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MO Legislative Session Wrap-up: Not a Barn-Burner

Peggy Nalls's picture

The 2012 Legislative Session came to a close on May 18. While arguably lacking in substance, three fourths of the 114 bills were passed during the last two weeks of session in a flurry of activity. In terms of the overall picture, there were 1,126 House bills filed of which 76 passed. Only 38 of the 506 Senate bills passed. This pales in comparison to years past.

Among the priority bills that crossed the finish line were the state’s operating budget (House Bills 2001-2013), which for the first time in four years was not supplemented with one-time federal stimulus or stabilization dollars; worker’s compensation reform specific to limiting co-employee liability and expansion of charter schools beyond St. Louis and Kansas City that currently contain the only unaccredited school districts.

The fiscal year 2013 state budget reflects a 2 percent salary increase for nearly 95 percent of state employees; increased reliance on gaming, lottery and tobacco settlement proceeds to fund veterans and early childhood programs and flat funding for education. In terms of where K-12 education funding should be, the foundation formula is underfunded by more than $400 million.

Among the key priorities that failed to pass were reforms to Missouri’s workers compensation laws relating to occupational disease and the Second Injury Fund; teacher tenure reform; quicker intervention of unaccredited school districts such as the Kansas City School District; tax amnesty programs; Fair Tax; and tax credit reform, which has proved to be quite controversial in previous sessions.

The governor has 45 days following the end of the legislative session to veto bills.  And, he has used that veto pen liberally in the past few legislative sessions. MCUA will provide updated information if any of the following bills are vetoed by Governor Nixon.

TRANSPORTATION (SB 568 )

Credit unions will recognize the following salvage vehicle language as originally being in SB 633.  However, SB 633 didn’t pass, but this bill composed of several other pieces of legislation, contains the salvage language and has been sent to the governor. To recap, this allows a scrap metal operator to purchase an inoperable motor vehicle that is at least 10 model years old without a title provided that the scrap metal operator verifies with the Department of Revenue, via the department's online record access, that the motor vehicle is not subject to any recorded security interest or liens exist on the motor vehicle. The scrap metal operator must also forward a copy of the seller's state identification along with a bill of sale to the Department of Revenue. The bill of sale, which must be designed by the director, shall certify that the motor vehicle is at least 10 model years old, is inoperable, is not subject to any recorded security interest or lien, and that the seller has the legal authority to sell the vehicle.  Upon receipt of this information, the Department of Revenue shall cancel any certificate of title and registration for the motor vehicle. If the motor vehicle is at least 20 model years old, then the scrap metal operator is not required to verify whether the motor vehicle is subject to any recorded security interests or liens.

REBUILT SALVAGE MOTOR VEHICLES-Under the terms of this bill, owners of rebuilt salvage vehicles which are 11 years of age or older who submit such vehicles to examinations conducted by the Highway Patrol in order to obtain certificates of ownership with prior salvage motor vehicle designations are not required to repair or restore such vehicles to their original appearance in order to pass or complete the vehicle examination.

Under the terms of this bill, any insurer that purchases a vehicle, other than abandoned vehicles, through the claims adjustment process for which the insurer is unable to obtain a negotiable title, may make application to the department of revenue for a salvage certificate of title or junking certificate. The application may be made by the insurer or its designated salvage pool on a form provided by the department and signed under penalty of perjury. The application shall include a declaration that the insurer has made at least two written attempts to obtain the certificate of ownership, transfer documents, or other acceptable evidence of title, and be accompanied by proof of claims payment from the insurer, evidence that letters were delivered to the vehicle owner, a statement explaining the circumstances by which the property came into the insurer's possession, a description of the property including the year, make, model, vehicle identification number, and current location of the property, and a fee of $8.50.

The insurer shall, 30 days prior to making application for title, notify any owners or lienholders of record for the vehicle that the insurer intends to apply for a certificate of title from the director for the vehicle. Upon receipt of the application and supporting documents, the director shall search the records of the department, or initiate an inquiry with another state, if the evidence presented indicated the vehicle described in the application was registered or titled in another state, to verify the name and address of any owners and any lienholders.  After 30 days from receipt of the application, if no valid lienholders have notified the department of the existence of a lien, the department shall issue a salvage certificate of title or junking certificate for the vehicle in the name of the insurer.

CRIMES AGAINST THE ELDERLY AND DISABLED (SB 689) 

The bill revises the crime of financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person to include if a person knowingly by undue influence obtains control over an elderly or disabled person’s property with the intent to permanently deprive the person of the use, benefit, or possession thereby benefiting the person or detrimentally affecting the elderly or disabled person. As used in these provisions, “undue influence” means the use of influence by someone who exercises authority over an elderly or disabled person in order to take unfair advantage of that person’s vulnerable state of mind, neediness, pain, or agony and includes the improper or fraudulent use of a power of attorney, guardianship, conservatorship, or other fiduciary authority.

JUDICIAL PROCEDURES (SB 628)

QUALIFIED SPOUSAL TRUSTS - The bill changes the requirements for a qualified spousal trust to allow the trust to consist of both property held in one trust for both spouses and property held in two shares in one trust for each spouse.

MISSOURI UNIFORM TRUST CODE - The substitute changes the laws regarding the Missouri Uniform Trust Code by allowing a trust instrument to appoint a trust protector who is expressly granted one or more powers over the trust in the trust instrument. The bill:

  1. Specifies the express powers that may be granted to a trust protector;
  2. Specifies when a trust protector has no power to modify a trust;
  3. Specifies that the trust protector must not exercise a power that would result in a taxable gift for federal gift tax purposes or cause the inclusion of any assets of the trust in the trust protector’s gross estate for federal estate tax purposes;
  4. Specifies that a trust protector is not a trustee or fiduciary, has no duty to the beneficiaries of the trust, is not liable or accountable as a trustee or fiduciary when performing or declining to perform the express powers given in the trust instrument, and is not liable for the acts or omissions of any fiduciary or beneficiary under the trust instrument;
  5. Exonerates a trust protector from all liability for his or her acts or omissions or arising from any exercise or non-exercise of the express powers given in the trust instrument unless it is established by a preponderance of the evidence that the acts or omissions were done or omitted in breach of the protector’s duty, in bad faith, or with reckless indifference;
  6. Authorizes a trust protector to exercise the express powers granted in the trust instrument at any time after the trust protector acquires knowledge of his or her appointment as trust protector and of the powers granted;
  7. Allows the trust protector to receive from the assets of the trust reasonable compensation and reimbursement of reasonable costs and expenses incurred in determining whether to carry out and in carrying out the express powers of the trust instrument;
  8. Allows the trust protector to receive from the assets of the trust reimbursement of the reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees, of defending any claim made against the trust protector arising from his or her acts or omissions while acting in that capacity unless it is established by clear and convincing evidence that the protector was acting in bad faith or with reckless indifference;
  9. Prohibits the trust protector from exercising the express powers granted in the trust instrument for his or her own personal benefit;
  10. Specifies that a trustee must not be liable for any loss resulting directly or indirectly from any act taken or omitted as a result of the written direction of the trust protector or the failure of the trust protector to provide consent, unless there is bad faith or reckless indifference on the part of the trustee;
  11. Specifies when the trust protector is entitled to receive information regarding the administration of the trust;
  12. Allows a trust protector to resign by giving 30 days’ written notice to the trustee and any successor trust protector;
  13. Grants any successor trust protector the same powers expressly granted in the trust instrument to the resigning trust protector unless those powers are expressly modified for the successor trust protector; and
  14. Specifies that a trust protector of a trust having its principal place of administration in Missouri submits personally to the jurisdiction of the courts of Missouri while the trust is being administered in this state.

ROAD USE (HB 1402)

PERFECTION OF AUTO AND BOAT LIENS - Under the terms of this act, on a refinance by a different lender of a prior loan secured by a motor vehicle, outboard motor, watercraft, etc., the lien is perfected by delivering notice of lien to director of revenue.

For questions about the bills listed above or the legislative session in general, e-mail MCUA Chief Advocacy Officer Peggy Nalls or call 800-392-3074, ext. 1305.