Public Affairs Committee Report
By Heath Clarkston
JEFFERSON CITY COUNCIL ELECTION – APRIL 5TH
On Tuesday, April 5th, the Jefferson City Council elections were held for five of the ten seats. Only two wards had competitive races and the results were as follows:
Ward 1 Jack Deeken defeated Jacob Robinett
Ward 2 Mike Lester
Ward 3 Erin Wiseman defeated Bob Scrivner
Ward 4 Ron Fitzwater
Ward 5 Jon Hensley
2022 MISSOURI LEGISLATION ENDS ON MAY 13th
The Constitutional deadline for approving the new state budget is 6 p.m. Friday, May 6 and the 2022 regular legislative session will at 6 p.m. on Friday May 13th.
This week the Senate and House have begun working on rectifying their versions of the fiscal year 2023 state budget in conference committee. The 13 operating budget bills total $45.1 billion in spending for Fiscal Year 2023.
Several of the bills caught criticism from the Left for spending too little in state and federal funds and from the Right for spending too much. One member of the Senate conservative caucus roared the budget represents “death of fiscal conservatism.” A Democrat countered it’s the “most progressive budget” ever. The Senate approved an additional $1.2 billion to the House budget bills.
Several major issues that have been considered priorities by leadership in the House and Senate have not reached the Governor’s desk and are likely to receive floor debate and consideration during the final days of session. Those issues include an omnibus agricultural bill; education reforms including the ban of “critical race theory”; reforming the Initiative Petition process; election integrity; and reforming the state’s eminent domain and condemnation laws.
Upon conclusion of the regular legislation session, we will be sending a final report that will include all legislation of interest filed and passed this year.
FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT CODE LIMITATIONS
House Bill 2663, sponsored by Rep. Randy Pietzman (R-Troy) prohibits a fire protection district from adopting any ordinances, orders, rules, or regulations related to the subdivision of land for residential purposes or to the construction or installation of improvements or infrastructure or utility facilities related to serving residential construction. A fire protection district may enter into a contract with a county, city, town, or village to assist in the implementation of a residential construction regulatory system as it relates to fire protection issues so long as the county, city, town, or village retains jurisdiction of the implementation and enforcement of the system.
If a county, city, town, or village has not adopted a building code or other residential construction regulatory system and the county, city, town, or village is under the jurisdiction of a fire protection district with a fire code, notwithstanding any provisions of the fire code to the contrary, the fire protection district can only issue permits related directly to fire protection. During the public hearing in February, proponents stated this legislation is needed as fire districts have enacted codes beyond those necessary for fire protection that have led to increases in cost of construction. Opposition was voiced by several fire districts to which they stated that fire codes save lives, and this legislation would negatively impact insurance rates. This legislation was passed from House Committee and has not had a hearing in the House Rules Committee. This legislation is unlikely to reach the Governor’s desk.
REGULATION OF HEATING AND COOLING REFRIGERANTS
Senate Bill 1069, sponsored by Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg and House Bill 2673, sponsored by Rep. Hardy Billington, R-Poplar Bluff provide an update to Missouri’s building codes to allow for the use of next generation refrigerants and heating and cooling equipment. Under this act, no building code adopted by a political subdivision shall prohibit the use of refrigerants that are approved for use under the Clean Air Act or its regulations, provided any related equipment is installed in accordance with the provisions of the Clean Air Act. Any provision of a building code that violates this act shall be null and void. The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute testified in support of this legislation and noted that our state does not have a statewide building code and this language would allow for a uniform transition to the use of the new, more environmentally-friendly refrigerants. This legislation has been added as an amendment to numerous bills and may reach final passage in the remaining days of the 2022 session.