Monday, December 18, 2017

Published:05/21/2013

The final gavel fell at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 17 ending the 2013 Legislative Session.  Over the course of this session, 509 Senate bills were filed compared to 1,082 on the House side.  Of the 1,591 bills filed, 164 were Truly Agreed and sent to the Governor for his consideration.  Barring the call of a Special Session by the Governor, legislators will return to Jefferson City in mid-September for the Legislature's annual Veto Session where a number of bills could be taken up including the personal and corporate income tax "reform" bill (HB 253) as summarized below.  While the bill has not been officially vetoed, the Governor has announced his intention to do so.

Creating a pro-business environment in the State of Missouri was the resonating theme once again this year with additional emphasis on "keeping up" with Kansas' alleged pro-business tax policy.  While the House and Senate were able to reach a compromise on such high priority issues including workers' compensation/Second Injury Fund reform and personal/corporate income tax "reform", agreement could not be reached once again this year on a comprehensive tax credit reform bill.

KEY ITEMS THAT DID NOT PASS

Highways • Raises the state sales tax by 1 percent for 10 years to fund transportation needs with voter approval. (SJR 16)

Medicaid • Expands eligibility for more Missourians to participate in the public health care program through the Affordable Care Act. (HB 267, SB 131 and HB 700)

Campaign contribution limits • Caps donations to candidates for state elected offices. (SB 470, SB 92)

Tax credits • Lowers caps on historic preservation and housing development tax credit programs, extends several expiring programs and establishes new programs for air cargo, startup companies and data centers. (HB 698, SB 112)

Term limits • Allows state legislators to serve 16 years in one chamber instead of limiting them to eight years in the House and eight years in the Senate. Requires voter approval. (HJR 4)

Medical malpractice • Reinstates limits on awards for “pain and suffering” in medical malpractice lawsuits. (HB 112)

Electric surcharge • Allows Ameren Missouri and other investor-owned electric utilities to add an infrastructure surcharge to customers’ bills. (SB 207)

Criminal code • Updates the state’s criminal code and creates a fifth felony class. (HB 210)

Voter ID • Requires voters to show state-issued photo IDs to vote. (HB 48)

Liquor law • Modifies the relationship between wholesalers and distributors of wine and spirits in Missouri, creating a “franchise” relationship between them. (SB 114)

KEY ITEMS THAT DID PASS

Workers’ Compensation • Alters the state’s Second Injury Fund and places occupational disease claims under the workers’ compensation system rather than in civil courts. (SB 1) (More details later in the report.)

Capital improvements • Provides $121 million for repairs to the state Capitol, upgrades at state parks, the construction of a new Missouri Department of Transportation headquarters and the early planning stages of upgrades to the state mental hospital at Fulton. (HB 19)

Abortion • Creates restrictions on the use of abortion-inducing drugs. (HB 400)

Tax cut • Cuts tax on business “pass-through” income by 50 percent over five years; reduces personal and corporate income tax rate over 10 years so long as state revenue hits a trigger; moves to tax online sales and provide amnesty from penalties for those who owe back taxes (summarized below). (HB 253)

Guns • Declares federal gun laws unenforceable, lowers the minimum age required to obtain a concealed weapons permit to 19 from 21 and allows concealed weapons to be carried by designated school personnel in school buildings. (HB 436)

Mortgage foreclosures • Abolishes mandatory foreclosure mediation in St. Louis and St. Louis County. (HB 446)

Car tax • Reinstates local sales tax on cars bought out of state or from individuals by taxing the titling of vehicles.  In areas that have not approved a local use tax, the tax must be put to local voters by November 2016. (SB 23)

Unemployment • Redefines “misconduct” and “good cause” to tighten eligibility for unemployment benefits. (SB 28)

Welfare • Puts additional restrictions on the use of public assistance benefits, including barring electronic benefit transfers at casinos, liquor stores and other adult-oriented establishments.(SB 251)

Paycheck deduction • Requires certain public labor unions to obtain consent from members to withhold dues from paychecks and make political contributions. (SB 29)

Prevailing wage • Changes the way wage requirements are calculated for public construction projects in rural counties. (HB 34)

Right to farm • Amends the state constitution to guarantee the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices. Requires voter approval. (HJR 11)

Drivers licenses • Bars the state Department of Revenue from scanning records that Missourians use to obtain drivers licenses. (SB 252)

Beer • Allows home brewers to participate in festivals and other public events. (SB 121)

Sex-offender registry • Makes changes to allow some juvenile offenders’ names to be removed from the public registry. (HB 301)

Elections • Changes several provisions of state elections laws, including moving the presidential primary to March and requiring lieutenant governor vacancies to be filled through a special election, rather than gubernatorial appointment. (HB 110)

OTHER KEY ISSUES FOR MSIA THAT DID PASS

HCS for HBs 404 & 614 -- WORKERS' COMPENSATION -- This bill specifies that, for workers' compensation purposes, psychological stress may be recognized as an occupational disease for paid peace officers of a police department who are certified under Chapter 590, RSMo, if a direct causal relationship is established.

The formula used by the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration to equalize premium rates for employers in the construction group of code classifications must be the formula that was in effect on January 1, 1999.  This provision will become effective January 1, 2014.

CCS for HCS for SS#2 for SCS for SB 1 -- WORKER'S COMPENSATION -- This bill modifies the law relating to the Second Injury Fund and occupational disease within the workers' compensation system. In its main provisions, the substitute:

(1) Defines “occupational diseases due to toxic exposure” and specifies that “employee” does not include any person performing services for board, lodging, aid, or sustenance received from any religious, charitable, or relief organization; (2) Specifies that, for workers' compensation purposes, psychological stress may be recognized as an occupational disease for paid peace officers of a police department who are certified under Chapter 590, RSMo, if a direct causal relationship is established; (3) States that occupational diseases are exclusively covered under workers' comp laws; (4) Requires medical providers to apply for reimbursement within 2 years from the date the first notice of disputed medical charges was received by the health care provider for those services rendered before July 1, 2013, and within one year if the services are rendered on or after that date. Notice is presumed to occur no later than 5 business days after the date of certified mailing; (5) Specifies that when a third person is liable to an employee, the employee’s dependents, or another person eligible to sue for the employee’s wrongful death, in a case in which the employee suffers or suffered from an occupational disease due to toxic exposure, and the employee, dependents, or other eligible persons are compensated under the workers’ compensation laws, the employer will not be subrogated to the rights of the employee, dependents, or other eligible persons when the occupational disease due to toxic exposure arose from the employee’s work for the employer; (6) Creates an expanded benefit payable by the employer for occupational diseases due to toxic exposure which results in permanent total disability or death: (a) For non-mesothelioma cases, equal to 200% of the state's average weekly wage for 100 weeks; (b) For mesothelioma cases for employers who have elected to accept liability under this provision, an additional amount of 300% of the state's average weekly wage for 212 weeks. An employer who does not insure mesothelioma liability under this provision does not fall under the exclusive remedy provisions of the workers compensation laws and a claim may be brought against the employer in a court of competent jurisdiction. This provision expires December 31, 2038; (7) Authorizes the attorney general, on behalf of the second injury fund, to request that an employee submit to a reasonable medical examination, if the employer has not; (8) Eliminates a claim for permanent partial disability against the fund after the effective date of the bill and specifies that a claim for permanent total disability will only be allowed after the effective date for instances when: (a) There exists a medically documented preexisting permanent disability caused by military duty or a preexisting permanent partial disability. The preexisting disability equals a minimum of 50 weeks of compensation according to the medical standards that are used in determining the compensation; and a subsequent work-related injury occurs that, when combined with the elements of the prior injury, results in permanent total disability; or (b) An employee is employed in a sheltered workshop and thereafter sustains a compensable work-related injury that, when combined with the preexisting disability, results in the permanent total disability; (9) Specifies that the employer at the time of the last work related injury is only liable for the disability resulting from that injury; (10) Eliminates a payment from the fund relating to the death and injury of an employee of an uninsured employer after the effective date of the bill; (11) Specifies that no compensation will be payable from the fund if an employee files a claim for workers' compensation under the laws of another state which has jurisdiction; (12) Suspends the life payments paid from fund to an injured EE when the employee is able to obtain suitable gainful employment or to be self-employed in view of the nature & severity of the injury; (13) Establishes a priority for paying any liabilities of the fund as follows: (a) Expenses relating to the legal defense of the fund; (b) Permanent total disability awards in the order in which the claims are settled or finally adjudicated; (c) Permanent partial disability awards in the order in which the claims are settled or finally adjudicated; (d) Medical expenses incurred prior to July 1, 2012; and (e) Interest on unpaid awards; (14) Sets post-award interest for second injury fund claims at the adjusted rate of interest established by the director of revenue under section 32.065 or 5%, whichever is greater; (15) Establishes the “Missouri Mesothelioma Risk Management Fund” to pay mesothelioma claims brought against employer members, who make annual contributions to the fund in an amount set by the fund’s board of trustees; (16) Requires employers subject to the workers compensation laws, on either an individual or group basis, to insure their entire liability under the workers’ compensation law, and authorizes them to insure, in whole or in part, their employer liability under an insurance policy or self-insurance plan; (17) Removes the director of the division of workers compensation from the administrative law judge review committee, requires the review committee annually to elect a chairperson for a one-year term, and requires 3 or more “no confidence” votes under 2 successive performance audits for removal of an administrative law judge instead of 2 or more votes under any audit; (18) Establishes a supplemental surcharge on employers not to exceed 3% of net deposits, net premiums, or net assessments for the previous policy year for calendar years 2014 to 2021 to be the sole funding source of the second injury fund. These provisions expire Dec 31, 2021; (19) Allows a taxpayer to elect between receiving a refund for tax overpayments or having the overpayment credited against the tax for the following year.  Currently, tax overpayments are credited against future tax; and (20) Allows an insurer to develop an individual risk premium modification rating plan that prospectively modifies a premium based upon individual risk characteristics that are predictive of future loss. The plan must be filed with the director of the department of insurance, financial institutions, and professional registration 30 days prior to use, and is subject to the director’s disapproval.  This bill has an effective date of January 1, 2014.

CCS for HCS for SS for  SB 34 -- WORKERS COMPENSATION INSURANCE -- This bill requires the uniform experience rating plan for workers' compensation insurance to prohibit an adjustment to the experience modification of an employer if the medical cost amount does not exceed 20% of the current split point of primary and excess losses, the employer pays all of the medical costs, there is no lost time from the employment with specified exceptions, and no claim is filed.  Currently, an adjustment is prohibited if the total medical cost does not exceed $1,000.  The formula used by the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration to equalize premium rates for employers in the construction group of code classifications must be the formula that was in effect on January 1, 1999.

For purposes of calculating the premium credit under the Missouri contracting classification premium adjustment program, an employer within the construction group of code classifications may submit to the advisory organization the required payroll record information for the first, second, third, or fourth calendar quarter of the year prior to the workers  compensation policy beginning or renewal date, provided the employer clearly indicates for which quarter the payroll information is being submitted.

The Division of Workers Compensation within the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations must develop and maintain a workers' compensation claims database that is accessible to potential employers on the division's website.  Claims records will be retrievable only by an employer who provides a potential employee's name and social security number.  The claims record must identify the date of the claim and whether the claim is open or closed.  The records in the database will not be considered reports or records for purposes of the record retention requirements under Section 287.650, RSMo.  This section must be implemented fully by July 1, 2014, and the division must maintain a record of claims records  received, including the identity of the employer and employee.  A person who fraudulently accesses the database is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Attached is a Bill Summary and Status Report for your review.  Should you have any questions, please don't esitate to contact the MSIA Office.



 


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msia-2013-leg-rept_011 pdf 201 KB 05/21/2013 open