Sen. Eric Burlison’s SB 122, the “Stop Socialism Act” allows a cause of action by any person against a state or local public body if the public body provides, or offers to provide, a competitive service that is also provided by the person within the jurisdiction of the public body.
“Government should not use a business’ tax dollars to fund a venture that competes with the business,” said Ray McCarty, president of Associated Industries of Missouri in support of the measure.
The bill says upon showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the offering of the service by the public body has been to the economic detriment of the person, the court shall award the person damages in an amount equal to the revenue lost by the person due to the actions of the public body. A court may also enjoin the public body from continuing to offer the competitive service.
During the hearing, several ideas were offered to improve the legislation by clearly excluding some services, such as broadband, that may not be offered at the same level by private businesses, activities traditionally engaged in by government, such as education and transportation, and other services/attractions, like parks and public golf courses.
The committee took no action on the bill.