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  • Writer's pictureAIM Team

AIM comments on opening day of the 2024 Missouri Legislative Session

By Ray McCarty, President/CEO

January 3, 2024 - If there was any doubt about the ability to move legislation this legislative session, that doubt was erased as the Missouri Senate attempted to start their work in the legislative session.

To prevent furthering their political agendas by mentioning their names, we will only refer to them by the collective name they will be adopting at the end of this week, the "Freedom Caucus." Several members of that soon-to-be-created caucus took to the Senate floor today to decry the lack of progress on issues they perceive as being "conservative issues." Some screamed at the top of their lungs about the lack of progress, when in fact, progress on nearly ALL issues was thwarted by the same senators last session and in previous sessions.

If you had expectations of getting any legislation passed this session, you should think again. That said, we, and all other advocates for and against issues will put in the same amount of work as we would to pass good legislation and to stop bad ideas. We just don't expect much to cross the finish line.

Case in point: Associated Industries of Missouri will again push to pass tort reform. Members that are expected to form the newly minted "Freedom Caucus" stood on the Senate floor last session and blocked the simplest of tort reform measures: reducing the statute of limitations for bringing lawsuits from five years to two years. Plaintiffs attorneys love the current statute of limitations that gives them longer than almost any other state to file lawsuits. Think about the disadvantage created for the defense if a lawsuit is filed four and a half years after an incident occurs. How does the defense obtain evidence and find witnesses to present the truth when a lawsuit is filed so long after the incident took place? Ignoring this fact and playing the role the plaintiffs attorneys wanted, these same senators blocked the bill that would only have reduced that statute of limitations to a more reasonable standard used in most states of two years.

As the late Paul Harvey used to say, "Here is the rest of the story." Plaintiffs attorneys are pouring money into the campaigns of these same senators. Yes, that's right. While decrying the influence of special interests, the plaintiffs attorneys' special interests seem to be just fine with the members of this new caucus. All they need to do is block legislation and the plaintiffs' attorneys win big and make big contributions to these same senators' political campaigns.

We will again try to address many important business topics this legislative session. We will write future articles on these topics as the session progresses and we will let you all know if these issues are once again blocked on the Senate floor by these senators or others. And you should remember them when they come calling, as they always do, for contributions as they advance their own political campaigns.



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