NAM: Manufacturers gear up for action on trade priorities.

This week’s Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committee hearings on President Obama’s 2015 trade agenda kicked off new work to win passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and other manufacturing trade goals. The NAM aggressively continued its push for action to secure these market-opening and -enhancing opportunities. With the President and congressional leaders all calling for passage of TPA, the NAM is rallying manufacturers across the country and gearing up for an all-out campaign to quickly pass this critical legislation. As a leader in the Trade Benefits America Coalition, the NAM is engaging lawmakers on Capitol Hill and in their districts, organizing manufacturing allies in every state and launching a broad-based effort in the press and through blogs and social media to build and demonstrate broad support. At this week’s hearings, the NAM submitted statements (click here and here) for the record, making the case for a U.S. trade policy that can unlock manufacturing growth and support higher-paying jobs

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Senate Ways and Means Committee gets right to business

The Missouri legislative session is still in its early days, but the Senate Ways and Means Committee under the chairmanship of Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit) is showing it means business by passing several pieces of legislation this week. By unanimous votes, including the committee’s two Democratic Senators, Sen.Scott Sifton (D-Affton) and Sen. Paul LeVota (D-Independence), the Ways and Means Committee passed Senate Bills 18, 19, 20 and 15, legislation dealing with how the Missouri Department of Revenue conducts its business and makes its determinations. All the bills, with the exception of SB15, were passed by the legislature last year, but vetoed by Governor Nixon. Senate Bill 18 requires the Department of Revenue to notify sellers if there is a change in sales tax law interpretation. Notification may be by mail, e-mail, or secure electronic means of direct communication. The Department may also update its website with information regarding modifications in sales tax law, but it still must mail or email

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Associated Industries supports new/old legislation on unemployment compensation

Associated Industries of Missouri was among those testifying in favor of House Bill 150 pertaining to unemployment compensation during a hearing of the House Committee on Employment Security. HB150 also received support from the National Federation of Independent Business and other groups. The bill is substantially the same as a Senate bill that was vetoed by Governor Nixon last year, was overridden in the Missouri Senate, and missed an override by two votes in the Missouri House during the Veto Session. HB150 reduces the number of weeks of unemployment a claimant can get as the unemployment rate goes down. It requires the Board of Unemployment Financing to meet if the state Unemployment Trust Fund owes more than $300 million to the federal government. And the bill adjusts the point at which the contribution rates are reduced for employers, allowing more money to retained in the Unemployment Trust Fund before contributions are reduced for employers. The bill is making fast tracks to

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Senate passes agriculture bill with ethanol and big trucks language

The Missouri Senate this week passed its first large bill of the session. SB12 deals with agriculture, and is comprised of several pieces of legislation that have been stand-alone bills in years past. Of most interest to members of Associated Industries of Missouri is a provision that mandates that the Department of Agriculture establish a rule requiring the labeling of fuel pumps that contain more than 10 percent ethanol. The provision ensures that owners of older vehicles know the fuel they are putting in their tank. Ethanol at a concentration of greater than 10 percent can cause harm to some older engines. AIM will continue to support this part of the bill and will continue to make sure that the labeling provision stays in the bill as it makes its way through the legislative process. SB12 is now on its way to the Missouri House. SB12 also includes language that would allow trucks hauling milk be allowed to exceed highway weight limits

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A week of big announcements in Jefferson City

With thanks to AIM lobbyist Trent Watson Here are some highlights of the past week in the State Capital. As Trent says…it’s going to be a long campaign. State Auditor Tom Schweich has announced he is challenging former Missouri House Speaker and U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway for the Republican nomination for Missouri governor in 2016. Each candidate has more than $1 million in their respective campaign funds. The only Democrat to announce candidacy for governor is Attorney General Chris Koster, who in October listed more than $2.6-million on hand.  Immediately following Schweich’s announcement, both Republicans issued press releases critical of each other.  It could be a long campaign road. St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman has announced he’s running in 2016 for Missouri attorney general, setting up a primary with Senator Scott Sifton (D-St. Louis), a fellow Democrat. The only publicly announced Republican candidate at this time is Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia). The Missouri House Democratic Caucus has lost another member. Representative Keith English

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Senate passes Keystone XL pipeline bill; Blunt and McCaskill vote in favor

The Senate approved legislation Thursday that would mandate the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a bipartisan vote that will set the stage for a veto showdown with President Obama. On a 62-to-36 vote, Republicans and nine Democrats approved a bill that mandates construction of the 840-mile energy pipeline that Obama has vowed to veto while federal environmental reviews continue. Both of Missouri’s U.S. Senators voted in favor of the legislation. The vote is five votes short of the amount needed to override a presidential veto. Read the rest of the article here.

EPA seeks input on federal plan for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants

We received this information from EPA Tuesday 1/27/15 Release Date: 01/27/2015 Contact Information: Stephanie Brown (Program Contact), Brown.stephanien@epa.gov, 202-564-1192 Reaching out and engaging with the public and stakeholders has been the agency’s top priority throughout the development of this rule, and EPA is committed to continuing this engagement moving forward. Based on input from states and stakeholders, EPA believes that many states will find the information included in this plan helpful as they begin to develop their own plans to cut carbon pollution from power plants. This panel will provide important feedback to the agency as it works to develop a proposed federal plan. It is being established pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and will include federal representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and EPA. The panel members ask a selected group of SERs to provide advice and recommendations on behalf of their company, community, or organization to inform the panel

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Keystone votes fail in Senate, McCaskill absent

From Politico Republicans’ Keystone XL pipeline push was stopped short by the first Senate filibuster of 2015 as Democrats blocked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bid to end debate on the bill. The new Senate majority will now extend its debate on approving Keystone — a measure that was seen as an easy GOP win just weeks ago — as Democrats pressed McConnell to hold more amendment votes as proof of his commitment to a more open process in the chamber than their own party used while it was in power. A pair of 53-39 votes against ending debate on Keystone might have reached the 60-vote threshold they needed, however, had two absent pro-pipeline Democrats voted with the GOP Monday night, and winter storms not prevented some Republicans from reaching Washington. “We’re not trying to prove a point to Senator McConnell,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, Democrats’ No. 3 leader and top message man, told reporters after the votes. “We hope his takeaway

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Senate hearing focuses on taxpayer rights and clarifying tax laws for tax collectors and the Supreme Court

Associated Industries of Missouri president Ray McCarty was the first witness to testify at the first hearing of the Senate Ways and Means Committee for the 2015 legislative session on Thursday. The first bill before the Committee was SB 15, filed by Senator Bob Dixon.  The bill is an attempt to address many concerns expressed by taxpayers during hearings held across the state last summer by the Senate Interim Committee on Tax Administration Practices.  McCarty testified the bill would give taxpayers a chance to resolve issues through an Office of Taxpayer Advocate. The Office, unlike the current Ombudsman, would be able to help with taxpayer-specific issues. He told the Committee AIM and the Taxpayers Research Institute of Missouri (TRIM) also support adding the right to fair and consistent application of the tax laws to the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights.  He offered support for the Study Commission on Tax Policy that is created in the bill to help improve Missouri’s tax system.  McCarty also

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AIM seeks to expand successful job retention program to help ALL Missouri manufacturers

Building on the success of the original Manufacturing Jobs Act of 2010, Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) is again proposing incentives for all types of manufacturers to help retain jobs at Missouri manufacturing facilities.  Incentives would also be available for suppliers to qualifying facilities.  And no, we don’t mean tax credits! In 2010, Missouri faced the grim possibility of massive job losses and potential closure of a large auto manufacturing plant – the Ford plant in Claycomo, MO.  AIM was part of a diverse team that included unlikely allies from labor and business and across the political spectrum that joined forces to help pass the Manufacturing Jobs Act during a special session of the legislature.  The bill, sponsored by then Rep. Jerry Nolte and handled in the Senate by then Senator Luann Ridgeway, was unique in that it provided benefits to a company for making an infrastructure investment even if no additional jobs were created.  A company would be rewarded for retaining jobs if

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