A Missouri state legislature committee passed a bill Wednesday to allow businesses to sue a bank if it is violating the state’s dormant commerce clause.
The bill, SB 719, would amend Missouri’s statute so that businesses could seek a permanent injunction if the bank’s operations are halted.
The dormant clause was passed in the Missouri General Assembly in 2017 and is used by Missouri businesses to avoid state taxes and penalties.
The clause requires banks to take a series of actions before a state court to settle lawsuits.
The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld dormant clause as constitutional.
The bank could also be blocked from doing business in the state if a lawsuit is filed, the bill says.
The new law could affect nearly 100 Missouri businesses, according to the Missouri Business Roundtable.
It would apply to bank customers, business owners and the owners of businesses owned by the bank.
Businesses that have been served with a court order to stop doing business would still be able to file a lawsuit against the bank if they want to seek a temporary injunction.
Business owners who would have been affected by the dormant clause could also sue the bank, but not the business owners who are currently affected.
The state legislature could pass a bill again this session to revise the dormant-clause statute, but the measure will not be up for a vote this session, according the Missouri House of Representatives Finance Committee.
The committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Chris Stewart, said the bill could affect more than 100 Missouri companies.
Business members said the dormant commerce clauses were supposed to stop businesses from charging the state any state income tax.
The law requires businesses to collect at least $50,000 in state income taxes and the state imposes a 10 percent sales tax on the business’ profits, and an additional 1 percent on state income and sales taxes.
It also requires the state to pay the business the amount owed.
The bills would apply only to Missouri businesses that have opened an account in the bank in the last three years.
It is the second bill in Missouri to be approved by the legislature this session.
Another bill approved Wednesday would allow the state attorney general to issue subpoenas to banks and other businesses for documents relating to bank accounts, including financial statements, documents from third parties, and customer records.
The banking industry was not immediately available for comment.
The legislation was approved by a Senate committee in January.