Gov. Mike Parson signed nine pieces of legislation into law Tuesday, concluding his bill signings from the 2020 legislative session.
According to a news release from his office, Parson signed HB 1963, HB 1386, HB 1387, SB 644, SB 656, HB 1330, SB 676, SB 551 and HB 1711.
HB 1963 was sponsored by local Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit.
The transportation law — which has a 14-page summary — includes allowing qualified motorcyclists older than 26 to drive without a helmet, provided the driver has the proper insurance coverage.
The law also allows the Missouri Department of Revenue to design and implement a remote driver's license renewal system, to be accessible through the department's website or self-service terminals in the state.
The law also includes allowing the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission to form a public-private partnership to construct a "tube transport system." The system would not have the power of eminent domain, and state road funds could not be used for the financing, development or operation of the system.
Missouri has been pursuing being a leader in the development of hyperloop tube transport technology.
HB 1386 modifies the definition of who is a legislative lobbyist to allow for state employees to be "legislative liaisons" who are hired to communicate with state lawmakers on behalf of any other elected officials, courts or state departments that exist under the executive branch. Such employees who perform lobbying services for other entities have to register as a lobbyist for those services.
HB 1387 regulates the use of electronic monitoring devices to keep track of residents of long-term care facilities. The law prohibits facilities and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for being civilly or criminally liable for unauthorized monitoring, and also has to do with documentation, signage and criminal penalties for individuals.
SB 644 modifies the definition of what is a "service dog" to include mental health needs. However, the law also adds misdemeanor criminal penalties for individuals who misrepresent a dog as a service dog to receive special accommodations.
SB 656 has to do with veterans and military families — designating special days for recognition, appreciation and suicide awareness; requiring the Missouri Veterans' Commission to seek out business organizations that are interested in hiring veterans; authorizing the Office of State Ombudsman for Long-Term Care Facility Residents to respond to and resolve complaints involving Missouri veterans' homes, among other provisions.
The law also designates the Gold Star Memorial Monument at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City as an official Gold Star Memorial Monument for the state, and creates a "Central Missouri Honor Flight" special license plate.
HB 1330 includes the transfer of land in Cole County that could lead to development of a river port.
SB 676 is a tax law. The part of it most pertinent to all Missourians is that federal income tax credits received under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act will not be considered in determining the amount of federal income tax liability allowable as a deduction under the current law, which allows a taxpayer to deduct a portion of their paid federal income taxes from their Missouri adjusted gross income.
SB 551 modifies insurance law, and among other provisions, creates the Missouri Automobile Insurance Plan that can issue liability insurance policies to applicants who otherwise cannot get them, instead of funding the issuance of the policies through other insurers.
Other aspects of the law have to do with organ donation, breast cancer, medical malpractice, and the election of members of the Missouri Basic Property Insurance Inspection and Placement Program.
HB 1711 authorizes shelf-stable venison jerky to be among the foods that can be distributed by charities or nonprofit organizations, such as food banks, with limited legal liability.
The law, in other words, allows for deer meat donated through the Share the Harvest program — which lets hunters donate extra venison to food pantries through meat processors — to be donated to food pantries as jerky, and the inclusion of jerky was a priority of local Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, who had also filed a Senate version of the bill.
"Missourians have a legacy of generosity through giving to programs like Share the Harvest, and HB 1711 builds on that legacy," Bernskoetter said in a news release.
"Missourians donated 348,535 pounds of venison last deer season, and my hope with this legislation is the amount of donated meat only continues to increase and reach more Missourians in need," he added.
He also noted, "The meat will still have to follow all safe handling and preparation standards as frozen meat but will provide an alternative to those who can't keep or use frozen meat."