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General Assembly passes vehicle sales bill during special session


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers officially passed a legislative fix to an issue regarding vehicle sales during a special session, sending the bill to the governor. 

For all the hoopla surrounding Gov. Mike Parson’s call for a special session to address the issue — stemming from a June Missouri Supreme Court decision — it all ended in an anticlimactic fashion Friday morning. It took the Senate less than five minutes to truly agree to and finally pass HB 1 in a 29-0 vote; the Senate was in session for less than an hour, adjourning before 10 a.m. 

Five senators from both sides of the aisle did not cast a vote Friday: Bob Onder, Gary Romine, Jill Schupp, Scott Sifton, and Gina Walsh. 

The House previously passed the bill in a 126-21 vote earlier this week. 

At issue is the ability for individuals to trade in a vehicle — which includes cars, boats, motors, and more — and credit the proceeds of multiple vehicles sold against the purchase of a new one. Additionally, lawmakers had questioned whether that trade in credit should apply prior to the titling of a new vehicle or within a 180 day window after. 

The Supreme Court interpreted the statute to be a “one-for-one” sort of deal when trading in a vehicle for another and using that credit to offset some of the cost. 

“This is the right thing to do by passing this law to help everyday citizens out there so they keep their money in their pockets,” Parson told reporters Friday afternoon. “So when people say ‘it’s no big deal,’ it is a big deal. It’s a big deal if you’re the average person out there who the government wants to keep $500 or $1,000 of your money.”

Parson said if he hadn’t have called lawmakers back to Jefferson City this week during the veto session, “thousands upon thousands of people would have lost their hard-earned money.”

David Kehlenbrink, whose case was the one before the Supreme Court, told reporters it was “unbelievable” an issue that began at their dinner table has led to him standing in the Capitol building with the governor.

“I didn’t expect it to blow up like this. I was just trying to do the right thing,” Kehlenbrink said.

Rep. Becky Ruth and Sen. Wayne Wallingford were tasked with handling the special session bills. HB 1 had a fiscal note of $0 to unknown, given the practice of crediting multiple vehicles against the sale of another was already in practice, proponents of the bill said. 

“It is imperative that we, as a legislative body, have a clear and concise language which clears up any misunderstandings about the intent of the legislation,” Ruth told a Senate committee earlier this week.

It will take 90 days for the legislation to go into effect upon receiving Parson’s signature. An emergency clause to implement it immediately is not needed, Ruth has said, because individuals impacted by the Supreme Court decision will still have enough time within the 180 day window to take advantage of the trade in rebate. 

The Governor’s Office expects the bill to be signed by the governor soon, a spokesperson confirmed.