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Check out the Missouri chamber’s legislative priorities

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The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued its list of legislative priorities as the General Assembly prepares to meet in January.

The chamber’s priorities focus on business issues in eight broad categories: economic development, education and workforce development, labor and industrial relations, transportation, health care, civil justice, taxation and fiscal policy, and energy and environment.

Below are highlights from the chamber’s 2018 legislative agenda.

Economic development

1. Work to support entrepreneurialism and small businesses through incentives and programs.

2. Encourage corporate growth and attraction efforts by removing business barriers and adding policy incentives.

3. Provide incentives for broadband providers to expand high-speed internet access to the entire state.

4. Allow more funding — and protect current amounts — for job-training initiatives to better attract and retain workers.

5. Promote trade internationally.

6. Protect development incentives that have a positive return on investment, but also conduct a cost-benefit analysis to make sure all programs do.

7. Continue to promote Missouri tourism and provide funding for it.

Education and workforce development

1. Support K-12 and higher education with adequate funding.

2. Create additional business-education partnerships.

3. Maintain and improve educational infrastructure.

4. Put more workforce readiness programs into place and support current initiatives.

5. Support education reform, including the elimination of the state’s teacher tenure system, institution of merit-based pay for teachers and the improvement of school choice options.

Labor and industrial relations

1. Keep right-to-work legislation in place.

2. Reform the state’s workers’ compensation system to ensure lower insurance rates.

3. Fox the state’s “fiscally unstable” unemployment compensation system by modifying legal framework and seeking less costly repayment methods.

4. Protect paychecks from political causes that workers may not support.

5. Reform Missouri’s prevailing wage law.

6. Protect employers from harmful workplace mandates, such as minimum wage increases.

7. Provide incentives for Missouri business that use the E-Verify system to screen for illegal immigrants.

Transportation

1. Fund transportation infrastructure adequately to maintain and improve statewide roadways.

2. Support legislation to provide multimodal funding for public transportation, passenger and freight rail, ports, air travel, bicycling and walking.

3. Look into cost-sharing and investment-matching programs to address infrastructure funding shortfalls.

4. Pass a law allowing officers to stop drivers for not wearing their seat belts.

Health care

1. Create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program to fight the opioid crisis.

2. Hold on to federal taxes pay by Missouri employers and employees.

3. Oppose proposals to restrict provider assessments.

4. Stop pseudoephedrine — used by criminals to make meth — from becoming a prescription-only medication. Stick to the current system of electronic tracking.

5. Oppose health care benefit and provider mandates.

Civil justice

1. Put punitive damage caps back in place.

2. Eliminate the current joint and several liability system and add a fair-share system of liability.

3. Strengthen the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act to reduce lawsuits by individuals who did not suffer actual harm.

4. Reduce litigation lending to lower the amount of lawsuits filed.

5. Implement an alternate dispute resolution structure for arbitration.

Taxation and fiscal policy

1. Reform the the state’s tax system by avoiding double taxation, abstaining from using tax reform to increase state tax revenues, and promoting a free marketplace through the use of tax code decisions.

2. Phase in full deduction on the federal income tax.

3. Expand state sales tax exemptions to provide taxpayers with more incentives.

4. Prohibit the state from releasing private corporate tax information.

5. Provide tax incentives for S corporations that form employee stock ownership plans.

Energy and environment

1. Repeal, delay or reform the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

2. Responsibly implement environmental regulations.

3. Limit restrictions on businesses in implementing the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.

4. Support the Keystone XL pipeline.

5. Support state regulation of coal combustion residuals.

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