13:21 PM

Legislative Update - April 9, 2021

Following the Easter weekend, the General Assembly began its week (4/5 – 4/9) on Tuesday, rather than Monday.  On Wednesday, the House of Representatives adjourned early to permit members to attend visitation for the deceased son of a colleague.  On Thursday, April 8, both the House and the Senate observed moments of silence to honor Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Even with a short legislative week, each chamber approved a number of bills, forwarding them to the other chamber for consideration. As one of its final actions on Thursday afternoon, members of the Senate debated eliminating the state income tax (in favor of increasing the sales tax), as a floor amendment to SB 36.   

To identify bills of interest in your practice area and see the latest legislative action on them, visit The Missouri Bar’s Legislative Engagement Center


Senate Floor Action 

For a complete list of bills approved by the Senate and delivered to the House for consideration, click here

Highlights of Floor Action: 

Through the afternoon of April 6 and into the early morning hours of April 7, the Senate debated confirmation of a gubernatorial nominee to the University of Missouri Board of Curators. Finally, by a 19 to 13 vote (with two senators absent), the nominee, Mr. Todd Graves, was confirmed.  

SS for SB 327, which includes provisions related to the adoption tax credit, the Birth Match Program, and termination of parental rights among others, was adopted by a vote of 28 to 5.  

SS for SCS for HCS for HB 430 (32 – 1) and SS for SCS for HCS for HB 429 (31 – 2) were adopted. Both bills address adoption tax credits. Because they differ from the bills adopted by the House, these must be re-considered by the House before being truly agreed.  In order to be truly agreed, both chambers must approve the same language.  

Senate Committee Action 

The Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee met on April 6, 2021, in executive session and took action on the following bills: 

  • SB 415 – Senator Holly Rehder (R – Sikeston) Do Pass (5 - 0) 

  • SB 440 – Senator Barbara Washington (D – Kansas City) Do Pass (5 – 0) 

  • HB 548 Rep. Barry Hovis (R – Cape Girardeau) Do Pass (6 – 0) 

The Senate Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee met on April 8 and held a public hearing on the following: 

SJR 14 – Senator Rick Brattin (R – Harrisonville) 

SJR 14 would amend sections 25(a) and 25(d) of Article V of the Missouri Constitution to provide that when judicial vacancies occurred in the Supreme Court of Missouri or the Court of Appeals, the governor would appoint a qualified person, by and with the advice and consent of the senate.  

The proposed amendment would eliminate the nonpartisan Appellate Judicial Commission, which now currently reviews applicants and submits a panel of three name from which the governor will select an appointee.  


  • None 

Electronic Witness Appearance Forms in Support 

  • Jeremy Cady (Americans for Prosperity) 


  • Eric Jennings (The Missouri Bar) 

  • Randy Scherr (Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers; Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) 

  • David Klarich (Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys) 

Electronic Witness Appearance Forms in Opposition 

  • Arnie Dienoff, adding a comment that judges need to be elected. 

  • Susan Gibson 


House Floor Action 

For a complete list of bills approved by the House and delivered to the Senate for consideration, click here

Highlights of Floor Action: 

On April 7, HCS HB 744 was adopted (151 – 2) and sent to the Senate for its consideration. The bill would provide that an order of protection could be renewed for a period up to the lifetime of the abuser. 

On April 8, HCS HB 1242 was adopted (153 – 0) This is the “Raise the Age” bill, requiring that youth up to the age of 18 be held in a juvenile detention center as opposed to an adult correctional facility.  

House Committee Action 

The House Special Committee on Litigation Reform met on April 6, 2021, and held a public hearing on the following bill: 

HB 900 – Rep. Tony Lovasco (R – O’Fallon) 

HB 900 would amend section 537.528, RSMo, as it relates to strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP).  The bill would specify that all laws in Missouri would have to be construed to afford qualified immunity from suit and liability for any defendant or counter-defendant in any action that impacts the defendant's or counter-defendant's First Amendment rights.  If a person were to successfully defend against a SLAPP lawsuit, the person could bring a SLAPP-back claim to recover any damages, costs, and fees the trial court failed to grant, including: statutory damages of at least $10,000, compensatory damages, additional damages to the plaintiff in an amount calculated to deter the SLAPP plaintiff from bringing future SLAPP lawsuits, and attorneys' fees and costs. 


  • Curtis Varns (KMIZ-TV) testified that this bill would allow journalists to do their jobs in an unfettered fashion, permitting them to draw attention to problems in communities without fear of reprisal. 

  • Mark Gordon (Missouri Broadcasters Association) 


  • None 


  • For a link to those submitting testimony electronically, click here.  

The House Committee on Children and Families met April 7, 2021 and held public hearings on the following bills: 

HB 1276 – Rep. Patricia Pike (R – Adrian) – Provisions relating to unaccompanied youth 


For a link to those submitting testimony electronically, click here

HB 852 – Rep. Sara Walsh (R – Ashland) – Prohibits expenditures of public funds for research projects involving abortion services, human cloning, and prohibited human research 


For a link to those submitting testimony electronically, click here

The House Judiciary Committee met on April 8, 2021, and took action on the following bills in executive session: 

  • HB 1003 – Rep. David Evans (R – West Plains) Do Pass (9 – 0; 3 absent) 

  • HB 1415 – Rep. Bob Bromley (R – Carl Junction) Do Pass (7 – 2; 3 absent)