AIM issues legislator vote ratings for 2022 Special Session and 2023 Regular Legislative Session
August 11, 2023 - Associated Industries of Missouri has published vote ratings for the 2022 Special Session held in late fall 2022 and the 2023 Regular Legislative Session.
There were some interesting results in the vote ratings this year, particularly in the Missouri Senate. Filibusters by a small group of Republican senators not only slowed the process down overall, but also stopped debate on key business issues such as tort reform and tax issues. Due to the lack of Senate recorded votes, some votes were included that were supported by nearly all members of both parties. In the lobbying business, we call these "gimme votes." Of course, when you are trying to contrast legislators that normally support business positions with those that do not, we usually look for distinguishing votes on more controversial business issues. But this year, you will notice some legislators that are not normally supportive of business issues scored higher than others that usually do support business issues. In fact, the most important bill affecting most businesses in the state, the tax cut bill passed in the 2022 Special Session, received support from many Democrat and Republican senators. Many of those same senators also supported I-70 funding and AIM's environmental bill that provided stronger protections for the regulated community and an extension of the stakeholder fee-setting process. These were three key issues and received a heavier weighting than other issues because of their importance.
Vote ratings, if they are to be meaningful at all, must not be manipulated and used as a lobbying tool. They should reflect legislators' positions on business issues. When legislators that don't normally support business vote in support of key business issues, they deserve higher vote ratings and that was the case this year.
We look forward to continuing to work with all legislators on your behalf to improve the Missouri business climate. Missouri businesses expect the House and Senate to function as intended - to propose new ideas and solutions to problems and then review and modify them through the process of public hearings and floor debate. The process should not be consistently held hostage by a small group of legislators - a fact that has crippled the last couple of legislative sessions.
Legislators are sent to Jefferson City by voters to get things done for taxpayers, and that includes business taxpayers. Most legislators want to perform this duty. We hope the small minority of senators that regularly stop this from happening will see the light and begin doing the people's work. While it is probably a pipe dream in an election year, we encourage all legislators to avoid grandstanding, grabbing headlines, generating sound bites for social media and stirring up controversy for the sole purpose of free media coverage. My 30+ years of working with legislators tells me that may be expecting a little too much.
When your elected representatives and senators call you asking for support, tell them you expect them to actually work for the betterment of Missouri citizens, including businesses. Of course, we may have different views of how this should be accomplished, but let's have the conversations and actually vote on key issues in the next legislative session.