Missouri 2015 Legislature Recap

Date: June 17, 2015

The Missouri state legislature ended its regular session in May, with several victories for the small business community.

Missouri lawmakers and NFIB were hard at work this year, fighting for small business interests at all levels with some local successes. Here’s a look at what small business owners can look forward to as the legislature lets out for summer:

Tax Study

Legislators voted on a tax amnesty bill with two measures that NFIB supported. House Bill 384 ensured lawmakers would commission a study on the state’s tax code, which has not been reviewed since 1969. The bill also calls for a taxpayer advocate’s office to help taxpayers navigate disputes or problems with the Department of Revenue.

Lower Business Filing Fees

Small businesses may soon see savings of $6 million across Missouri as a result of lower filing fees outlined in House Bill 513. The legislation would make filing fees in Missouri the lowest in the nation and improve the state’s business-friendly environment. The bill was passed by both the House and the Senate and will likely come into effect later this year.

Right to Work

While Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vowed not to sign right-to-work legislation into law, lawmakers approved a measure earlier this year in both the House and Senate. A veto override vote is expected should the governor exercise this power. More than 80 percent of NFIB members have supported right-to-work legislation over the years. As promised, the Governor vetoed the Right to Work bill on June 4.

Should the legislation come to a veto override vote during a special veto session in the fall, “There will be a major campaign on the part of labor and business in getting those votes,” says Brad Jones, NFIB/Missouri state director.

Liability Protection

Many small business owners are fearful of harmful medical malpractice lawsuit costs, but new legislation will allow owners breathe easy. House Bill 118 was approved by the House earlier this year and will ensure healthcare providers are protected with a malpractice cap. Supporters say the bill will support more doctors who may have otherwise practiced in nearby states with malpractice lawsuit caps.

Small business owners with employees who are largely paid in tips also had some good news this past session through a new tax liability protection bill. House Bill 517 relieves employers of any liability of underreported tips by employees to the Department of Revenue. The bill was delivered to the governor’s desk after passing the House and Senate.

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