In 2012, the Missouri State Utility Workers Conference once again tried to pass legislation that helps protect utility workers. We are pleased to announce that on the final day of session, our efforts were successful!!! To give a brief recap of the history behind this effort, please read on.
In 2011, the Missouri State Utility Workers Conference embarked upon a new mission - introducing and passing legislation that would increase the penalties against those that assaulted utility workers in the performance of their duties. The Conference had never before ventured into such territory, but many of the affiliates were noticing increased attacks on their members in the field and felt the time had come to enact legislation that could and would hopefully protect them. The Conference was able to draft and introduce House Bill 600 with the help of Representative Rodney Schad and our lobbyist, Ms. Dawn Nicklas.
Although HB 600 eventually fell short of enactment, it was one of the rare pieces of legisltation that actually stood a breathing chance of passage util the next to last day of the 2011 General Session. Armed with the knowledge gained about the process and additional information about dangers and hazards utility workers face every day in the field, the Conference decided to run the bill again in the 2012 General Session.
The 2012 legislative session turned out to be a tricky one with respect to political manuevering here in Missouri. Because of re-districting and challenges to the mapping, many are pre-occupied with legislative seats. However, the efforts of the Conference, and again with a tremendous amount of work by lobbyist Dawn Nicklas, we gained another chance at passing our crafted piece of legislation, which was House Bill 1516.
On Thursday, March 8th, 2012, HB 1516 (changes the laws regarding the crime of assaulting a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, emergency personnel, or highway worker to include a utility worker) was voted "do pass" as substitute from committee on House-Crime Prevention. This substitute does includes cable workers, which could possibly be beneficial for our legislation, although it was not originally crafted to include them.
On Friday, May 18th, the very last day of the 2012 regular session, our bill was attached to HB 1647, an omnibus bill, that was Truly Agreed to and Passed! It was sent to Governor Jay Nixon for consideration of his signature and placement into law, which it received on Tuesday, July 10th, 2012.
There are many individuals who worked hard on this particular piece of legislation, including Conference members, our Lobbyist ~ Ms. Dawn Nicklas, all of the utility companies in the State of Missouri who supported our efforts with testimony, and the elected officials who viewed our bill as a positive one, who we would like to thank at this time.
House Bill No. 1516; Utility Worker Assault Bill.pdf