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Friday, May 6, 2016

New year brings new laws for state

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Workers' comp and associations to be affected

MISSOURI -- Four new laws went intro effect in Missouri Jan. 1. Here is what the laws are and what they are intended to do.

Vehicle sales:

Any Missourian without a dealers license must begin reporting to the Missouri Department of Revenue all vehicle, trailer and all-terrain vehicle sales. Sellers must submit a notice of sale or a bill of sale to the department or face up to a $200 fine. If the buyer and seller have conspired not to report the sale to help the purchaser avoid any fees or taxes, the seller's fine can be bumped up to $300.

Utility rates:

This new law clears the way for the Public Service Commission to loosen restrictions on utility companies' ability to raise rates. The PSC already is studying possible rules that would allow utility companies to automatically increase their rates to account for certain types of expenses without first getting approval from the commission.

The law allows the commission to decide if electric, gas and water companies can use rate increases to pay for complying with environmental laws; if electric companies can increase their rates easier to pay for fuel costs; and if gas companies can raise rates when less gas is used during warmer winters.

Workers' comp:

As part of a larger law that tightens the state's workers compensation system, administrative law judges are barred from offering recommendations on what should be awarded to workers. The law also eliminates the state advisors who gave free guidance to the workers.

Homeowners association:

The state will now have authority to require homeowners' associations to eliminate discriminatory barriers for joining. Existing state law already makes it illegal to refuse to rent or sell a home to someone on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex and disability.

Under the new law, associations that have discriminatory requirements will have 30 days to change them after the state tells them to do so.

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