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No Retail Shopping On Thanksgiving, Other Bills, Prefiled In Mo. For 2013 Session

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio
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Today is the first full day that Missouri lawmakers in both chambers can prefile bills for next year’s regular session.

One bill in particular comes in the wake of the annual holiday shopping surge that surrounds the Thanksgiving holiday weekend:  HB 37 would make it illegal for retail stores to open for business on Thanksgiving Day.  The proposal is sponsored by State Representative-Elect Jeff Roorda (D, Barnhart).  He says it’s in response to the ongoing push by retailers to open for business on nationally-recognized holidays.

“It’s Thanksgiving Day, not Black Friday’s Eve," Roorda said.  "It’s just silly what these retailers are doing to the families of folks that work for them.  I think government has a role in regulating the market, and in this particular case...our role is clear -- it's a day that's supposed to be about family and reflecting and giving thanks, not about corporate greed and prosperity.”

Roorda says restaurants, pharmacies and gas stations in Missouri would be exempt from the proposed law.

Meanwhile, several pieces of legislation prefiled in the State Senate today deal with tax credits.  The proposals include incentives to lure amateur sporting events to Missouri (SB 10), which has failed in years past – and one that would renew several benevolent tax breaks that expired last year (SB 20).  That one is sponsored by State Senator Bob Dixon (R, Springfield).

“Chief among them is the ‘Children in Crisis tax credit,’ which the legislation would seek to rename the 'Champion for Children' tax credit," Dixon said.  "My hope is that we can keep them separated from the larger debate, which certainly needs to occur – (the debate over) tax credit reform, that is.”

Another proposal would ban lobbyists’ gifts to lawmakers, including money for food, travel, lodging and entertainment (SB 38).  That proposal is sponsored by State Senator-Elect Scott Sifton (D, Affton).

“Taxpayers give us $104 a day as a per diem for meals and lodging in Jefferson City for every day that we’re in session, and that should be sufficient to get the job done," Sifton said.  "I think it’s very hard to argue that $104 a day isn’t enough to feed yourself, and that you would need to have somebody else picking up the tab.”

Sifton’s proposal would also ban lobbyist gifts to lawmakers’ staff, family members and election campaigns.  Other prefiled bills in the Missouri General Assembly include:

 

HB 31:  Specifies that both the U.S. and Missouri constitutions must protect the rights of an alternatives to abortion agency and its officers to freely engage in activities without interference   SB 1:  Modifies the law relating to workers' compensation (addresses the Second Injury Fund) SB 31:  Increases the tax on cigarettes by twenty-six cents, modifies the state individual income tax rate, and increases the state sales and use tax by one-half percent

 

Missouri House members began prefiling bills today, while Senators were able to begin pre-filing on Friday, Nov. 30th, at 5:00 p.m.  The 2013 regular legislative session begins January 9th at 12:00 noon.

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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