Capitol Report | May 19th, 2016

Second Amendment Rights

The 2016 legislative session has officially come to an end.139 bills made it across the finish line and were Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed. Over the next several weeks, I will share those bills with you.

This week I would like to cover SB 656, sponsored by Sen. Munzlinger, which was an omnibus bill that contained many provisions changing the law for gun owners in Missouri.

The Missouri General Assembly advanced legislation this session to strengthen the gun rights of law-abiding Missourians. The bill will allow Missourians to carry a concealed weapon without the need for a permit. Commonly referred to as constitutional carry, the bill would allow any person to carry a concealed firearm anywhere that isn’t expressly prohibited by law. The bill is meant to build on the constitutional change made by Missouri citizens in 2014 that allows Missourians the right to permit-less carry.

The bill also ensures that individuals who do want to obtain a five-year concealed carry permit will not be charged a fee in excess of $100. The bill specifically prohibits additional fees that may be charged, including any fee for fingerprinting or criminal background check. Additionally, the bill will allow Missouri citizens to obtain 10-year, 25-year, or lifetime permits for $200, $250, and $500 respectively.

The legislation also contains a provision commonly referred to as “Stand Your Ground” law. The measure removes the requirement that a person who is any place they are legally allowed to be can use force without retreating first. The bill also expands the state’s castle doctrine law. Current statute allows individuals to use deadly force to defend themselves and their property against intruders. The bill approved by lawmakers will extend the protection against lawsuits to house guests who use deadly force.

You may read more about what is happening at your Capitol below. As always, I will work diligently and tirelessly for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

 

Strengthening Second Amendment Rights (SB 656)

The Missouri General Assembly advanced legislation this session to strengthen the gun rights of law-abiding Missourians. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Munzlinger, will allow Missourians to carry a concealed weapon without the need for a permit. Commonly referred to as constitutional carry, the bill would allow any person to carry a concealed firearm anywhere that isn’t expressly prohibited by law. The bill is meant to build on the constitutional change made by Missouri citizens in 2014 that allows Missourians the right to permit-less carry.

The bill also ensures that individuals who do want to obtain a five-year concealed carry permit will not be charged a fee in excess of $100. The bill specifically prohibits additional fees that may be charged, including any fee for fingerprinting or criminal background check. Additionally, the bill will allow Missouri citizens to obtain 10-year, 25-year, or lifetime permits for $200, $250, and $500 respectively.

The legislation also contains a provision commonly referred to as “Stand Your Ground” law. The measure removes the requirement that a person who is any place they are legally allowed to be can use force without retreating first. The bill also expands the state’s castle doctrine law. Current statute allows individuals to use deadly force to defend themselves and their property against intruders. The bill approved by lawmakers will extend the protection against lawsuits to house guests who use deadly force.

Health Insurance Rate Transparency (SB 865)

Under legislation that will soon be law, Missourians will be able to easily compare the premium rates charged by insurance companies operating in Missouri. The Missouri General Assembly gave final approval during the final week of the legislative session to a bill that will enact the Missouri Health Insurance Rate Transparency Act.

SB 865, sponsored by Sen. Sater, will require health carriers to file premium rates with the director of the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration for any health benefit plans sold in the state. The rates may be used after the director determines the rates to be reasonable, after the health carrier notifies the director of its intent to use rates that the director deems unreasonable, or 60 days after the filing date. Final rates will then be published on the department’s website, which will also allow the public to comment on any proposed rate increases.

The bill is meant to give Missourians the opportunity to cost compare and determine if the rates they are being charged are fair. Without transparency, Missouri’s rates have increased at a pace above the national average, and rates vary significantly from one part of the state to another. Rate transparency and review is meant to help reduce costs by empowering Missourians to make informed decisions regarding their health insurance options.

Preventing Abuse of Paid Administrative Leave (HB 1432)

The Missouri General Assembly gave final approval to legislation that will protect taxpayer funds from being wasted on ineffective government employees who are placed on paid administrative leave when they should be fired. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Vescovo, is meant to provide a much-needed layer of accountability that will protect Missouri tax dollars from being used to pay ineffective employees to not come to work. The common sense reform puts Missouri’s standards much more in line with how similar situations would be handled in the private sector.

The bill comes in response to several examples of abuse that have occurred in the state in recent years. In one school district several employees were placed on extended paid leave rather than be terminated for poor job performance. To prevent such abuses from happening in the future, the legislation approved by the General Assembly would require a hearing within 60 days of an employee being placed on administrative leave. The hearing would be utilized to determine if the employee engaged in misconduct. The bill also would require that an employee placed on administrative leave be provided with a written explanation of the specific reason for the placement within seven days.

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