Missouri General Assembly Approves MBA Priority Bills

State lawmakers pass 29 measures because of shortened session

The 2020 Missouri state legislative session was a tremendous success for the banking community. Notary modernization, reforms to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, updates to the linked deposit and time deposit programs and rural broadband expansion are all priority measures supported by the Missouri Bankers Association that received approval by the legislature. Lawmakers passed just 29 policy bills because of the shortened session caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Modernizing the notary statute to include electronic and remote notary gained importance due to the limitations on in-person notary because of social distancing orders. 

“Electronic and remote notary will help ensure financial transactions continue to move forward, even if a person can’t be physically present with a notary,” said Craig Overfelt, MBA senior vice president. “This provides another option to notarize documents safely, securely and quickly.”

MBA worked alongside Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Missouri Land Title Association, Mortgage Bankers Association, Missouri Realtors, the Missouri Independent Bankers Association and others in support of the legislation. The language passed as an amendment to House Bill 1655, sponsored by Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove. Sen. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo, and Rep. David Gregory, R-St. Louis, sponsored the original legislation.

Legislators also passed reforms to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, which has been a priority for MBA and the Missouri Tort Reform Coalition for several years. Senate Bill 591 includes measures that will strengthen the MMPA to help limit frivolous lawsuits against businesses.

“MMPA has been weaponized in recent years to target businesses, including banks, for extreme judgements because of, for example, a minor mistake on paperwork,” Overfelt said. “We are pleased that it finally made it across the finish line.” 

Senate Bill 591 was sponsored by Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin, and carried in the House by Rep. Bruce DeGroot, R-Chesterfield. A financial services package, Senate Bill 599, also was a priority for MBA and includes updates to the linked deposit and time deposit programs, as well as to the mortgage broker statute. 

The bill, in part, increases the cap on linked deposits and protects banks by ensuring existing linked deposit loans receive priority over new applications if the cap is ever reached. It increases  the single institution cap for time deposits from 10% to 15% and will allow the state treasurer to use the applicable federal rate to calculate the market rate for time deposits. Lastly, the mortgage broker statute is updated to ensure state law aligns with federal requirements and to remove an antiquated advertising requirement. Senate Bill 599 was sponsored by Sen. Justin Brown, R-Rolla, and was carried in the House by Rep. Jack Bondon, R-Belton. 

Another MBA priority approved by lawmakers was an extension to the Rural Broadband Internet Grant program, which helps rural communities obtain funding to install broadband services. The 2021 state budget contains an increase in funds for the program. 

House Bill 1693, a transportation package, contains two measures of interest to banks. The first allows auto dealers to contract with buyers to sell vehicles without title. MBA worked with the Missouri Auto Dealers Association and the Missouri Department of Revenue to protect banks and consumers if the title is not delivered within 30 days. The other provision, relating to salvage vehicle pools, allows lienholders to retrieve vehicles from salvage yards without having to go to court, which is required by current law.

No measures were approved that are harmful to the industry. MBA staff was prepared to protect banks from any negative proposals that arose in response to the economic impact of the pandemic.

The 29 bills await consideration by Gov. Mike Parson. The governor has until July 14 to sign or veto legislation. How These Laws Effect You will be released later this summer. This document provides a thorough overview of all bills of interest to banks that are signed into law. Unless passed with an emergency clause, all new laws take effect Aug. 28. 
The Missouri Banker 
May 2020
Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr 
Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, gavels in the Missouri House as they began debates in late April on the state budget. Haahr was among lawmakers who wore masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The 2020 state legislative session was shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Missouri House Communications
MBA podcasts
In the latest episode of Our Two Cents with MBA podcast, Craig Overfelt, MBA senior vice president for government relations, and David Kent, vice president of legislative affairs, recap the unprecedented 2020 legislative session. They discuss key legislative outcomes for bankers in Missouri and what to expect if a special session is called by the governor.