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News & Press: Legislative

Governor approves MPUA priority measures

Friday, July 26, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: mpuaonline
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During a ceremony on July 11, Governor Mike Parson signed HB 355 into law, which enacts several of MPUA’s session priorities. MPUA CEO and President Duncan Kincheloe, MAMU Legislative Committee Chair Kyle McClure of City Utilities of Springfield, and the Municipal Gas Commission of Missouri Vice Chair Dennis Klusmeyer of the City of Shelbina were on hand to witness the Governor ink the measure into law.

HB 355 was initially introduced by Representative Dean Plocher (R-St. Louis) as a bill relating to the technical advisory staff of the state Public Service Commission. During Senate debate led by Senator Wayne Wallingford (R- Cape Girardeau), several senators amended MPUA priorities to the bill, including:

 

  • Utility Sale Transparency (Ed Emery, R-Lamar) – The measure allows for an appraisal and impact analysis on city funds, remaining services, and annexation, with the information made public in a timely manner before a public vote to sell a water, wastewater, or natural gas municipal utility in 4th class cities. Prior to session, the Municipal Gas Commission of Missouri and the Missouri Public Water Council advocated for statutes to reflect these best practices.
  • Tree Trimming (Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville) – Senator Mike Cunningham amended the bill to provide a trespass exemption for municipal utilities when exercising vegetation management practices outside their corporate boundaries. It is an expansion of existing protection afforded to cooperatives for vegetation management. The measure states that certain conditions apply to meet the exemption. Several MPUA utilities sought this change.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit) – A recent court ruling found that electric vehicle charging stations were subject to PSC oversight – even if owned by third-party providers, cooperatives, and municipal utilities. This proposal clarified that EV charging stations are not under PSC purview and allows cooperatives and municipal utilities to provide for EV charging stations outside their boundaries when contiguous to an existing served structure.

  • Critical Infrastructure (Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield) A final amendment of interest to MPUA was the addition of language that establishes criminal trespassing penalties on critical infrastructure sites, which include facilities of water, wastewater, natural gas, electric, and broadband systems. MPUA supported this legislation.

 

Also, during the day’s bill signing ceremonies, Governor Parson signed into law a special license plate bill for municipal utility workers. HB 831 (Sharpe, R-Ewing; Brown, R-Rolla) authorizes the Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities to use the license proceeds to improve municipal utility worker training.

 

All the signed bills become effective on August 28.


 


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