2018 Capitol Reports & Press Releases (Archived)
January • February • MarchAprilMay • June  • July  •  August

CAPITOL REPORT - January 4, 2018.  Well, it’s official!  The Second Regular 99th Missouri General Assembly gaveled back into session at high noon on Wednesday, January 3rd.   My morning activities of the first day of session have become a tradition; for the 6th year in a row, I attended the Concord Baptist Church Annual Legislative Breakfast and Prayer Service.  The physical food was delicious, however, the spiritual food and prayer was even greater.  Colonel Gary Gilmore, Chaplain of the National Guard, was the guest speaker at the event and commented, “The wise thing that leaders can do is align one self’s heart with God’s plan and purpose for our life.”

The opening day session was highlighted by a speech from House Speaker Todd Richardson who encouraged his colleagues to continue the work they have done to make the great state of Missouri even greater. As Richardson said in his speech, “That is why it is critical for those of us in our final session, and for those who will pick up the torch when we are gone, to make it our focus in everything we do to leave this state a better place than we found it.”

He also stressed the need to work quickly to pass several priority pieces of legislation. The House is set to take up three pieces of legislation that have received strong bipartisan approval in the past. While these bills made it through the House, they did not receive Senate approval before time ran out on the 2017 session. Lawmakers hope this year to move all three measures across the legislative finish line.

Human Trafficking (HB 1246) - House members will work again this year to address the growing problem of human trafficking. The state is currently ranked 20th in reported human trafficking cases according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. 

Ethics Reform (HB 1303) - House members will also work to once again pass legislation meant to diminish the influence of lobbyists. Similar to legislation the House has passed in each of the last two sessions, the bill would ban gifts from lobbyists to legislators and other statewide elected officials. 

Reducing Burdensome Regulations (HB 1500) - In the first weeks of session House members will also work to cut burdensome red tape and reduce government overregulation so that businesses can thrive in Missouri. 

Wednesday morning was the annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.  The message was delivered by Reverend John Lindell who is the lead pastor of James River Assembly of God Church located in greater Springfield.   The message theme was ‘leading with faith and courage.’ 

On Thursday afternoon I was called into the House Ethics Committee for a preliminary hearing regarding the statement I made on August 30th about calling out the crime of vandalism with a crude colloquial statement. The vandalism occurred on a monument in the National Veterans’ Cemetery in Springfield. The conclusion of a confusing Ethics Committee process ended without my acceptance of a reprimand and failure of the committee to proceed with other options. So, to my knowledge at this point, this issue should be over.

When we reconvene next week, the Governor will deliver the State of the State message to the members of the entire General Assembly.  House Speaker Richardson will also be assigning House bills to committees and legislative work will begin.

CAPITOL REPORT - January 11, 2018. The 50th Annual Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) Convention was held the first weekend in January in Columbia.  As usual, for 40-plus years, I chored the livestock, and then my wife, Marla, and I headed to the convention to attend all three days.  Beef producers gathered from all around Missouri to set policy that starts as grassroots in our county organizations. This year’s convention theme and programs provided an opportunity to "Remember the Past and Look Toward the Future."   Cattlemen and cattlewomen learned what new techniques and technologies are changing the industry, new cattle management styles, as well as regulatory and legislative issues coming in 2018.  Together, we can move the beef industry forward. 

Legislative Affairs Chairman Jimmie Long of Cole Camp stated, "There is no policy established by staff or a few people in a closed door meeting. Our policies generally start at the county level and move up. This is a member-driven process that we take very seriously. Our members made clear that private property rights and integrity are of the utmost importance. The association will support measures that strengthen private property rights in Missouri and will vehemently oppose any invasion of those rights. We will work to protect the integrity of the product we produce and enhance the integrity in the ballot initiative process." 

If an animal owner is charged with animal abuse/neglect and they are found not guilty, the owner is still required to pay for all expenses associated with their case.  HB1945 ensures that owners who are found innocent are not liable for the costs associated with holding their animals and that their animals must be returned immediately.  MCA also supports legislation (SB797) that ensures officials are adequately trained to identify animal abuse and neglect using materials certified by the State Veterinarian.   

Also pertaining to private property rights, current statutes regarding the Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) authority in regulating MO water do little to provide absolute clarity to DNR and to citizens on what is and isn't regulated by DNR.  MCA will push for clarity in state statute to ensure DNR has the ability to improve water quality without hampering private property rights.  

Long also stated that MCA will work with the Secretary of State's office to encourage legislation on accountability, transparency and integrity into the state's ballot initiative petition process. 

He also said MCA will lead efforts to make certain that plant-based proteins and imitation meat products created in a laboratory are labeled correctly and do not mislead consumers into thinking they are buying beef produced by Missouri farm and ranch families.

Holly Hubert represented the Protect the Harvest Booth at the convention.  We discussed the right to raise livestock without infringement from organizations like HSUS and PETA.  Plus, we also discussed the fact that county health boards in Missouri are adopting more stringent local ordinances on livestock operations than DNR requires.  This issue needs to be clarified by the General Assembly. Statute 192.300 currently reads that the county commissioners must also be in agreement.   However, many times this is not the case.   Several county commissions in Missouri are joining up with Missouri Farmers Care and are becoming Agri-Ready, which means that counties will not adopt ordinances/regulations that are more stringent than state requirements.  Currently, there are approximately 40 counties that have been designated and the number is increasing.  Benton and St. Clair Counties are designated Agri-Ready, and I encourage Cedar and Hickory Counties to participate. Currently, both county commissions and county health center boards may make and establish orders, ordinances, rules or regulations under certain circumstances, but cannot conflict with any rules or regulations of the Department of Health and Senior Services or the Department of Social Services.  I have sponsored legislation (HB1480) that requires the county commission and the county health center board to be in concurrence when establishing health orders, ordinances, rules or regulations, except in the case of an emergency.

Missouri Farmers Care, a statewide coalition of agriculture groups formed to promote modern agriculture, food production and farm life, presented historic awards at the MCA convention on Saturday, Jan. 6.  The Missouri Farmers Care Hall of Fame five inaugural recipients are: Congressman Jason Smith, Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, Sen. Brian Munzlinger, Rep. Bill Rieboldt, and Forrest Lucas, founder of Protect the Harvest.   Congratulations to all these deserving recipients.

CAPITOL REPORT - January 18, 2018.  With the General Assembly now in session, Friday is my in-district work day.  It actually started very early in the morning because of icy road conditions.  I took my wife, Marla, to her workplace in Warsaw.  While driving, it was obvious that the MoDOT road crews had been out salting the intersections and bridges.  So, in appreciation of their good work, I picked up some doughnuts and delivered them to the MoDOT barns in Warsaw and Preston. 

From there, I called on the city officials of Weaubleau and Wheatland along the “Discover More on Highway 54” route.  I spent lunchtime at the McCarty Senior Center in Wheatland.  I had plans to make a presentation at Hermitage High School afterward, but due to schools closing because of the weather, the recognition event was moved to the McCarty Senior Center.  It was an honor to present a resolution to Hermitage High School Senior Easton Sabala.   This fine, young man placed 1st out of 165 competitors in the Class 1 State Cross Country Championship in November.  He also helped lead the Hermitage/Wheatland H.S. Cross Country Team to a 2ndplace finish in the state championships following 3 consecutive years as the state champs.  We are very fortunate to have excelling students in our district who are blessed with wonderful guidance from their instructors and coaches! 

Friday I had the privilege of presenting a resolution to Hermitage Senior Easton Sabala along with his parents Mark and Anastasia.  His father is also coach of the Hermitage/Wheatland Cross Country Team. Easton placed 1st out of 165 competitors at the Class I State Cross Country Championship.  

CONSERVATION/CWD UPDATE: 

I conferenced with Aaron Jeffries, Missouri Dept. of Conservation Deputy Director, this week.  He updated me on the results of testing deer for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) that was completed in our area during opening weekend of the Fall firearm season.  While 2 positive samples were confirmed in our district (one adult buck in Cedar and one adult buck in Polk counties), MDC suggested the low number of positive results illustrated the disease was recently introduced into these areas.  The Missouri Department of Conservation has reported CWD-positive results for 15 free-ranging deer out of nearly 18,400 test results this season.   This season’s testing was called for because of 2 infected deer harvested in the previous 2016 hunting season.  Because of this year’s results, a rather small 4-6 mile area near Collins has been targeted for eradication of the deer herd.  Hopefully, this will lessen the spreading of the fatal disease.  You can learn more about CWD online at https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/wildlife-diseases/chronic-wasting-disease-cwd. 

Realtors from across the state visited the Capitol on Wednesday.  I had the pleasure of meeting with Judy McKovich and Ed and Donna Peterson who are all realtors in the District 125 area.

Realtors from the Sedalia area stopped by to visit with me on Wednesday to advocate for legislation coming up during the 2018 session.

CAPITOL REPORT- January 25, 2018.  On my way to the Capitol on Monday I stopped by 2 coffee caucuses in Warsaw.  The first was at the Boring Rexall Drug Store, and the second was at McDonald’s.  It’s a great way to visit, listen to local concerns, and keep up on community events.  Two new construction projects underway are the new American Legion Hall building to replace the structure that had arson fire damage last Spring, and a new Casey’s store is going up just north of McDonald’s in Warsaw.

Big issues being discussed in committees this week were:  expanding broadband, repealing Prevailing Wage, utility rate adjustments, and industrial hemp. 

The State of the Judiciary address was delivered by Chief Justice Zel Fischer on Wednesday.  He focused on the opioid crisis and encouraged more funding for treatment. "Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids continuing to climb," Fischer reminded lawmakers. "Missouri lost 1,066 people in 2015 and 1,371 people in 2016 to drug overdose. This is a staggering increase in deaths." Fischer mentioned that some people charged with drug or alcohol related crimes, usually first-time offenders, are given the opportunity to work through their issues and addictions rather than just be sentenced to prison through successful treatment courts across the state.  Fischer said drug courts are more cost-effective than any other criminal justice strategy to address the growing problem.   He pledged to work with lawmakers to help make the treatment courts available in every jurisdiction in the state.

Another event that I attended this week was led by former Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell.  He, along with former Senator Wes Shoemyer, advocate for Family Farm Action, Organizations for Competitive Markets, and Human Society of the United States.  Maxwell and Shoemyer paint a picture with a wide brush of doom and gloom for Missouri farmers and rural communities.  They are anti Farm Bureau, MO Cattlemen’s, MO Pork, MO Corn, MO Soybean, MO Rice and other well-known farm organizations.  To hear them tell their story, we have no fair markets for livestock and grains.  They try to stir anger and fear in Missouri about foreign ownership of agricultural land.  My first year in the legislature, we passed a state statute that drew a line in the sand which capped the allowable acreage for foreign ownership at 1%.  Currently, foreign ownership is only .5% of the 1% allowed.  I certainly agree that this needs to be continuously tracked and transparent so that it does not exceed the 1% limit.  –Just a word of caution to Missourians:  Be wary of the so called “Farmers Bill of Rights for Missourians.”  It sounds good on the surface, but the devil is in the details.  I am always willing and available to attend meetings to explain this.  It’s interesting that the Family Farm Action group chose this name with the same acronym as Future Farmers of America.  Don’t be deceived.

I received a visit from Deb and San Simaitis on Tuesday.  They were at the Capitol to promote organ donation education in the classroom.  Deb serves as the Chair of the Governor’s Organ Donation Advisory Committee.  DONATE LIFE AWARENESS DAY will take place on April 10th at the Capitol honoring donors and recipients.

FARMERS’ MARKET MATCHING GRANT PROGRAM:

Missouri is one of the top states for farmers’ markets in the nation with nearly 300 farmers’ markets that provide venues for agricultural producers to sell their products directly to consumers. The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced the Farmers’ Market Promotion Matching Grant Program to support the promotion and advertisement of Missouri’s farmers’ markets.  Applications for this grant must be received by February 15th, with the application available at http://agriculture.mo.gov/abd/financial/pdf/farmersmarketapp.pdf.

The Farmers’ Market Promotion Matching Grant Program, funded through MDA, awards grants of up to $1,000 for reimbursement of expenses associated with promoting farmers’ markets in local communities. Projects should promote the farmers’ market in the local community and improve understanding, perception, knowledge and location of the farmers’ market. This is a competitive grant program, and funds may be used to assist farmers’ markets in developing promotional and advertising materials. Funds may also be used to increase community awareness about market locations, times of operation and types of products sold.  Examples of eligible expenses include digital and print media, signage, billboards, advertisements, marketing and graphic design.

CAPITOL REPORT - February 1, 2018.  My in-district Friday started at 9:00 a.m. meeting with the El Dorado Springs High School Government classes.  I had the privilege of sharing about the legislative process with approximately 50 Juniors and Seniors.  I then presented 2 American FFA Degree resolutions to Caeleigh Gardner and Landon Leonard who have participated in the El Dorado Springs High School FFA Chapter.

While in El Dorado Springs, I met with Harold Fugate, who is instrumental in community betterment, to discuss options for funding the El Dorado Springs Youth Center.  The Youth Center offers an afterschool program for K-12 students with adult supervision, a computer lab with 20 units for student study and research, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts meetings, recreational activities and a multipurpose room available for large gatherings. 

I then travelled on to Osceola and attended the monthly Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  The program presentation was given by Alessandro Alberto, a foreign exchange student from Italy.  He is a guest of Mike and Rhonda Wilson while attending school in Osceola.

My wife, Marla, and I also attended a fundraiser at Rivers Crossing Life Center in Osceola.  Volunteers prepared an excellent menu of Mexican food for 150 people, and it was a sell-out event!  All of the proceeds raised will benefit the home-delivered meal program.

I was able to get some much needed livestock chores completed on Saturday.  We then topped off the day by attending the annual Osceola Basketball Tournament.  Several of our District 125 high school teams participate each year.  This year’s winners were:  Championship-Lakeland Vikings; 2nd Place- Weaubleau Tigers; and 3rd Place-Osceola Indians.  Congratulations to everyone!

On the way to the Capitol Monday morning, I visited with Mac Vorce, Director of the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce.  We discussed future plans for a bicycle trail that will extend from New Orleans to Minnesota and how it could tie in with the proposed Butterfield Overland Trail Stagecoach National Parkway.  As the Butterfield Overland Trail crosses through MO, it extends from Springfield through Tipton and passes through Hickory and Benton Counties.  Once again, I have sponsored legislation (HCR76) that urges the U.S. Congress to commemorate and celebrate the historic Butterfield Overland Trail by making it part of the National Historic Trails System.

Upon arrival at the Capitol, I had the opportunity to present the MO Veterans Heritage Protection Act to the MO Association of Veterans Organizations (MAVO).  Its mission and purpose is for its members to assemble and exchange ideas for the collective welfare of all veterans residing in the state of Missouri, assist the Missouri Veterans Commission, and advise the Governor and General Assembly on matters of interest.

PHOTO ABOVE: MO Association of Veterans Organizations (MAVO) held a rally at the Capitol on Tuesday and advocated for legislation that its members support, which includes the preservation and protection of all veterans’ objects of remembrance in Missouri:  HB1427 and HB2189.  

A bill that I took particular interest in this week was HB1880 on broadband services.  Before it was perfected during House session on Wednesday, I spoke on the Floor to House members about the critical need for broadband in District 125.  In fact, this is one of the top three District 125 concerns this year, along with funding for transportation infrastructure and the opioid crises.  This legislation declares that “the expansion of broadband services is within the best interests of the citizens of Missouri, and in furtherance of expanding broadband throughout MO, the bill states the intent of the General Assembly to encourage agreements between various parties and rural electric cooperatives to expand rural broadband services. Such agreements may provide for the nonexclusive use of rural electric cooperative infrastructure and easements.” Identical language has been sponsored in the Senate as well (SB980).

I had the privilege of spending Wednesday with Job Shadow Kaylynn Wake of Willow Springs.  Kaylynn participated in the MO Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Legislative Shadowing Project.  This worthwhile project helps students become more involved citizens and advocates for their communities. 

MORE MISSOURIANS ARE TAKING THE PLEDGE: 

News release from MoDOT:  “Buckle Up - Phone Down”

JEFFERSON CITY – Statewide, over 2,100 individuals and nearly 300 businesses have taken the “Buckle Up - Phone Down” pledge.  They’re 2 simple acts that can save your life, and the lives of others. Buckle up and make sure every passenger in your vehicle is buckled up.  If you’re driving, put the phone down.  “Buckle Up - Phone Down.”  With no primary seat belt law or all-driver texting ban, MoDOT and the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety are urging drivers to take their safety seriously, and take the pledge at modot.org/BuckleUpPhoneDown/. Once there, you can pledge as an individual or business. You can also upload a photo and logo, or view other partners and their wall of fame.  Missouri is one of only 16 states with no primary seat belt law, and one of only three states without an all-driver texting ban.  For more information on highway safety or Buckle Up - Phone Down, please visitsavemolives.com/Buckle-Up-Phone-Down.

CAPITOL REPORT - February 8, 2018.  Driving back to the Capitol was somewhat treacherous on Monday for most everyone.  Freezing rain, ice and snow across much of Missouri was the norm; this caused several multiple-vehicle accidents and road closures.  However, most all of the Missouri legislators made it in by Monday afternoon, and we went right to work doing the people’s business.  

Monday evening I attended the Rural Electric Cooperative reception and got to visit with Aaron Ash and Don Levi, both with Sac Osage Electric Co-op.  One of my priorities is to stay informed and up-to-date on the electric providers in our District 125.  It’s most important that electricity is available, reliable and affordable.  Tuesday morning, these gentlemen were at the Capitol and stopped by the office, advocating for current legislation.  I appreciate their involvement, input, and commitment to a high standard of service. 

The Economic Development Committee hearing on the full repeal of Prevailing Wage was held on Tuesday evening.  The committee heard three identical bills, including the language I have sponsored (HB1436).   It was a very successful hearing with the hearing room full of county commissioners from across the state.  It was great to listen to Marlon Collins, Cedar County Presiding Commissioner, testify in favor of the full repeal and the huge impact it would have for the cost of repair or replacement to county infrastructure needs.  Some other commissioners that testified were from Cape Girardeau, Dent, Macon, and Platte Counties.  We were also extremely pleased that Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft attended the hearing and gave a detailed testimony in favor of the full repeal.  This repeal would clear the way for qualified/competitive bidding on public works projects, not to mention the fact that it is the most proficient use of taxpayer dollars. 

This week in the Conservation/Natural Resources Committee, we heard testimony on HB1657that would allow non-resident landowners to hunt on their own land without being required to purchase out-of-state tags.  This bill allows any U.S. citizen who is not a MO resident, but owns at least 75 acres of property in Missouri, to receive resident hunting, fishing, or trapping permit privileges.  Currently, since 2009, the MO Conservation Department (MDC) requires all MO landowners who live out-of-state, but own MO land and pay MO property taxes (and in many cases, pay personal property taxes on equipment) to purchase a non-resident hunting permit, the same as hunters who do not own land in MO.   For example, Forrest Lucas, who owns Lucas Cattle Company, comprised of several hundred acres of land, cattle and machinery.  In addition, he established and owns Lucas Oil Speedway at Wheatland.  Due to his business interests, he is a rather large employer and taxpayer in Hickory County.  I made a personal phone call to Mr. Lucas, whose permanent address is in Indiana.  I asked if he knew he would be required by current MDC regulation to purchase a non-resident $225 firearm deer tag to hunt deer on his own land.  He was unaware of that policy, because he really is not a hunter.  However, he stated, “If I wanted to bring my grandson and hunt on my own property during deer season, I should be allowed to do so, the same as every other landowner in Missouri.”  I agree with him and will do everything I can to support HB1657. 

FFA STATE OFFICERS VISIT STATE CAPITOL: 

Members of the FFA State Officer Team visited the Capitol this week to talk about the importance of agricultural education in Missouri.  The group made the trip to Jefferson City in conjunction with Career and Technical Education Month to represent the more than 25,900 students around the state who participate in FFA.  Their visit was highlighted by a speech made in the House Chamber by FFA President Abby Bertz.  She discussed the organization’s origins in Kansas City, and focused her comments on the importance of preparing the next generation of leaders.  FFA prepares the next generation to meet the challenges of feeding a growing population by helping its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways through their experiences in agricultural education.  The 2018 National FFA Week is February 17-24.  I hope to see District 125 FFA members throughout the Capitol halls during that week! 

CAPITOL REPORT - February 15, 2018.  My in-district day, Friday, began with a hearty breakfast at the Landmark in Lowry City.  This is always a great place to visit and listen to constituent concerns.  I then delivered American FFA Degree resolutions for Michaela Carroll, Miranda Foreman, Brady Munsterman, and Shelby Neuenschwander to Lakeland R-III High School. 

On my way to the Capitol Monday, I drove the “Discover More on Route 54” highway.  I made some stops in Hermitage.  Driving south of Highway 254, two new construction projects are well underway:  the new Hickory County Health Department facility and the Pitts Family Complex which is home to the newly opened Hermitage Lumber, Inc., which plans an open house and ribbon cutting for March 9th and 10th.

The Pitts Family Complex in Hermitage is home of the newly opened Hermitage Lumber, Inc.  An open house and ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for March 9th and 10th. 

Jeremy Hulshof, Editor of The Index of Hermitage and Hickory County, was at the Capitol last Thursday for a Missouri Press Association Legislative Breakfast.  He made time to visit with me, and during our discussion of Hickory County issues, he inquired about the maintenance and mowing of local cemeteries, which has been a major concern of the Hickory County Commissioners and trustees of local cemeteries.  I pointed out that legislation passed last year stating that ‘the county commission may invest or loan said trust fund or funds in United States government, state, county or municipal bonds, certificates of deposit, first real estate mortgages, or deeds of trust and may utilize investment managers to invest, reinvest, and manage assets.’  However, the law change still does not address the immediate, current shortage of interest generated from the principal that has been placed in the custody of the county commission.   This interest has been used for maintenance and mowing of the cemeteries.  Because of low interest rates, lack of any interest income has caused great difficulties.  I have refiled language from last year that would allow ‘the commission to use as much of the principal thereof as the commission deems necessary for such purposes’(HB2470).

Jeremy Hulshof, Editor of The Index of Hermitage and Hickory County, visited the Capitol last Thursday for the Missouri Press Association Legislative Breakfast.

It was great to visit with and listen to concerns of MO Retired Teachers Assn. members from Hickory and St. Clair Counties who advocated on Tuesday at the Capitol.  L-R:   Sharon Cooper, Susan Brockus, Carolyn Smith, Ann Heuesemann, Kathy Miller, Mary Newcomb, Larry Lewis, Teri Estes, and Rep. Love.

Representing the St. Clair County and Missouri Farm Bureau, Matthew and Jennie Noakes, spent some time in the House Chamber on Tuesday.  They are very active in their community of Lowry City.

Amie Breshears, member of  Warsaw R-IX School Board and MO School Board Assn., and Don Kauble, Benton County MO Retired Teachers Assn., each spent time sharing their concerns and ideas on Tuesday at the Capitol. 

Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) promotes “Cowboys at the Capitol” each Wednesday during February-April. This program is the premier grassroots advocacy program in MO.  No other organization has its members at the Capitol completely volunteering their time every single week of session. Our office greets the “Cowboys and Cowgirls” from across the state with donuts and coffee each week.  L-R:  MCA member, Paul Gibbs; Rep. Love; Coby Wilson, MCA Manager of Strategic Solutions; Rep. Houghton, Chair of the Agriculture Committee and office mate; and MCA member, Charlie Besher.

I enjoyed visiting with members of Twin Lakes Hospice on Wednesday during session.  Twin Lakes Hospice is located in Clinton and serves all of Benton, Henry and St. Clair counties and parts of Bates, Cass, Hickory, Johnson and Pettis counties. 

HOUSE APPROVES NEEDLE EXCHANGE BILL: 

This past Fall, I attended an Opioid Crisis Summit in Columbia.  I learned the three approaches to lessen the loss of life due to drug addiction:  1) Prevention; 2) Treatment; and 3) Lessen the Harm.  The Missouri House approved legislation this week (HB1620) that would ease state law to allow organizations to give clean needles to users of illegal intravenous drugs.  Supporters say the bill will help combat a potential outbreak of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C caused by the sharing of used needles, and will get more people into drug treatment.  The sponsor of the bill explained that individuals who use this type of program to get needles are five times more likely to get into drug treatment because the programs put them in contact with medical professionals.  Proponents also say the bill will save the state money in costs to Medicaid of treating people who contract conditions like HIV and Hepatitis C by sharing needles. 

2018 MISSOURI VIETNAM VETERANS DAY: 

Since being signed into law in 2012, Missouri Vietnam Veterans Day is observed on March 30theach year.  In recognition of those who served in this conflict, Vietnam Veterans are invited to the Capitol on THURSDAY, MARCH 29TH for a special ceremony and presentation at 9:00 a.m. to be followed by a formal recognition at the start of session in the House Chamber.   House members are encouraging Vietnam Veterans throughout the state to come forward to receive special recognition for their service.  If you are able to attend, please call our office at 573-751-4065 for special arrangements.  The House of Representatives and I would be greatly honored by your presence, and we hope to make this a day of celebration to recognize all the Vietnam Veterans across the state.

CAPITOL REPORT - February 22, 2018.  I hurried home last Thursday after session with just enough time to move the electric fences and give the cattle more grass and hay.  My wife, Marla, prepared a very fine belated Valentine’s Day supper.  Afterward, I drove to the Methodist Church in Clinton and attended a memorial service for Roy Ackers.  Roy spent his lifetime farming and raising cattle.  He was a member of the National Cattlemen’s Assocation, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) and the Henry County Cattlemen’s Association.  He received the Pioneer Award in 2015, the highest award given by the MCA.  My first recollection of Roy went back to the 1970’s when I first got involved with the MCA.  Our paths crossed often due to us both being in the cattle business.  In my book, Roy was a “Top Hand” and will be greatly missed by many Missouri Cattlemen. 

Friday morning started with breakfast at the ‘Round Table’ in Smith’s Restaurant at Collins.  The discussion centered around the MO Department of Conservation plans to reduce the deer herd population in the Collins area.  I then visited Weaubleau High School to deliver American FFA Degree resolutions for Leo Barnett, Gatlin Freeman, and Lakota Peppel; then to Hermitage High School with American FFA Degree resolutions for Brent Aubuchon and Ashely Wise; and to Skyline High School for Payton Damitz, Fred Reiss, Tyler Sweaingin, and Shian Swearingin.  I am sure proud of these young adults for earning this prestigious degree.  I also had an opportunity to spend time with Hermitage R-IV School District Superintendent Ed Vest discussing current educational issues.  I also enjoyed going to the McCarty Senior Center in Wheatland for a fine fish dinner.  While there, I passed out several 2018 legislative surveys and discussed issues with many of the seniors at the center on Friday.

It was great to have Skyline Juniors and Seniors at the Capitol last week with their History Instructor, Brett Bybee.  They spent the day observing House and Senate  in session as well as touring the historical building.

Allyssa Burrow of Osceola was at the Capitol on Tuesday with fellow classmates from University of Central Missouri participating in the Missouri Speech, Language, and Hearing Legislative Day.  They were advocating forcertification of music therapists as well as legislative for a hearing aid distribution program.

Hickory County Health Department Environmental Public Health Specialist Jeff Owen, Elizabeth Oxbrey of The Arc of the Ozarks, and Tracy Sexton of MO Foundation for Health met with me on Wednesday regarding the positive impact that the Hickory County Health Department has in promoting a healthy school and community.

I had the opportunity to meet with Cyndee Schmidt, Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission, and Randy Pogue, City Administrator of Warsaw, regarding the Butterfield Overland Trail and other local tourism as well as transportation issues.  They were both in Jefferson City to attend a transportation summit with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

I received a welcomed visit from District 125 County Collectors on Thursday.  L-R:  Pamela Guffey, St. Clair Co. Collector; Karen Stokes, Hickory Co. Collector; Samantha Thomas, Benton Co. Collector’s Deputy; and Donna Hart, Benton Co. Collector. 

LEGISLATION THIS WEEK:

House members have approved a bill (HB2034) that would legalize the growing of industrial hemp in Missouri.  Supporters say the bill would help promote industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity in Missouri;  it is used in more than 25,000 products that include agriculture, textiles, recycling, automotive, furniture, food/nutrition/beverages, paper, construction materials and personal care. The legislation would exempt industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana and the list of controlled substances.  Supporters also point to studies that show farmers who add industrial hemp to their crop rotation may have another cash crop.   The bill is in no way related to attempts to legalize marijuana.   It will now move to the Senate for consideration. 

In other legislation, (HB 1710) passed through the House this week and would change the law on recognizing licenses to practice occupations or professions issued by other states when substantially similar training and educational requirements exist. The bill is meant to reduce barriers to entry and make it easier for folks to immediately get back to work without burdensome and stifling restrictions requiring repetitive education.

STATE INCOME TAX RETURN STATUS ALERTS: News Release From the MO Dept. of Revenue … 

JEFFERSON CITY — Missourians can now sign up to receive automatic text and email alerts each time the status of their state tax return is updated. “Instead of having to wait on the phone or check online every day to see their status, customers who opt into email or text alerts will be informed as soon as something changes. This one improvement will make the tax return process easier and less stressful for our customers,” said Department Director Joel Walters.  To enroll in alerts, customers only need three pieces of information: Social Security number, filing status and anticipated refund or balance due.  Return information will be available 48 hours after filing electronically or four weeks after mailing a paper return.  Customers will receive easy-to-read graphics that indicate the current status of their return, the return processing steps that have already been completed, the next steps

DOR will take and the refund issue date, if applicable.  To access the Missouri Return Inquiry System and sign up for automatic text and email alerts, please visit: www.dor.mo.gov/returnstatus/. 

2018 MISSOURI VIETNAM VETERANS DAY: 

Since being signed into law in 2012, Missouri Vietnam Veterans Day is observed on March 30theach year.  In recognition of those who served in this conflict, Vietnam Veterans are invited to the Capitol on THURSDAY, MARCH 29TH for a special ceremony and presentation at 9:00 a.m. to be followed by a formal recognition at the start of session in the House Chamber.   House members are encouraging Vietnam Veterans throughout the state to come forward to receive special recognition for their service.  If you are able to attend, please call our office at 573-751-4065 for special arrangements.  The House of Representatives and I would be greatly honored by your presence, and we hope to make this a day of celebration to recognize all the Vietnam Veterans across the state.

CAPITOL REPORT - March 1, 2018. My in-district Friday did not go as planned, however, it turned out better than planned.  My intentions were to take my son, John, to the Osceola Chamber Luncheon with a planned stop first at the Osceola High School to drop off an American FFA Degree resolution for Kaitlyn Taylor.  When I arrived at the High School Vo-Ag building, the smell of hamburgers grilling and fish frying made it obvious that the Osceola FFA Chapter was celebrating FFA Week.  FFA Advisor Charles Simpson invited John and me to attend.  While there, we noticed a newly manufactured welded hay bale ring feeder, which we purchased.  The Vo-Ag Shop Class welds these hay bale rings to develop welding knowledge and skills.  I, for one, can vouch these are lifelong skills the students are learning, because I learned and practiced the same skills from 1964 through 1968 when I was a Vo-Ag/FFA student at Osceola High.  I also appreciated some time visiting with Danny DeWitt, Osceola Superintendent, discussing current education issues. 

On Saturday, my wife, Marla, and I attended a ribbon cutting ceremony in Weaubleau along the “Discover More on Route 54” highway.  It’s great to welcome new business along the 54 corridor.  There was a large crowd at the ceremony to support Dr. Steven Loehr and Dr. Caitlyn Bowman, who will be offering services at Loehr Chiropractic and Acupuncture.  Steven’s brother, Justin, has recently opened an auto sales company in the area as well.   

During FFA Week at the Capitol last week, several House members gathered for a group photo in the chamber. 

I received a surprise visit from Courtney Garr on Tuesday, who was at the Capitol advocating with physical therapists from across the state.  Her husband, Cory, was an intern at the Capitol a few years ago, and they are both graduating from MU this spring.  They plan to bring their talents back to our region where they will reside.

Rodney Johnson of Warsaw was at the Capitol representing the Benton County Farm Bureau on Tuesday.  We had a great visit at the Missouri Farm Bureau dinner on Tuesday evening.  

It is always great to see Delbert Scott at the Capitol.  Delbert served the State of Missouri as a representative for 18 years and senator for 8 years.  He currently serves as President of Kansas Christian College. 

Members of the Junior and Collegiate Cattlemen visited the Capitol on Wednesday.  I had the honor of introducing them in the House Chamber and also introduced the reigning MCA Beef Queen, Kennedy Barnitz, a Senior at Rolla H.S., whose father is a former state representative and senator, Frank Barnitz.

I enjoyed visiting with John and Pam Carleton of Warsaw on Thursday morning.  The Carleton’s are dedicated advocates for the Midwest Hemophilia Association.  

LEGISLATION THIS WEEK: 

The MO House has created a committee that will investigate the charge on which Gov. Eric Greitens has been indicted. This week the members of the House also gave unanimous, bipartisan support to a resolution that outlines the investigative process and the powers the committee will have to conduct the investigation.   The committee will begin its work immediately and has been given 40 days to present its findings.  As the committee investigates, the Speaker made it clear the House will continue its work as normal. “We are going to continue to move forward with the substantive legislation that we have spent the bulk of this session working on,” said Speaker Richardson, who added that the committee has a big task ahead of it, “but that is not going to deter us or limit our ability to move forward on priorities that the people of MO sent us here to do.” 

Bills that have been passed and will now be moving to the Senate include:  HB 1873 which specifies that the court may require any person found guilty of chasing, pursuing, taking, transporting, killing, processing, or disposing of certain wildlife in violation of the MO Conservation Commission's rules and regulations to make restitution to the state.  Supporters say MO has some of the lowest poaching fines in the country and the bill would increase the fines and reduce poaching. 

Also headed to the Senate, HB 1945 would change the laws regarding the confiscation of animals. This MCA priority bill would require a speedy disposition hearing to determine if an owner is liable for animal abuse or neglect and will save money. Often animal owners forfeit their rights to the animals because they cannot pay the bond or the costs associated with the legal challenge. 

2018 MISSOURI VIETNAM VETERANS DAY: 

Since being signed into law in 2012, Missouri Vietnam Veterans Day is observed on March 30theach year.  In recognition of those who served in this conflict, Vietnam Veterans are invited to the Capitol on THURSDAY, MARCH 29TH for a special ceremony and presentation at 9:00 a.m. to be followed by a formal recognition at the start of session in the House Chamber.   House members are encouraging Vietnam Veterans throughout the state to come forward to receive special recognition for their service.  If you are able to attend, please call our office at 573-751-4065 for special arrangements.  The House of Representatives and I would be greatly honored by your presence, and we hope to make this a day of celebration to recognize all the Vietnam Veterans across the state.

CAPITOL REPORT - March 8, 2018. My in-district Friday started with breakfast at the Landmark in Lowry City.  One of the “regulars” commented to me, “That’s not the same hat you normally wear.”  I said, “No, sir, this is a Stockman’s Scotch Cap.  I put it on this morning to keep my ears warm, because I am starting to spread fertilizer today!”  Since the weather was great and the ground was dry, I managed to get the equipment over 120 acres.  

Friday evening, Marla and I attended a soup and chili fundraiser for the Wheatland Harvest Festival at the McCarty Senior Center.  On Saturday evening, we went to a potato bake fundraiser for the Crafts ‘n Critters 4-H Club of St. Clair County.  It was good to see the 4-H members all dressed alike in their 4-H t-shirts as they served and waited on supporters at the event. 

Early Monday morning I returned an empty fertilizer cart to the MFA Plant in Lowry City.  The timing was just right to attend the “First Monday of the Month Breakfast” hosted by the American Legion Lewis-French Post #604.  It was an honor to present Post 604 with a U.S. and Missouri State Flag that had been flown over the State Capitol.

Last Monday, I had the honor of presenting U.S. and Missouri flags that had been flown over the State Capitol to members of the American Legion Lewis-French Post 604 in Lowry City.

I enjoyed visiting with Bill Arnold of Preston on Tuesday.  Bill is the Silver Haired Legislator for our region and visits the Capitol regularly to advocate for issues important to Senior Citizens.

Wednesday morning, we gathered for our weekly visit with “Cowboys at the Capitol” at our office complex.  Dedicated members of MO Cattlemen’s Assn. come from regions all across the state each Wednesday to advocate for agriculture. 

I also had an opportunity to visit with Michael Brown, Prosecuting Attorney for Hickory County, on Tuesday.  He was at the Capitol to advocate on legislative and policy priorities for the MO Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.  Among those priorities, we discussed the elimination of the statute of limitations for child sex abuse, increasing the available tools to ensure accountability for official misconduct, strengthening procedures for sentencing predatory sex offenders, and the prevention of witness intimidation and protection of personal information of victims and witnesses. 

LEGISLATION THIS WEEK: 

HB1872 was perfected in the House on Thursday.  It establishes a grant program within the Department of Economic Development to expand broadband Internet access to unserved and under-served parts of MO. Grants may be awarded to fund the acquisition and installation of middle-mile and last-mile infrastructure that support Internet speeds of at least 10 megabits per second download and one megabit per second upload. Grants may be provided to corporations, incorporated businesses or partnerships, nonprofit organizations, cooperative associations, and political subdivisions. Any grant awarded under the bill may not fund more than 50% of the total cost of a broadband service project, and no single project shall be awarded grants that cumulatively exceed $5 million. 

HB 1456 would make quality emergency 911 services more readily available to all Missourians. The bill would provide a mechanism to increase efficiency, improve levels of technology, and provide enhanced 911 mapping and service to areas of the state that do not currently have it.  It would also give counties additional options for funding their local 911 services, and would give local voters more freedom to approve the funding method that works best for their county.  This bill has been passed by the House and has now moved to the Senate. 

HB 1618 was third read and passed and now goes to the Senate.  It would allow unused controlled substances to be accepted from the public through collection receptacles, drug disposal boxes, and other means provided through drug take-back programs by a DEA-authorized collector in accordance with federal regulations, regardless of whether the authorized collector originally dispensed the drug. It would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to develop an education and awareness program about drug disposal. This legislation would help get prescription drugs off the street. The goal is to allow collection in as many places as possible to make it easy for people to dispose of unused prescription drugs. 

The Missouri Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (HB1625) designed to provide low-income seniors with fresh, Missouri-grown produce has passed through the House and will now be heard in the Senate. Many seniors live on a fixed income and cannot afford fresh fruits and vegetables; this bill would help seniors afford fresh produce from farmers' markets across the state. 

2018 MISSOURI VIETNAM VETERANS DAY: 

Since being signed into law in 2012, Missouri Vietnam Veterans Day is observed on March 30theach year.  In recognition of those who served in this conflict, Vietnam Veterans are invited to the Capitol on THURSDAY, MARCH 29TH for a special ceremony and presentation at 9:00 a.m. to be followed by a formal recognition at the start of session in the House Chamber.   House members are encouraging Vietnam Veterans throughout the state to come forward to receive special recognition for their service.  If you are able to attend, please call our office at 573-751-4065 for special arrangements.  The House of Representatives and I would be greatly honored by your presence, and we hope to make this a day of celebration to recognize all the Vietnam Veterans across the state.

CAPITOL REPORT - March 15, 2018.  Upon arriving home last Thursday, I attended the "Destination Osceola" meeting hosted by the St. Clair County Economic Development Council and West Central MO Community Action Agency. My "Hat's Off" for the efforts to promote and attract people to visit the Osceola area. Some great ideas discussed included building upon the reputation of the Annual Labor Day Rodeo Daze, spoonbill snagging, the H. Roe Bartle Boy Scout Reservation, and the promotion of local history as well as local Amish crafts.

On Friday, I was joined by Lt. Governor Mike Parson, and Senator Sandy Crawford at the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies for Hermitage Lumber, Inc. The Pitts Family has constructed this new facility just south of Hermitage on Hwy. 254 and are open for business. The economic development that Maurice Pitts and his family have contributed to the district over the years is greatly appreciated.

Friday evening, Marla and I attended and supported the Lowry City Christian School fundraiser soup and chili supper. This annual event was well attended. It's very impressive to see the students serving the crowd, and even more impressive to see all the donated items sold at auction. It is their major fundraiser each year.

Saturday provided good weather and allowed me to get some more fertilizer spread before attending the Osceola Optimist Paddy Pig Supper in Vista. The Optimists do a great job and work hard in raising money to support the area youth.

On my way back to the Capitol on Monday, I made time to attend the funeral service in Clinton for fallen Police Officer Christopher Ryan Morton. He was killed in the line of duty, the second police office in Clinton to give their "all" in less than a year. It was a very somber service, but it was also very moving to see his fellow law enforcement members come from all over Missouri to honor and pay tribute to him.

LEGISLATION THIS WEEK:

Repealing Prevailing Wage Law (HBs 1729, 1621 & 1436) - The House approved a bill meant to make public construction projects more affordable for taxpayers. The bill would repeal Missouri's prevailing wage law to help reduce the cost of construction and maintenance projects for municipalities and school districts, such as the construction or repair of bridges, school buildings, and fire stations; Prevailing Wage has caused communities and school districts to pay too much for needed construction or maintenance, or to forego the projects entirely. The repeal would allow public works projects to be awarded to the most qualified, competitive bidder. It would allow the state, counties, municipalities, schools, and other government agencies to be better stewards of taxpayer dollars. It was second read in the Senate today and has been referred to the Senate General Laws Committee.

Helping First-Time Home Buyers (HB 1796) - House members gave approval to a bill that would make it easier for Missourians to save money to buy their first home. The bill would establish the First-Time Home Buyer Savings Account Act and authorize a tax deduction for contributions to a savings account dedicated to buying a first home. It would authorize an individual income tax deduction for 50 percent of the contributions to the account and have an annual contribution deduction limit of $1,600 per taxpayer. The bill specifies the maximum contribution limit for all tax years would be $20,000 and the maximum total amount in the savings account would be $30,000.

Third read and passed through the House today, (HB 1503) would establish a fund for providing state-guaranteed small business loans to veterans. After World War II, 49 percent of returning veterans started their own businesses because a federal loan guarantee was available. Currently, only 6 percent of returning veterans start their own business. The bill would provide veterans with an opportunity to start their own business and contribute to the state's economy.

Parental Notification Bill (HB 1383) - House members also voted to require the notification of both parents when a minor in Missouri seeks to have an abortion. The legislation would require that a parent or guardian giving consent for a minor to have an abortion notify any other custodial parent or guardian in writing before the minor gives her consent. Missouri law now requires that a minor seeking an abortion and only one parent or guardian of that minor give written consent before the procedure can be performed. It has been second read in the Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on Seniors, Families and Children.

Approved by the House and now moving through the Senate, (HB 1614) would prohibit political subdivisions from adopting or enforcing ordinances or regulations relating to seeds or fertilizers. This bill would ensure that all residents of Missouri have the same ability to use fertilizers on their crops and fields. Political subdivisions are already prohibited from adopting ordinances, rules, or regulations relating to pesticides. This legislation would also do the same for fertilizers.

CAPITOL REPORT - March 22, 2018. It has been an enjoyable week attending several different community functions throughout the district.  Everyone is busy celebrating the arrival of Spring with activities and fundraisers.  I attended a media event in Lowry City on Tuesday hosted by the Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission.  With the diligent work of KBRPC, the ‘Lowe’s Gives’ Foundation presented Lowry City with a grant of $47,817.00 to be used for the Lowry City Civic Center Improvement Project.  This grant will be a wonderful boost for needed repairs to Lowry City’s facility that is used throughout the year for many community events.  I also had the pleasure of attending the Baked Potato Bar sponsored by the Friends of the St. Clair County Senior Center today.  Held at the Optimist Club building in Osceola, It was a great afternoon event full of conversation and plenty of food! 

This week, March 18-24, is celebrated as National Agriculture Week in the State of Missouri.  Agriculture is the backbone of our nation and our economy, and I am honored to commend farmers, ranchers, and their families for their faithful, tireless efforts to put food on the tables of Americans.  Actually, agriculture provides most everything Americans eat, use, and wear each day.   I am proud of the important role that District 125 contributes to the agricultural industry in Missouri and the nation. 

When we return to the Capitol next Monday, March 26, the budget will be our top legislative priority. The House will work to approve the appropriations bills that make up the spending plan and send them to the Senate so that both chambers are on track to complete the budget by the May 11 deadline, which is one week before session adjourns on Friday, May 18. 

The legislature is also expected to discuss comprehensive tax reform legislation that would cut the state’s personal and corporate income tax rates and transform Missouri’s tax system to the most competitive in the nation. The legislation would also make sizeable reforms that would generate nearly $2 billion over the next 10 years for the state road fund to repair and improve the state’s transportation infrastructure. 

As everyone makes plans for Easter traditions, special church programs, family gatherings, or travel to be with loved ones; my wife, Marla, and I hope you have a blessed Easter.  It is a time of renewal and restoration, reminding us of the incredible opportunities God has bestowed upon us.

CAPITOL REPORT - March 29, 2018.  Spring break flew by, however, with spending a week back in district, I was able to get some construction and remodeling work done on our home.  I also attended several community events and fundraisers.  One event that Marla and I attended was the annual meeting of the St. Clair County Soil and Water Conservation District.  The program was presented by two volunteers from the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield.  They brought two eagles:  one was a golden and the other was a bald eagle named “Phoenix.”  They presented the history of eagles in the United States.  It was a very interesting program.

Majestic “Phoenix” from the Dickerson Park Zoo was on display at the St. Clair County Soil and Water Conversation District annual meeting.

On my way to the Capitol on Monday, I was given a tour of the Lost Valley Fish Hatchery in Warsaw by Aaron Jeffries, Deputy Director of the MO Conservation Department.  Each year, MDC staff members collect walleye below Truman Dam in mid to late March.  The fish are then kept in tanks at the hatchery where staff collect the eggs and semen.  It takes an entire week to work up several hundred fish to collect enough eggs for the year, and staff is on call 24/7 as the fish ultimately determine when they are ready to release the eggs.  Once fertilized the eggs are kept in containers until they hatch, which usually takes about a week.  The fingerling walleye are then moved to production pools where the fish feed on phytoplankton for the next 60 to 90 days. The fingerling walleye are then stocked into MO lakes and streams when they reach about 2 inches in length.  For more information, visit the MDC Walleye Fishing page athttps://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/walleye.

I enjoyed observing a walleye harvesting of eggs demonstration at the Lost Valley Hatchery in Warsaw.  The hatchery is the largest, state-owned, warm-water hatchery in MO and one of the largest in the nation.

Fiscally Responsible Spending Plan Heads to the Senate (HBs 2001 – 2013): 

House members worked late into the night Tuesday to give initial approval to a fiscally responsible spending plan that makes a record investment in K-12 education. The House then gave final approval on Thursday to the 13 appropriations bills that make up the $28.1 billion state operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019. 

The House Budget Committee Chairman has said the conservative spending plan is based on a sensible consensus revenue estimate that will avoid shortfalls that could force the governor to withhold funds. This year’s budget plan enforces fiscal discipline by holding welfare spending in check. It also includes a budget reserve of $100 million to allow for emergency spending needs. Additionally, the House version of the budget rejects a plan endorsed by the governor to borrow $250 million to expedite tax refunds. 

The House version of the budget makes a record investment in K-12 education by fully funding the school foundation formula, which included new funding for early childhood education. In total, the House plan increases funding for the foundation formula by $98.9 million. Included in that figure is $48 million in new funding for pre-K education for low-income children. With this plan, the legislature would fully fund the foundation formula in back-to-back years for the first time in a generation. 

Honoring Missouri’s Vietnam Veterans: 

The members of the Missouri House of Representatives welcomed some of the state’s greatest heroes to the State Capitol this week to be honored for their service to this country. Vietnam veterans traveled to Jefferson City to be honored by lawmakers during the annual observance of Vietnam Veterans Day.  We were honored to have several veterans from District 125 take part:  Gerald Marcus, Carl Marks, and Ronald Privett, all of Hermitage; Gregory Thacker of Pittsburg; and Truman Edmunds, John Ramer, David Smith, Robert Topping, and James West, all of Warsaw.

It was an honor to pay tribute to over 130 Vietnam Veterans who gathered from across the state on Thursday. 

Jared and Jill Wareham visited the Capitol on Wednesday.  Jared is a director with FCS Financial, and Jill is a 3rd Grade Teacher in the Clinton School District.  They were both also advocating as regional members for the MO Cattlemen’s “Cowboys/Cowgirls at the Capitol” weekly event. 

Other visitors this week included constituents, Bill and Susan Arnold, who are active community members from District 125.  Bill is the Silver Haired Representative with Care Connection for Aging Services.  Also, Bill and Susan, along with Mike Alexander, all from Hickory County, attended the MO Vietnam Veterans Recognition Ceremony on Thursday.  Bill and Mike, who are both Vietnam Veterans, took part in last year’s ceremony.  It was wonderful to have their presence and participation again this year.

CAPITOL REPORT - April 5, 2018.  It seems Easter came early this year; Easter weekend is usually spent with my family and church activities.  However, due to the rainy, icy weather and below normal temperatures, I spent more time than usual just braving the elements and taking care of the livestock.  My sincere hope is that sunshine and green grass are both on the horizon!

I would like to share some good news about legislation that I have been working on for some time.   After much promotion and urging, with the wonderful support from hundreds of Veterans and other concerned citizens across the state, House Leadership referred HB2189 to the General Laws Committee, and it received its hearing on Tuesday, March 27th.  The hearing room was full of supporters for the Missouri Veterans’ Heritage Protection Act.  We were extremely honored to have Mr. Ralph Barrale testify in favor of the bill;  Mr. Barrale, from the St. Louis area, is a 94 year old World War II Veteran, who served under General George Patton.  His testimony received a standing ovation from everyone in the hearing room.  I have had many interesting experiences during my years as a representative, but this was certainly one of my most inspiring moments.

Pictured with House members, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Barrale, who have been married for 71 years, along with their son, Ralph, Jr., were recognized in the House Chamber on Tuesday, March 27th.

Members of Missouri Cattlemen’s Association discussed current issues with me during the weekly “Cowboys at the Capitol” event on Wednesday. 

Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Regions 6 & 7 members, were at the Capitol on Wednesday advocating on behalf of agriculture policy.

LEGISLATION THIS WEEK: 

Many hours were spent in the House chamber this week debating, perfecting and third reading bills. Several have been sent to the Senate for consideration including: 

HB 1368 would modify the Missouri Returning Heroes Education Act to require any institution of higher education that receives state funds to limit the amount of tuition it charges to combat veterans enrolled in a program leading to a graduate degree to no more than 30% of the cost of tuition and fees. Supporters say the bill would allow servicemen and women who fought for their country to stretch their benefits a little further and to receive a graduate education at a reduced cost. 

HB 1257 would allow private businesses to give hiring preference for veterans. Supporters note that the federal and state government can give preferential treatment to veterans. The bill simply makes it clear that private businesses can do the same. Supporters say some businesses want to give a hiring preference to veterans, but are worried about violating employment laws. This bill does not require private businesses to do anything. The legislation simply clarifies that they can legally give a preference to veterans should they want to. 

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH DAY: 

Each year the University of MO System hosts an Undergraduate Research Day in the Capitol Rotunda.  It illustrates student accomplishments on innovations taking place at MU-Columbia, UMKC-Kansas City, MS&T-Rolla, and UMSL-St. Louis.  Out of thousands of students who attend these schools, only 51 were chosen to have their projects displayed in the Rotunda on Thursday.  I am very proud to report that Lauren (Olivia) Shafer of Appleton City had her research highlighted on “The Impact of Social and Communication Skills Instruction on Bullying Involvement.”  This is a prestigious honor!  Congratulations to Olivia! 

CAPITOL REPORT - April 12, 2018. I spent Saturday evening with my wife, Marla, attending the 47th Annual Benefit Dinner for the Benton County Historical Society.  I was honored to offer the invocation before dinner, which was followed by music with a live auction and pie auction.  Thank you to the dedicated board members, sponsors, and participants for a wonderful meeting.  This annual event raises over 50% of the funds that support the Benton County Museum located at 1660 Hilltop Drive.  The museum is completely staffed by volunteers and is open Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.   For more information, please go to www.bencomo.org. 

On my way to the Capitol Monday morning, I drove the “Discover More on Route 54” highway to Jefferson City.   My purpose was to visit with constituents Brandon and Laura Yates who own and operate Yates Rustic Range Trading on Highway 54 east of Preston.  This is the 3rd year I have filed legislation that would change MoDOT regulations which would allow the Yates to install two business signs on their own private land directly across the highway from their store without any fees.  The current law in MO requires the Yates to pay a permit fee of $200 as well as a biennial inspection fee of $100 per sign.  This legislation has received support from its House committee hearing and House members in the chamber.  It has been sponsored in the Senate this year for the first time by Senator Crawford.  MoDOT officials are in support of changing the laws to remove the permit and inspection fees.  The legislation must now get Senate approval. 

LEGISLATION THIS WEEK: 

The Missouri House has voted to take more steps toward fighting opioid addiction with a focus on shifting the response to addiction from law enforcement and incarceration to treatment availability in the form of HB2105. 

The main provision of the bill would create the “Improved Access to Treatment for Opioid Addictions” Program (IATOA).  It would use assistant physicians - a position created by legislation passed in 2014 - to work in a collaborative way with licensed doctors to provide addiction treatment throughout the state. The assistant physicians would be supported by the ECHO program (Extension for Community Healthcare Options) – a program that uses videoconferencing to connect experts with providers statewide to help providers offer specialized care. The sponsor said the program would be among the first of its kind in the nation, and other states are already taking note of it and considering how to create their own. 

Another of the bill’s main provisions would limit the amount of an opioid drug that could be prescribed to someone for acute pain to a seven-day supply. The provision is meant to keep people from becoming addicted while not limiting such drugs to those who rely on them for long-term pain management. The sponsor said, “The idea is to prevent people like the high school athlete who has a knee injury and the doc gives him 150 Percocet or whatever – it’s to nip that in the bud; prevent new people from getting addicted, but while acknowledging that there are people in our state that have chronic pain and they’re getting along pretty well.” 

The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Dietetic Interns from CoxHealth and Mercy Health Systems visited the Capitol on Tuesday.

We observed MO Donate Life Day on Tuesday at the Capitol.  Deb Simaitis, Chair of the Governor’s Organ Donation Advisory Committee, and her husband, San Simaitis, are instrumental in the success of this day that highlights special recognition of organ, eye, and tissue donors.

Cattlewomen were at the Capitol on Wednesday to advocate on behalf the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and hosted by Coby Wilson, Manager of Strategic Solutions for MCA (pictured on left).

It was a pleasure to visit with the Hermitage High School American History students and their instructor, Ms. Carolyn Allison, on Wednesday during their visit and tour of the Capitol. 

Benton County Farm Bureau Youth visited the Capitol for their Leadership Day on Thursday.  L-R:  Warsaw High School FFA Advisor Stan Adler, Lerran Yoder, Kimberly Ransdell, Kaitlyn Hawley, and Alexis Hyde.

Lakeland High School FFA Advisor Clint Johnson accompanied students representing the St. Clair County Farm Bureau Youth for Leadership Day on Thursday.  L-R:  MacKenna Neale, Gabby Dutcher, Justin Austin, Kendra Stewart, Tayton Dains, and Rebecca Siegismund. 

TWO SELECTED FOR MISSOURI AGRIBUSINESS ACADEMY FROM DISTRICT 125: 

Congratulations to Kaylee Lower of Collins and Justin Austin of Appleton City who have been selected to participate in the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Missouri Agribusiness Academy.   Only 30 high school sophomores are selected to participate each year.  They will spend the first week of June in the St. Louis region exploring various aspects of agriculture with a graduation ceremony to be held at the State Capitol in Jefferson City at the end of the week. 

HOUSE INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE REPORT: 

During the last several weeks, the Special Investigative Committee has conducted a fair, thorough, and timely investigation of the facts surrounding the alleged misconduct by Governor Greitens and released its findings on Wednesday.  Following the release of the report, House Speaker Todd Richardson met with media and noted that the committee will continue its work to gather additional information that comes to light. The committee will also expand its mission to provide House members a recommendation of any and all appropriate discipline of the Governor.  As the Speaker told the press, “The power given to the MO General Assembly to take disciplinary action or remove elected officials from office is one of the most serious and consequential powers the Constitution grants the legislature. We will not take that responsibility lightly, nor will we act rashly, however, we will not shrink from it.”  His goal is for the General Assembly to remain focused on the tasks that Missourians sent legislators to Jefferson City to complete.  To that end, he said he and members of House and Senate leadership have begun the process of calling a special session for full consideration of any recommendations by the committee.

CAPITOL REPORT - April 19, 2018.  As I write this report, a great big dark cloud of uncertainty is hovering over the Capitol about charges pending against Governor Eric Greitens.  After the release of a report made by the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, and with new information that Attorney General Josh Hawley has evidence to support another felony charge on an unrelated matter, the members of the House leadership team this week called for the governor’s resignation: 

“At the outset of this process, we said the governor needed to be forthright and accountable for his actions. After thoughtful consideration of the findings in the House committee’s report and today’s news that the attorney general has evidence to support another felony charge, we believe the governor needs to take responsibility for his actions.  

Leaders at all levels of government are entrusted with an incredible responsibility to the Missourians we represent. When leaders lose the ability to effectively lead our state, the right thing to do is step aside.  In our view, the time has come for the governor to resign.”   

House Leadership was joined by Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, who also called for the governor to resign. The governor responded by saying he will not resign his position. Legislative leaders will wait for the investigative committee to complete its work. The House Speaker has said the legislature should call itself back for a special session to consider any recommendations the committee has for action against the governor. The Speaker has said his goal is for the legislature to remain focused specifically on the tasks Missourians count on its lawmakers to complete.

LEGISLATION THIS WEEK: 

One of the pieces of legislation that was passed by House members this week and now moves to the Senate for consideration includes HB 1542, which would prohibit a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), third party administrator such as Express Scripts, from charging a copayment for a prescription or pharmacy service that exceeds the amount retained by the pharmacy from all payment sources for filling that prescription or providing that service. It would also prohibit a PBM from prohibiting a pharmacy from informing a person of the difference between his or her co-payment and the amount he or she would pay if a health benefit plan was not used to cover the cost. Currently, pharmacies are not allowed to discuss price options unless the customer asks questions.  This bill would allow pharmacies to help customers get the best product for the best price.  

VISITORS TO THE CAPITOL:

El Dorado Springs Christian School 4th grade students, along with their instructor, Mrs. Jill Ash, and parent chaperones, spent last Thursday touring the Capitol and exploring in the Missouri State Museum.

Mrs. Rose Bock escorted the Appleton City 4th grade students to the Capitol last Thursday for a fact-filled, fun day of activities.

The General Assembly Annual Charity Softball Tournament took place on Wednesday evening at Binder Park just outside of Jefferson City.   We raised nearly $4,000 for the Samaritan Center.  I am very fortunate to host a team sponsored by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association.  Several of our Rowdy Roosters team members are pictured above. 

BUY MISSOURI INITIATIVE – APRIL 27TH: 

Lieutenant Governor Parson will be presenting BUY MISSOURI! at the El Dorado Springs Civic Center on Friday, April 27th, beginning at 11:00 a.m.  The public is invited to attend and support Missouri businesses!  This national advertising campaign developed by Lt. Gov. Parson promotes Missouri-made products, services and businesses.

CAPITOL REPORT - April 26, 2018.  My in-district day on Friday, April 20th, began by attending an early breakfast in Sedalia.  It was hosted by State Fair Community College.  Each year, area legislators are invited to present updates and answer questions about issues of interest to SFCC President Dr. Joanna Anderson, board members, and area educators. 

From Sedalia, I headed to Osceola for an announcement made by the USDA Rural Development that the City of Osceola has been awarded Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant funding.  It will be used to update the city’s water distribution system which will improve water pressure and quality for everyone living in Osceola.  Citizens are asked to be patient through the construction phase and progress, which according to Mayor Heckenlively should be completed in November, 2018.  

Sunday was Earth Day, and after church, my wife, Marla, and I attended a very special tree planting that is part of the Liberty Tree Project.  The original Liberty Tree was a famous elm tree that stood near Boston Common during the Revolutionary Era.  The first act of defiance against British rule took place under this tree in 1765.   Along the way, several other towns in the 13 colonies designated their own Liberty Trees.  A symbol of American Independence, St. Clair County 4-H received two of 20 bud-grafted trees donated to Missouri 4-H clubs; these trees are from original Liberty Tree seedlings.  One was planted at Daffodil Park, and the other was planted near the museum in Roscoe.  Congratulations to the St. Clair County 4-H for being one of very few selected to participate in the Liberty Tree Project. 

For the announcement of the Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant funding, it was an honor to join Randy Norden, Executive Director of MO Rural Water Association; Osceola Mayor Rob Heckenlively; Lois East, USDA; Rachel Gilroy, Field Representative for Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler; and Robert Salmon, Presiding Commissioner of St. Clair County.

St. Clair County 4-H commemorates the Liberty Tree Project in Daffodil Park by planting a bud-grafted tree from an original seedling of a Liberty Tree. 

LEGISLATION THIS WEEK: 

The House and Senate took major steps this week toward the completion of the Fiscal Year 2019 state operating budget.  Both chambers must reach an agreement on the spending plan by May 11. The House sent its version of the budget to the Senate at the end of March.  The Senate then approved its version of the budget and sent it to the House this week.  On Thursday, the House approved motions to send the majority of the appropriations bills to conference committees where lead negotiators from both sides will meet to iron out differences between the two chambers. 

As the bills head to conference, one of the primary differences each side will work through concerns funding for K-12 education.  The version of the budget approved by the House provided full funding for the school foundation formula.  The House plan boosted funding for the formula by $98.9 million. The Senate’s version of the spending plan reduces that funding by $50 million and redirects some of the savings to other areas of the budgets.  The Senate plan would instead increase K-12 transportation funding by $25 million, as well as provide additional funding for nursing home services. 

Once the Senate agrees to meet in conference with the House, members will work through their differences to reach a compromise version of the budget that can receive final approval from both chambers. 

Last week the House approved an important piece of legislation (SB 573) that would provide additional support to members of the National Guard and the state’s veterans.  While the bill started as an expansion of the military income tax deduction, House members added several amendments during floor debate that greatly expanded the scope of the bill.  One of the amendments would allow veteran-owned small businesses to participate in the Missouri Linked Deposit Program. It would also require eligible lending institutions to give priority to veteran-owned small businesses when considering which eligible small businesses should receive reduced-rate loans. The change is meant to provide veterans with an opportunity to start their own business and contribute to the state's economy.  Another amendment extends the period of assistance in the Show-Me Heroes Program from one year to five years following discharge; establish the Veterans’ Bill of Rights; and establish the Missouri Military Community Reinvestment Program Act to assist military communities in supporting and sustaining their installations. 

HCR 96 would designate May as "Move Over and Slow Down Awareness Month." The awareness month would encourage the citizens of this state to remember the "Move Over or Slow Down" law when approaching a Missouri State Highway Patrol and other law enforcement vehicles, emergency vehicles, and Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety emergency response or motorist assist vehicles when displaying emergency lights or flashing amber and white lights and parked or stopped on the side of the road. 

VISITORS TO THE CAPITOL:

Wheatland R-II 4th and 5th Graders toured the historic Capitol and visited the Whispering Gallery and Dome on Monday.

I enjoyed visiting with MO Cattlemen’s Association member advocates on Wednesday from Lawrence County, Hickory County-Sandra Arthur of Twin Star Ranch in Flemington (2nd from left), and Pettis County.

CAPITOL REPORT - May 3, 2018. My in-district day last Friday, April 27th, started by presenting four American FFA Degree Resolutions at the Appleton City High School.  Recipients of this prestigious award from Appleton City are Brady Munsterman, Nathan John Parsons, Levi E. Siegismund, and Bethany A. Strope.  Congratulations to these young adults for their endeavors in earning this degree! 

I then drove to El Dorado Springs and joined Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson, who has initiated and is promoting “Buy Missouri” products.  We toured three area businesses.  The first local business was DairiConcepts located along the “Discover More on Route 54” highway.  This company produces innovative cheese and dairy pastes and powder products that are sold across the United States and exported to foreign countries.  Currently, 135 area residents are employed by DairiConcepts.

PHOTO: DairiConcepts was the first stop for the “Buy Missouri” tour in El Dorado Springs.  L-R:  Bill Pruyne, Plant Manager; Brent Rottinghaus, Director of Processing/Technology & Operations; Lt. Gov. Parson, Teresa Parson, and Rep. Love.

We then headed to the El Dorado Springs City Hall where Lt. Gov. Parson presented a PowerPoint presentation on “Buy MO!” to members of the El Dorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.   Lt. Gov. Parson launched this statewide initiative to recognize and promote Missouri companies and manufacturers to the public, thus strengthening MO’s economy. 

Our second area business destination was Cedar Creek Beef Jerky.  We enjoyed a tour of this USDA-inspected manufacturing facility by co-owners Justin Amick and Kendall Burns.    The jerky is made by hand, one piece at a time, the old fashioned way, and cooked in a homemade oven.  It is delicious!  Several flavors are sold in store and online at their website: www.cedarcreekbeefjerky.com.

Cedar Creek Beef Jerky co-owners Justin Amick and Kendall Burns provided a tour of their facility for us during Lt. Gov. Parson’s “Buy Missouri” promotional tour in El Dorado Springs. 

The final stop of the tour was Harleman Manufacturing, LLC.  Harleman builds some of the biggest and best drilling equipment in the country: dirt and rock augers, pressure diggers, and heavy duty tree sawing and tree puller attachments for skid loaders.  With an online site and extensive catalogue, Harleman Manufacturing sells equipment worldwide www.harlemanglobal.com.

Lt. Gov. Parson and I really enjoyed our tour with Layne Smith and owner, Ron Harleman.  They have an impressive operation and employ several local citizens.

TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK:

As we approach Teacher Appreciation Week next week, I want to “Tip My Hat” to all who have chosen a career of educating our children.  Our teachers play a critical role in educating and influencing our future leaders of this country.  These instructors, committed to kindness, patience, and dedication, mold our children’s lives.  To quote Thomas Jefferson:  “It is highly interesting to our country, and it is the duty of its functionaries, to provide that every citizen in it should receive an education proportioned to the condition and pursuits of his life.”  For the vast opportunities provided to our children, I say THANK YOU to all the teachers in District 125 for making this possible!

LEGISLATION THIS WEEK:

I am very happy to report that HB1880 was ‘Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed’ by the General Assembly this afternoon.  This bill states the intent of the General Assembly to facilitate and encourage development of fiber optic infrastructure by rural electric cooperatives to expand rural broadband services. This bill does not grant the Public Service Commission jurisdiction over any contract or agreement that it would not otherwise have, nor does it diminish the rights of property owners under the laws of this state.

VISITORS TO THE CAPITOL:

It was an honor to visit with representatives of Health Systems, Inc., and Hermitage Nursing and Rehab Facility on Wednesday:  Casandra Gould, Cindy Gates, Karin Patterson, Timothy Corbin, and Alice Zidlicky. 

UPCOMING DISTRICT ACTIVITIES: 

The 25th Annual Route 54 Cruisers Car Show will take place on Saturday, May 12th, in downtown El Dorado Springs.  Registration is from 8-10 a.m. with awards at 2 p.m.  There will be special guests, auctions, raffles, giveaways and more in celebration of the 25th year including a special appearance by the Wounded Warrior Project Truck.  Make plans to attend rain or shine!

CAPITOL REPORT - May 10, 2018.  Warmer weather and much needed rain has finally arrived.  It’s evident by the grass and wheat starting to green up and grow.  It’s also evident by looking down freshly planted corn rows and seeing the new crop sprout and emerge.  

My normal in-district day last Friday was actually spent at the Capitol.  My wife, Marla, drove to Jefferson City so we could welcome our granddaughter, Gretchen Crusha, who is a 3rd grade student in Paris, MO.  We enjoyed joining her class as they toured the Capitol.  It was a joy to watch their young, vibrant enthusiasm with a vision of them being our Missouri citizens of the future.  Watching them is nearly the same feeling that a farmer has when planting a new crop of corn and expecting a bumper crop! 

Lieutenant Governor Parson hosted the Senior Service Award Ceremony on Monday.  Started in 2005, this award is presented to promote and highlight the positive accomplishments Missouri’s senior citizens have made in their local communities.  We are greatly honored to have four recipients from District 125 that were chosen to receive this much-deserved recognition:  Charles Bourland of St. Clair County, Lynne Hedrick of Cedar County, Dr. Carter Kinkead of Benton County, and Billy Pearson of Hickory County.  

Senior Service Award Recipient, Charles Bourland, St. Clair County 

Senior Service Award Recipient, Lynne Hedrick, Cedar County 

Senior Service Award Recipient, Joseph “Carter” Kinkead, DVM, Benton County

Senior Service Award Recipient, Billy Pearson, Hickory County

CEMETERY MAINTENANCE: 

As we make plans to remember our loved ones on Memorial Day, I urge local cemetery boards, local communities, civic organizations, and descendants of buried ancestors to take action this year, and contribute monetarily through donations or fundraisers to provide cemetery maintenance funds until state statutes are revised or interest rates increase for endowment funds that are set in place to earn money for maintenance.   Keep in mind, no funding comes from state taxpayers’ resources to fund local cemetery maintenance.  Our beautifully maintained cemeteries are a labor of love, time and money; please consider volunteering to help in some way.  It is greatly appreciated by so many.   

LEGISLATION THIS WEEK: 

House members voted Wednesday to give final approval to a $28 billion state operating budget that includes record funding for the K-12 education foundation formula, which amounts to $124 million more this year on education than in 2017.

The Senate has approved all but one budget bill.  The Missouri Constitution requires the legislature to approve a balanced budget by Friday evening.  As I write this Capitol Report, we are anticipated to work late into the evening tonight and will be convening for session tomorrow on Friday as well. 

VISITORS TO THE CAPITOL:

The Weaubleau 8th Grade Class visited the Capitol on Thursday, May 3rd, with their sponsor, Mr. David Ochs.

Peggy Crabtree, Benton County constituent, visited with me in the Side Gallery of the Chamber on Tuesday advocating for public safety and prevention of drug abuse. 

UPCOMING DISTRICT ACTIVITIES: 

May 10-12, today through Saturday, is the 39th Annual Lowry City Spring Fair. Shop local vendors with various crafts and merchandise. Support local vendors, groups and organizations with various crafts, merchandise, food booths, plant sales, raffles, car show, music concerts, and carnival rides. 

The 25th Annual Route 54 Cruisers Car Show will take place on Saturday, May 12th, in downtown El Dorado Springs.  Registration is from 8-10 a.m. with awards at 2 p.m.  There will be special guests, auctions, raffles, giveaways and more in celebration of the 25th year including a special appearance by the Wounded Warrior Project Truck.  Make plans to attend rain or shine! 

The ribbon cutting and celebration for the new Weaubleau Community Building is onSaturday, May 12th, at 8 a.m.  Following the ribbon cutting, please join Friends of the Weaubleau Park as they host a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. 

SUSPECTED METH LABS: 

To report a suspected illegal drug lab activity, please contact your local law enforcement office or email the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control at ddccmail@mshp.dps.mo.gov.  You may also call the Anonymous Meth Hotline (1-888-609-6384).

CAPITOL REPORT - May 18, 2018.  My in-district day on Saturday began by celebrating the dedication of the new Weaubleau Community Building.  The City of Weaubleau and Friends of the Weaubleau Park hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and pancake breakfast in the new facility.  I congratulate them for completion of this new facility that will promote activities and social time in the community. 

I then travelled westbound on the “Discover More on Route 54” highway to El Dorado Springs to join Senator Crawford in making a presentation to the members of the Route 54 Cruisers who were hosting their 25th Annual Route 54 Cruisers Car Show.  The members, who have been meeting monthly for over 25 years, were recognized for their contributions to the community by providing scholarships, donating to local charities, and promoting the El Dorado Springs area.

Senator Crawford and I presented resolutions to Route 54 Cruisers President Mark Boch recognizing the members for 25 years of service to the El Dorado Springs area. 

LEGISLATION THIS WEEK:

As I write this, the House and Senate are still in session.  We adjourn at 6:00 p.m. today.  Any legislation that has been ‘Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed’ must be signed by the Governor before becoming law.  HB1456 was approved by the Senate late last night, and I am hoping it will be brought to the House for its final vote in our last hours of session this afternoon.  This bill would make quality emergency 911 services more readily available to all Missourians. It would provide a method to increase efficiency, improve levels of technology, and provide enhanced 911 mapping and service to areas of the state that do not currently have it. It would also give counties additional options for funding their local 911 services, and would give local voters more freedom to approve the funding method that works best for their county.

SB564 The Missouri General Assembly has passed bipartisan rate cap legislation, which would cut and cap electric rates in Missouri.  By a vote of 125-20, House members gave final passage to SB 564. The legislation mandates that any benefits Missouri’s electric utilities received from the federal tax cuts be refunded to customers in the form of rate cuts within 90 days of being signed into law.  For Ameren Missouri customers alone, that means approximately $133 million, which will result in a 4.8% cut in electric rates. 

For the first time in Missouri history, rate increases on Missouri customers will also be capped as part of the legislation at an average annual 2.85% or 3% depending on the service provider. These rate caps provide Missouri business and residential customers the rate stability and predictability that has been missing over the past decade, when, according to the Associated Press, rates have gone up 5.2% each year on average.  The legislation will also help modernize Missouri’s electric grid, by making it smarter and more secure.

SB627 Final approval has also been given to legislation that would ensure products marketed as meat actually come from harvested livestock. SB 627 will make Missouri the first state to approve legislation to deal with the misrepresentation of lab-grown meat products or meat substitutes as meat. The issue is national in scope and other states may now look to Missouri as an example of how to deal with this growing problem. The legislation that now needs the governor’s signature to become law will update Missouri statutes to prohibit “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.”

VISITORS TO THE CAPITOL: 

Instructor Tabitha Jones and Superintendent Mitch Towne accompanied Lakeland R-III Social Studies students to the Capitol last week to observe the General Assembly in session and tour the historic building. 

CEMETERY MAINTENANCE: 

As we make plans to remember our loved ones on Memorial Day, I urge local cemetery boards, local communities, civic organizations, and descendants of buried ancestors to take action this year, and contribute monetarily through donations or fundraisers to provide cemetery maintenance funds until state statutes are revised or interest rates increase for endowment funds that are set in place to earn money for maintenance.   Keep in mind, no funding comes from state taxpayers’ resources to fund local cemetery maintenance.  Our beautifully maintained cemeteries are a labor of love, time and money; please consider volunteering to help in some way.  It is greatly appreciated by so many.   

SUSPECTED METH LABS: 

To report a suspected illegal drug lab activity, please contact your local law enforcement office or email the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control at ddccmail@mshp.dps.mo.gov.  You may also call the Anonymous Meth Hotline (1-888-609-6384).

CAPITOL REPORT - May 25, 2018.  With the upcoming holiday weekend, it is on Memorial Day that we honor and remember the heroes who have given their lives so that we could live in peace and safety in a land of freedom.  As we all spend time with family and friends during the long weekend ahead, please set aside time to pay tribute to the men and women who have given their lives in defense of the way of life we hold dear.

Now that the legislative session has adjourned, it allows me the opportunity to spend more time in district visiting with constituents and attending activities throughout the area.  I enjoyed a lunchtime visit at the El Dorado Springs Senior Center on Monday. Also, in Appleton City at Ellett Memorial Hospital, many local citizens meet every day for coffee and tea, and I appreciated taking part in the day’s conversation on Tuesday and the opportunity to listen to their concerns and issues.  On Wednesday, I attended the Lion’s Club luncheon in Warsaw and was able to share information on some of the good legislation that has been passed this year.  On a sad note, I attended a memorial service on Monday for Robert “Bob” Coleman who was the District 125 recipient for the Lieutenant Governor’s Senior Service Award last year.  This fine gentleman leaves a wonderful legacy to the El Dorado Springs community for all of his volunteer efforts throughout the years.

Reflecting back over the last several months, it has been a productive session with the General Assembly passing more than 145 bills. This is an increase from the previous session when the legislature pushed 76 bills across the legislative finish line. The bills approved this year make many improvements for Missourians by lowering taxes for working families, providing expanded educational opportunities, supporting our state’s veterans, and 911 services availability statewide. 

The heart of the issue is that most 911 services in Missouri are paid for by charges on landline phones. The amount of money each county receives to support local 911 has diminished because fewer and fewer people utilize landline phones.  However, efforts to charge the increasing number of cell phone users has often met with too much resistance to pass.  For years, Missouri has been the only state that doesn’t have a statewide 911 funding mechanism. 

The funding mechanism in the bill approved last Friday would allow Missouri to have 911 services statewide, including the counties that have no service at all.  The bill would also allow counties to upgrade their equipment.  The updated technology would allow emergency responders to do things like locate cell phones when a caller can’t give his or her location, receive texts, and other upgrades and functions that many counties haven’t been able to afford. 

The bill would also allow counties and certain municipalities in Missouri to seek voter approval for a fee of up to $1 on any device that can contact 911.  Areas adopting this new funding source would replace their current 911 funding source.  They would not be allowed to keep both.  The bill would also create a 3-percent charge on the purchase of prepaid phones to go toward 911 funding.  A portion of that money would go to 911 services in the county the phone was purchased in, with the remainder of that amount going to a statewide fund to support and improve 911. 

In addition, the bill would address the need for 911 facilities in many parts of the state to consolidate.   Missouri’s 114 counties currently have 185 Public Safety Answering Points, or PSAPs. Under the bill, where consolidation is needed, voters could not be asked to approve a new funding stream unless a plan for consolidation is developed. 

UNCLAIMED PROPERTY LISTINGS: 

It is the state treasurer’s responsibility to return as much of Missouri’s nearly $1 billion of Unclaimed Property as possible.  With over 5 million accounts, some of those funds belong to individuals, businesses, and local governments of District 125.  I encourage everyone to search for and claim possible property free of charge at www.ShowMeMoney.com.  Account owners can file a claim online or request a paper claim be mailed to them at any time by visiting this website.  By law, specific dollar amounts that exceed $50 are not public record.  

SUSPECTED METH LABS: 

To report a suspected illegal drug lab activity, please contact your local law enforcement office or email the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control at ddccmail@mshp.dps.mo.gov.  You may also call the Anonymous Meth Hotline (1-888-609-6384).

CAPITOL REPORT - May 31, 2018.  My “Hat’s Off” to the Warsaw American Legion Post #217 for the grand opening of their new facility last week.  Devastated by fire last year, the new Post is greatly welcomed in the community.   It was a great pleasure to view the new headquarters on Saturday.  Thank you to all the veterans for your service and may your spirit continue as you join together regularly in this new building. 

In observance of Memorial Day, I was deeply honored to participate in the remembrance service lead by the Cross Timbers American Legion Post #623.  During the ceremony, which was held on the town square, there were over 160 crosses displayed in the park to represent each deceased veteran from the Cross Timbers community.   The beautiful service included a flag-raising ceremony, prayer, the “Missing Man Table” ceremony for prisoners of war and veterans missing in action, and the reading of the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. 

Special ceremonies lead by Post Commander Dick Sanford at the grand opening on Saturday, May 26, for the new American Legion Post #217 at Warsaw. 

On Memorial Day, crosses were displayed in the park on the square in Cross Timbers in honor of each deceased veteran from the Cross Timbers community. 

GOVERNOR GREITENS ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION: 

The Special Session that was called by the legislature to look into alleged wrongdoing by Governor Greitens has come to an end.  With the Governor’s decision to resign from office, the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight will now wrap up its work, and there will no longer be a need for members of the House to consider any potential recommendations from the committee. The Governor will leave office effective tomorrow, June 1, at 5 p.m.  Lt. Gov. Mike Parson will then take over as chief executive of the state. 

FILLING COUNTY VACANCIES (HB1428): 

An important piece of legislation that was approved during the 2018 legislative session will ensure vacancies in important county offices are filled in a timely fashion.  The bill is meant to avoid situations where a vacancy causes a county office to shut down.  This bill requires the county commission in all non-charter counties to make an appointment to fill a vacancy within 14 days. The appointee will then serve in the position until the governor makes an appointment or until the vacancy is filled by operation of another provision of law.  In counties with only two county commissioners, the presiding judge of the circuit court will make the appointment when there is the absence of an agreement. The offices of prosecuting attorney and circuit attorney are excluded from this provision.  The bill also sets a 60-day time limit for the governor to fill a vacancy in the Office of County Commissioner with the advice and consent of the Senate. The vacancies filled by appointment will be held by the appointee for the remainder of the term.  The bill does not apply to any county that has adopted a charter for its own government. 

RENOVATION OF SCHELL-OSAGE CONSERVATION AREA TO BEGIN: 

I have received information from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) that they will begin work on renovating the Schell-Osage Conservation Area in St. Clair County.   Schell-Osage Conservation Area is one of the oldest publicly managed wetland areas in the state, with the area opening to the public in the 1960s.  Time and the elements have taken their toll on the area's infrastructure, and it is now time to update and improve the infrastructure, habitat and public use opportunities. 

Schell Lake will begin to be drained June 1 and is expected to be emptied by July 1.  Most of the fish in the lake are expected to be released into the nearby Osage River.   However, some fish may be stranded in pools of standing water.  To minimize wasted fish, an emergency fish salvage order will be in place from June 15 through June 30.  The emergency fish salvage order will allow anglers to use both regular and alternative methods to harvest fish.  Examples of alternative methods include seining, dip net, gigs, and bow fishing. However, during this time, anglers must still abide by other statewide regulations including daily and possession creel limits and any fish removed from Schell Lake during this emergency salvage may not be possessed on any other waterbody of the state or banks thereof.   Here are a couple key points: 

Starting June 1, 2018, all boating will be prohibited on Schell Lake. Fishing of any kind will be prohibited at the lake starting July 1 until lake renovation and fish population stockings are completed.
The draining and closing of Schell Lake will also effectively close the wetlands down for the upcoming 2018-19 waterfowl season as preparation for construction begins.
The upland areas, Atkinson Lake, and ponds at Schell-Osage will remain open to normal birding, hiking, hunting, and fishing activities during the project. 

As details are finalized, engineering plans move forward, and timelines firm up, MDC will continue to share information so that everyone can plan accordingly and stay up-to-date with the progress.  If you are interested in receiving email notifications on the Schell-Osage renovation, please sign up here:   Sign Up for Email Updates   The MDC appreciates the support and understanding of everyone as they move forward with the renovation. 

UNCLAIMED PROPERTY LISTINGS: 

It is the state treasurer’s responsibility to return as much of Missouri’s nearly $1 billion of Unclaimed Property as possible.  With over 5 million accounts, some of those funds belong to individuals, businesses, and local governments of District 125.  I encourage everyone to search for and claim possible property free of charge at www.ShowMeMoney.com.  Account owners can file a claim online or request a paper claim be mailed to them at any time by visiting this website.  By law, specific dollar amounts that exceed $50 are not public record. 

CAPITOL REPORT - June 6, 2018.  It was a sunny, warm day as the Hickory County Health Department celebrated the opening of their new facility with a dedication and ribbon cutting.  Devoted to improving the health and promotion of the wellbeing of everyone in the county, constituents are very fortunate to have such a great team of staff and board members leading the way.  I encourage everyone to take advantage of the health care services and programs offered.

Celebrating at the Hickory County Health Department Ribbon Cutting on Friday, June 1st, L to R:  Warren Olinger, Board Member; Dawn Vader, Administrator; Kathy Rains, Board Chairman; Linda Wilson, Board Member; Starr Garrison-Miller, Board Secretary/Treasurer; Senator Sandy Crawford; Representative Warren Love; and Nancy Sisson, Pomme de Terre Chamber of Commerce Representative. 

While attending the ribbon cutting, I met and visited with Mary Sebade who is the Nutrition and Health Education Specialist with the MU Extension for Hickory, Polk, and St. Clair Counties.   She shared with me that the University of Missouri Extension is working with the community through various programs, and she is currently teaching a weekly Cooking Matters class at the Hickory County Farmers Market kitchen.  You will also find Ms. Sebade at the Hickory County Farmers Market on the first and third Fridays of each month highlighting recipes that can be made from produce offered at the Farmers Market.  Mary also offers programs to the Senior Centers; she was recently at the health fair at the McCarty Senior Center promoting the Missouri Berry Salad and introducing seniors to the ‘Stay Strong, Stay Healthy’ program which encourages participants to learn exercises to improve their strength, flexibility, and balance.  Another program Mary promotes includes the Healthy School Concession program at the Hermitage and Skyline schools. 

I enjoyed meeting with and learning about programs offered by Mary Sebade, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist with the MU Extension for Hickory, Polk, and St. Clair Counties.

It was an honor to present a resolution to Donald R. Hart, Minister of Antioch Christian Church of Pittsburg, in recognition of the 175th Anniversary of Antioch Christian Church and the Antioch Cemetery.  Known to be the oldest church in Hickory County, the church’s congregation celebrated this milestone on Sunday, June 3rd, with a special service and luncheon.

PROUD TO CALL MISSOURI’S 57th GOVERNOR ONE OF OUR OWN: 

Michael L. Parson was sworn in as Missouri’s 57th Governor last Friday on June 1st.  With more than 30 years of experience in public service, Governor Parson was previously elected Lieutenant Governor in 2016 with the most votes of any Lieutenant Governor in Missouri history.  He has previously served as District 28 Senator from 2011-2017, in the MO House of Representatives from 2005-2011, as Sheriff of Polk County from 1993-2005, and has six years of service to our country in the Army. 

Governor Parson and his family have lived in Bolivar for many years; however, he was raised on a farm in Hickory County and graduated from Wheatland High School!  

AGRICULTURE BILL SIGNED INTO LAW – (SB627): 

My “hats off” to Senator Brian Munzlinger and Representative Jay Houghton for working with the General Assembly this year to pass sweeping Agriculture reform that will be very beneficial to our state’s number one industry moving forward. SB 627 has several provisions, including language to designate urban and community gardens as agriculture and horticultural property for the purpose of property tax assessment. Additionally, this bill changes the definitions of “meat” and “meat product” to include captive cervids, and changes the definition of a “commercial plant” and “unwholesome” to accommodate for the classification of cervids as meat. The bill also prohibits the misrepresentation of products as “meat” and states that products can only be advertised or represented as “meat” if they are derived from livestock or poultry. This section will prevent “fake meat” or products grown in a lab from being labeled and advertised as meat. Additionally, SB 627 prohibits local municipalities or political subdivisions from adopting or enforcing ordinances, rules, or regulations relating to the labeling, cultivation, or use of seeds or fertilizers, and changes the fuel standards law to allow for greater access to fuel in cases of natural disaster or fuel shortage. The bill also repeals the state’s yield tax on forest croplands, and changes the definition of “livestock” to include buffalo and bison rather than just buffalo.   Because I serve on the Agriculture Policy Committee and the Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, I have had the opportunity to be involved in the hearings, testimony, fiscal review and floor debate on all the provisions in this bill.  It will be great to have this legislation go into effect on August 28, 2018. 

FLAG DAY IS JUNE 14: 

Did you know that Flag Day was celebrated for several decades in many communities beforePresident Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation on May 30, 1916, to establish Flag Day, but it was not until August 3, 1949, that our very own President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 as National Flag Day? 

UNCLAIMED PROPERTY LISTINGS: 

It is the state treasurer’s responsibility to return as much of Missouri’s nearly $1 billion of Unclaimed Property as possible.  With over 5 million accounts, some of those funds belong to individuals, businesses, and local governments of District 125.  I encourage everyone to search for and claim possible property free of charge at www.ShowMeMoney.com.  Account owners can file a claim online or request a paper claim be mailed to them at any time by visiting this website.  By law, specific dollar amounts that exceed $50 are not public record.

CAPITOL REPORT - June 21, 2018.  Grease under fingernails, skinned knuckles, and sweaty brows are what many fescue seed harvesters experienced this last week.  Due to above average temperatures in May and June, the fescue seed matured about a week earlier than usual.  Most fescue seed harvesters use older combines that corn, soybean and wheat farmers have nearly worn out and traded in for newer and larger machines.  As a result, the older, smaller combines used to harvest fescue seed require a lot of maintenance and repairs.  Nearly all my time was spent last week operating an old 1967 Model G Gleaner in 90 degree plus temperatures. Since the air conditioner in the cab no longer works, we just open the door and a window and hope for a breeze once in a while. The days start at 7 AM and end at about 9:30 PM. This has caused supper to be at 10 PM each night.  

I write this to inform about the economic contribution that comes from the fescue seed industry. Since Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue revolutionized the home grass seed industry a half-century ago, homeowners across the United States have turned to this dependable, economical grass seed for durable, low-maintenance lawns.  More than two-thirds of all KY-31 Missouri seed farmers balance raising cattle, growing traditional crops and producing KY-31 seed, all while facing the challenges of unpredictable Midwest weather.  In Missouri, hailstorms and last-minute windstorms can steal a seed crop in a single strike.  Fields that look fine one day can be lost to high winds the next. Even when weather and growing conditions align for optimal seed production, farmers only have a two to three week window, right before the Fourth of July. 

A normal Missouri harvest of KY-31 typically yields between 50 and 60 million pounds of quality KY-31 Tall Fescue grass seed. Due to the current short supply of fescue seed, higher prices result when low supply meets high demand.  Across the seed industry, at wholesale and retail levels, KY-31 seed prices are at all-time highs.  The buying stations are currently paying 63 cents for wet and 65 cents per pound for dry seed right off the truck.  With average yields of 100 to 300 pounds per acre, that pencils out to be somewhere between $60.00 and $180.00 per acre. This is good news for Missouri seed producers.

Auguring fescue seed into my son’s truck as John waits to deliver it to Beachner Seed Buying Station in Quincy, which is operated by Austin Rains. 

OVERLAYMENT ON HIGHWAY 13 ASPHALT SECTIONS: 

As of yesterday evening, MoDOT crews have laid and compacted over 9,000 tons of asphalt - nearly a quarter of the estimated total for the Highway 13 project of approximately 41,000 tons.  All work on the project is to be complete by September 4th.  The project limits include the northbound lanes from the St. Clair County line to Osceola and the southbound lanes from Lakeland south to Osceola.  Southwest District Area Engineer Daniel Roeger explained that the overlayment is occurring only to the asphalt sections; concrete sections are not being disturbed.   Roeger also mentioned to please call 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) for any questions or concerns.

Work began Wednesday, 6/13, at the St. Clair/Polk County line in the north bound lanes of Route 13.  The contractor, APAC-Central, has completed paving the asphalt sections of the driving and passing lanes from the county line to Collins with only the right shoulder remaining, as well as the north bound driving lane, for just over five miles north of Collins. 

SUPPORTING VETERAN-OWNED BUSINESSES (HB1503): 

A piece of legislation that has already been signed into law by the governor is meant to encourage and assist veterans to start and grow their own businesses. The bill would allow veteran-owned small businesses to participate in the Missouri Linked Deposit Program. 

After World War II, 49 percent of returning veterans started their own businesses because a federal loan guarantee was available. Currently, only 6 percent of returning veterans start their own businesses. This new legislation can provide veterans with an opportunity to start their own business and contribute to the state's economy. 

The state’s linked deposit program partners with lending institutions to provide low-interest loans to help grow and expand economic opportunity across Missouri. The bill allows eligible veteran-owned small businesses to participate in the program. Eligible businesses are defined as any business owned by an honorably discharged veteran and Missouri resident who has agreed to locate his or her business in the state for at least three years and employs less than 100 employees, a majority of whom are Missouri residents. The bill also states that lending institutions must give preference to businesses owned by veterans when considering which small businesses should receive reduced-rate loans through the program. 

UNCLAIMED PROPERTY LISTINGS: 

It is the state treasurer’s responsibility to return as much of Missouri’s nearly $1 billion of Unclaimed Property as possible.  With over 5 million accounts, some of those funds belong to individuals, businesses, and local governments of District 125.  I encourage everyone to search for and claim possible property free of charge at www.ShowMeMoney.com.  Account owners can file a claim online or request a paper claim be mailed to them at any time by visiting this website.  By law, specific dollar amounts that exceed $50 are not public record.

CAPITOL REPORT - June 28, 2018. July 4th… while most simply refer to it as the Fourth of July, the people of this great nation cannot and should not forget its true designation as Independence Day.  This special day is far more than just another on the calendar, or a reason to take time off from work.  It is recognition of the battles fought; the lives given; and the peace that was forged in order to form a more perfect union.  It is a celebration of all that makes America great and a reminder that the freedoms that define this nation were hard-earned, and require the continued commitment of the American people to maintain.

Interestingly, while the nation will celebrate its independence on July 4, it is the date of July 2, 1776 that marks when a closed session of Congress first approved a resolution of independence.  In fact, it was John Adams who wrote, “The second day of July, 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America.  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary festival.”  Adams missed the mark by two days, as the nation now celebrates the date shown on the Declaration of Independence, but his point remains valid about the annual celebration that occurs in recognition of this nation's greatness. 

As we gather this year for Independence Day to enjoy time with family and friends, eat some barbecue, watch some fireworks, or however we choose to celebrate, it's important to remember the date itself is not what defines this holiday.  Yes, many will always refer to the holiday as the Fourth of July, but the true meaning of this annual celebration is to remind all Americans about the struggle this nation underwent to achieve independence, and to give us an appreciation for how abundantly blessed we are to live in a nation where we are truly free.   America is the greatest nation on earth, and we have reason to be truly thankful for all we have not only on Independence Day, but on each and every day the United States continues to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all! 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN DISTRICT 125:

PHOTO: A new Dollar General is being completed in Hermitage.  Tentative plans for opening are on Monday, July 23, 2018.

PHOTO: Construction is well underway for a new MFA feed processing facility in Lowry City. 

DON’T LOSE YOUR INDEPENDENCE THIS FOURTH OF JULY:

MoDOT would like to remind everyone that local law enforcement will be out in full force June 29-July 4 on the lookout for impaired drivers.  There are no warnings issued; impaired driving equals immediate arrest.  Don’t risk losing your independence by choosing to drink and drive.  Last year over the July 4th holiday, there were 26 people killed and 72 seriously injured in traffic crashes in Missouri.  Of the 26 people killed, 16 were involved in a crash where there was at least one substance-impaired driver. 

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety recommends always wearing your seatbelt; planning a safe way home before the fun begins; designating a sober driver ahead of time; and if you see an impaired driver on the road, don’t hesitate to call law enforcement.  

MO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DICAMBA CUT-OFF DATES:

The Missouri Department of Agriculture reminds all farmers and pesticide applicators across Missouri that, according to Missouri’s 24c label, all applications of ENGENIA, FEXAPAN and XTENDIMAX for the 2018 growing season must come to a halt when any of the following apply: 

Soybeans reach the first reproductive growth stage (R1 – first flower).
Wind is blowing in the direction of neighboring sensitive crops (ex. non-dicamba tolerant soybeans, vegetable and fruit crops, etc.).
Spraying cut-off dates have passed.  
The Missouri 24c labels for ENGENIA, FEXAPAN and XTENDIMAX prohibit the use of these three products after June 10, 2018, in Southeast Missouri and after July 15, 2018, in all remaining Missouri counties.

CAPITOL REPORT - July 12, 2018.  It’s the season for County Youth Fairs!  While attending the Land-O-Lakes Youth Fair in El Dorado Springs, I visited with Kendra Stewart of Osceola.  She is showing a Black Whiteface Crossbred Heifer.  Youth fairs are a great way for our youth to learn responsibility and skills of caring for livestock. 

I am happy to report that Governor Parson signed legislation last Friday that will allow all Missouri counties the ability to collect fees to enhance 911 services.  It will be up to eachcounty commission to submit to the voters of the county a proposal to authorize the commission to enact a tax for the purpose of providing central dispatching of fire protection, emergency ambulance service, including emergency telephone services, and other emergency services.  It will be limited not to exceed $1.50 per device on subscribers of any communications service or owner of any device enabled to contact 911 solely for the purpose of funding 911 service in the county.  If approved by the voters, revenue from this fee, except for certain administrative and collection costs of the providers and the Department of Revenue, will be deposited into the Missouri 911 Service Trust Fund to be remitted monthly by the Director of the Department of Revenue to the governing body of the county.  

The effective date of this law is August 28, 2018.  Choosing to enact this tax will provide the ability to drastically reduce the time involved in responding to an emergency.  Previously, taxes have only been collected on landlines, which are steadily declining, to cover 911 services.   Throughout the committee hearings on this legislation, the advocates testifying in favor have been overwhelming.  They include:  the MO Ambulance Association, the American Heart Association, Missouri Nurses Association, Missouri State Council of Firefighters, Missouri Fire Service Alliance, Missouri Chapter Association of Public Safety Communication Officials, Missouri Committee for the Deaf, Missouri Municipal League, Missouri Police Chiefs Association, Missouri Association of Counties, Missouri 911 Directors Organization, Missouri National Emergency Number Association, Missouri Cable Telecommunications Association, the Missouri Chapter of the National Social Workers, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and many more. 

DRUG TAKE BACK PROGRAM SIGNED INTO LAW:

Three pieces of legislation approved by the General Assembly this year (SBs 718, 826 and 951) all contained a provision to help fight prescription drug abuse. The change to state law will expand Missouri’s drug take back program so that Missourians are more easily able to dispose of their unwanted prescription medications. 

Citizens will be able to discard unfinished prescriptions year-round by dropping them off at authorized sites such as pharmacies. (Without the change, Missouri pharmacies would be barred from taking prescriptions they did not dispense.)  Specifically, unused controlled substances will be accepted from the public through collection receptacles, drug disposal boxes, and other means provided through drug take back programs by a drug enforcement agency-authorized collector in accordance with federal regulations, regardless of whether or not the authorized collector originally dispensed the drug.

The act also requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to develop an education and awareness program about drug disposal by August 28, 2019.  The program will be a web-based resource that describes available drug disposal options, provides a list of take back sites, and provides a list of take back events.  The goal is to allow collection in as many places as possible to make it easy for people to dispose of unused prescription drugs and get them off the streets.  

MISSOURI ENDS FISCAL YEAR 2018 WITH STRONG REVENUE GROWTH:

As Fiscal Year 2018 ended at the close of June, the state received good news regarding the healthier-than-expected growth of state revenues.  While state budget leaders had predicted growth of 1.9 percent, the state saw the fiscal year end with growth of 5 percent.  I attribute this more-than-double growth to low unemployment rates and a thriving economy in Missouri. 

100-MILE YARD SALE COMING SOON:

“Discover More on Route 54” is hosting the Annual 100-Mile Yard Sale scheduled for Labor Day weekend during daylight hours, August 31-September 1, along U.S. Highway 54 including the cities of Nevada, El Dorado Springs, Collins, Weaubleau, Wheatland, Hermitage, Preston, Macks Creek, and Camdenton.   Everyone is invited and encouraged to sell, attend, and‘Discover More on Route 54!’  Sellers will be responsible for their own yard sale signs to attract motorists. With the increased holiday traffic, it’s encouraged that other non-profits (fire departments, churches, etc.) hold rummage sales & fundraisers at the same time.   –More information will be posted regularly.

CAPITOL REPORT - July 19, 2018.  After six years of legislative work to reform Missouri’s Prevailing Wage Law, Governor Mike Parson signed a Reform Bill into law last Friday.  Several of us were asked to join him for the bill signing, and

I spoke briefly how he and I had filed identical Senate and House bills to allow 90 third-class rural counties to opt out of the state’s Prevailing Wage requirement during my first year as a representative in 2013.  We got it passed through the House and to the Senate the last week of session in 2013.  A senator for our district at that time, Governor Parson, was handling HB 409, and it was filibustered for more than six hours on the Senate floor.  After being laid aside due to the filibuster, it failed without any further activity that week. 

Six years later, with hard work and compromise, we finally got the Prevailing Wage Law reformed so that rural counties across Missouri are able to do public works projects at a more reasonable cost. 

I firmly believe it is our obligation as legislators to require our government to be good stewards and spend our taxpayer dollars wisely.   Reform of Prevailing Wage is one of the most important ways to achieve this.  Our public work projects should be awarded to the most qualified/competitive bidder.

SS HCS HBs 1729, 1621 & 1436, Labor Reform, was signed into law by Governor Parson on Friday, July 13. 

As the July 14 deadline for the governor to take action on bills approached, Gov. Parson signed several pieces of legislation into law, and vetoed a handful of others. In total, Gov. Parson signed 63 bills after taking office.  In addition to the bills signed by the previous governor, the legislature saw the majority of the 150 bills it “truly agreed” signed into law. 

The governor vetoed only three bills and said he would reach out to House and Senate leadership to explore options and discuss efforts to address veto concerns. The governor had also issued 21 line-item vetoes in the state budget.  In total, he line-item vetoed more than $12 million in funding contained in 10 different appropriations bills. 

Lawmakers will now consider what, if any, actions to take with the vetoed bills.  The House Budget Committee met on July 17 this week to review the line-item vetoes in the budget.  Committee members used the time to gather information to assess whether immediate action needs to be taken to address the programs that will lose funding because of the vetoes.  Legislators will next meet in September for the annual Veto Session where they could decide to attempt to override some of the governor’s vetoes. 

Historic Tax Relief for Missouri Families Signed into Law:   

Legislation approved during session, HB 2540, will provide significant tax relief to Missouri families in 2019. The bill recently signed into law by the governor will allow Missourians to keep more of their paychecks.  The legislation provides for the largest single-year tax cut in Missouri’s history.

A previous tax cut approved by the General Assembly lowers Missouri’s income tax by a tenth of a percent each time the state sees sufficient revenue growth.  The cut has already lowered Missouri’s highest income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.9 percent.  Now, because of this year’s solid revenue growth, the rate is set to drop to 5.8 percent for 2019 tax filings. 

Now, because of the tax cut approved this year, Missourians will see even more savings for 2019. The new cut will reduce the tax burden for Missouri families even further to 5.4 percent. Another portion of the bill will eventually reduce the tax rate to 5.1 percent as long as the revenue growth triggers are met. With these triggers, Missouri will be one of the top states for lowest income taxes.  

The Roscoe Christian Church commemorated their 150th Anniversary this past weekend with several activities including a special celebration service on Saturday with a resolution presented to Pastor Milton Jones and the congregation in recognition of church’s history and service.

Last Saturday evening, Senator Sandy Crawford and I had the honor of presenting House and Senate Resolutions to retiring Fire Chief Owen Elliot for 48 years of dedicated service to the El Dorado Springs Fire Department.  

100-MILE YARD SALE COMING SOON:

“Discover More on Route 54” is hosting the Annual 100-Mile Yard Sale scheduled for Labor Day weekend during daylight hours, August 31-September 1, along U.S. Highway 54 including the cities of Nevada, El Dorado Springs, Collins, Weaubleau, Wheatland, Hermitage, Preston, Macks Creek, and Camdenton.   Everyone is invited and encouraged to sell, attend, and‘Discover More on Route 54!’  Sellers will be responsible for their own yard sale signs to attract motorists. With the increased holiday traffic, it’s encouraged that other non-profits (fire departments, churches, etc.) hold rummage sales & fundraisers at the same time.   –More information will be posted regularly.

CAPITOL REPORT - July 26, 2018.  I have spent the last several days attending my third Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) which was hosted by Missouri this year in St. Louis.  The 72nd Annual Meeting of the SLC joined together more than 1,300 legislators, staff, and guests from 15 Southern states to discuss regional and national policy issues.   The SLC was established in 1947 and is non-partisan with the mission to encourage cooperation and sharing of effective policy solutions to better serve constituents.  I serve on the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee as well as the Energy and Environment Committee. 

During the event, members of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee went on an agricultural technical tour on the Mississippi River.   One 15-mile section of the river is known as the Agricultural Coast of America.  It can handle up to 500 barges per day.  Each tugboat pushes a group of 15 Barges transporting grain, coal, fertilizer, and much more.   One barge has the capacity of 1,500 tons, 62,500 bushels, or 453,500 gallons of products. The typical 15-barge tow is capable of hauling 22,500 tons or 767,500 bushels; that figures out to be 950 semi-truckloads!

A highlight of the annual SLC meeting is the Campaign Against Hunger event.  Marla and I gathered with everyone for an organized food-packaging assembly, and more than 50,000 meals were prepared for food banks in the St. Louis area. 

Our opening speaker for the SLC meeting was John O’Leary, who survived a 1% chance of living after being burned over his entire body as a young boy.  In his speeches, he motivates others to live a more significant life.  He is a truly inspirational young man!

Our closing speaker at the 72nd Annual SLC Meeting was Johnny Morris.   Founder of Bass Pro, he is also an avid outdoorsman with a passion for conservation.   I visited with him briefly about eradicating feral hogs on some of his property that is located just west of Roscoe. 

MO DEPT OF CONSERVATION CWD SAMPLING EFFORTS FOR 2018 DEER SEASON:

From MDC-Jefferson City:  If you harvest a deer from certain counties in the CWD Management Zone during Nov. 10 or 11, 2018, you must take your deer (or the head with at least 6 inches of the neck in place) on the day of harvest to one of the following designated CWD sampling stations:  MDC CWD Sampling Stations  (You may take your deer to any station on this list.)   For questions about CWD sampling stations in Cedar, Hickory, and St. Clair Counties, please call the Conservation Department’s Southwest Regional Office at 417-895-6880.

The 31 counties for mandatory sampling are: Adair, Barry, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Cedar, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Grundy, Hickory, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Madison, McDonald, Mercer, Moniteau, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington.

 MDC confirmed 33 new cases of CWD following the testing of nearly 24,500 free-ranging Missouri deer through its sampling and testing efforts last season. The new cases were found in Adair, Cedar, Franklin, Jefferson, Linn, Macon, Perry, Polk, St. Clair, and Ste. Genevieve counties. These new cases bring the total number of free-ranging deer in Missouri confirmed to have CWD to 75. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.

The CWD Management Zone consists of counties in or near where cases of the disease have been found. The 48 counties are: Adair, Barry, Benton, Bollinger, Boone, Callaway, Cape Girardeau, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dade, Franklin, Gasconade, Grundy, Hickory, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Madison, McDonald, Mercer, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Putnam, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington.

To help limit the possible spread of CWD, MDC encourages hunters to process deer as close as possible to where harvested and to properly dispose of carcass parts by leaving or burying parts on site, or bagging parts and placing them in trash containers.

ALSO:  According to the Wildlife Code of Missouri, the placement of grain, salt products, minerals, and other consumable natural and manufactured products used to attract deer is prohibited year-round within counties of the CWD Management Zone. Exceptions are feed placed within 100 feet of any residence or occupied building, feed placed in such a manner to reasonably exclude access by deer, and feed and minerals present solely as a result of normal agricultural or forest management, or crop and wildlife food production practices. 

100-MILE YARD SALE COMING SOON:

“Discover More on Route 54” is hosting the Annual 100-Mile Yard Sale scheduled for Labor Day weekend during daylight hours, August 31-September 1, along U.S. Highway 54 including the cities of Nevada, El Dorado Springs, Collins, Weaubleau, Wheatland, Hermitage, Preston, Macks Creek, and Camdenton.   Everyone is invited and encouraged to sell, attend, and‘Discover More on Route 54!’  Sellers will be responsible for their own yard sale signs to attract motorists. With the increased holiday traffic, it’s encouraged that other non-profits (fire departments, churches, etc.) hold rummage sales & fundraisers at the same time.   –More information will be posted regularly.

CAPITOL REPORT - August 2, 2018.  It’s always welcomed when we have the opportunity to visit with our local U.S. officials.  Both U.S. Senator Blunt and Congresswoman Hartzler have recently been in District 125 for several functions, and I appreciated having a chance to visit with each of them about several issues that have local impact. 

Senator Blunt went on tours of the Hickory County Health Department’s new facility and Golden Valley Medical Clinic in Osceola.  During each tour he addressed Alzheimer’s and the desperate need for a cure.  Since Senator Blunt became chairman of the Federal Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies 4 years ago, research funding for Alzheimer’s has almost been quadrupled in the budget bill from $631 million to $2.34 billion.  He stated that every hour Alzheimer’s disease costs taxpayers $21 million dollars with someone new in the U.S. developing the disease every 65 seconds.  AND Medicare and Medicaid currently spend $186 billion caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias…this is 67% of the total cost of these programs.  Therefore, research for a cure or even a small discovery breakthrough would be significant. 

Joining us for the monthly Osceola Chamber of Commerce luncheon last Friday, Congresswoman Hartzler addressed the need for broadband internet in our rural communities.  The spending bill that was passed earlier this year in Washington, D.C., includes an additional $600 million in grants and loans to be applied to deploying broadband internet to rural communities that need it the most.  Her amendment to the Farm Bill was included in the House version and would increase the minimum speed requirement for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service programs to ensure quality high-speed internet will be implemented.  This can definitely benefit our district.

Congresswoman Hartzler also spoke on the need to increase funding to support the military.  The National Defense Authorization Act for 2019 includes a 2.6% pay increase for our service men and women, which is the largest increase in 9 years.  The Act also authorizes funding for B-2 Bomber modifications, A-10 wing replacements, and funding for the B-21 (next generation long-range strike bomber).  These aircraft are all at Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster and only 45 minutes from District 125, which has many family recreational activities to offer the troops and their families.

GOVERNOR PARSON TAKES ACTION ON DROUGHT: 

Last Wednesday, Governor Parson signed an executive order declaring a drought alert for 47 counties experiencing severe or extreme drought in Missouri.   Tina Dulaban, District Manager for the Soil and Water Conservation District in Benton County (SWCD), reports there are now 52 counties terribly affected.  While Benton, Cedar, Hickory and St. Clair Counties have been very blessed and are not a part of the drought alert, the entire state is being closely monitored: U.S. Drought Monitor Map.  Ms. Dulaban and other members of the SWCD participated in a webinar yesterday, August 1st, discussing what is being done by the State of Missouri Soil and Water Conservation Districts to assist the counties in the alert.  She said action includes:  1) Grazing management practices that include a water source development and/or a water distribution; 2) Cleaning out ponds that have previously been paid for under state cost share programs in past years; and 3) Planting cover crops on cropland that can be hayed or grazed. 

Missouri farmers are hardest hit in the drought, and as Ms. Dulaban stated, “Livestock forage needs are a huge concern.”  While Benton County and all of District 125 are not a part of the alert at this time, if the U.S. Drought Monitor determines a drastic change in conditions, assistance is ready to be provided.   Benton County SWCD:  660-547-2351, Ext. 3;  Cedar County SWCD:  417-276-3388, Ext. 3; Hickory County SWCD:  417-745-6613;  St. Clair County SWCD:   417-646-8108, Ext. 3.   https://mosoilandwater.land/ 

100-MILE YARD SALE COMING SOON:

“Discover More on Route 54” is hosting the Annual 100-Mile Yard Sale scheduled for Labor Day weekend during daylight hours, August 31-September 1, along U.S. Highway 54 including the cities of Nevada, El Dorado Springs, Collins, Weaubleau, Wheatland, Hermitage, Preston, Macks Creek, and Camdenton.   Everyone is invited and encouraged to sell, attend, and‘Discover More on Route 54!’  Sellers will be responsible for their own yard sale signs to attract motorists. With the increased holiday traffic, it’s encouraged that other non-profits (fire departments, churches, etc.) hold rummage sales & fundraisers at the same time.  https://100mileyardsale.wordpress.com/

There will be host locations for anyone not living along Highway 54 that would like to participate.  These sites will be posted next week. 

RULES for setting up/selling at a host site: 

1.      First come, first setup basis each day;

2.      Dumpsters located on the property are NOT for public use, please remove everything you do not sell, and be respectful of the host property; and

3.      The sellers will be responsible for their own sale signs to attract motorists.

CAPITOL REPORT - August 9, 2018.  As the severe drought continues and conditions become more widespread across the state, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is offering a special over-width hauling permit to help farmers and ranchers move hay as it is needed.  MoDOT will be waiving the cost of the hauling permit, allow loads of up to 12 feet, 4 inches in width, and also move hay during any holiday as well as at night.  (When hauling at night or when visibility is less than 500 feet, drivers must use a reflective, oversized load sign and clearance lights instead of the normally required flags.)  Permits can be requested by phone and, in most cases, will be issued within minutes by fax or email.  The permit fee will be waived through October 31, 2018.  To obtain a permit, hay haulers need to call MoDOT’s Motor Carrier Services office at 1-800-877-8499 to report the year, make, license plate number and (VIN) of the power unit as well as provide the farm business name and address.  These permits will cover delivery within Missouri only and are required for each truck and load. 

More information about the continued drought conditions as well as a directory of producers needing to buy or sell hay is available at www.dnr.mo.gov and www.agriculture.mo.gov. 

PLEASE BE AWARE:  Most all of the southeastern United States is under quarantine for imported fire ants, which can be easily spread through the transport of hay.  Any farmer concerned that they may have received fire ants in a shipment of hay should call their local University Extension agent as soon as possible!  Please refer to the Imported Fire Ants Quarantined Areas and the Fact Sheet for Moving Baled Hay from Quarantined Areas. 

UPDATE!! 100-MILE YARD SALE:

“Discover More on Route 54” is hosting the Annual 100-Mile Yard Sale scheduled for Labor Day weekend during daylight hours, August 31-September 1, along U.S. Highway 54 including the cities of Nevada, El Dorado Springs, Collins, Weaubleau, Wheatland, Hermitage, Preston, Macks Creek, and Camdenton.   Everyone is invited and encouraged to sell, attend, and‘Discover More on Route 54!’  Sellers will be responsible for their own yard sale signs to attract motorists. With the increased holiday traffic, it’s encouraged that other non-profits (fire departments, churches, etc.) hold rummage sales & fundraisers at the same time.   

For the most up-to-date information on locations on the 100-Mile route, please go to the Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/MOHwy54YardSale/.  If you are planning to host a yard sale on your Highway 54 property, please post the address and hours to the Facebook page. Other details can be found at https://100mileyardsale.wordpress.com/ 

There will be host locations for anyone not living along Highway 54 that would like to participate:

Camdenton - American Family Insurance parking lot (graveled area only), 309 W. Hwy 54.  Must register with cray.hulett@yahoo.com; 
Macks Creek - in front of the Public Water Supply District 1 Office in Macks Creek, 13067 W. US Highway 54; 
Preston - Yates Rustic Range Trading, located 6 miles east of Preston, call for space (417)733-7193; 
Hermitage- Beyond Bargains Flea Market, 624 W. Hwy 54, [Fee charged] call Kathy (417)399-1474 for prices; 
Wheatland - Hwy 54 RV Park (watch for digital sign), across from Main St., call for space (417)282-5400; 
Collins - Brenda’s Quilt Stop & More, located west of Collins along Hwy. 54 call to register (417)876-9997; 
El Dorado Springs - the old Wood’s parking lot, at the junction of Highways 54 & 32.
RULES for setting up/selling at a host site: 

1.      First come, first setup basis each day;

2.      Dumpsters located on the property are NOT for public use, please remove everything you do not sell, and be respectful of the host property; and

3.      The sellers will be responsible for their own sale signs to attract motorists.

CAPITOL REPORT - August 16, 2018.  Classes are beginning in schools across Missouri as I write this report.  Just last week, I sat in on a breakfast meeting with the retired teachers of Hickory County.  School start dates and 4-day weeks were the main topic of discussion.  All of the teachers in attendance remembered when Missouri schools did not start classes until after Labor Day. 

Why do school districts feel like it is necessary to begin classes in August?  Some reasons given include being able to complete the first semester before the Christmas break; starting earlier enables more breaks to be scheduled throughout the year to provide time away for the students and teachers; students have more learning time before statewide assessments in the Spring; and a shorter summer prevents less academic loss known as “summer slide.” 

Starting early greatly affects the length of summer tourism in our state.  Municipal pools and water parks close early; there are one to two weekends less of vacation/travel across the state which includes enjoying all the recreational lake and river activities the state has to offer; and attendance is affected at the Missouri State Fair which highlights youth exhibits and the best of the best in agriculture. 

MISSOURI “FIRST” INITIATIVE: 

As I mentioned the state fair above, it promotes excellence in Missouri agriculture and raises awareness of the importance of the agriculture industry.  As well, the state is also continuing efforts to increase agriculture investments. The Missouri State Treasurer was on hand at the state fair this week to talk about the Missouri FIRST initiative and the role it has played in increasing investment in agriculture through the state’s linked deposit program. 

The Missouri FIRST (Financing Investment in our Rural, Small Business and Technology communities) initiative revamped the state’s linked deposit program, which partners with local lenders to provide low-interest financing to small businesses and agricultural operations.  Encouraging more rural economic development, the program helps farmers by making production, land acquisition, livestock costs and other ventures more affordable.  Missouri FIRST was launched in March, and has seen the total volume of active agriculture linked deposits rise from $29.3 million to $69.3 million since its inception.  The Missouri State Treasurer’s office works with local lending institutions to facilitate Missouri FIRST loans. There are approximately 115 qualified Missouri FIRST linked deposit lenders with 350 branches throughout the state. A list of lenders and program eligibility guidelines can be found online at MOFIRST.mo.gov. 

LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT IN ALMOST TWO DECADES: 

Missouri received good news this week as the state’s unemployment rate hit its lowest point in nearly two decades. Data released by the Missouri Department of Economic Development showed the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.4% in July. This is the lowest the state has seen since June, 2000.  The July unemployment rate is down from 3.5% in June, and it is also lower than the 3.6% unemployment rate for June, 2017, last year.  The state’s unemployment rate has decreased from the 3.7% level at the beginning of the year.  Missouri’s rate has now been lower than the comparable U.S. rate, which is currently 3.9%, for 39 consecutive months.  

Overall, the state’s employment levels have been on an upward trend. Missouri saw an increase of 8,800 jobs between May and July. The state has also seen an increase of 34,700 jobs since July, 2017. Health care and social assistance employment saw an increase of 10,900 jobs.  Durable goods manufacturing added 5,600 jobs.   Arts, entertainment and recreation; retail trade; and administrative, support, and waste management services each added between 3,500 and 4,000 jobs statewide over the year.

2 WEEKS AWAY! 100-MILE YARD SALE:

“Discover More on Route 54” is hosting the Annual 100-Mile Yard Sale scheduled for Labor Day weekend during daylight hours, August 31-September 1, along U.S. Highway 54 including the cities of Nevada, El Dorado Springs, Collins, Weaubleau, Wheatland, Hermitage, Preston, Macks Creek, and Camdenton.   Everyone is invited and encouraged to sell, attend, and‘Discover More on Route 54!’  Sellers will be responsible for their own yard sale signs to attract motorists. With the increased holiday traffic, it’s encouraged that other non-profits (fire departments, churches, etc.) hold rummage sales & fundraisers at the same time.   

For the most up-to-date information on locations on the 100-Mile route, please go to the Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/MOHwy54YardSale/.  If you are planning to host a yard sale on your Highway 54 property, please post the address and hours to the Facebook page. Other details can be found at https://100mileyardsale.wordpress.com/ 

There will be host locations for anyone not living along Highway 54 that would like to participate: 

Camdenton - American Family Insurance parking lot (graveled area only), 309 W. Hwy 54.  Must register with cray.hulett@yahoo.com; 

Macks Creek - in front of the Public Water Supply District 1 Office in Macks Creek, 13067 W. US Highway 54; 

Preston - Yates Rustic Range Trading, located 6 miles east of Preston, call for space (417)733-7193; 

Hermitage - Beyond Bargains Flea Market, 624 W. Hwy 54, [Fee charged] call Kathy (417)399-1474 for prices; 

Wheatland - Hwy 54 RV Park (watch for digital sign), across from Main St., call for space (417)282-5400; 

Collins - Brenda’s Quilt Stop & More, located west of Collins along Hwy. 54 call to register (417)876-9997; 

El Dorado Springs - the old Wood’s parking lot, at the junction of Highways 54 & 32.

RULES for setting up/selling at a host site: 

  First come, first setup basis each day;
  Dumpsters located on the property are NOT for public use, please remove everything you do not sell, and be respectful of the host property; and
 The sellers will be responsible for their own sale signs to attract motorists.

CAPITOL REPORT - Aug 23, 2018. Last Thursday, August 16th, was Missouri State Fair Legislative Day.  Elected officials and state leaders, over 1,000 people, all met for the annual Governor’s Ham Breakfast for an update on the drought and other current issues in agriculture.   Following breakfast, we spent time visiting several agriculture exhibitions and competitions.  We then met again at lunch time for Senator Blunt’s annual Ag Advisory Luncheon.  Speakers for the day’s events included Governor Mike Parson, USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Congressman Jason Smith, Attorney General Josh Hawley, and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. 

The day was full of activities including time spent at the Missouri State Fair Beef House with fellow members of the St. Clair County Cattlemen’s Association.  I also enjoyed helping with a cooking demonstration with the Missouri Cattlewomen to promote “Beef for Breakfast.”  The Beef House was established in 1982 to promote the beef industry by serving a menu full of delicious beef selections to fair goers.  This yearly 11-day event wouldn’t be possible without all the volunteer members of the county cattlemen’s associations from across the state.  

My wife, Marla, and I then helped with the “Drive to Feed Kids” sponsored by Missouri Future Farmers of America and Missouri Farmers Care.  This event was part of an effort to educate the public about the state’s agriculture productivity and combating childhood hunger.  FFA members came together to pack 100,000 meals (buddy packs) for children in need; this amount is one month’s worth of buddy packs for a 32-county area which includes Benton County.  District 125 schools that benefit include Warsaw North and South Elementary Schools and Warsaw Ruth Mercer Elementary. 

We also had the joy of spending much of the day with our daughter, Anna, and some of our grandchildren.   It never fails to amaze me how much the children enjoy and learn by going to the fair.  They were fortunate enough to not be starting back to school until after the State Fair and took advantage of the day by going to all the livestock and animal exhibits and shows, 4-H/FFA displays and  competitions, fair rides, and, of course, great food!

I worked with fellow members of the St. Clair County Cattlemen’s Association at the Missouri State Fair Beef House last Thursday, where I also helped with a cooking demonstration with the Cattlewomen promoting "Beef for Breakfast."

Marla and I got to spend some quality time with our daughter, Anna, and some of our grandchildren showing and teaching them about agriculture at the State Fair.

I was honored to participate in the “Drive to Feed Kids” sponsored by MO Future Farmers of America and MO Farmers Care.  A month’s supply of 100,000 meals (buddy packs) were prepared during the fair to be given to school children.

I was very humbled to receive the “Missouri Farm Bureau Friend of Agriculture” award presented to me by the St. Clair County Farm Bureau President, Gary Noakes, on August 20th.   This is my 3rd year to receive this honor based on my voting record, participation in district, and my contributions and support to agricultural legislation and other issues. 

ARE YOU READY FOR THE 100-MILE YARD SALE?

“Discover More on Route 54” is hosting the Annual 100-Mile Yard Sale scheduled for Labor Day weekend during daylight hours, August 31-September 1, along U.S. Highway 54 including the cities of Nevada, El Dorado Springs, Collins, Weaubleau, Wheatland, Hermitage, Preston, Macks Creek, and Camdenton.   Everyone is invited and encouraged to sell, attend, and‘Discover More on Route 54!’  Sellers will be responsible for their own yard sale signs to attract motorists. With the increased holiday traffic, it’s encouraged that other non-profits (fire departments, churches, etc.) hold rummage sales & fundraisers at the same time.   

For the most up-to-date information on locations on the 100-Mile route, please go to the Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/MOHwy54YardSale/.  If you are planning to host a yard sale on your Highway 54 property, please post the address and hours to the Facebook page.  

There will be host locations for anyone not living along Highway 54 that would like to participate: 

Camdenton - American Family Insurance parking lot (graveled area only), 309 W. Hwy 54.  Must register with cray.hulett@yahoo.com; 

Macks Creek - in front of the Public Water Supply District 1 Office in Macks Creek, 13067 W. US Highway 54; 
Preston - Yates Rustic Range Trading, located 6 miles east of Preston, call for space (417)733-7193; 
Hermitage- Beyond Bargains Flea Market, 624 W. Hwy 54, [Fee charged] call Kathy (417)399-1474 for prices; 
Wheatland - Hwy 54 RV Park (watch for digital sign), across from Main St., call for space (417)282-5400; 
Collins - Brenda’s Quilt Stop & More, located west of Collins along Hwy. 54 call to register (417)876-9997; 
El Dorado Springs - the old Wood’s parking lot, at the junction of Highways 54 & 32.
RULES for setting up/selling at a host site: 

1.      First come, first setup basis each day;

2.      Dumpsters located on the property are NOT for public use, please remove everything you do not sell, and be respectful of the host property; and

3.      The sellers will be responsible for their own sale signs to attract motorists.

CAPITOL REPORT - August 29, 2018.  This past week the citizens of Wheatland have been struck with tragedy.  Wheatland Mayor Harold “Rowdy” Rempfer and his wife, Julia, were killed in a vehicle accident on Saturday evening.  Harold and Julia have been very active, giving members of their community and will be greatly missed.  There will be a visitation this evening from 6-8 p.m. at the Hathaway-Peterman Funeral Home in Wheatland.  A celebration of life will take place at 1 p.m. tomorrow, August 30th, at the Galmey Community Bible Church, Highway 254, 3 miles west of Lake Pomme de Terre Dam.  My thoughts and prayers are with the Rempfer family at such a difficult time. 

Early morning last Friday, the Wheatland Volunteer Fire Department Building suffered fire damage. The firetrucks were saved; however, there was a lot of damage to the building and loss of equipment.  I have contacted the Missouri Department of Conservation to give them a head’s up that the Wheatland team may need some assistance in replacing lost equipment.

The Wheatland Volunteer Fire Department building suffered fire damage on Friday, August 24th. 

Marla and I attended “An Evening to Remember” annual fundraising event for the Benton County Food Pantry last Saturday.  It was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Warsaw with almost 200 people in attendance.   The Benton County Food Pantry provides an incredible service throughout Benton County supplying food each month to 1500-2000 families, 216 senior boxes to seniors who are 60 years or older, and 25 veterans’ boxes.   The Benton County Food Pantry is located at 121 Tower Drive in Warsaw and is open Monday through Thursday from 9 am-12 noon and 1-3 pm. 

I put up a new “Discover More on Route 54” sign on Monday.   Its location is about 1 mile east of Nevada at the intersection of US Hwy 54 and Private Road 1775.  It’s just in time for the 4th Annual 100-Mile Yard Sale this Labor Day Weekend that stretches from Nevada to Camdenton. 

4TH ANNUAL 100-MILE YARD SALE THIS WEEKEND!

“Discover More on Route 54” is hosting the Annual 100-Mile Yard Sale scheduled for Labor Day weekend during daylight hours, August 31-September 1, along U.S. Highway 54 including the cities of Nevada, El Dorado Springs, Collins, Weaubleau, Wheatland, Hermitage, Preston, Macks Creek, and Camdenton.   Everyone is invited and encouraged to sell, attend, and‘Discover More on Route 54!’  Sellers will be responsible for their own yard sale signs to attract motorists. With the increased holiday traffic, it’s encouraged that other non-profits (fire departments, churches, etc.) hold rummage sales & fundraisers at the same time.   

For the most up-to-date information on locations on the 100-Mile route, please go to the Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/MOHwy54YardSale/.  If you are planning to host a yard sale on your Highway 54 property, please post the address and hours to the Facebook page.  

There will be host locations for anyone not living along Highway 54 that would like to participate: 

Camdenton - American Family Insurance parking lot (graveled area only), 309 W. Hwy 54.  Must register with cray.hulett@yahoo.com;
Macks Creek - in front of the Public Water Supply District 1 Office in Macks Creek, 13067 W. US Highway 54; 
Preston - Yates Rustic Range Trading, located 6 miles east of Preston, call for space (417)733-7193; 
Hermitage- Beyond Bargains Flea Market, 624 W. Hwy 54, [Fee charged] call Kathy (417)399-1474 for prices; 
Wheatland - Hwy 54 RV Park (watch for digital sign), across from Main St., call for space (417)282-5400; 
Collins - Brenda’s Quilt Stop & More, located west of Collins along Hwy. 54 call to register (417)876-9997; 
El Dorado Springs - the old Wood’s parking lot, at the junction of Highways 54 & 32.
RULES for setting up/selling at a host site: 

1.      First come, first setup basis each day;

2.      Dumpsters located on the property are NOT for public use, please remove everything you do not sell, and be respectful of the host property; and

3.      The sellers will be responsible for their own sale signs to attract motorists.

I hope everyone is able to “unplug” on Labor Day, and enjoy relaxation with family, friends, and neighbors.