JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A series of bills approved in Missouri take effect Sunday, Aug. 28 as laws.
Here’s a closer look into five new prominent state laws, addressing health, public safety and other issues.
HB 1878 – Voter ID
Voters will need a photo ID to cast a ballot in Missouri. Previously, registered voters could head to the polls with an ID card, a current utility bill, a paycheck or other documentation with their name and address to cast a vote. For upcoming elections, Missourians can only cast a vote by showing a driver’s license or a U.S. or state-issued ID with the voter’s photo and address, along with an expiration date.
Under the law, people without a government-issued photo ID can cast provisional ballots that will be counted if they return later that day with a photo ID or if election officials verify their signatures. Additionally, the new law allows no-excuse absentee voting at local election authorities two weeks prior to the election and prohibits the use ballot drop boxes for absentee voters.
Further into the future, the new law will allow the Missouri Secretary of State to audit voting roles and eliminate screen-voting machines after 2024.
HB 2162 – Opioid Addiction Treatment
The director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, if a licensed physician, could issue a statewide standing order, or contract with a licensed physician to issue such an order, for an addiction mitigation medication.
Any licensed pharmacist may sell and dispense an addiction mitigation medication of naltrexone hydrochloride under a physician protocol or statewide standing order. The Department of Corrections and Missouri Judiciary will also have access to a treatment and recovery fund to pay for opioid addiction treatment and prevention services
SB 775 – ‘Explicit’ Book Ban / Child Trafficking
Some reading materials could be banned in Missouri schools as districts start the new year. Books containing “explicit sexual material” are now illegal in public and private schools. There are limited exceptions for books considered artistic or informational in nature.
The book ban is one of several measures in the bill that attempts to address child trafficking. The act also creates a statewide council to collect data related to sex trafficking, modifies procedures for handling calls from children over sex trafficking and allows family courts to have exclusive original jurisdiction in child sex trafficking cases.
SB 681/662 – School Bus Changes
The state has now modified the definition of a “school bus” to include vehicle that carry more than 10 passengers, though it also enables school districts to use vehicles aside from traditional buses to get children to school.
Districts facing challenges with their school bus situation could call upon transportation network companies to bring children to school if they meet district guidelines. The new law also loosens license requirements on behalf of the State Board of Education. It also aims to offer more incentives for substitute teachers by 2023 unrelated to school buses.
HB 1725 – Lodging Lookouts
Lodging establishments are not liable for the loss of certain items, including cash or jewelry, unless the guest asks the venue to place their belongings in a safe and the lodging establishment refuses or omits to do so. The new law allows lodging establishments, like hotels, to use a safe or safe deposit box located behind the registration desk to store items.
When placing items into a safe, workers are required to give the guests a receipt for the item. The new bill also loosens some requirements for lodging establishments that publish their current rates electronically.
Other new laws will address topics ranging from crimes, funding and background checks. Other notable laws taking effect Sunday include…
- HB 1472 – Money laundering provisions
- HB 1552 – Equity for charter schools and alternative education program
- HB 2168 – Motor vehicle financial responsibility
- HB 2331 – Medical marijuana background checks loosened
- SB 710 – Health care service provisions
- SB 718 – Historically black college week and higher education provisions
- SB 799 – Changes for in-custody offenders
- SB 987 – Changes tied to nonfloating facilities and gambling