Last day of 2018 Missouri Legislative Session: No bad bills, progress on Rock Island Trail, distracted driving, transportation funding - important issues decided today!

The 2018 Missouri legislative session ends Friday at 6:00pm.

Our annual Capitol Day and Legislator's Ride makes a big difference
Our annual Capitol Day and Legislator's Ride makes a big difference in developing a positive relationship with elected officials in Jefferson City

What is happening on issues we have been working on this year? What effect have our advocacy work, messages and phone calls, visits to Jefferson City for Capitol Day, and all the rest had?

Summary: No bad bills, progress on Rock Island Trail, distracted driving, and transportation funding

  • For just the second time in many years, absolutely NO bad bicycle bills (no bicycle bans, ATVs on Katy, etc)
     
  • Bills blocking acquisition of Rock Island Trail stopped and replaced with perfectly acceptable State Parks accountability reporting bill. The way is clear for the Rock Island to move forward, as far as the General Assembly is concerned.
     
  • Distracted driving/hands-free electronic device made best progress in many years, could still pass this year
     
  • State multimodal transportation funding proposed. Though defeated this year, it is at least part of the discussion now.
     
  • State highway funding still under active discussion and something still may pass this year
     
  • Several other issues made progress
     

Details: GENERAL BICYCLE & PEDESTRIAN ISSUES

DISTRACTED DRIVING/TEXTING WHILE DRIVING/HANDS-FREE ELECTRONIC DEVICE

Still In Play: Hands-free, SB 1050.

The big development this year is the Sen. Schatz, previously the major opponent of distracted driving bills, is now the sponsor of this approach.

The distracted driving wording is part of a large transportation omnibus bill now, so passage in the last 24 hours may be difficult.

LOOSE DOGS, DOGS ATTACKING/INJURING CYCLISTS

Hearing Completed: Rep. Don Rone, HB 2254

This bill received a hearing and was positively received, which is good progress for this year and sets us up to make more progress on this issue next year.

ADDING FRANKLIN COUNTY TO BI-STATE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

In conference/In play: SB 757 (Dave Schatz).  This would allow Franklin County to join the regional public transportation system and some other important regional development efforts.

BLOCKING TRAFFIC

Stalled: SB 813 would add penalties for protesters who obstruct limited access highways.

Our concern is that, depending on wording, this could inadvertently apply to, ie, bicyclists riding on these roads.

The bill has not yet had a hearing in the House, so is likely dead for 2018.

SELF-DRIVING CARS

House and Senate Transporation Committee leadership introduced bills to regulate self-driving vehicles and allow self-driving vehicle testing in Missouri. The bills went nowhere this year, but--depending on what happens with federal autonomous vehicle legislation--we are likely to see this issue again in Missouri.

We worked to alert legislative leaders on this issue that bicycle and pedestrian safety is an important issue for these automatic driving systems and that we need representation from the bicycle and pedestrian community on any oversight boards created.

Details: ROCK ISLAND TRAIL RELATED

STATE PARKS ACCOUNTABILITY - ACQUISITION OF NEW STATE PARKS

* PASSED: State Parks Accountability bill we can support

* STILL IN PLAY: Accountability bill with specific reporting requirements for new State Park acquisitions - we are concerned about this amendment* DEFEATED: Proposal to ban new state park acquisitions & donations

SB 782 - has passed & awaits Governor's signature.  This is a bill we can fully support.

HB 2538 -  This is similar to SB 782, but includes a House Floor Amendment that we are concerned about.  We are hoping to stop any further progress of HB 2538 this year.

The proposal that made progress last year, and that was introduced again this year, that would have halted all acquisitions of new state parks--thus stopping the Rock Island Trail State Park altogether--made no progress this year.

REQUIRING STATE PARKS TO PROVIDE FENCING ALONG THE ROCK ISLAND CORRIDOR

* PASSED:  SB 782 - Requirement for State Parks to provide fencing along Rock Island Corridor (Sen. Kehoe)

This helps allay concerns of Rock Island corridor neighbors, and the Missouri Farm Bureau, about fencing issues along the corridor.  We took a neutral stance on this bill, but worked with Senator Kehoe to insert some beneficial changes, such as clarifying that fencing is not required unless neighoring land owners ask for it. The end result is only very slightly different from Missouri State Parks' existing fencing policy for rail-trails.

EXEMPTING RAIL-TRAIL LAND FROM PROPERTY TAX

STALLED: SB 868 - Exempting property in a rail-trail corridor from property tax.

This bill has not advanced at all this session. Taxation for property they are unable to use has been a concern of some property owners, though most such issues should be able to easily be resolved by the county property tax authorities. We have taken a neutral stance on this issue, understanding that may help allay concerns of a few neighboring landowners, but also that the overall effect is likely to be small.

Details: TRANSPORTATION FUNDING

FUEL TAX INCREASE

Several proposals for a fuel tax increase are still in play, including SJR 36, which creates a 0.4% sales tax for the highway patrol, freeing up existing fuel tax revenue for the state road fund.

As of Friday morning, the most likely proposal to move looks like an incremental fuel tax increase of about 10 cents that would fund the Highway Patrol and go on the November Ballot.

The state portion of new funding will specifically go to the Highway Patrol, but it also frees up dollars for MoDOT, because the current state fuel tax is divided between MoDOT and the Hwy Patrol. The remainder of the fuel tax increase will go to cities & counties, as usual.

It is a compromise between SJR 36, the highway patrol sales tax--which a recent statewide poll shows has good public support--and previous proposals for incremental fuel tax for transportation proposals.

This proposal is in the form of a Senate Amendment to HB 1460.

Senate amendments, which include the fuel tax increase proposal.

This proposal was approved by the Senate Thursday, with the addition of a new "Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund" (the fund is created, but not funded--that General Assembly will have to do that annually). HB 1460 now goes back to the House and, if passed, will be on the ballot later this year.

MULTIMODAL TRANSPORTATION FUND

Rep. Corlew offered an amendment to HB 2540 to fund the state multimodal fund at about $40 million annual using a portion of the proposed new internet sales tax revenue.  It was defeated on the House floor by a voice vote.This was the only discussion or concrete proposal for the multimodal transportation fund this year.

Amendment text

TAX CUTS/TAX REFORM WITH TRANSPORTATION FUNDING

Both Senate & House tax reform proposals originally included transportation funding sections.However, HB 2540--which has now passed and looks to be the major tax reform legislation passed this year--no longer includes any transportation funding.

 

Building a world class bicycle and pedestrian transportation network across Missouri, improving road safety for all users, encouraging more people to walk and bicycle more often, and building a statewide movement in support of bicycling, walking, and trails are the four primary goals of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri.

Our legislative work with the Missouri General Assembly is one of the most important ways that we accomplish all four of those goals. The progress we make--and the disasters we avert--at the statewide level affect every community and neighborhood across Missouri.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support help make our legislative work in Jefferson City and in Washington DC as effective as it can be--and help turn our Vision into reality!

Share this:

Want better bicycling and walking in Missouri?
We rely on the support of members like you.  Please join, renew, or donate today.