Senate Departs for Spring Break with Major Successes to Celebrate
Before this session, the three legs of the stool upon which Missouri’s economy rests were exceedingly weak. This weakness directly inhibits job growth and stagnates opportunities. However, in these last 11 weeks, the Senate has worked to stabilize and strengthen these weak legs. We have approved labor, tort, and regulatory reforms that will increase opportunities for all Missourians. Missouri is becoming stronger and we are increasing our ability to compete not only with our neighboring states, but nationally and internationally.
Our first priority, right to work, was on the governor’s desk within a month and will go into effect in August. Other labor reform bills include barring project labor agreements to reduce costs for taxpayers and increase transparency by ensuring that public union employees are in control of their own hard-earned money.
Long overdue tort reforms have strengthened our Collateral Source Rule to restore fairness to personal injury litigation. Additionally, we have passed legislation ensuring that expert witnesses in trials are in fact experts and not high-paid mouthpieces of trial attorneys. We have improved Missouri’s workers’ compensation system to actually balance the protections for injured workers and the interests of the business community. These reforms will improve Missouri’s legal climate and allow businesses to hire more employees instead of wasting money on frivolous lawsuits.
The last leg of Missouri’s economic stool is regulatory reform. We need to create a better and more efficient government that views businesses not as the enemy, but as constituents and the engine that propels Missouri’s economy. Regulations should not be the imaginative creations of bureaucrats under the impression that more is better. Regulatory overreach robs businesses of time, energy, and revenue that could be used to hire more employees or make capital investments to grow. The perfect example of government overreach is the bureaucratic decision by the previous administration’s Department of Revenue to begin collecting a tax on deliveries. This tax was never previously collected, nor did the legislature ever intend it to be collected. The previous administration simply needed more money for increased entitlement spending, so they imposed a new tax on businesses via regulation. As a result of these absurdities, the Senate has passed legislation to prevent any future Department of Revenue from trying such a stunt ever again.
We still have a lot to do before May 12th, but we have accomplished a great deal. The Senate’s focus during the second half of the legislative session will be continue to be creating an environment for businesses creation and expansion, increased opportunities for good, high-paying and family supporting jobs, and state-wide economic growth.
Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City