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Senate pauses insurance, tax credit bills for further review

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Senate sent a pair of amended House bills to the Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee Thursday afternoon.  

Prior to passing a controversial education bill to the governor’s desk, the upper chamber tabled legislation for the time being after adding amendments on the floor. From insurance reform to fuel tax credits, here’s a rundown of Thursday’s pending legislation. 

Insurance

HB 604, handled by Sen. Sandy Crawford, included revisions to various areas of insurance — from certificates of self-insurance and a petroleum tank insurance fund to settlements involving minors and continuing education credits for insurance producers. 

“Everything in this bill has already been truly agreed to other than the portion on minor settlements,” Crawford said. “Missouri law currently requires court approval of all claims involving minors, regardless of the settlement amount. This portion gives the parties a choice to enter into settlements up to $30,000 — this will be a savings of time and efficiency.”

Amendments added prior to its referral would bring Missouri into line with a federal mental health parity act enforced by every other state. Another would prevent long-term care insurance policies from increasing premium rates beyond the rate basis in effect in the state. The bill was referred after around an hour on the floor. 

Missouri Made Fuels Act

HB 529, also known as the Missouri Made Fuels Act, would enact a tax credit for fuel distributors blending their product to at least 5 percent biodiesel at a rate of 2 cents per gallon. Those selling fuel with higher ethanol content would receive a tax credit amounting to 5 cents per gallon. Handler Sen. Denny Hoskins said the measure had seen extensive work to get to this point. 

The bill was on the floor for less than an hour Tuesday before taking its place on the informal calendar; Senate amendments made technical changes to the language. 

“We’ve had a lot of discussions about biodiesel and about how we could make this process work, and we’ve put a lot of time and effort into similar efforts,” he said. “We debated it and were about to come to a close — but we needed clarification on a couple of issues.”

Occupational therapy, pharmacist licensing reforms 

During morning session, the upper chamber sent HB 542 to the same committee after it accrued several amendments. The bill began in the House with the Occupational Therapy License Compact and grew to include other licensing measures by the time it reached the Senate floor, adding further licensure reforms for architects, pharmacists, and realtors.