Legislative Corner

This is our dedicated Legislative Update page. As legislative bills concerning water and wastewater utilities come forth, we will do our best to keep you updated and informed.  We will also use this area of the MRWA website to post National Headlines that impact rural water and wastewater utilities across the country.  We encourage you to get to know your legislators and let them know how proposed legislation affects you and the operation of your utility.

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From the Executive Director

Legislative News Brief – 25 May 2018

Missouri Rural Water Association worked for you during this unique 2018 Legislative Session in Missouri. Since the various bills get amended, changed, and otherwise, re-worked, this report will move by subject topic.

Bills that Passed – Updated 25 May 2018

Prevailing Wage

This year, there were a variety of bills looking to do everything from minor tweaks to complete repeal of Prevailing Wage.  House Bill 1729 (Justus) made changes in the prevailing wage law including exempting public works projects costing less than $75,000 as well as revising guidelines for determining a prevailing wage for each county.  The bill passed the House as a complete repeal of the prevailing wage law but was changed considerably in the Senate.

Local Elections

Senate Bill 592 (Hegeman) would allow for a 4th class municipality to sell their water and sewer systems with a simple majority vote instead of a 2/3rds vote.  MRWA had difficulty with legislation that removes local power and opposed the idea.  The concept had traction, however, and MRWA was able to include language that would, at least, require a public informational meeting and direct customer notification before the sale.

House Bill 1446 (Eggleston) raises the population level from 1,000 to 2,000 for municipalities to hold no election when there are no contested races or ballot issues.

General Administration

Senate Bill 659 (Hegeman) increases from $1,400 to $3,000 the maximum “per connection” grant that Missouri Department of Natural Resources could issue to assist in water and sewer projects.

Senate Bill 705 (Riddle) will allow certain Public Service Commission-regulated water companies to use “rate decoupling” to enable further infrastructure development.

House Bill 1973 (Wiemann) would have allowed for agricultural stormwater discharges to be exempt from permitting requirements under the Missouri Clean Water Law.  This bill did NOT pass, but, similar wording was amended into Senate Bill 782 which was Truly Agreed and will go for final signature.  Senate Bill 782 addressed a variety of subjects including Rock Island Trail fencing, coal combustion, radioactive wastes, etc.

Bills that Did Not Pass – Updated 25 May 2018

(Click Bill # for detailed information.)

It may not necessarily be that any governmental body voted them down, but they may have never made it to a committee, never had a hearing, or otherwise just did not get considered.

House Bill 2160 (Hurst) would have abolished the “doctrine of adverse possession”.  It was never heard in committee.

House Bill 2519 (Anderson) would have prohibited the owner of a residential rental property from responsibility for a tenant’s unpaid water or sewer bill.  It was never heard in committee.

House Bill 1595 (Higdon) would have required Public Service Commission approval for changes in sewer service rates.  It was heard in committee but never went any further.

House Bill 2113 (Roden) would have prohibited certain water suppliers from requiring specific charges and deposits.  The bill was never heard in committee and attempts to amend it were unsuccessful.

House Bill 2289 (Higdon) would have restricted water and sewer service providers from charging no more than one and one-half times the service rate charged within their boundaries.  The bill did not move past a house committee and attempts to amend it were unsuccessful.

Senate Bill 935 (Hegeman) would require public water supply district board members who are re-elected to that position to complete 6 hours training in order to receive meeting attendance compensation.  It was headed to the Senate Local Government Committee but moved no further.

If you have any specific questions about any of these bills, never hesitate to contact Randy Norden, Executive Director, at rnorden@moruralwater.org or 573-657-5533.  Likewise, MRWA holds its Legislative Planning Meeting on the Wednesday of Fall Conferences week.  This year, that date will be at 10:00 a.m., October 24, 2018, at the Lodge of Four Seasons.  We encourage our membership to attend and participate.

Legislative Foot Work in Action