2018 Missouri Legislative Session bills affecting bicycling, walking, and trails: Dogs, texting, Rock Island, Route 66 and more . . .

 

The 2018 Missouri General Assembly session is underway--and as usual, a large number of bills and legislative proposals affect bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri.  Here is the rundown on bills and issues we are tracking this year:

  • Transportation funding - several bills introduced, including legislation to implement the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force recommendations. None have moved towards hearings yet--it will be a hard lift in an election year. Gov. Greitens has proposed increased transportation funding in his budget, but it is unclear what the source of his funding would be. 
    Join us for Capitol Day on April 9th, 2018-your voice can make a real difference
    Join us for Capitol Day on April 9th, 2018--your voice can make a real difference in these issues at the Missouri Capitol

     
  • Rep. Korman has introduced a large number of bills with various ideas for transportation funding; rumor has it he may introduce one related to bicycles in some way.  Sen. Eigel has introduced SB 617, a bill that reduces state income, increases state fuel tax by six cents per gallon, and makes several other state tax adjustments.  The bill had a hearing January 16th.
     
  • Distracted driving/texting while driving/hands-free electronic device - Fair Fare act, SB 749, HB 1298, HB 1640, potentially others. The Fair Fair Act passed its House Committee Hearing last week on a 10-0 vote.
     
  • Loose dogs, dogs attacking/injuring cyclists (new sponsor, Rep. Don Rone, HB 2254 has now been introduced, bill text is quite simple and a different approach from last year's bill)
     
  • Requiring reporting, record keeping for bicycle injuries, collisions ( HB 1393, sponsored by Rep. David Gregory of west St. Louis County)
     
  • Unlawful traffic interference (text) - We have a concern this could leak over to inadvertently become an anti bike/ped bill, based on the specific wording in the bill. 
     
  • Rock Island Trail - Bills requiring Missouri State Parks to provide fencing, and to provide tax relief to landowners adjacent to the trail to be introduced again (Sen. Kehoe, SB 866 & SB 868). It is unclear why these bills are necessary, as landowners receive federal compensation that covers the cost of fencing (among other things). Additionally, Missouri State Parks has an existing policy for dealing with fencing along trails that works well for everyone, including adjoining landowners.  Counties don't assess landowners for the value of the land used by the railroad or a railbanked trail. Altogether SB 866 and 868 seem to be additional belt and suspenders to cover situations that are already covered by belt and suspenders.
     
  • Prohibiting any new State Parks - Rep. Pietzman has again introduced a bill, HB 1330, prohibiting any new acquisition or donation of state parks lands until all deferred maintenance on existing state parks is up to date. This bill passed the House last year, but with an exception for donated land such as the Rock Island Trail. The introduced version for 2018 has no exceptions, so we'll be looking at that issue again if and when the bill moves forward.
     
  • Bill to create a Missouri Route 66 Centennial Commission - HB 2039 is sponsored by Rep. Lyndall Fraker of Marshfield and will probably be handled by Senator Cunningham in the Senate. It is particularly significant because we are working with MoDOT and many local/national partners to get Bicycle Route 66 adopted into the US Bicycle Route system this spring, in time for the BigBAM ride on Missouri Route 66 in June. And of course we are looking for funding to sign the route across the state.  The bill had a hearing this week and our lobbyist, Jim Farrell, testified in support.
     
  • HCR 76 to add the Butterfield Overland Trail to the National Trails System. Rep. Warren Love of Warsaw is sponsor. This is significant because we are working with a number of communities and RPCs along the proposed US Bicycle Route 51 corridor to finalize that corridor through Missouri and add it to the U.S. Bicycle  Route System.  The corridor from Fayetteville AR through Springfield, Bolivar, and Warsaw follows the historic Butterfield Overland Trail to a remarkable extent--and further USBR routes follow the historic route through large portions of TX, NM, AZ, and CA, while USBR 50/Lewis & Clark Trail in Missouri completes the Butterfield connection to St. Louis). Also significant because of the local/rural support for an addition to the National Trails System--which is not always welcomed in certain areas of the state.
     
  • Bill to add Franklin County to the Bi-State Development Agency, allowing the county to become part of the St Louis regional transit system. HB 1809 (Nate Tate), SB 757 (Dave Schatz), newspaper article with background.
     
  • Move to 8 member MoDOT Commission with geographical representation - problem is over 1/2 state's population lives in just 2 MoDOT districts, so 'geographical representation' sounds fair but in reality creates a strong 'lean' on the Commission.  Often proposed & hasn't gone anywhere yet.

We will be visiting our Missouri senators and representatives at our annual Capitol Day and Legislators Ride on Monday, April 9th, 2018.  Please plan to join us then to talk with our state legislators about these issues and more!

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