The regular session of the 2021 Missouri legislature has now concluded and is in the books. Last week, I highlighted a few of the high profile bills. Here’s how they turned out.
The gas tax increase passed in SB 262. Gas will go up 2½ cents per year for the next five years. The legislation included a rebate mechanism where citizens could get the extra tax refunded to them if they keep their receipts and file some paperwork. I don’t think it right that government takes money from citizens through any tax increase without asking first by putting it on the ballot, but a least now MoDot might finally fix up our lettered roads.
Vaccine passports, which would have required citizens to show proof of Covid vaccination before being allowed to travel, were banned in HB 271. That bill also prevented health officials from shutting down businesses, churches, schools, etc for more than 30 days unless an elected body like a city council or county commission approves a longer shutdown.
The Wayfair bill, SB 153, also passed on the final day. Wayfair (named after the website Wayfair.com) means having a sales tax on internet purchases similar to the sales tax at a regular store. Three years ago, the Supreme Court made a decision to allow states to pass laws to collect this tax, and since then every state with a sales tax had done so except for Missouri. I was the key legislator in the House that crafted this bill, and I was able to include a notable income tax cut in the legislation that would offset the sales tax increase. I am proud of the final language of the bill, and happy to have this three-year project off of my plate.
There were also some important items that did not get passed like banning biological boys from playing in girls sports, protecting election integrity with voter photo ID, reforming initiative petition to keep out-of-state special interests from inserting language into our state constitution, correcting errors made in the unemployment program. Some of these items may be handling in special sessions this summer and fall. I plan to cover in greater detail these issues and the some of the bills that passed and failed in upcoming capitol reports.
Until next time, health, happiness and prosperity to you and your family.