Miscellaneous Bill Topics

HJR 32

Sponsored by Myron Neth (R), District 17
3/07/2013: H 546 Introduced and Read First Time (H)
3/08/2013: H 558 Read Second Time (H)
3/28/2013: H 763 Referred: Elections(H)
4/09/2013: Public Hearing Completed (H)

Upon voter approval, this proposed constitutional amendment changes the process for electing members of the General Assembly based on district boundaries. In its main provisions, the amendment:

(1) Increases, beginning in 2021, the number of senators and senate districts from 34 to 40 and decreases the number of representatives and representative districts from 163 to 120;

(2) Establishes the temporary redistricting advisory commission. The commission is composed of members selected by the Majority and Minority Floor Leaders of the Senate and the Majority and Minority Floor Leaders of the House of Representatives and an additional member chosen by the existing commission members who will serve as chairman. The selection process for the committee must be completed by February 15 of the year ending in one. The commission must act only in an advisory capacity to the nonpartisan redistricting division and hold three hearings on redistricting proposals as specified in the amendment. It must submit a report on the hearings to the General Assembly within 14 days of the hearings;

(3) Establishes a nonpartisan redistricting division in the Joint Committee on Legislative Research to conduct the redistricting based on any constitutional requirements, no more than a 1:3 ratio of senate to house districts, political subdivision boundaries, specified geometric criteria, mathematical deviation criteria based on population, and recommendations from the commission. An attempt to improperly influence the division will be a class D felony, and certain specified demographic and political information concerning voters or incumbents is prohibited from use by the division;

(4) Requires the redistricting division to submit its first proposal to the General Assembly by April 1 of each year ending in one. The legislature must act after receipt of the commission report on the hearings previously mentioned. Redistricting bills will not be subject to veto by the Governor. If the first proposal fails, then the division must submit a second proposal within 35 days for consideration by the General Assembly during a special session. If the second proposal fails, then the division must submit a third proposal within 35 days for consideration by the General Assembly during a special session. If a plan is not adopted, or the adopted plan is deficient in the view of the Missouri Supreme Court, then the court is instructed to adopt the division plan with the least population range percentage variances that complies with the Missouri Constitution; and

(5) Specifies the procedures for maintaining senate districts with one-half of members elected every two years. Once fully implemented, senators will be elected during even year general elections to terms that run four years and commence in January of the odd year following the general election. Some incumbent senators may be forced to resign based on the renumbering of the new districts. The amendment specifies a process for evaluating who may run for office in new “holdover” senate districts that are created by the division in the 2021 redistricting plan.

HB 763

SSponsored by Joe Don McGaugh (D), District 39
2/28/2013: H 490 Introduced and Read First Time (H)
3/04/2013: H 496 Read Second Time (H)

This bill establishes the Political Accountability in Campaigning Act. Once a candidate has filed for office, he or she will be prohibited from knowingly publicizing a false statement of fact about another candidate for the office via the print or broadcast media. Courts may issue an injunction to prevent the publication of false statements and may award damages as specified in the bill.

A candidate who has violated these provisions may avoid a penalty by retracting the statement using the same publication medium that was used to make the offending statement within 14 days of the initial statement and no later than 14 days prior to the election. An eligible voter, prosecutor, or the Attorney General may seek damages for a violation of this act, and damages obtained by a state official will be treated as a penalty and will go to local schools. Otherwise, damages are awarded to the person bringing a successful claim.

A damage award must be proven by clear and compelling evidence and a de novo review by an appellate court will determine whether the statement is true or false and made in an overall context of opinion or factual representation.

SB 2

Sponsored by Scott Rupp (R), District 2

4/10/2013: Referred H Elections Committee

SCS/SB 2 – This act modifies the law relating to the initiative and referendum petition process by creating a felony for petition fraud, but removing requirements circulators provide some personal info to the Sec of State.

Petition circulators are required to affirm, under penalty of perjury, that they have never been convicted or, found guilty of, or pled guilty to an offense involving forgery. They are also required to swear that they are at least 18 years old, whether they are being paid to circulate the petitions, and the payer if they are being paid.

The act removes provisions requiring that certain personal information of circulators shall be included with registration with the Secretary of State’s office. A provision requiring registration before 5:00 p.m. on the final day for filing petitions is also repealed.

Under current law, a person who signs a name other than their own on a petition, signs more than once, or signs knowing he or she is not a registered voter is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor carrying a jail term of up to 1 year and a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Under the act, such a person is guilty of a Class D felony which carries a prison term of up to 5 years and a fine of between $1,000 and $25,000.

Persons committing the following, newly created crimes, are also guilty of petition signature fraud which is a Class D felony:

1. Intentionally submitting petition sheets with the knowledge that a person whose name appears on the petition did not sign the petition;

2. Fraudulently obtaining signatures;

3. Knowingly accepts or offers money or anything of value in exchange for a signature; or

4. Knowingly pays a circulator with knowledge that the circulator has committed signature fraud.

Persons with reasonable cause to suspect that petition fraud has been committed are required to report to the appropriate prosecuting authorities. Failure to do so is a Class A misdemeanor which carries a prison term of up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 and a class one election offense which is a felony carrying a prison term of up to 5 years, a fine of between $2,500 and $10,000, and bars an individual from registering to vote and voting.

The act includes a process for withdrawing a petition by delivering written notice to the Secretary of State.

Within 30 days of issuing certification that a petition contains the required number of valid signatures, the Joint Committee on Legislative Research shall hold a public hearing on the issue.

Actions challenging the official ballot title or the fiscal note are required to be finally adjudicated within 180 days of filing unless a court extends the period upon a finding of good cause.

If a committee or person other than the individual submitting the sample sheet of a petition is funding a portion of the drafting or submission of the sheet, the individual shall submit a copy of the committee’s filed statement of organization that is filed with the Ethics Commission.

The act requires the Secretary of State to post the full text of initiative and referendum petitions within 2 days of receiving such petition and a disclaimer stating that the text of the proposed measure may not constitute the full and correct text as required by law to qualify for circulation. The name of the individual or organization submitting the petition shall also be included. Failure to post shall be considered an open records violation. The Secretary of State is required to remove the posting within 3 days of withdrawal or rejection of the petition.

Currently, the Secretary of State is required to send written notice to petitioners within 30 days after submission indicating approval or rejection. This act changes that period to 15 days.

Currently, if the petition form is approved, the Secretary of State is required to prepare and deliver a summary statement to the Attorney General with 10 days. Under the act, if the form is approved, the Secretary of State is required to make a copy of the sample petition available on the Secretary of State’s website and refer a copy to the State Auditor in order to prepare the fiscal note and fiscal note summary. The Secretary of State is required to accept public comment for 15 days after certification. The Secretary of State is then required to prepare and deliver a summary statement to the Attorney general within 23 days from approval.

Signatures for statutory initiative petitions shall be filed between the last general election and 6 months prior to the general election in which the measure will be on the ballot.

This act is similar to SS/SCS/SB 818 (2011), SCS/SB 817 & 774 (2012), SCS/SB 569 (2012), SB 774 (2012), and HCS/HB 117 (2013).

HJR 2

Sponsored by Representative Black (D), District 117

Introduced 1-9-2013
1/10/2013: Read Second Time (H)

Changes the number of Senators and Representatives in MO legislature
Upon voter approval, this proposed constitutional amendment reduces the number of members of the Missouri House of Representatives from 163 to 120 and increases the number of members of the Missouri Senate from 34 to 40 beginning with the 102nd General Assembly in 2023.

SB 433

Sponsored by John T. Lamping (R), District 24

3/13/2013: Second Read and Referred S Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee

This act bars state contract recipients from making campaign contributions to the candidate committees of General Assembly members, statewide elected officials and the candidate committees of such candidates for such office from the time of receipt of any contract and until two years after completion of any such contract. Persons making such contributions shall be prohibited from receiving state contracts for two years.

SB 434

Sponsored by John T. Lamping (R), District 24
3/13/2013: Second Read and Referred S Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee

This act bars tax credit recipients from making campaign contributions to the candidate committees of General Assembly members, statewide elected officials and the candidate committees of such candidates for such office for two years. Persons making such contributions shall be prohibited from receiving tax credits for two years.

SB 435

Sponsored by Ryan McKenna (D), District 22
4/4/2013: Hearing Cancelled S Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee

Under current law, candidates for special district, city, town, and village offices, and township offices in township organization counties are exempted from certain provisions in law that disqualify candidates because of tax arrearages and felony convictions. This act removes those exemptions.

Under current law, candidates shall not qualify for municipal office if they are in arrears for any unpaid city taxes or municipal user fees. This act extends the provision to all public offices.

Under current law, certain candidates with Missouri felony convictions are disqualified from running for public office, while other candidates with Missouri or out-of-state felony convictions are barred from holding office until the completion of sentence or period of probation. This act bars all candidates from qualifying as a candidate for or holding any public office who has been convicted of or found guilty of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to a felony under Missouri law or under any other law which, if committed in Missouri would constitute a felony.

SB 4

Sponsored by Senator Lager (R), District 12

12-1-2012: Prefiled
1-10-201: Second Read and Referred to S Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee

Bars legislators from acting as paid political consultants
This act bars members of the General Assembly and candidates for such office to act as paid political consultants for a candidate for state representative or state senator, or the candidate committee of such candidate or officeholder.

SB 65

Sponsored by Bob Dixon (R), District 30

4/15/2013: S Informal Calendar S Bills for Perfection

SCS/SB 65 – This act modifies the duties and authority of the State Auditor.

The act specifies that the types of audits that may be conducted by the State Auditor shall include financial and performance audits. The standards established by the comptroller general of the United States for audits of government entities, organizations, programs, activities, and functions as published in Government Auditing Standards shall determine the type of audit to be conducted and a mixture of audit type and objective may be used. The objectives of financial and performance audits are enumerated.

The Auditor may conduct audits at his or her discretion, as deemed necessary, without advanced notice instead of on a scheduled basis. The treasury shall be audited at least annually.

The Auditor may contract with federal audit agencies or government agencies on a cost reimbursement basis to audit federal grant programs.

The Auditor may examine records of financial institutions relating to transactions with the State Treasurer.

The Auditor may review bookkeeping and accounting systems used in state agencies and the state comprehensive annual financial report.

Any instances of statutory violations and malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance by officers or employees shall be provided in a report to the Governor and Attorney General.

Draft reports of audits shall be delivered to and discussed with the auditee’s official and any written response shall be provided within 30 of receipt of the draft.

The General Assembly, Governor, and director of each agency audited shall be notified of the publication of an audit report.

Audit report records shall be retained in accordance with the state record’s retention schedule. Related material shall be retained pursuant to an agreement between the Auditor and the state archives.

The Auditor may audit any public employee retirement or health care system.

A method by which the Auditor shall receive reports of allegations of improper governmental activities is established. The Auditor may investigate such reports and refer matters outside of the scope of the Auditor’s authority to the proper authorities.

The Auditor shall have access to all documents and files of any agency or institution it is authorized to audit. Review of tax returns shall be limited to matters of official business and remain confidential except that the Auditor may disclose information related to overdue tax debts.

The Auditor shall have access to all documents, files, property and facilities of any organization that pertain to money received or handled from the federal government, the state or any political subdivision.

Grants and contracts entered into by state agencies and political subdivisions shall include a clause describing the Auditor’s access to records.

The Auditor may contract for professional services to carry out audits.

Willfully making false, misleading or unfounded reports for the purpose of interfering with an audit, review or investigation or obstructing the Auditor constitutes a Class A misdemeanor.

Currently, audits of the Auditor’s office are conducted during the regular legislative session in odd numbered years by concurrent resolution. Under the act, the General Assembly may conduct such audit at any time by concurrent resolution.

Currently, the Auditor conducts biennial audits of the Missouri county employees’ retirement system. Under the act, the system’s board is charged with conducting the audits through a certified public accountant or a firm of certified public accountants.

Currently, at least once every three years, the Auditor examines audits of the prosecuting and circuit attorneys’ retirement system, the Missouri local government employees’ retirement system, the Missouri consolidated healthcare plan, the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement system, the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement system, and the public school retirement system. These provision are repealed and the Auditor may audit these systems at any time.

A provision prohibiting examiners from receiving or riding on free transportation while on official business is repealed.

This act is similar to HB 2106 (2012).