A failed attempt at the Missouri statehouse sought to help protect consumers in the state from being gouged at the fuel pump.
For the second straight year, a bill intended to prevent price gouging in the state during state or federal emergencies stalled in committee. Sponsored by Rep. Mark Bruns, R-Jefferson City, the measure – HB1496 – would have applied protections to necessities, including food, fuel, water and transportation.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that nearly 30 states have some type of price-gouging ban with others pursuing their own rules. The laws in many of those states are triggered by emergency declarations.
The Missouri bill called for prohibiting sellers from increasing prices more than 10 percent above their costs immediately before emergency declarations. Offenders would have been liable for three times the amount “unfairly received for each transaction.”
To view other legislative activities of interest for Missouri in 2008, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor