The legislative session has reached the halfway point as Senators and Representatives have returned to Jefferson City after the annual legislative spring break. As far as legislative accomplishments, the first half of the session was unremarkable as only one bill made its way to the Governor’s desk. Republican infighting in the Senate continues to stand in the way of progress, just as it has since day one of the session.
Even though not many bills have seen floor time in the Senate, there are still a number of bills in the hopper that are of interest to ASA members. One of those bills is HB1584, filed by Representative Jim Murphy (R-St. Louis County), which mandates that any municipality or political subdivision that requires the installation of electric vehicle charging stations, must pay for the installation and maintenance of the station. The bill has made its way through the House Transportation Committee and was approved by the full House in early March and is now in the Senate where it will likely be assigned to committee in the near future.
Senator Dave Schatz has filed SB1236, which sets up the 9-member Underground Damage Prevention Review Board. We anticipate the bill will be sent to the Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee and we will continue to work with stakeholders to push the bill forward.
As we talked about in our last column, there are three bills we are opposing that would repeal the newly enacted gas tax. SB782, filed by Senator Mike Moon (Lawrence County), and SB811, filed by Senator Bill Eigel (St. Charles County), were both referred to the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee in late January, but have not been scheduled for a hearing. A similar version of the bill was filed in the lower chamber by Representative Sarah Walsh (R-Ashland). Her bill, HB1584, saw movement early in the session, but has languished on the House Informal Calendar since March 1.
Additional bills we are watching include HB2388, filed by Representative Kurtis Gregory (R-Saline County), which exempts higher education institutions from prevailing wage requirements for demolition or removal of buildings no longer in use, and HB2750 filed by Representative Allen Andrew (R-Atchison County), which exempts third and fourth counties and the cities therein, from prevailing wage requirements on projects of $500,000 or less. Neither bill has been assigned to committee or gained any traction thus far.
Many Representatives and Senators continue to jockey for position as candidate filing is in full swing and will remain open until March 29. All 163 Missouri House seats are up for election, as are 17 of the 34 state Senate seats. Several are also eyeing U.S. Senate or Congressional seats. While there have been no big surprises so far, the fact that a handful of current office holders will face each other in the upcoming primary election has made debate on the House and Senate floor interesting to say the least.
As session enters the final weeks, we will continue to monitor legislation that is impactful to ASA and the construction industry, as well as watch for last minute amendments House and Senate member will try to attach in order to push their priorities.