With less than 30 days remaining in the 2019 Missouri legislative session the crunch time for bills in both chambers is in full effect.
Last week, State Rep. Nathan Tate, R-St. Clair, had two bills passed by his fellow House members and they are now under consideration in the Senate.
Tate explained getting a bill from filing to the governor’s desk is a very lengthy process and takes a lot of work.
“Even if a bill has absolutely no issues, it takes 27 steps to get it from start to finish,” he said.
After originally being filed in January, House Bill 679 was passed by the House by a vote of 109 to 41 on April 15. By Thursday, April 18, it was already assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee.
“I’m fairly optimistic this bill will make it through the Senate, we’ll just have to see how fast,” Tate said. “There is also a companion bill that passed out of the Senate. Now we just have to see which version is used.”
He added the bill passed the House 100 percent the way it was originally filed and no additional amendments were added by House members.
That may not be the case if it is to pass the Senate this late in the session as lawmakers are eager to get their legislation passed by adding it to other, more successful bills.
“It can really work both ways,” Tate said. “Amendments can help to get your bill passed because more lawmakers have a personal stake in it. But on the other hand, someone can find one thing in an amendment and tell you they can’t vote for your bill because of that specifically.”
In his weekly Capitol report, Tate explained the bill would make it easier for residents to renew a driver’s license or a motor vehicle license and would allow drivers to obtain a secure digital driver’s license in addition to the physical card-based license.
The Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) would design and implement a remote driver’s license renewal system that would be accessed through its website, or through self-service kiosks that would be available at one or more locations within the state.
The plan would be to roll out a handful of kiosks in select locations initially as a pilot project.
If the kiosks prove successful and cost efficient, they would then be made available in more fee offices throughout the state.
Under the bill, a Missourian who opts to renew a driver’s license remotely would be exempted from vision and road sign tests.
Applicants who have applied in-person and received a driver’s license would be able to remotely apply for one three-year or one six-year renewal. The bill would require the department to have a remote renewal system in place by Jan. 1, 2021.
The bill also authorizes DOR to design a secure digital driver’s license program that allows applicants to obtain a digital version of their license in addition to the physical card-based driver’s license. Users would pay an additional fee to obtain the electronic version.
The second Tate bill passed by House members last week by a vote of 145 to 5 was House Bill 749.
The bill establishes a “Towing Task Force” for commercial motor vehicle tows.
This task force would make recommendations on overcharges, customer complaints, and the process for nonconsensual towing used by law enforcement.
The bill, originally introduced on Jan. 31, was read for the first time in the Senate last week, but has not yet been assigned to a committee.
Another of Tate’s bills prefiled in December, was passed by the House on March 7.
House Bill 72 language states the second Wednesday in May shall be designated as “Celiac Awareness Day.”
The citizens of this state are encouraged to participate in appropriate events and activities that increase awareness of celiac disease.
Tate expressed frustration that although the bill was assigned to the Senate Health and Pensions Committee nearly two months ago, a hearing on the bill has not yet been scheduled.
Another bill of note this year from Tate deals with the cosmetic practice of microblading.
Microblading is a semipermanent tattoo technique used to create the illusion of fuller brows.
The brow area is cleaned and numbed for the treatment and instead of using a tattoo machine, a little handheld tool is used to manually draw hair strokes.
Tate’s bill further defines the new cosmetic procedure, which would establish regulations, licensing requirements and restrictions on the practice much like tattoo artists are subject to.
Just last week the bill was referred to the House Professional Registration and Licensing Committee, but was not listed on its scheduled hearing for April 23.
Tate said despite the bill’s lack of movement in the Legislature, the practice of microblading has been drawing a lot of media attention and his office has been receiving a lot of emails and communication on the bill.