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January 8, 2024

State Session Begins; 'Rocky' Start Dominates Senate

The Missouri state legislative session began Wednesday, Jan. 3, and the Senate got off to a rocky start, as predicted by most political observers. In their opening remarks, House Speaker Dean Plocher, R-St. Louis, and Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, both urged their colleagues to rise above ego and election year rhetoric to work together for the good of their constituents and the state.

But on day two, the Senate did not even accomplish the weekly housekeeping business. Debate between two senators over which legislation should be considered “conservative” led to an early and abrupt adjournment. You can listen to the debate online (go to the 13:25 mark). As a result, no Senate bills were referred to committees, so there will be no hearings on Senate bills this week. This is a prime example of the slowdowns in the Senate that can keep noncontroversial legislation from passing.

House Committee to Hear Bill Increasing MOBUCK$ Cap

On a positive note, legislation to raise the MOBUCK$ cap is scheduled for a hearing 10 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 9) in the House Financial Institutions Committee. House Bill 1803 was filed by Rep. Terry Thompson, R-Lexington, and Sen. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo, is the sponsor of the companion Senate Bill 736. MBA supports the bills, which increase the amount the state treasurer may invest in MOBUCK$ from $800 million to $1.2 billion. The program, which has been closed since last May after reaching the cap, reopened Jan. 2 with $125 million available to financial institutions for small business loans. Six hours later that day, the portal closed again when the funds were exhausted. The treasurer has capped the maximum amount of each linked-deposit loan at $5 million.

Bills Would Pass Cost of Credit Reports to Consumers

MBA also supports legislation to allow banks to pass through to consumers the cost of credit reports for consumer loans, which has risen significantly in recent years. Senate Bill 835 is sponsored by Crawford, and House Bill 2086 is sponsored by Rep. Michael O’Donnell, R-St. Louis. Banks are already allowed to pass through credit report costs for residential and commercial loans. The measures also would modernize two outdated banking provisions.

MBA needs your help to push these important measures through the legislative process, especially given the challenges we will face in the Senate. Register for the Target Banker program and join us in the Capitol to visit your state legislators and advocate for Missouri’s banks!

Bills of Interest to Banking Industry

Several other bills were filed that are of interest to the banking industry.

  • The Conference of State Banking Commissioners has proposed a model update of state money transmitter laws. House Bill 1478 sponsored by Rep. Brad Christ, R-St. Louis, and Senate Bill 737 sponsored by Crawford are supported by the Missouri Division of Finance.
  • Rep. Dan Houx, R-Warrensburg, has filed House Bill 2173 to establish a cybersecurity grant program for businesses to upgrade their cybersecurity systems. The bill would require grant recipients to match 10% of the award.
  • Legislation to create a working group on personal finance curriculum was filed by O’Donnell. House Bill 1727 would ensure the standards for high school courses are up to date.
  • Sen. Curtis Trent, R-Springfield, is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1221, the Missouri Electronic Wills and Electronic Estate Planning Documents Act. It specifies that wills and estate planning documents may be executed electronically.
  • The Uniform Fiduciary Income and Principal Act, based on model language from the Uniform Law Commission, has been filed in both chambers. House Bill 1987, sponsored by Thompson, and Senate Bill 1007, sponsored by Crawford, would update Missouri trust and estate planning code.
  • Several bills have been filed in both chambers that would ban local government moratoriums on eviction proceedings.

MBA will keep you updated on the progress of important legislation throughout the session.

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