Senate Progress on Business Priorities and Other Bills Slows Down
February 1 – The Missouri Senate is rumored to debate the Employment Law Reform Bill, SB 592 (Sen. Lager), when they resume session today at 10:00 a.m. The bill was “laid over” last Wednesday following lengthy floor debate and filibustering by Senate Democrats. The bill is a high priority for Associated Industries of Missouri and is part of the Business Climate Agenda for 2012 supported by every major business organization in Missouri. The bill would return Missouri’s Human Rights Act to use the same standards as federal human rights laws and provide protection for legitimate whistle-blowers while blocking claims from alleged whistle-blowers that are not disclosing an illegal act. All Senate committee hearings that were originally scheduled for later today have been canceled, possibly in anticipation of lengthy floor debate today.
Senate debate also stalled yesterday on the Paycheck Protection Act, SCS SB 553 and 435 sponsored by Senators Brown and Crowell. The bill would submit to voters a proposal that would require a public employee’s permission before union dues could be used for political purposes and prevent the withholding of union dues or “fair share fees” from public employees’ paychecks. Because the bill affects only public employees, AIM has not taken a position on this bill.
Although the Worker’s Compensation and Second Injury Fund Reform bill, SB 572 sponsored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Tom Dempsey, was approved by a Senate committee more than two weeks ago, the bill has yet to be added to the calendar of bills that may be debated in the Senate. Discussions are continuing to develop the bill in a way that satisfies objections by Senator Jason Crowell, who stated in the committee hearing on the bill that he would prefer to end the Second Injury Fund, rather than continuing the Fund with reforms, and that he wanted to add language that was approved during Senate debate last year. In particular, that language would prohibit subrogation of worker’s compensation payments when an employee obtains a judgment from a third party that is responsible for a toxic exposure that causes the employee’s injury. This bill is a high priority for Associated Industries of Missouri and is also part of the Business Climate Agenda for 2012.
We will continue to keep you posted of any progress, or lack thereof, on our priority bills. Please be sure to enter your email in the area to the right of our blog page at a4gb.wordpress.com to receive updates via email automatically.