LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS IN THE STATE CAPITOL
This week, Senate Bill 7, a proposal that aims to put an end to out-of-state plaintiffs filing suit in Missouri courts seeking larger settlements, passed out of the Missouri Senate and was sent to the Missouri House of Representatives for further discussion. This bill is also known as the joinder-venue bill.
A joinder-venue case occurs when an attorney finds an individual in a specific city or county to join their lawsuit in order to establish a favorable venue for their lawsuit. Typically attorneys target courts that produce higher awards for plaintiffs.
Senate Bill 7 codifies the Missouri Supreme Court’s ruling in State ex rel. Johnson & Johnson v. Burlison, in which the court ruled that simply joining a party to a case is not sufficient to establish venue. The bill also ensures cases involving out of state businesses filed before the court ruling may continue as-is.
In addition, the bill states that if the county where the action is filed is not the proper venue, the plaintiff shall be transferred to a county where proper venue can be established. If no such county exists, the claim shall be dismissed without prejudice.
As a result, this bill has the potential to cut down on the large amounts of out-of-state lawsuits flooding Missouri courts that are paid for by Missouri taxpayers.
REAL ID COMPLIANT DRIVER’S LICENSE
Beginning March 25, 2019, Missourians can apply for a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or nondriver ID card. The REAL ID Act of 2005 requires all U.S. citizens to present a compliant license or ID card when flying domestically, accessing federal facilities, military bases, federal courts and entering nuclear power plants.
Under Missouri law, applying for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card is a choice, but all Missouri residents who plan on travelling domestically or entering any of the five designated locations will be required to present an acceptable form of identification beginning Oct. 1, 2020.
Anyone travelling in the near future can still present their current driver’s license as an acceptable form of ID. Missourians may apply for an early duplicate license or ID card, outside of their regular renewal period, six months prior to the expiration of their license or ID card.
On Saturday, March 23, 2019, license offices will be unable to provide license and ID services due to system updates regarding REAL ID processing capabilities. This will not affect motor vehicle titling and registration services provided at license offices that are scheduled to be open.
In addition, transaction and processing fees for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, new or renewal, will remain the same. Further details regarding fees and information about REAL ID can be found on the Department of Revenue’s website.
For a complete list of all bills filed for the 2019 legislative session, please visit the Missouri Senate’s website at senate.mo.gov.