ASA Midwest Council is a construction trade association of specialty contractors and suppliers serving the construction industry and the community. Our purpose is to improve the construction process through education, advocacy, and collaboration.

Advocacy The ASA-PAC is the political action committee for the American Subcontractors Association. Its purpose is to raise funds to support candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives who are supportive of the interests of subcontractors. The ASA-PAC provides an effective way for the members of ASA to leverage their resources and participate in […]

December 2022 Lobbyist Report

With the November General Election behind us, we now have a clear picture of the makeup of the Missouri House and Senate for the upcoming legislative session. Republicans will continue to hold super majorities in both chambers, with a 111-52 advantage in the House and a 24-10 split in the upper chamber.

In the only true competitive race in the Missouri Senate, Democrat Tracy McCreery of St. Louis County garnered 53% of the vote as she defeated Republican political newcomer George Hruza. Polling throughout the closing weeks of the campaign had showed the race to be very close, but as election results were tallied, McCreery pulled away with a convincing victory. McCreery is a familiar name in the Capitol, having served in the House for the last eight years. She takes the place of Senator Jill Schupp, who could not run again because of term limits.

Democrats managed to pick up a few seats in the House of Representatives, but Republicans still have a veto-proof majority of 111-52. Many of the races were decided by razor thin margins, and we saw two incumbents ousted in tight races. Republican Craig Fishel from Springfield will not be returning to the House as he lost to Democrat Stephanie Hein, and Mark Ellebracht, a Democrat from Clay County was defeated by Republican Bill Allen.

In the days following the election, members of the House and Senate met in Jefferson City to elect their leadership teams for the next two years. Dean Plocher of St. Louis County will be the new Speaker of the House, replacing term limited Rob Vescovo, while Jon Patterson was elected by his peers to handle the position of Majority Floor Leader. Patterson is from Lee’s Summit. Crystal Quade of Springfield will once again return as Minority Floor Leader.

Senate leadership was also decided as Caleb Rowden was chosen as the new President Pro-Tem. Rowden is from Bonne County and is a familiar name as he previously served as Majority Floor Leader. Taking over from Rowden in the Floor Leader position is Cindy O’Laughlin from Shelby County, who is beginning her second term in the Senate. John Rizzo will once again lead the Senate Democrats as he returns to handle the position of Minority Floor Leader.

Election night also saw Eric Schmitt cruise to a win over Trudy Busch Valentine in the race to relace Roy Blunt in the United States Senate. Schmitt’s victory leaves a vacancy in the position of Attorney General, meaning Governor Mike Parson will pick Schmitt’s successor. Parson will also be selecting a replacement in the office of Treasurer, as Scott Fitzpatrick was elected as the new State Auditor. Fitzpatrick takes over for Nicole Galloway who decided not to seek reelection.

The slate of ballot measures decided on election night means a slightly different look for the makeup of state government with the approval of Amendment 5. The amendment removes the Missouri National Guard from the Department of Public Safety umbrella and establishes the Guard as a cabinet-level department. The day-to-day operation of both agencies will reman the same. Voters also approved Amendment 3, which legalizes the use of recreational marijuana, and Amendment 4, which increases the minimum funding level for the Kansas City Police Department. Voters said no to a proposal to allow the General Assembly to invest state monies in municipal securities, and a measure to convene a Constitutional Convention.

The upcoming legislative session will gavel in on January 4, with pre-filing of bills beginning on December 1. We will review the newly filed legislation and update you on any impacts to the ASA and the construction industry.

November 2022 Lobbyist Report

The month of October was busy as the Special Session wrapped up in early October and candidates finished off the month campaigning for the November General Elections.  Our last update detailed the progress made by the General Assembly on two pieces of legislation dealing with a reduction of the income tax rate in Missouri, as well as the renewal of several agricultural tax credit programs. Those bills were in response to the special legislative session called by Governor Mike Parson. Lawmakers completed their work on the bills on October 4th, sending the bills to the Governor for his signature.

The agriculture bill renewed a handful of programs that had recently expired and placed a six-year sunset on the programs instead of two years in similar legislation passed during the regular session. Those programs include tax credits for modernizing or expanding meat processing facilities, incentives for biodiesel and ethanol producers and retailers, tax credits for sawmills that turn wood waste into energy, and credits for persons establishing urban farms.

The income tax legislation lowers the top tax rate for Missourians from 5.3% to 4.95% next year, followed by additional reductions to 4.5% if certain revenue benchmarks are met. Even with the benchmarks in place, some legislators as well as budget forecasters warn that the tax reductions will deplete state revenues in years ahead, leading to cuts in programs and services.

Once lawmakers approved the above bills, Parson immediately held a press conference the following day, signing both bills into law. The measures will take effect 90 days from the close of the special session. Parson had asked for an emergency clause on each bill, meaning the laws would be implemented immediately upon his signature, but House members balked at that proposal and did not approve the motion.

In other news, Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem recently dismissed a lawsuit over the recently enacted photo ID law. The suit was filed by the NAACP after the General Assembly passed HB1878 last session. The NAACP along with the ACLU and others have stated they will continue to press the matter until it reaches the Missouri Supreme Court. The decision means that voters in Missouri will have to show a government issued photo ID to vote in the upcoming November election. Should they not have proper identification, voters may still cast a provisional ballot.

The General Election on November 8 is next on the political calendar.  All House seats are up for election and 17 of the 34 Senate seats are on the ballot as well. Political observers will keep a close eye on the United States Senate race between current Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Trudy Busch Valentine, along with the State Auditor’s race pitting current Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick against Alan Green. Polling data shows both Schmitt and Fitzpatrick leading in their respective races handily. Should they both win, Governor Mike Parson will appoint a new Attorney General and a new Treasurer.

Immediately following the November 8 elections, House and Senate members will be selecting new leadership in their post-election caucus meetings. We will be watching those developments, as well as all election results.  We will keep you updated on these and political happenings as they occur. Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group

October 2022 Lobbyist Report

September proved to be a busy month in the political world, as Senators and Representatives returned to Jefferson City the week of September 12 for the constitutionally mandated veto session and started the special session that was announced by Governor Parson in August to address agricultural tax credits and a proposed income tax cut.  In addition, candidates who were successful in the August primary election are gearing up for the November 8 general election, even though there are only a handful of competitive races across the state.  All candidates used the veto/special session as an opportunity to host numerous fundraisers across the Capital City to build their campaign war chests.

Wednesday, September 12 was the day legislators gaveled into veto session, where members of the General Assembly are able to attempt overrides on any bills the Governor has vetoed from the previous legislative session. It was a quick session in both chambers, as no veto overrides were attempted, even though the House and Senate did not gavel out of veto session day later in the month.

Members also gathered for a special legislative session called by Governor Mike Parson, to address agricultural tax credits and a reduction of the income tax rate in Missouri. Some legislators urged Parson to expand his call of special session to deal with recreational marijuana and sports betting, but the Governor’s spokesperson said that was not likely to happen.

As of the writing of this report, both chambers passed identical agricultural tax credit bills.  There were some changes to the bill from what the Governor had requested; however, the Governor was on board and that bill appears to be on track to pass.  However, as of the writing of this report, there did not appear to be an agreement in place between, Senate, and Governor’s office on the amount of the income tax cut. The Senate passed a version of the tax cut that did not cut income taxes as much as Parson had requested and included future cuts that would be triggered by certain increases in revenues.

At the close of the fiscal year on June 30, the state had a general revenue balance of $4.9 billion. Individual tax collections rose by 11.8%, while sales taxes rose 13.1%. Some of the excess revenue can be contributed to the influx of federal coronavirus relief funds and extra federal money from the recent Medicaid expansion. However, several budget forecasters warn that once the coronavirus funds are expended, the state will need to dip into the budget surplus for capital improvement projects and programs, meaning the permanent tax cut sought by Parson could be detrimental in years to come.

In other news, Representative Bruce DeGroot (R-Chesterfield), withdrew his name from the November ballot. DeGroot has represented House District 110 for the last six years and would have been entering his final term. He will not be leaving the Capitol however, as DeGroot will join Senator-elect Curtis Trent as his chief of staff. DeGroot’s departure from the election meant the Republican Central Committee in the area was left with the task of selecting a nominee to take his place on the ballot. At their recent meeting, the committee selected Justin Sparks, who currently works as a police sergeant for the St. Louis County Police Department. Sparks will face Democrat Josh Thackston of Wildwood in the November election.

Looking ahead, lawmakers will return to the campaign trail once the special legislative session wraps up. After the November elections, Republican Senators will gather for their caucus meetings in mid-November, where leadership positions will be decided. That will be followed by pre-filing of legislation on December 1 for the upcoming legislative session.

We will continue to keep you updated on political events in Jefferson City and around the state as they happen.

 

September 2022 Lobbyist Report

The results of the August 2 Primary election held a few surprises, none being bigger than incumbent Senator Bill White (R-Joplin), losing to political newcomer Jill Carter. Her victory was the hallmark of the Senate’s Conservative Caucus efforts to grow their numbers in the upper chamber. They also saw victories in other races around the state, including Mary Elizabeth Coleman in SD 22 in Jefferson County, Nick Schroer in SD 2 in St. Charles County, and Ben Brown in the 26th district which runs from western St. Louis County to Osage County. The growing numbers of elected Senators rumored to be aligning with the Conservative Caucus left many Capitol concerned the dysfunction in 2023 would top last year’s dysfunction.

The biggest surprise, however, came nearly two weeks after the election, when members of the Conservative Caucus announced they were disbanding. Excerpts from their press release are as follows:

“On August 2nd, 2022, the Republican Primary electorate decisively voted in favor of the conservative message espoused by Conservative Caucus-aligned Republicans—support for the Party platform and accountability for votes taken…. As such, we believe the time has come to seek unity within a single majority caucus in the Missouri Senate chamber under exclusively the Republican banner…. The best way to now accomplish these objectives is through a new coalition of leadership within the Republican Senate majority that is not constrained by the labels of the past. Such a change is necessary to achieve peace within a body that has seen little of it since the final legislative day of the 2021 First Regular Session…. Therefore, effective immediately, we must disband even the informal designation of “Conservative Caucus” or any other label that separates us from the single Republican majority that holds a supermajority in the Missouri Senate. We are committed to forming a new leadership coalition with any Senator that is ready to prioritize the passage of major Republican policy above a desire for continued conflict.”

 While no one knows for certain what this means for the future of the Senate, it surely makes it easier for individual Senators to align themselves with Conservative Caucus beliefs, while not being labeled as belonging to a group intent on obstructing progress. It also sets up the opportunity for former members of the Conservative Caucus to make a play for leadership positions within the Senate.

 In other news, Governor Mike Parson will likely set the date of a special legislative session to begin the first part of September and run concurrent with the upcoming veto.  As of press time for this newsletter, the Governor had not officially made the call, but it was expected within days. As you will recall, Parson has announced his intent to pass a massive tax cut for Missourian’s, based on the recent record setting revenues in the state coffers. This comes on the heels of his veto of a legislative proposal to give certain taxpayers a one-time tax credit of up to $500. Parson’s proposal puts in place a permanent, across the board tax cut. Additionally, he intends for legislators to renew certain agricultural tax credit programs for a six-year period instead of the tow- year extension they passed during the last legislative session.

 Next up on the legislative calendar is the constitutionally mandated veto session on September 14, followed by the General Election on November 8. At this point, we are not aware of any effort by legislators to override any of Parson’s vetoes. We appreciate the opportunity to represent you in Jefferson City and will keep you updated on all the news in the political world as it occurs.
Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group.


 

 

August 2022 Lobbyist Report

Governor Mike Parson has completed his review of legislation passed by the General Assembly and his job of signing and vetoing bills is now complete. The most notable of his actions are his decisions on the FY23 budget. The nearly $48 billion spending plan sent to the Governor by legislators, was left mostly intact, with Parson issuing 32 line-item vetoes totaling some $644 million.

The passage of the budget was hailed by both parties as a major success, as many priority items will be funded with the record amount of tax revenues in the state coffers. Projects receiving top billing in the budget include necessary maintenance on many college and university buildings across the state, as well as new construction on many campuses. Drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure will see major investments, along with a focus on broadband access statewide. The state’s Medicaid program will also see a boost in funding, as will funding for skilled care services for the elderly and disabled. In the area of K-12 education, there will be full funding of the transportation program and teachers across the state will see an increase in their compensation. The FY23 budget year began on July 1.

Other than the line item vetoes in the budget, the Governor issued vetoes on several policy related bills, most notably the tax rebate legislation approved by the General Assembly. That program called for a one-time tax rebate that would be available for some taxpayers based on income. Parson did not approve of the plan because he said many low-income Missourians and vulnerable populations would be entirely left out of the relief measure. Instead, the Governor proposed an across-the-board tax cut for all wage earners and said he would call a special session to address the idea. Parson also vetoed HB1720, which renewed several agricultural tax credits as well as enacting a handful of new ones. The renewal on the programs was approved by the legislature was for two years, which Parson sees as problematic and stated it needs to be for six years. In his explanation of the veto, he stated he would also call a special session to address the issue, since many agricultural related programs rely on the tax credits, and they have a far-reaching impact. No date has been set for the special session, but many believe it will run consecutive to the September 14 veto session.

The Missouri Department of Revenue reports that over 3,000 individuals have applied for refunds on the newly enacted gas tax. The Department began accepting claims on July 1 and must issue the refund within 45 days for properly submitted claims. If the claim is not paid within the specified timeframe, the Department is required to pay interest to the claimant.

Primary Election Day is August 2 and all will be watching to see the results of numerous Primary Election races, especially in the Missouri Senate, where numerous mainstream Republicans are being challenged by ultra-conservative Republicans. As we have mentioned in the past, should the far-right Republicans be successful, it will change the makeup of the Senate and have an impact on Senate leadership positions, as well as the Senate agenda for years to come.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in Jefferson City. We will continue to keep you updated on political happenings across the state as they happen.
Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group.

July 2022 Lobbyist Report

Members of the General Assembly that are seeking reelection this year have been in full campaign mode since the end of the legislative session. As we have mentioned previously, all 163 seats of the House are up for election, as are 17 of the 34 Senate seats. Many of those positions are currently held by members that are term limited and cannot seek reelection, while numerous incumbents are facing opposition from within their own party and must win their primary election in August before advancing to the general election in November.

Politicos will be watching a handful of Republican Senate primaries, where ultra-conservative candidates have challenged more traditional Republican incumbents. These races are all in safe Republican districts, so the winner of the primary election will determine who the next Senator will be in those districts. Those outcomes will dictate the makeup of the Missouri Senate for years to come. Should the far-right candidates win, it will grow the membership of the Conservative Caucus and could have an impact on leadership positions in the Senate, especially the positions of President Pro-Tem and Majority Floor Leader, which are two of the most powerful positions in the Capitol. If the Conservative Caucus is successful in growing their numbers, we could see more infighting within the Republican party and more days of stall tactics and filibusters next session.

Regardless of the outcomes of the elections, it is safe to say that Republicans will continue to hold a commanding majority in both the House and Senate for years to come. We will likely also see a Republican win the State Auditor’s race in November, which means Republicans will then hold every statewide position on the ballot.

In other Capitol news, Governor Mike Parson has begun the process of signing legislation that was passed in the last legislative session. Thus far, he has signed over a dozen of the bills sent to him by the General Assembly. One of those bills, HB2149, allows for occupational licensing reciprocity in Missouri for military employees and contractors participating in the Innovative Readiness Training program as long as they hold a professional license in another state. The bill also allows for the land surveyor exam to be taken by an individual at any point after high school graduation. Parson has also signed several public safety related bills, as well as a bill modifying the use of eminent domain proceedings for certain electrical corporations, especially in the cases of agricultural land.

The Governor and his staff will continue the process of reviewing legislation to determine which, if any bills will face the veto pen. Parson has until July 14 to make that determination. Should there be any bills where he declines to take any action, the bills will automatically become law.

In addition, the Governor continues to review the budget bills passed by the General Assembly.  He has until June 30 to sign or veto items in the budget.  This year’s budget action by the Governor is being watched closely because not only will the Governor be making decisions on the record high FY23 state operating budget, he will also be making decisions on the ARPA spending bill which contains close to $3 billion in spending across the state.  We expect there will be some vetoes in the ARPA bill as.

To review all legislative action taken by the Governor on the bills passed by the legislature, please go to the following link:  https://governor.mo.gov/actions/legislative-actions.  This link is updated in real time and will give you the most up to date information.

Looking ahead, the House Republican Campaign Committee will hold their annual summer caucus from August 10-13. The event is an opportunity for the lobbying corps to meet current and future House members, fundraising for the Republican caucus, and meetings to set the agenda of Republican House members for the next legislative session. The event is being held at the Hilton Convention Center in Branson, and regularly raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Republican Caucus.

We will continue to keep you posted on legislative and election news in Jefferson City and across the state as it occurs. Nikki Strong, Strong Consultants.

May 2022 Lobbyist Report

The Missouri Senate broke the log jam and started to move legislation, albeit at a slower pace than typical at this point in a legislative session.  To date, of the nearly 2,300 bills that were filed this session, only one has passed both the House and Senate, and been signed by the Governor. The FY 23 operating budget along with the budget that contains the spending authority for the nearly $3 billion in ARPA stimulus dollars must be passed by the legislature by May 6 at 6:00 p.m.  The 2022 legislative session ends on May 13 at 6:00 p.m.

While the Senate has been slowed all session by lengthy filibusters throughout the session, the House has continued their normal work and have sent numerous bills to the Senate for their consideration. As we have reported in the past, the House has passed a bill in committee which eliminates the new sales tax increase for gas and diesel fuel, but that measure has been stalled for the last month and has not seen any floor debate. Two similar bills in the Senate have been idle in the Transportation and Public Safety Committee where the chairman has thus far decided against moving the bills forward. Two additional bills in the House would enact a six-month holiday on the gas tax, but those bills have not moved for several weeks and don’t seem to be gaining any traction. We will continue our efforts in opposition of these bills. All other bills either supported or opposed by ASA have suffered the same fate as all other bills, including the Underground Damage Review Board, bills dealing with prevailing wage, and electric vehicle charging stations.

The House passed the state budget for Fiscal Year 2023 in mid-April and forwarded the numerous budget bills to the Senate. The plan gives spending authority of approximately $46 billion to various agencies necessary for the operation of state government. A huge focus was on the ramifications of COVID-19 and led House budget writers to include language in every budget bill which prohibits any department in state government, any agency that uses public funds, or any public school from holding an event that requires a vaccination or a negative Coronavirus test.

In a somewhat surprising departure from previous years, there continues to be a record surplus of revenue in state coffers. Some budget experts are expecting that amount to reach nearly $3 billion by the end of the current fiscal year. While the House only used a portion of the surplus on shoring up certain programs and one-time needs, the Senate appears poised to use additional amounts of the surplus to fund what they feel are necessary priorities. The differences between the House and Senate positions on the budget must be reconciled in conference committee before the spending plan is sent to the Governor for his signature. As stated above, the General Assembly is under the gun as the deadline for finalizing the budget by May 6.

As the final weeks of session approach, we will continue to watch for legislation that may be impactful to ASA members. With little time remaining, legislators will be looking for every opportunity to attach their priorities to any piece of legislation that is moving. We also anticipate a final attempt by Senate leadership to pass the new congressional district map. That has proved to be an impossible task thus far.  It will be interesting to see what legislation makes it across the finish line due to the slow place thus far in this legislative session as the May 13 deadline is quickly approaching.

April 2022 Lobbyist Report

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.

February 2022 Lobbyist Report


Legislators have once again descended upon Jefferson City as the 2022 legislative session began at noon on Wednesday, January 5. Capitol observers had predicted that this could be a contentious session, and that has turned out to be true thus far, especially in the Senate.

In addition to a bevy of controversial topics that must be debated, Senators spent the better part of the first three weeks sorting through disagreements that remain from the last regular session and special session. Numerous attempts have been made to change the rules of the Senate, in an effort to wrestle power away from Senate leadership and thus giving individual Senators more control over assigning bills to committee, placing bills on the calendar, making motions on bills, and ending debate when a filibuster occurs. All are hoping for a more functional Senate as the session moves forward.

As the upper chamber focused on rehashing old wounds, the House has moved a critically important piece of legislation forward by passing a new congressional district map. As we had mentioned in last month’s update, new maps are drawn every ten years based on the most recent census. Most observers think the new map maintains the current 6-2 republican advantage. Several House members however, had advocated for a 7-1 map. The proposal passed the House by an 86-67 vote, but the measure fell short of the requirement for enactment of an emergency clause. The emergency clause is necessary for the bill be in place before the August 2 primary election date. Absent the emergency clause, the new map would not be enacted until August 28, which is the date all new legislation takes effect, as mandated by the state constitution. The measure now moves to the Senate for their consideration, where several Republican Senators, all members of the “Conservative Caucus” are waging a public war voicing their opposition to House version of a 6-2 map, saying they will push for a 7-1 map.

Governor Mike Parson delivered the annual State of the State Address on January 19 to a joint session of the Missouri House and Senate. In his remarks, Parson outlined his spending plan for state and federal dollars, as well as his legislative priorities. The governor touted Missouri’s strong economy and kept with his theme of infrastructure and workforce development which has been his mantra since taking office. His plan calls for an immediate 5.5% cost of living increase for state employees and increasing the base salary for new teachers to $38,000 per year. The pay scale for both groups rank near the bottom nationally. Also included is $412 million for water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure projects, $100 million for improvements to low volume roads in the state, $75 million for the state’s cost-share program for road and bridge projects, $10 million to extend the MoExcels program for high-demand job training, $469 million for capital improvement projects at colleges and universities, and nearly $95 million in capital funding for small businesses. Much of the spending is one-time funding for one-time projects, as the state is flush with cash from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Parson’s spending plan must be approved by the General Assembly through the appropriations process before it can be enacted.

As we move into February, the General Assembly is still under the gun to pass a supplemental appropriations bill which will help fund local school districts, state employee pay increases, and domestic violence shelters. Funds necessary for the state’s Medicaid program, including expansion of the program are also part of the supplemental budget. All will be watching as legislators work through the budgeting process.

We will keep you updated on activity in Jefferson City and around the state through our weekly legislative update. Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group

January 2022 Lobbyist Report

The legislative session is right around the corner.  The 2022 legislative session gavels in on Wednesday, January 5 at noon.  Bill pre-filing began on December 1 and we have seen a record number of bills pre-filed.  As is typical, pre-filed bills include issues that did not cross the finish line during the previous session and include new issues that have surfaced since the last legislative session ended in May.  Pre-filed bills include COVID related issues such as vaccine mandates to education reform to transportation including bills that would repeal the fuel tax passed last year.

Many are predicting that the 2022 legislative session will be one of the most controversial sessions yet, with not much getting across the finish line.  2022 is an election year and as is typical in most election years, very little legislation gets across the finish line.  However, this year will not be a typical election year and there are many issues that will put additional strain on the legislative process.

Every 10 years the legislative and congressional district maps are re-drawn based on the census.  The release of census numbers were initially delayed which delayed the redistricting process for the state.  The Governor did not call a special session to deal with redistricting during the interim; therefore, this issue will need to be one of the first issues the legislature deals with.  Redistricting will be controversial, and we anticipate will take up valuable floor time and test the degree of legislative in-fighting among the Republican Caucus and the Republican “Conservative” Caucus.

As you will recall, Medicaid expansion was passed by a vote of the people during the November 2020 General Election.  The Republican legislature did not put funding in the FY2022 budged passed last session claiming the ballot language passed by the vote of the people did not include a funding mechanism for expansion; therefore, the legislature was not required to fund the expansion.  The courts ruled last summer/early fall that the state was required to provide health coverage to the newly expanded Medicaid population; however, since the state did not include funding for Medicaid expansion in the budget passed during the 2021 legislative session, the state will need to act quickly to appropriate money to pay for Medicaid expansion before MO HealthNet runs out of money.  As a result, a supplemental budget bill will need to be passed within the first several weeks of the legislative session.  It is anticipated that MO HealthNet will run out of money in February without this supplemental appropriation which would impact all Medicaid services, not just the population covered by the expansion.  This will be controversial as the Conservatives in the Republican legislature are adamantly opposed to expanding Medicaid.

Two bills calling for the repeal of the newly enacted fuel tax were among the first to be prefiled. SB782, sponsored by Senator Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) and HB1594 sponsored by Representative Sara Walsh (R-Ashland) both seek to eliminate the provisions of SB262 from last session. Both are also running for Congress.  Walsh is running in congressional District 4 to replace Vickie Hartzler who is running for U.S. Senate.  Moon is running in Congressional District 7 to replace Rep. Billy Long who is also running for U.S. Senate.  SB262 mandated an increase on the fuel tax in Missouri for the first time in nearly 30 years. Supporters of the tax at the time said the increase was needed to provide funds for maintenance and construction of the current aging system.  Opponents continue to tout their opposition to any tax increases combined with federal stimulus dollars for infrastructure will cover some of the costs and projects the tax was intended to cover.  At this time, we believe the repeal of this tax will make some headway through the legislative process but likely not pass.

We will begin sending our weekly legislative updates to the ASA membership once the legislative session begins.  If you have any questions during the 2022 legislative session, please do not hesitate to reach out. Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group.

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