This year, several priorities of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry became effective on Aug. 28, helping Missouri employers better compete.
“Each year, it seems like new challenges emerge that threaten our state’s businesses and their ability to grow and create jobs. If it’s not a national recession or the threat of increased federal regulations, it’s the many state issues we saw emerge recently including fraudulent unemployment claims, massive unemployment insurance debts and patent troll scams,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber President/CEO. “We thank the leaders in our General Assembly for staying current and continuing to address these problems as they arise.”
Several critical bills passed by the General Assembly will improve the state’s climate for business growth and expansion.
- Reforming unemployment insurance: The recent economic recession left Missouri’s employers with a massive unemployment debt to repay. Unemployment insurance reforms passed this year will help reduce this debt and ensure future economic downturns are less costly. Senate Bill 510, sponsored by Sen. Kraus, will ensure employees who are fired for willfully breaking workplace rules are not rewarded with unemployment compensation.
- Protecting business unclaimed property: Currently, Missouri ranks among the states with the worst unclaimed property laws. House Bill 1075, sponsored by Rep. Rocky Miller, a Republican from Tuscumbia, ensures Missouri won’t follow other states in padding state revenues using unclaimed property taken from businesses and individuals.
- Stopping Patent troll scams: Missouri businesses are vulnerable to scammers who attempt to extort funds by fraudulently claiming patent infringement. Senate Bill 706, sponsored by Sen. Mike Cunningham, a Republican from Marshfield, allows businesses to successfully sue alleged patent trolls.
- Preserving Shared-Work Program: Missouri’s Shared-Work Program allows companies to reduce the hours their permanent employees work during temporary periods of slow business. To help make up for lost wages, the employees collect partial unemployment payments. This is a vital program for the approximately 350 employers and 30,000 workers who use it each year. Senate Bill 844, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, a Republican from Springfield, keeps the Missouri’s Shared-Work Program in operation.
- Ending economic border war: For many years, economic development officials in Missouri and Kansas have been incenting businesses to move from one side of the border to the other, with no overall economic benefit for the region. Senate Bill 635, sponsored by Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Republican from Kansas City, will help reserve our development incentives true growth projects.
- Protecting Missouri’s energy future: In order to protect against stifling federal EPA regulations, Rep. Todd Richardson, a Republican from Poplar Bluff, sponsored House Bill 1631, legislation that would give Missouri greater authority in this discussion. It enables the state to make regulatory decisions that are in the best interest of our citizens and business community.
- Securing tort reform: Senate Bill 890, sponsored by Sen. Mike Kehoe and handled in House by Rep. Lincoln Hough will modify the 2005 changes to Missouri’s venue statute to clarify that when a foreign plaintiff brings suit against a Missouri company, venue properly lies in the county where the company’s registered agent is located even if individual company executives are named as defendants in the suit.