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Legislative Update - Jan. 22, 2021

The General Assembly has entered its second full week of legislative session. COVID-19 infections prompted the House to cancel legislative activities for this week, but the Senate continued to work throughout the week. 


The Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee met for the first time this session on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. The bills heard in committee included: 

SB 52 – Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R – Parkville) 

SB 52 amends Supreme Court Rule 56.01 relating to discovery, in part, with respect to the requirement that discovery be proportional to the case’s needs. The bill further provides that a receiving party must return or destroy information claimed as privileged or protected as trial preparation material. It also allows for limits on the frequency or extent of discovery, information if not reasonably accessible, interrogatories and depositions, and requests for admissions. 

When presenting the bill, Senator Luetkemeyer distinguished it from SB 224 (2019).  According to Senator Luetkemeyer, that bill amended more than one rule, and only one rule may be amended at a time.  For those interested in additional information on the topic, consider reading an article from the 2020 issue of the Missouri Law Review.   

Testifying in favor were the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers (“MODL”), the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Associated Industries of Missouri, BNSF Railway, and the Missouri Civil Justice Reform Coalition.  According to proponents, adoption of the rule changes would positively impact judicial efficiency. In addition, MODL expressed the point of view that discovery is intended to gather information that helps decide whether to settle or proceed to trial, but, in Missouri, parties have over-reached and used it as a means to coerce settlement.  Further, unnecessary discovery increases both litigation and insurance costs.  No one testified in opposition.  

SB 42 – Sen. Bill White (R – Joplin) 

SB 42 modifies provisions relating to liability for civil damages resulting from a state of emergency due to COVID-19, which will only apply during the period in which the Governor declared a state of emergency due to COVID, and not to anything unrelated to COVID. The bill provides that, in part: 

  • The provider of health care necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic is not liable for civil damages or administrative sanctions for failure to exercise the skill and learning of an ordinarily careful health care provider in similar circumstances; 

  • A health care provider will be liable for damages for acts or omissions in rendering COVID health care when a person has sustained a serious injury as a result of malicious misconduct or conduct that intentionally caused damage;  

  • No claims arising from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is the subject of any contract to limit recovery or any covenant not to execute;  

  • Any such contract or covenant and any arbitration award, judgment, or order applicable to a claim that is the subject of any such contract or covenant is null and void as against public policy; 

  • Anyone who designs, manufactures, labels, sells, distributes, dispenses, selects or donates a product used in response to the COVID emergency will not be liable in a civil action under certain circumstances related to the ordinary course of business; 

  • Filing and sustaining a claim of use or misuse of a covered product, must be proved by clear and convincing evidence; 

  • Premises owners are not to be liable for any claim or cause of action for damages arising out of or based on exposure or potential exposure to COVID sustained on the premises unless proved by clear and convincing evidence the owner intentionally harmed without just cause or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others. 

SB 51 – Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R – Parkville) 

SB 51 establishes provision relating to civil action arising from COVID-19.  The bill contains provisions that are nearly identical to those in SB 42, but the sections are numbered differently.  

Testifying in favor of both SB 42 and SB 51 were the Missouri Civil Justice Reform Coalition, American Property Casualty Insurance Association, BNSF Railway, Kansas City Chiefs Football Club, Missouri United School Insurance Council, The Doctors Company, Sonny’s Solid Waste Service, Ameren, the Missouri Hospital Association, the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Associated Industries of Missouri, LeadingAge Missouri,  Missouri Health Care Association, Greater St. Louis, Signature Medical Group. Missouri Dermatological Association, Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists, Missouri Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, Missouri Retailers Association, Missouri Grocers Association and the Missouri Tire Industry Association.  Proponents maintained that the bills were essential to protect Missouri employers from opportunistic COVID-19 lawsuits.  

Testifying in opposition to both SB 42 and SB 51 was Dr. Mary Byrne, President of the Conservative Americans Club, who testifying relating to her concerns about vaccinations. Also testifying was Marcella Povis, a small business owner who also brought more than 250 witness statements in in support of her position. She maintained that liability provisions won’t help small businesses because those business may have already folded.  Also testifying in opposition was the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (“MATA”).  The MATA witness stated that, even in times of crisis, the constitution should not be thrown out, which would be the end result of the bill’s blanket immunity. The MATA witness also argued that the bills removed accountability for one’s actions. 

SB 7 – Sen. Jeanie Riddle (R – Mokane) 

On Thursday, January 21, 2021, the Senate Government Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee heard SB 7. The bill provides that a person who is injured by a defective or unsafe condition of a product or due to negligence in the design, manufacture, sale, or distribution of a product has fifteen years after the sale of lease of the product to bring a claim for damages.  

Testifying in support of the bill were Associated Industries of Missouri, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Missouri Retailers Association, the Missouri Civil Justice Reform Coalition, and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association. 

Testifying in opposition was the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.    


Committee assignments have been handed out to minority party members, bringing the House committees up to their full complements.  Those of interest to members of The Missouri Bar are listed below. Also, please note, a list of all House Committees and assignments is available on the House website. Click on “Committee Assignments” listed at the top of the page. 

House Judiciary Committee 

Chair Rep. David Evans (R – West Plains) 

Vice-Chair Rep. Rudy Veit (R -- Wardsville) 

Ranking Minority Member Rep. Mark Ellebracht (D – Liberty) 

Rep. Marlon Anderson (D – St. Louis) 

Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R -- Arnold) 

Rep. Michael Davis (R – Kansas City) 

Rep. David Gregory (R – St. Louis County) 

Rep. Ian Mackey (D – St. Louis County) 

Rep. Rodger Reedy (R – Windsor) 

Rep. Robert Sauls (D – Independence) 

Rep. Nick Schroer (R – O’Fallon) 

Rep. Sara Walsh (R -- Ashland) 

House Budget Committee 

Chair Rep. Cody Smith (R – Carthage) 

Vice-Chair Rep. Dirk Deaton (R – Noel) 

Ranking Minority Member Rep. Peter Merideth (D – St. Louis) 

Rep. Rasheen Aldridge (D – St. Louis) 

Rep. Allen Andrews (R – Grant City) 

Rep. John Black (R – Marshfield) 

Rep. Rusty Black (R – Chillicothe) 

Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove (D – Kansas City) 

Rep. Mitch Boggs (R – LaRussel) 

Rep. LaKeySha Bosley (D – St. Louis) 

Rep. Ingrid Burnett (D – Kansas City) 

Rep. Scott Cupps (R – Shell Knob) 

Rep. David Evans (R – West Plains) 

Rep. Craig Fishel (R – Springfield) 

Rep. Betsy Fogle (D – Springfield) 

Rep. David Gregory (R – St. Louis County) 

Rep. Kurtis Gregory (R – Marshall) 

Rep. Brad Hudson (R – Cape Fair) 

Rep. Hannah Kelly (R – Mountain Grove) 

Rep. Ed Lewis (R – Moberly) 

Rep. Don Mayhew (R – Crocker) 

Rep. Peggy McGaugh (R – Carrollton) 

Rep. Maggie Nurrenbern (D – Kansas City) 

Rep. Doug Richey (R – Excelsior Springs) 

Rep. Alex Riley (R – Springfield) 

Rep. Lane Roberts (R – Joplin) 

Rep. Brenda Shields (R – St. Joseph) 

Rep. Sarah Unsicker (D – Shrewsbury) 

Rep. Sara Walsh (R – Ashland) 

Rep. Richard West (R -- Wentzville) 

Rep. Kevin Windham (D – Hillsdale) 

House Financial Institutions Committee 

Chair Rep. Rick Francis (R - Perryville) 

Vice-Chair  Rep. Michael O'Donnell (R -- Oakville) 

Ranking Minority Member Rep. Rory Rowland (D – Independence) 

Rep. Joe Adams (D – University City) 

Rep. Hardy Billington (R – Poplar Bluff) 

Rep. Steve Butz (D – St. Louis) 

Rep. Doug Clemens (D – St. Ann) 

Rep. Bruce DeGroot (R – Ellisville) 

Rep. Mike McGirl (R – Potosi) 

Rep. Bill Owen (R – Springfield) 

Rep. Randy Railsback (R – Hamilton) 

Rep. Chris Sander (R – Lone Jack) 

Rep. Dan Shaul (R – Imperial) 

Rep. Terry Thompson (R – Lexington) 

Rep. Curtis Trent (R --Springfield) 

House Crime Prevention Committee 

Chair  Rep. Lane Roberts (R – Joplin) 

Vice-Chair  Rep. Barry Hovis (R – Cape Girardeau) 

Ranking Minority Member  Rep. Robert Sauls (D -- Independence) 

Rep. Rasheen Aldridge (D – St. Louis) 

Rep. Ron Copeland (R – Salem) 

Rep. Michael Davis (R – Kansas Citiy) 

Rep. Ann Kelley (R – Lamar) 

Rep. Brian Seitz (R – Branson)) 

Rep. Mark Sharp (D – Kansas City: Hickman Mills-Ruskin area)  

Rep. Richard West (R – Wentzville) 

House Public Safety Committee 

Chair  Rep. Shane Roden (R – Cedar Hill) 

Vice-Chair  Rep. Andrew McDaniel (R – Deering) 

Ranking Minority Member  Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove (D – Kansas City) 

Rep. Bennie Cook (R – Houston) 

Rep. Bill Hardwick (R -- Waynesville) 

Rep. Dan Houx (R – Warrensburg) 

Rep. Jay Mosley (D – Florissant) 

Rep. Barbara Phifer (D – Kirkwood) 

Rep. Nick Schroer (R – O’Fallon) 

Rep. Sara Walsh (R – Ashland) 

House Professional Registration and Licensing Committee 

Chair  Rep. Jeff Coleman (R – Grain Valley) 

Vice-Chair  Rep. Chris Dinkins (R – Annapolis) 

Ranking Minority Member  Rep. Richard Brown (D – Kansas City) 

Rep. Bennie Cook (R -- Houston) 

Rep. Bishop Davidson (R -- Republic) 

Rep. Michael Davis (R – Kansas City) 

Rep. Tricia Derges (R – Nixa) 

Rep. Jo Doll (D – Webster Groves) 

Rep. Ann Kelley (R – Lamar) 

Rep. Patty Lewis (D – Kansas City) 

Rep. Alex Riley (R – Springfield) 

Rep. Lane Roberts (R – Joplin) 

Rep. Neil Smith (D – St. Louis County) 

Rep. Lisa Thomas (R – Four Seasons, Lake of the Ozarks area) 

House Special Committee on Criminal Justice 

Chair  Rep. Shamed Dogan (R – Ballwin) 

Vice-Chair  Rep. Tony Lovasco (R – St. Charles County) 

Rep. Ron Copeland (R – Salem) 

Rep. David Evans (R – West Plains) 

Rep. Tom Hannegan (R – St. Charles) 

Rep. Bill Hardwick (R – Waynesville) 

Rep. Chad Perkins (R – Bowling Green) 

Rep. Dean Van Schoiack (R – Savannah)