SPONSOR: Schneider (May, 108)

COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Judiciary by a vote of 15 to 0.

This substitute modifies the law relating to judicial and administrative procedure. In its major provisions, the substitute:

(1) Deletes the requirement that a prosecuting attorney must file a motion to obtain the fingerprinting of a convicted defendant prior to sentencing or commitment (Section 43.503, RSMo);

(2) Allows associate circuit judges to issue investigative subpoenas in criminal cases (Section 56.085);

(3) Requires felony court costs to be assessed in felony traffic cases (Section 67.133);

(4) Allows the parties in a divorce action to agree to a date to be used to divide a state employee's pension (Section 104.312);

(5) Requires persons who perform marriage ceremonies to certify the marriage within 60 days after the marriage (Section 193.185);

(6) Eliminates trials de novo for violations of Missouri's imitation butter laws (Section 196.790);

(7) Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to share information concerning juveniles with the State Courts Administrator and the departments of Social Services, Mental Health, and Health. The substitute also establishes the Juvenile Information Governance Commission to recommend standards for the sharing of information about juveniles between executive agencies and circuit courts (Sections 210.865, 210.870);

(8) Repeals provisions relating to appeals from findings of juvenile court commissioners to allow such procedures to be governed by Section 478.037 (Section 211.029);

(9) Increases from $4,000 to $20,000 the maximum amount that a parent and child may be ordered to pay as restitution for a child's criminal act (Section 211.185);

(10) Allows the Governor to appoint 3 additional administrative law judges to serve in the Division of Workers' Compensation prior to July 1, 2003 (Section 286.010);

(11) Allows the Director of Revenue to take enforcement action for violations of administrative supervision (Section 303.041);

(12) Requires certain conditions to be met before donors of fire equipment may receive immunity from civil liability (Section 320.091);

(13) Extends to August 31, 2001, the expiration date of certain provisions related to not-for-profit health services corporations (Sections 351.025, 354.065);

(14) Extends the expiration date of certain provisions relating to the liquidation of insurers (Section 375.1220);

(15) Eliminates trials de novo from judgments finding a transfer of property violated creditors' rights (Sections 426.220, 426.230);

(16) Allows the release of a mechanic's lien on real estate by depositing 125% of the amount of the lien with the circuit court (Sections 429.145, 429.270);

(17) Eliminates trials de novo in suits to enforce mechanics' liens (Section 429.360);

(18) Allows courts in a divorce proceeding to provide the petitioner a copy of a handbook when the case is filed. The court may provide the respondent with the handbook when the summons is served (Section 452.556);

(19) Allows courts to enter information regarding any adult order of protection in the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System or a comparable system (Section 455.040);

(20) Allows adult orders of protection to prohibit a respondent from entering any dwelling occupied by the parties (Section 455.050);

(21) Allows counties to assess in all civil cases a $2 surcharge for funding domestic violence shelters. Currently, the surcharge may be assessed only in divorce actions (Section 455.205);

(22) Allows judges who retired prior to August 28, 1995, to receive a retirement benefit that is recalculated based on cost-of-living increases for retired judges between the time the judge was eligible to retire and when the judge retired (Section 476.690);

(23) Establishes the Drug Courts Coordinating Commission to coordinate the allocation of resources to drug courts throughout the state (Section 478.009);

(24) Provides procedures for review of decisions by commissioners and specifies that a court order adopting the commissioner's finding remains effective when objections are filed unless a stay is ordered by the court (Section 478.037);

(25) Requires the court in a small claims case to dismiss the case if the claimant has filed more than 8 small claims in one year. The substitute also applies the general venue provisions for civil actions to small claims actions (Section 482.330);

(26) Allows funds deposited in court registry accounts to be used for the clerk's office if the expenditures are approved by a majority of the judges of the court. Records of the expenditures are required to be disclosed to the public and the county's governing body (Section 483.310);

(27) Requires fees to be paid to the circuit clerk of the county which issued the original decision in cases appealed to the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court of Missouri (Section 483.500);

(28) Requires jurors in Greene County to be compensated at a rate of $50 per day for the third consecutive day of service and each day after the third day (Section 494.455);

(29) Deletes the provision allowing trials de novo in associate court cases tried without a jury and involving claims of damages of $5,000 or less (Section 512.180);

(30) Allows clerks to issue subpoenas in forcible entry and unlawful detainer actions and eliminates trials de novo from unlawful detainer and landlord-tenant cases (Sections 534.070, 534.350, 534.360, 534.380, 535.030, 535.110);

(31) Establishes procedures to distribute the Tort Victims' Compensation Fund which require 35% of payments to the fund to be used for legal services for low-income individuals and 65% to be used to assist uncompensated tort victims (Sections 537.675 -537.694);

(32) Requires the originating county to pay the trial costs associated with civil cases in which a change of venue is taken (Section 550.120);

(33) Adds additional procedures allowing the court and the trier of fact, in first degree murder cases, to determine if the defendant is mentally retarded. If the defendant is determined to be mentally retarded, the death penalty may not be imposed. These procedures apply to offenses committed on or after August 28, 2000 (Section 565.030);

(34) Clarifies that the court's judgment or final order may be disclosed when criminal charges are dismissed or when the accused was found not guilty or received a suspended imposition of sentence (Section 610.105);

(35) Requires the Department of Social Services to issue a notice of appeal rights with all decisions that are appealable to the Administrative Hearing Commission (Section 621.055);

(36) Deletes provisions relating to the Administrative Hearing Commission's authority to determine the constitutionality of administrative rules (Sections 621.155, 621.165, 621.175, 621.185, 621.189);

(37) Allows the Administrative Hearing Commission to set by rule a filing fee for original actions brought by non-state parties (Section 621.198);

(38) Provides for the election of a chief administrative law judge by the administrative law judges in an executive branch office and allows the legal advisor to participate in the selection when the administrative law judges are unable to select the chief judge. The section becomes effective on January 1, 2001 (Sections 1 and B); and

(39) Specifies that the substitute's provisions eliminating trials de novo become effective on January 1, 2001, and apply to cases filed on or after January 1, 2001 (Sections 2 and B).

FISCAL NOTE: Estimated Net Cost to General Revenue Fund of $190,738 in FY 2001, $228,885 in FY 2002, and $228,885 in FY 2003. Costs exclude unknown loss of income due to recovery of premium taxes. Estimated Net Cost to Workers' Compensation Administrative Fund of $0 to $329,952 in FY 2001, $0 to $400,073 in FY 2002, and $0 to $409,495 in FY 2003. Estimated Net Effect on County Foreign Insurance Fund of $0 in FY 2001, FY 2002, and FY 2003. Estimated Net Effect on Drug Court Resources Fund of $0 in FY 2001, FY 2002, and FY 2003. Estimated Net Cost to Tort Victims' Compensation Fund of $253,822 to Unknown in FY 2001, $261,990 to Unknown in FY 2002, and $273,204 to Unknown in FY 2003. Effect on Legal Services for Low-Income People Fund of Unknown in FY 2001, FY 2002, and FY 2003. Estimated Net Cost to All State Funds of $444,560 to $774,512 in FY 2001, $490,875 to $890,948 in FY 2002, and $502,089 to $911,584 in FY 2003. Costs exclude unknown loss of income due to recovery of premium taxes.

PROPONENTS: Supporters say that this bill makes statutory changes necessary for court automation and to comply with recent court cases. Trials de novo should be eliminated because the provisions were originally intended to apply to cases decided by magistrate judges who were not attorneys. It is important to establish procedures to distribute money in the Tort Victims' Compensation Fund because several million dollars have been paid to the fund and no procedures exist to distribute it.

Testifying for the bill were Senators Schneider and Klarich; Jackson County Family Court; Missouri Supreme Court; Missouri Bar Association; Legal Aid of Western Missouri; Circuit Court of St. Louis County; Office of the Attorney General; and Missouri Catholic Conference.

OPPONENTS: Those who oppose the bill say that the bill's procedures involving orders of commissioners should be modified to clarify the effect of orders when objections are filed.

Testifying against the bill were Department of Mental Health; and Probate Division of St. Louis County.

Katharine Barondeau, Legislative Analyst