pursue happiness without undue government intervention. A key step in achieving this goal is limiting the ability of unelected bureaucrats to unilaterally increase red tape on hardworking Missourians.
House Committee Substitute for House Bills 480, 272, 413 & 609, sponsored by Rep. Robert Ross, would prevent the Department of Professional Registration from imposing substantial new burdens on an individual’s pursuit of his or her occupation or profession unless there is an important governmental interest for the state to protect the general welfare. This legislation will mandate all new professional licensure requirements face critical review to certify such requirements are necessary.
On Thursday, the House third read and passed HCS HBs 480, 272, 413 & 609. The measure will now move to the Senate for consideration.