While the Missouri legislature’s normal session runs from early January until mid-May, on occasion we are called back to Jefferson City when a serious situation that cannot wait for normal session warrants it. Between regular session, veto session, extra sessions, helping constituents, and researching possible changes to the law, a legislator’s life can be a busy one. The job was described to me by my predecessor as the most full time part-time job one can have. I think he may be right.
Along those lines, the second extra session of 2020 has begun, which has two purposes. One is disbursing more Covid related money. The second is protecting businesses from frivolous Covid-related lawsuits.
The bill regarding more Covid money is HB 14, which is a budget bill outlining the distribution of nearly $1.3 billion of your taxpayer money. That spending includes money for Missouri schools and colleges, state emergency management, and to the Department of Health and Senior Services. After advancing to the full House, HB 14 passed on Tuesday, November 10th by a vote of 133-4.
At this point, HB 14 moves to the Senate for consideration there. The Senate will also begin debating a bill to protect Missouri businesses from frivolous lawsuits. Certain law firms (you’ve seen them advertise on TV) frequently sue businesses in order to achieve a settlement. The costs of these lawsuits then result in job loss to the company or higher prices to their customers. Covid has provided these law firms a new excuse to sue people. A Covid liability protection bill will ensure that any business that has taken reasonable precautions against the spread of Covid will be shielded from these lawsuits. Exactly what that language will look like will become clearer next week.
Until next time, health, happiness and prosperity to you and your family.