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House passes AIM-supported legislation

After a slow start to the week as Jefferson City mourned the passing of State Auditor Tom Schweich, the Missouri House closed the week on a high note, passing important legislation for Missouri taxpayers and businesses.

The Missouri House on Thursday gave final approval to House Bill 384, a tax amnesty bill sponsored by House Budget Chairman Rep. Tom Flanigan. The bill would allow any individual taxpayer or tax paying entity to pay delinquent taxes on or prior to December 31, 2014 without penalty or interest. Flanigan and experts at the Capitol believe the amnesty program would bring in about $25 million.

The bill passed the House on a 141-7 vote and now heads to the State Senate.

Also on its way to the State Senate is House Bill 118, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Springfield). The bill re-establishes caps on medical malpractice claims by creating a statutory cause of action for such claims. Currently, an action against a health care provider for rendering or failing to render health care services is a common law cause of action. The bill replaces the common law cause of action with a statutory cause of action for damages against a health care provider for personal injury or death arising out of the rendering of or failure to render health services.

Associated Industries and other supporters of the legislation say creating a statutory cause of action addresses the Missouri Supreme Court’s opinion holding that the current non-economic damage cap for the common law cause of action of medical malpractice to be unconstitutional under the Constitution of the State of Missouri. Without the non-economic damage cap, medical malpractice rates in Missouri may skyrocket and doctor’s could cease practice or flee the state to practice elsewhere, according to testimony in committee hearings on the bill.

The House passed the legislation on a mostly-party line vote of 101-to-50. The bill now heads for the State Senate.

Also on Thursday…the House gave final passage to House Bill 468 sponsored by State Representative T.J. Berry. The bill extends the state’s tax credit program for headquarters of revenue-producing industries for five years until January 1, 2025. Rep. Berry and supporters, including AIM, say the tax credit extension will help at least one large engineering firm stay in Missouri.  The firm pays high wages and supporters say that for each dollar the state gives in tax credits, the state gets $3 in return.

House Bill 468 is on its way to the State Senate after a 106-48 final passage vote in the House.

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