During this legislative session, the General Assembly passed a few bills of particular municipal interest:
HB 1606: Special Districts
Modifies certain filing requirements for NIDs, CIDs, TIFs and TDDs; expands the requirements of certain filings already required to be made to the Department of Economic Development or city to also be submitted to the State Auditor and Missouri Department of Revenue.
Prohibits cities from adopting or enforcing a policy of discouraging the enforcement of any order or ordinance prohibiting public camping, sleeping, or obstructions of sidewalks, and further cities cannot prohibit or discourage a peace officer or prosecuting attorney from enforcing any order or ordinance prohibiting public camping, sleeping, or obstructions of sidewalks.
HB 1662: Home-Based Businesses
Modifies provisions relating to cities’ ability to regulate home-based businesses. This law creates multiple potential issues for cities as it very seriously limits—if not outright prohibits—many municipal regulations of home-based businesses. This law could make it particularly difficult to enforce a licensing regime or ensure taxes are properly paid on these businesses. If a home-based business qualifies as a “no-impact, home-based business,” cities may not require any permit, license, variance, or other type of prior approval to operate such a business. It is presently unclear how cities are intended to review whether a home-based business in fact qualifies as “no-impact” until violations or issues have developed. It is recommended that if your city is handling an influx of home-based businesses (or related complaints) that you examine HB 1662 and consult with your city attorney on what options may be available.
It is also worth noting that Governor Parson has not yet signed this bill, but if he does not act by July 2, 2022, it will become law by operation of Constitutional provisions. If this bill becomes law, cities will need to review their home-based business regulations for compliance with these new restrictions.
SB 745: Utility Provisions & the Sunshine Law
Modifies provisions for cities that operate municipally owned utilities, including expanding the list of permissible closed records under Chapter 610 RSMo. (aka, the Missouri Sunshine Law) to include individually identifiable customer usage and billing records for customers of a municipally owned utility, unless those records are requested by the customer themselves (requesting one’s own records) or as authorized for release (i.e., if a customer consents to their records being released to any requestor) . Municipally owned utilities still must make available to the public a customer’s name, billing address, location of service, and dates of service provided for any commercial service account.
SB 820: Utility Provisions & Vertical Real Estate Act
Includes the Vertical Real Estate Act, which authorizes cities to construct towers for cellular or wireless signals and enter into public-private-partnerships to build such towers. Also, modifies provisions relating to rural electric cooperatives and municipally owned utilities, including the same language expanding Sunshine as found in SB 745.