The Chamber of Commerce didn’t get everything on its legislative wish list, but says some key issues that passed will improve the business climate in Missouri. President Dan Mehan points to measures that address workers’ compensation reform, fixing the state’s insolvent second injury fund, and employment insurance reform.
“Overall, we achieved several of our priorities that were on our initial list going into the session in January,” Mehan says, among them bringing occupational disease claims back under the exclusive remedy umbrella of workers compensation. He says the passage of an employment insurance bill will save the state millions of dollars.
“…Paycheck protection, which ensures that employers aren’t forced to make political contributions they don’t want to have happen,” he says. “That’s very controversial; we’re not sure if that gets signed or not. We’re very hopeful that the workers’ compensation bill gets signed into law; we worked very closely with the administration, with all the parties involved in that. And when you look at that vote on work comp, that was 32 to 1 in the Senate and 123 to 35 in the House. That’s a very strong consensus.”
But he says the failure to pass Medicaid expansion joins some other bills that were not able to move through the legislative process. Some “unfortunate casualties” he mentioned include a transportation funding bill, a bonding bill, an economic development package and tax credit reform on low-income housing and historic tax credits.
Mehan says the session was a mixed bag, as it is every year, but says some successes were achieved that have hung up in recent years.
“We were very pleased how leadership in the House and Senate had some common goals and worked together to get that done,” he said. “We hadn’t seen that in a few years.”