The Capitol Report | June 1st, 2017

Special Session Comes To An End 

The legislature concluded its business in an efficient manner last week as the House and Senate worked to get a jobs bill across the legislative finish line in a matter of days. Called back for a special session by the governor to pass legislation that could bring 500 good-paying jobs to Southeast Missouri, legislators began their work on a Monday and secured approval for the bill from both chambers by that Friday.

The legislation approved by the General Assembly would let the Missouri Public Service Commission consider lower utility rates for two companies that are exploring options in Southeast Missouri. One company hopes to reopen the Noranda aluminum smelter near Marston, which closed last year and caused the loss of 900 jobs in the area. The other company has plans to build a new steel mill in New Madrid. If Missouri can entice the two interested companies to move forward with their projects, they would create as many as 400 new jobs at the reopened smelter, and at least 95 and as many as 200 jobs at the steel mill. The jobs at the smelter are expected to pay an average annual salary of $95,000.

The bill includes consumer protections to ensure the PSC keeps the cost to other ratepayers in mind with any special rate it approves. It is likely that other customers of Ameren have no need to worry about increased utility rates because of the bill. The PSC has indicated ratepayers wouldn’t see an increase in their bill if the new steel mill opens. If the aluminum smelter reopens, the commission has indicated consumers could see a maximum increase of $54 per year after 10 years if energy-cost inflation would rise by 10 percent annually. However, supporters say that isn’t likely to happen. The bill now moves to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. Indications are that the governor will sign the bill during the week of June 5. With his signature, the bill will take effect as law immediately.

Now that both the regular and special legislative sessions have come to an end, the legislature stands at a little over 75 bills that have been Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed (TAFP). These bills now await the Governor’s approval or veto. These TAFP bills span a variety of topics including labor reform, tort reform, and economic development measures, as well as several other topics. Below is a brief summary of three TAFP bills. More TAFP bill summaries will follow in the weeks to come.

HB 34This bill updates Articles 1 and 7 of Missouri’s Commercial Code to match the current version of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). Missouri has become the latest state to enact important provisions of the UCC, designed to ease commercial transactions between various states.  UCC Articles 1 and 7 have now been enacted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

SCS HCS HB 50 – This bill specifies that Division 12 of the 16th Judicial Circuit shall sit in the City of Independence rather than in Kansas City.

HB 51This bill authorizes county commissions who are trustees for a cemetery trust fund to utilize investment managers to invest, reinvest, and manage fund assets. Responsibilities and requirements for investment managers are detailed in the bill.

In other news, the Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and I will be holding a local town hall meeting at the Steelville Community Center on Monday, June 12th at 5:30 PM to discuss the new photo voter ID law going into effect this year. This will be an opportunity to learn more about the new law and ensure all eligible Missourians have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. If you are able, I encourage you to attend! You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

Lawmakers Move Quickly to Give Final Approval to Jobs Bill (HB 1)

The legislature concluded its business in an efficient manner last week as the House and Senate worked to get a jobs bill across the legislative finish line in a matter of days. Called back for a special session by the governor to pass legislation that could bring 500 good-paying jobs to Southeast Missouri, legislators began their work on a Monday and secured approval for the bill from both chambers by that Friday.

The legislation approved by the General Assembly would let the Missouri Public Service Commission consider lower utility rates for two companies that are exploring options in Southeast Missouri. One company hopes to reopen the Noranda aluminum smelter near Marston, which closed last year and caused the loss of 900 jobs in the area. The other company has plans to build a new steel mill in New Madrid. If Missouri can entice the two interested companies to move forward with their projects, they would create as many as 400 new jobs at the reopened smelter, and at least 95 and as many as 200 jobs at the steel mill. The jobs at the smelter are expected to pay an average annual salary of $95,000.

Under the bill, the PSC would be able to approve a special, lower rate for a longer contract of service for companies like the smelter and steel mill that use tremendous amounts of electricity. The final bill could be used not only to lure the two proposed projects, but also any new facility that would use more than 50 megawatts of electricity per month and that can show a true need for the special rate. The bill also includes consumer protections to ensure the PSC keeps the cost to other ratepayers in mind with any special rate it approves. With this provision, lawmakers hope to keep costs from being shifted to other customers.

It is also likely that other customers of Ameren have no need to worry about increased utility rates because of the bill. The PSC has indicated ratepayers wouldn’t see an increase in their bill if the new steel mill opens. If the aluminum smelter reopens, the commission has indicated consumers could see a maximum increase of $54 per year after 10 years if energy-cost inflation would rise by 10 percent annually. However, supporters say that isn’t likely to happen.

The bill now moves to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. Indications are that the governor will sign the bill during the week of June 5. With his signature, the bill will take effect as law immediately.

Truly Agreed To & Finally Passed Bills

Now that both the regular and special legislative sessions have come to an end, the legislature stands at a little over 75 bills that have been Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed (TAFP). These bills now await the Governor’s approval or veto. These TAFP bills span a variety of topics including labor reform, tort reform, and economic development measures, as well as several other topics. The following is a brief summary of three TAFP bills. More TAFP bill summaries will follow in the weeks to come.

HB 34 – Changes the laws regarding the Uniform Commercial Code to adopt the current version of Articles 1 and 7.

This bill updates Articles 1 and 7 of Missouri’s Commercial Code to match the current version of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). Missouri has become the latest state to enact important provisions of the UCC, designed to ease commercial transactions between various states. UCC Articles 1 and 7 have now been enacted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The UCC is a comprehensive set of laws governing all commercial transactions between U.S. states and territories. The UCC is organized into nine articles, each article governing a separate area of the law. UCC Article 1 provides definitions and general provisions that apply to transactions covered by other articles of the UCC. UCC Article 7 deals with documents of title. Documents of title – either bills of lading or warehouse receipts – are commonly used in the shipment and storage of goods. Article 7 provides a framework for the further development of electronic documents of title and updates the article for modern usage.

SCS HCS HB 50 – Changes division designations for circuit and associate courts in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit. This bill specifies that Division 12 of the 16th Judicial Circuit shall sit in the City of Independence rather than in Kansas City.

HB 51 – Authorizes county commissions that oversee cemetery funds to utilize investment managers. This bill authorizes county commissions who are trustees for a cemetery trust fund to utilize investment managers to invest, reinvest, and manage fund assets. Responsibilities and requirements for investment managers are detailed in the bill.

New Voter ID Law Town Hall Meeting

In other news, the Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and I will be holding a local town hall meeting at the Steelville Community Center on Monday, June 12th at 5:30 PM to discuss the new photo voter ID law going into effect this year. This will be an opportunity to learn more about the new law and ensure all eligible Missourians have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. If you are able, I encourage you to attend!

Unclaimed Property

The Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt has notified my office that Missouri is now approaching $1 billion dollars in unclaimed property across more than 5 million accounts. Some of those funds belong to individuals, businesses, or local governments in the 120th District.

HD_120Therefore, I encourage you to search for and claim your property free of charge. Banks, businesses, and insurance companies turn over unclaimed property to the state treasurer after accounts have been inactive and owners cannot be successfully contacted for a statutorily defined period of time, generally five years. The treasurer holds these funds until the owner or their proper heirs are located and claim it.

Account owners can file a claim online or request a paper claim be mailed to them at any time by visiting http://www.ShowMeMoney.com.

Claims frequently reach hundreds of dollars or more.

Free Veteran Dental Care

Thousands of veterans will receive free dental care on Saturday, June 24th, when doctors and their teams from nearly 450 Aspen Dental-branded practices in 35 states open their doors for Aspen Dental’s National Day of Service – an event that is expected to be the largest single-day oral health initiative for veterans in 2017. Interested veterans should call 1-844-AspenHMM (1-844-277-3646) to find a participating practice in their community and schedule an appointment in advance – space is limited and appointments are filling up fast.

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol Office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

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