New Missouri law ends incentives for bad workplace behavior

You shouldn’t be rewarded for bad behavior. That’s the principle behind a new law—a victory for the Missouri business community—that will ensure our state’s employers will no longer be required to pay unemployment benefits to workers who are fired after willfully breaking workplace rules.

The new law, Senate Bill 510, changes Missouri’s standards that dictate which employees are allowed to receive unemployment compensation upon termination. Previously, Missouri’s unemployment benefits laws were far too inclusive, effectively rewarding some employees who broke workplace rules. Senate Bill 510 was sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit.

“As we’ve worked to attract business development, Missouri’s unemployment compensation situation has been a glaring black eye for our state. What business would choose to invest in a state where the law requires you to reward negligent employees?” asked Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “Passing this bill brings more fairness to our system. This was a priority for the Missouri Chamber and our members statewide. We greatly appreciate the work of the leaders in the Missouri General Assembly for making this possible.”

The new law will also help ease the strain on Missouri’s unemployment insurance system. The system’s current design allows it to become quickly overwhelmed during an economic downturn, requiring the state to borrow funds from the federal government to pay for employee benefits. After the last recession, Missouri employers spent years contributing extra fees toward repayment of the debt. This debt likely prolonged the recession in Missouri, as it consumed funds that businesses otherwise could have invested in growth.

“This new law is a great step forward. However, Missouri’s unemployment system remains ripe for a complete overhaul,” Mehan said. “We will continue to work with the business community and lawmakers to address this. There is so much more we can do to ensure our state is a place where business can grow and hard workers can succeed.”

Senate Bill 510 was one of two bills that Gov. Jay Nixon allowed to become law without his signature.

Media Advisory: Missouri’s business leaders meet in St. Louis to explore Missouri’s transportation future

MEDIA ADVISORY

Missouri’s business leaders meet in St. Louis to explore Missouri’s transportation future

WHAT:                 Leadership Missouri was founded in 1990 to identify current and emerging business and government leaders throughout Missouri, enhance leadership skills, and deepen participants’ knowledge of the economic challenges and opportunities facing the state. The class will meet seven times through this year in seven different communities to explore issues that affect Missouri businesses. The goal is to prepare participants to take an active role in advancing the state for the common good.

 

WHO:                   Missouri business and government leaders from throughout the state, who were nominated by their employers to participate in the 2014 Leadership Missouri Class.

 

WHEN:                 Thursday, July 10 through Friday, July 1.

 

WHERE:              St. Louis, Mo.

 

WHY:                   Participants will learn more about the state of Missouri’s transportation future through tours of airports, train stations and MoDot facilities.          

 

NOTE:                   All members of the media are invited to attend. A complete agenda follows.

                                                                           

 

 

AGENDA

“Transportation”

Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch, 2 South 4th Street, St. Louis, MO  63102; 314.231.3003

July 9 – 11, 2014

 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

 

 

 

 

8:00 am

Board Bus

 

 

8:30 am

Arrive Lambert Airport (Walk to Lindberg conference room, upper level of main terminal.)

 

 

8:45 am

 

Overview of Missouri’s Transportation System

-          Paula Gough, MODOT

-          Ray Friem, Metro St. Louis

 

 

9:30 am

 

Lambert Airport

-          Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Director, Lambert Airport

  • Cargo Hub
  • Services and how they impact the economy
  • Economic Development at Lambert Airport

 

 

10:20 am

Depart and walk to MetroLink station

 

 

10:27 am

MetroLink Departs Airport – MetroLink is the light rail transit system in the Greater St. Louis area of Missouri and the Metro East area of Illinois. The system consists of two lines (Red Line and Blue Line) connecting Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and Shrewsbury, MO with Scott Air Force Base near Shiloh, Illinois through downtown St. Louis. The system features 37 stations and carries an average of 51,716 people each weekday. A second line, the “Cross-County Extension”, known as the Blue Line, opened to the public August 26, 2006. This 8-mile, nine-station line connects Washington University, Clayton, the popular Saint Louis Galleria shopping center, and Shrewsbury to the system. Further extensions are under study, but no alignments have yet been chosen, engineered, or funded.

 

 

10:57 am

Arrive Civic Center MetroLink Station, i.e. the Multi-Modal Station – The Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center, also known as Gateway Transportation Station or Gateway Station, is a rail and bus terminal station in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. Opened in 2008 and operating 24 hours a day, it serves Amtrak, St. Louis MetroLink, MetroBus regional buses, Greyhound cross-country buses, and taxis. Missouri’s largest rail transportation station, it is located one block east of St. Louis Union Station.

 

11:14 am

Board Metro Bus – 99 Downtown Trolley (get off at Market and Broadway – walk 2 blocks toward the Arch, at the corner of Market and Memorial)

 

11:25 am

Arrive at Gateway Tower, One Memorial Drive, Suite 700, St. Louis, MO 63102

 

11:30 am

Presentation regarding City Arch River including “Park Over the Highway” – a park being built over Interstate 70 in St. Louis. The project’s purpose is to reconnect the downtown area with the iconic Gateway Arch and the Mississippi River

-          Ryan McClure, City Arch River

-          Deanna Venker, PE, Area Engineer, City of St. Louis, MODOT

  • Expanding the Arch
  • Pedestrian traffic
  • Agency Collaboration

 

 

 

12:00 pm             

 

 

Depart for lunch at East-West Gateway Council of Governments, One Memorial Dr., Suite 1600

 

12:15 pm

Arrive Lunch

 

1:00 pm

Board Bus for Melvin Price Lock and Dam, #2 Lock and Dam Way, E Alton, IL   62024

 

1:45 pm

 

 

 

Mel Price Lock and Dam Tour and Presentation

Melvin Price Locks and Dam replaced Lock and Dam 26, which was demolished in 1990.  The construction of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam constituted the first replacement of an original installation of the 9-Foot Channel Project. Throughout its design and construction, the Corps engaged in an extensive program of computer-assisted design, testing and evaluation to create a structure that represents the state of the art in river navigation control works.

-          Angela Smith, US Army Corp of Engineers

 

3:00 pm

Break

 

3:10 pm

Board Bus for Missouri Athletic Club,405 Washington Ave, St Louis, MO; (314) 231-7220

 

3:45 pm

 

Arrive Missouri Athletic Club

Railroad Terminal Association – A switching and terminal railroad owned by railroads in St. Louis, Missouri which handles traffic through its metropolitan area.

-          Welcome by Mike McCarthy, President

 

4:05 pm

 

Break

4:15 pm

Concrete, Asphalt, Recycled Materials – materials used in roads – how do they stack up?

-          Mark Luther, Sr. Technical Services Engineer, Holcim US, Inc.

-          Thomas Blair, MODOT

 

4:45 pm

There are multiple transportation modes, but at some point the trucking industry is involved in virtually every shipment of goods.

-          Jennifer Mason, Roberts Perryman PC (Moderator)

-          Scott Randall, Hogan Transports Inc.

  • Obstacles facing the trucking industry
  • Regulations that increase the cost of moving goods

 

5:15 pm

Board Bus for hotel

 

 

Friday, July 11, 2014

 

 

8:00 am

Depart hotel for MODOT Facility, 14301 South Outer Forty, Chesterfield, MO

 

8:30 am

 

 

Arrive MODOT Facility, 14301 South Outer Forty, Chesterfield, MO

Missouri’s Transportation System – Where do we go and how do we get there?

-          Paula Gough, Moderator

-          Ed Hassinger, MoDOT Chief Engineer

-          Ed Hillhouse, East/West Gateway Council

-          Ray Friem, Transit System

10:00 am

Break

 

10:15 am

Break into groups – Tour MODOT facility/Impaired Driving Simulation

 

11:30 am

Wrap-up with David Silvester, Paula Gough and Thomas Blair. Then adjourn.

NEWS RELEASE: HB 1631 becomes law: Missouri should control our state’s energy future

 Energy is the lifeblood of business. In Missouri, companies have long benefited from having a plentiful, affordable power supply. However, Missouri’s network of dependable coal power plants is under attack from the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. In response, a new law approved today will help our state retain control over our own energy future.

Earlier this summer, the EPA proposed new rules that would create greater regulations on existing coal power plants. The new proposals could lead to significant rate increases for Missourians. In response, House Bill 1631, signed on July 7 by Gov. Jay Nixon, gives Missouri greater authority to make regulatory energy decisions that are in the best interest of our state. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, charges the state’s Air Conservation Commission to develop emissions standards and compliance schedules rather than wait for the EPA to specify these for Missouri.

“It’s clear that the Obama administration hopes to wipe out coal as an energy source—regardless of the impact this action would have on our businesses, jobs and our economy,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “As we look toward the future of our Missouri economy, we need to retain our status as a low-cost state for energy to help us attract tomorrow’s industries, such as data centers. This new law is a victory for Missouri businesses and all Missourians who rely on our state’s affordable energy supply.”

 

NEWS RELEASE: Calling for an end to the economic border war between Missouri and Kansas

 Because Missouri’s limited economic incentives should be used to attract real growth to our region, the Missouri Chamber is touting a new law that seeks to end the economic border war with Kansas.

For years, companies in the Kansas City metropolitan area have been able to relocate from one side of the state border to the other and, in the process, access hundreds of millions of dollars in economic incentives. This investment of state resources by both Missouri and Kansas has netted little, if any, economic benefit for the region as a whole.

In response, the Missouri General Assembly passed Senate Bill 635, sponsored by Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Republican from Kansas City. This legislation would prohibit Missouri from offering various incentives to business relocating from the Kansas counties of Douglas, Johnson, Miami or Wyandotte to the Missouri counties of Cass, Clay, Jackson or Platte. The bill was signed by Gov. Jay Nixon today. It will go into effect if Kansas passes a similar bill.

“The funding that Missouri sets aside for economic development purposes is a valuable and limited resource. We need to ensure these funds are being targeted at efforts that truly contribute to the prosperity and economic wellbeing of our state,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “The Missouri Chamber has lobbied for this bill for years. We give much credit to a coalition of business leaders in Kansas City that rallied behind this proposal and helped us explain the need for this new law. Now we call on our neighbors in Kansas to follow our lead and pass a similar measure so that we can focus on growing the Kansas City region as partners rather than competitors.”

 

U.S. Supreme Court delivers decisions that affect many employers

The U.S. Supreme Court has been getting down to business in its last week of session, delivering three important decisions for Missouri employers.

Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of craft chain Hobby Lobby, allowing the for-profit business to cite religious objections in order to opt out of providing free contraceptive coverage for their employees under the Affordable Care Act.

Hobby Lobby was joined in the suit by a wood furniture company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp.   The companies argued that providing methods and devises that they believe work after conception, including emergency contraceptives and intrauterine devices, went against their religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby owners are evangelical Christians. Conestoga is owned by a Mennonite family. More than 50 other companies have filed similar lawsuits.

At the center of the case was determining whether the 1993 religious freedom law, which protects an individual’s religious rights, extends to secular, for-profit corporations and their owners.  The High Court’s ruling sets an important precedent for employers and could have legal impact far beyond this case.

Harris vs. Quinn

Illinois home-based care workers can’t be forced to pay dues to a union they don’t want to join, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 30.

The case was brought by healthcare worker Pamela Harris who argued that compulsory union dues are forced association and speech prohibited by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.  Harris is backed by the anti-union National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.  Harris sought to upend the decades-old practice of assessing fair-share fees on employees that choose not to be part of a public union.  These mandatory fees were allowed through a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1977.

The decision was narrowly written to only cover certain home-health care workers.  Supporters of the suit had hoped for a broad ruling that would have blocked mandatory fees for all public sector workers, such as teachers and firefighters.

National Labor Relations Board vs. Noel Canning

The June 26 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in NLRB v. Noel Canning is good news for employers. The U.S. Chamber helped to bring this case for its client and member, Noel Canning, challenging the president’s unconstitutional recess appointments to the NLRB.

“The President’s unprecedented recess appointments left the NLRB in a legal limbo, causing major uncertainty for both employers and employees alike,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “The Chamber was pleased to support its member, Noel Canning, in this case and believes the Court made the right decision.”

In January 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated an NLRB decision against Noel Canning, holding that the Board lacked a quorum because three “recess” appointments to the Board were unconstitutional.  The Board issued hundreds of decisions after those appointments were made in January 2012, including over 300 after the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Noel Canning v. NLRB.

For more information on these rulings, or other legal issues, contact Jay Atkins, Missouri Chamber general counsel and director of legislative affairs, at jatkins@mochamber.com, or by phone at 573-634-3511.

2014 Leadership in Practice program held at Westminster College

Leadership and person-to-person skills are essential traits for success throughout all parts of our personal and professional lives.  The younger children are exposed to this, the better leaders they will eventually become. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Education Foundation strives each year to make this a reality for young adults throughout Missouri.

Recently, nearly 120 sophomores from around Missouri attended the 18th annual Leadership In Practice held this year on the campus of Westminster College located in Fulton, Mo.   The program, which is put on by the Missouri Chamber Education Foundation each summer, teaches high school students about personal characteristics of leadership, leadership styles, civic and community leadership, economic leadership and global leadership.

Leadership in Practice class of 2014

Leadership in Practice class of 2014

Leadership In Practice immerses these students in hands-on activities, simulations and games. They evaluate their leadership skills based on what they learn and then set goals on how to improve those skills.  Business, civic, education and military leaders from around the state deliver relevant information on leadership and how students can take active leadership roles in their schools and communities.  The motto of Leadership In Practice is to Engage, Inspire and Lead.

For more information about Leadership In Practice, and how you can get involved with next year’s program contact Brian Crouse, Missouri Chamber Education Foundation vice president, at bcrouse@mochamber.com or by phone at 573.634.3511.

NEWS RELEASE: Gov. Nixon signs Missouri Chamber priority into law, benefiting thousands of Missouri workers and hundreds of employers

A program that helped more than 30,000 workers keep their jobs last year has been extended.  Gov. Jay Nixon today signed Senate Bill 844 into law, legislation that extends the federal Shared-Work Program.  The Missouri General Assembly gave nearly unanimous support to the measure, which was sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, a Republican from Springfield. 

Nearly 350 Missouri employers were able to avoid layoffs last year using the Shared-Work Program.  Through the program, an employer can reduce workers’ hours and supplement lost wages with partial unemployment benefits. 

“The Shared Work Program helps employers weather tough economic times without losing their skilled workforce.  At the same time, the program helps Missouri workers make ends meet,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “In addition to supplementing lost wages, employees also retain employer-provided benefits, such as health care.  We are grateful to lawmakers and Gov. Nixon for working to extend this valuable safety net. ” 

When Missouri Chamber members were alerted that the Shared-Work Program was in jeopardy if this legislation was not passed, many reached out to their legislators and urged action. Their action played a key role in pushing the extension over the finish line.

Note to reporters: The Missouri Chamber has been working with employers statewide to save the Shared-Work Program. If you would like to interview a local business about what Shared-Work means in your region, contact Karen Buschmann, vice president of communications, at 573-634-3511.