Opinion

New session sees bills on HVAC, firearms, abortion

Saturday, January 11, 2020
Billington

The second session of the 100th General Assembly is underway, and I am excited to be working for you again at the state capitol. I have already filed several bills, including legislation that protects consumers, safeguards our Second Amendment rights, helps maintain the integrity of our state’s constitution, and protects the lives of the unborn.

My consumer bill, HB 1878, would protect purchasers of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) products. Too often, these products are bought with warranties that are invalidated because purchasers overlook paperwork that must be completed. Under my bill, manufacturers will automatically guarantee their merchandise against defects for a period of time, eliminating the need for the buyer to fill out a warranty card.

Another bill would help ensure employees are provided the protections they are guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. HB 1567 prohibits an employer from terminating an employee for having a firearm in the employee’s vehicle on the employer’s premises, as long as the vehicle is locked and the firearm is not visible.

I have filed a resolution to help restore integrity to our state constitution. Currently, petitions to change the state constitution must be signed by at least 8% of voters in two-thirds of Missouri’s congressional districts. Unfortunately, this means only certain areas of the state can make constitutional changes for the rest of us. Under HJR 60, the signature requirement would have to be fulfilled in every congressional district. This would ensure that the entire state would be on board to make the momentous decision to change the constitution.

Finally, my HB 1956 will provide more protections for the unborn. Under this legislation, a mother seeking an abortion must first obtain an ultrasound and be given the opportunity to hear a description of the child and the heartbeat, if audible. The measure ensures that before making the choice on whether to abort, the mother fully understands the gravity of her decision and hopefully will choose life.

The beginning of the 2020 session marked the start of the legislative careers for six new House members who were elected during November 2019 special elections. The new members were officially sworn in by House Speaker Elijah Haahr. With their addition, the House now has 114 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and one vacancy.

After the traditional opening day ceremonies, members made their way to the House Lounge to meet with the press about their upcoming priorities for the year. When asked by the media if he preferred to avoid tough issues and keep the session at a dull roar, Speaker Haahr responded by saying, “I prefer the loudest roar we can have.”

Haahr said the legislature would look at policies to help address the violent crime problem in the state’s largest cities. He noted that the police force and investigatory unit in St. Louis are overwhelmed, and said legislation that would enhance the protection of witnesses could find support this session. “We stand at the ready to try to do what we can as a state to help the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City as they deal with this,” Haahr said.

Haahr also said the House would not be supportive of an increase in the gas tax, but would consider a Wayfair fix that would level the playing field for Missouri businesses. Missouri is currently one of only two states with a general sales tax that does not tax remote sales. A Wayfair fix would allow the state to collect taxes from out-of-state retailers.

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Contact Rep. Billington at hardy.billington@house.mo.gov or by calling 573-751-4039.

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