The 2024 Missouri General Assembly is underway and the Missouri REALTORS® lobbying team is working on several issues of interest. Here’s a highlight of three current issues getting attention, and we will report on other issues in the coming days.
Protecting Citizen Initiative Process
Between the House and the Senate, at least 25 proposals have been filed in regard to the citizen ballot initiative process that has served Missourians for more than 100 years.
Missouri REALTORS® position is simple and straightforward:
- The IP process has served our citizens well and it doesn’t need to be changed.
- REALTORS® have twice used the current process to propose favorable constitutional amendments (2010 ban on transfer taxes, 2016 prohibition of sales taxes on services).
- Supporters of this legislation call it “reform,” but these measures would substantially weaken our citizens’ power of direct democracy, and that is not reform.
Most of the IP legislation is in the form of “joint resolutions,” a term for measures to be referred to the people for a statewide vote. The IP joint resolutions have basically been about two approaches:
- Raising the number of votes needed statewide for passage from the current simple majority (50 percent plus one vote) to some higher percentage. Last year lawmakers proposed boosting the requirement as high as 60 percent, which means 40 percent of voters could overrule the majority. Missouri REALTORS® consider this undemocratic because it undermines majority rule.
- Keeping the current requirement for a simple majority statewide vote but adding a new requirement for what supporters call a “concurrent majority” approval vote. This creates a new hurdle for passage by requiring additional approval in a majority of (pick one) Congressional Districts, House Districts or Senate Districts. Such proposals are flawed because they give some voters more power because of their ZIP Code, an apparent violation of the principle of one person, one vote.
Missouri REALTORS® lobbyists have testified in opposition to these proposals in both House and Senate committee hearings. We expect committee votes and floor debate in the coming days. It is important to remember that constitutional amendments proposed by the General Assembly are not subject to approval or veto by the governor, who is limited to setting a statewide election date for whatever lawmakers finally approve (that is, if they approve anything – we have a long way to go until the session’s May 17 6 p.m. adjournment).
These bills reserve to the General Assembly the ability to limit actions for eviction. House Bill 2062, sponsored by Rep. Chris Brown has been heard in committee and was recommended “do pass” by a unanimous vote.
The Senate version is SB 895 by Senator Curtis Trent, and Rep. Rudy Viet has also introduced a House version.
This would allow any political subdivision with a population of at least 1,500 to set up a “Land Bank”.
A land bank is a tool that allows a government to acquire abandoned and distressed property, clean up the title through a judicial proceeding, and then proceed to market the property to a developer. In all cases, the goal is to return the property to productive use.
Rep. Bill Owen has introduced the House version, HB 2065, which awaits a hearing. Sen. Lincoln Hough has introduced SB750 as the Senate version, and it was voted “do pass” after a recent hearing.
To learn more about Missouri REALTORS® 2024 Legislative Talking Points and to view our General Policies Guide, visit our REALTOR® Days & Legislative Visit Resources.
Additionally, we encourage you to tune in to a recording of the Missouri REALTOR® Party Luncheon that took place during our recent Winter Business Conference. During this exciting session, members heard from Missouri REALTORS® Chief Lobbyist, Sam Licklider, Vice President of Government Affairs and Local Board Relations, Erin Hervey, and David Barklage on the 2024 political landscape and what you can expect in the coming months. Watch the recording.
For questions, contact Erin Hervey, Vice President of Government Affairs and Local Board Relations, at email@example.com.