Expert Witness bill receives initial approval in the Missouri House

HB 153, sponsored by Representative Kevin Corlew and supported by Associated Industries of Missouri, received initial approval by the Missouri House today. The bill would adopt the same standard for evaluating expert witnesses that is used in federal courts and more than 40 states. The bill now moves to the Missouri Senate for further consideration. According to the summary, “this bill specifies that a witness who is qualified as an expert may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if the expert’s specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data, the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.” Associated Industries of Missouri has supported this change for several years. Last year, the bill was passed and vetoed by former Governor Jay Nixon.

Congress begins “Midnight Regs” cleanup

Update 2/2/17: House Republicans began debate Wednesday on a measure to rescind rules designed to protect streams. The House also approved a CRA resolution undoing an SEC rule issued under the Dodd-Frank Act that “requires oil, natural gas and mineral developers to file more detailed financial information.” The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) issued its support for legislation to be considered by Congress that would support repeal of several onerous regulations—all of which were implemented in the final weeks of the previous presidential administration. Under the Congressional Review Act, resolutions of disapproval will be issued on the following regulations: the Department of the Interior’s stream protection rule, the Department of Labor’s blacklisting rule and the Bureau of Land Management’s methane rule. The House is expected to introduce and vote on all three of these resolutions this week. “Manufacturers saw a number of ‘midnight regulations’ handed down in the final days of an administration notorious for adding duplicative and unnecessary regulations

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Mark Fields named advisor on U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Initiative

The White House announced as part of its overall job creation agenda the launch of a Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. Mark Fields of Ford was named as an one of the initial business leaders assisting with this initiative. “Ford employs more hourly workers and produces more vehicles in the United States than any other automaker,” they issued in a statement. “Mark welcomes the opportunity to offer perspective on how the Trump Administration’s policies can support U.S. manufacturing and American jobs.” The full list of business leaders named: Andrew Liveris, The Dow Chemical Company Bill Brown, Harris Corporation Michael Dell, Dell Technologies John Ferriola, Nucor Corporation Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool Corporation Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company Ken Frazier, Merck & Co., Inc. Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson Greg Hayes, United Technologies Corp. Maril ynn Hewson, Lockheed Martin Corporation Jeff Immelt, General Electric Jim Kamsickas, Dana Inc. Klaus Kleinfeld, Arconic Brian Krzanich, Intel Corporation Rich Kyle, The Timken Company Thea Lee, AFL-CIO Mario Longhi, U.S. Steel Denise

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NAM: Monday Economic Report

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the U.S. economy grew 1.9 percent at the annual rate in the fourth quarter in preliminary data. This was slightly less than the consensus estimate of 2.2 percent, and it was slower than the 3.5 percent increase in the third quarter. Real GDP growth was buoyed by modest growth in consumer and government spending and by a continuing rebound in business investment, but net exports served as a drag on the headline number. Overall, the U.S. economy expanded 1.6 percent in 2016, down from its 2.2 percent post-recessionary average, and the year was mostly marked by an all-too-cautious approach to spending on the part of consumers and business leaders. Yet, by year’s end, that began to change with many Americans and firms more willing to open their pocketbooks. Moving forward, I would expect 2.6 percent growth in real GDP in 2017—a figure that will likely be assisted by pro-growth policies emanating from Washington,

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Trump takes steps toward construction of the Keystone XL pipeline

President Donald Trump took steps to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The move was one of Trump’s first actions in office and is supported by Associated Industries of Missouri. In February of 2014, AIM sent a letter to the Bureau of Energy Resources expressing support for the Keystone XL pipeline. The letter urged the Bureau to officially determine that Keystone XL serves the national interest and the project be given the Presidential Permit necessary for construction to begin.

Right to Work passes in both the Missouri House and Senate

Senate Bill 19 (Brown), a Right to Work bill supported by Associated Industries of Missouri, was passed Thursday in the Senate. The bill will now move to the Missouri House for consideration. If passed by the House, the measure will go to the governor for approval. A similar proposal, HB 91 (Rehder), also supported by AIM, already passed the Missouri House last week and awaits action in the Senate. Governor Greitens, who prioritized Right to Work in his campaign, says he will sign the bill into law if it makes in to his desk.  

The Art of the Tax Deal

Jim Carter is a member of AIM’s Board of Directors and recently served on President Donald Trump’s transition team. He wrote this article titled “The Art of the Tax Deal” that was originally published by Bloomberg BNA. More than 30 years have passed since the U.S. last reformed its tax code. When asked at the time who deserved credit for the Tax Reform Act of 1986, Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.), then-chairman of the Finance Committee, mumbled “God, I think.” But, ultimately, tax reform was made possible because policy makers struck a deal. Enter President Donald J. Trump. He may be a political novice but he wrote the book—literally—about making deals. Tax reform depends on his ability to convince at least 218 congressmen and 50 or more senators that it is in their interest to make a deal. That won’t be easy, but it is more likely than not to succeed this year. First, Trump campaigned on tax reform, calls it

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Chief Justice Breckenridge alludes to tort reform in State of the Judiciary address

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Patricia Breckenridge, delivered the State of the Judiciary address to the Joint Assembly on Tuesday. It was her fourth and final big speech as Chief Justice. As you may recall, Governor Greitens listed Missouri courts as a roadblock to job growth in his State of the State address. He proposed moving to the Daubert standard for expert witness testimony to keep out trial lawyers from other states, a proposal supported by Associated Industries of Missouri. While Breckenridge did allude to tort reform currently being prioritized by the Missouri legislature, she did not state proposals like the collateral source rule change or an adoption of the Daubert expert witness standards by name. In her speech, Breckenridge listed that of the 1.8 million cases filed in Missouri in the last fiscal year, 60 percent involved municipal ordinance violations and 17 percent were civil cases. “About 5 percent of civil cases – and fewer than 1 percent of all cases

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GM on the Auto Executives meeting with Trump: “We had a very constructive and wide-ranging discussion”

This statement was released by GM on Tuesday after GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra and other Auto Executives met with President Trump: We had a very constructive and wide-ranging discussion about how we can work together on policies that support a strong and competitive economy and auto industry, one that supports the environment and safety. The U.S. is our home market and we are eager to come together to reinvigorate U.S. manufacturing. We all want a vibrant U.S. manufacturing base that is competitive globally and that grows jobs. It’s good for our employees, our dealers, our suppliers and our customers.

Trump promises to wipe out business-hindering regulations

According to an article by the Washington Post, President Donald Trump spent his first formal day in the White House with several of the country’s largest corporations, promising to get rid of at least 75 percent of government regulations that hinder businesses. He also promised to fast-track their plans to open factories and cut taxes. “We’re going to be cutting regulation massively,” Trump told a large group of business chief executives. “Now, we’re going to have regulation, and it’ll be just as strong and just as good and just as protective of the people as the regulation we have right now. The problem with the regulation that we have right now is that you can’t do anything. … I have people that tell me that they have more people working on regulations than they have doing product.” Read the full article here.