JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri branch of the National Federation of Independent Business will be meeting in early December to decide its legislative agenda for 2020, its director said during a recent interview.
"Some of the tort issues will be prioritized out at that point," NFIB Missouri State Director Brad Jones said.
Product liability probably will make the short list, Jones said.
"Our members have told us that just because you sell a product and then years later it starts to go south, it really shouldn’t be the responsibility of the person who sold that product," Jones said. "That's going to be something that we're going to be working on for sure."
Jones has been NFIB Missouri state director for more than 11 years, overseeing the coalition's legislative, political and member activism activities on behalf of Missouri's small business community.
Legislation that the NFIB has supported in Missouri includes efforts to bring down workers' compensation and runaway health care costs.
December's meeting will help the NFIB narrow its list of most-needed tort reforms to discuss with state lawmakers, Jones said.
"You can't go in there and ask for 10 tort bills," he said. "That's just the reality of it. If you do, the House speaker will look at you like, 'Really?' And the president of the Senate is going to look at you the same way. It just isn't going to happen."
Concentrating on a few bills rather than trying to support many bills in the state legislature is a proven strategy, Jones said.
"We've been successful because we've whittled these things down and the business community has been united in working toward one or two things every year," he said. "We've done that the last couple or three years and it's worked. On occasion, you’ll get one that's further down on the priority list that makes it through, too, and that's good."
December also traditionally is the time when state lawmakers start producing bills.
"Put them in the hopper, anyway," Jones said.