House approves bill aimed at blocking local EV charging station mandates


A St. Louis County electric vehicle

By Jason Hancock, Missouri Independent

A bill that would require cities and counties across Missouri to pay for electric vehicle chargers in order to mandate businesses install them won House approval Feb 16.

The bill, which is sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim Murphy of Oakville and heads to the state Senate after last Thursday’s 105-36 vote, also says local governments could only mandate five spots, regardless of the size of the lot.

Murphy introduced similar legislation last year after St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis passed legislation to require businesses install chargers in some situations — such as when they redo parking lots or expand. Proponents of the legislation passed Thursday say requiring business owners to install electric vehicle chargers is an infringement on their freedoms and a mandate they can’t afford.

When the bill passed committee last month, Murphy argued those types of local mandates are potentially misguided.

“We’ve gotten the cart before the horse in many, many ways,” he told the committee. “When we look at electric vehicles, are they the future? Maybe. Probably. But not assuredly.”

State Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, said that while he understands the sentiment behind the bill, it is far too broad, stepping on local control in a way he couldn’t support.

“If a local community decides they want to press forward with a requirement that new projects include charging stations,” he said, “whether we disagree with that, they should be able to do that.”

Missouri Independent is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Missouri Independent maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jason Hancock for questions: Follow Missouri Independent on Facebook and Twitter.