2019 Capitol Reports and Press Releases (Archived) February • March • April • May • June  • July

CAPITOL REPORT - January 10, 2019.  My first day back in Jefferson City on Wednesday, January 9th, began with the welcome tradition of attending the Concord Baptist Church Annual Legislative Breakfast and Prayer Service for all Missouri government leaders.  This was my 7th year to attend this event sponsored by the Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention and Concord Baptist Church.  The physical food is good, but the spiritual food is always great.  The keynote speaker challenged all of us to step out of our comfort zone, reach out and help others. 

Beginning at High Noon on Wednesday, the members of the historic 100th General Assembly gathered in the State Capitol for the opening of the 2019 legislative session. The Missouri House of Representatives welcomed 56 first-time members, who took the oath of office alongside 106 returning members. The House now has 115 Republicans and 47 Democrats with one seat currently vacant.  In comparison, the Missouri Senate now has a split of 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats. 

After House members were officially sworn into office, we elected Rep. Elijah Haahr to serve as the Speaker of the House for the 100th General Assembly. We also elected Rep. John Wiemann to serve as House Speaker Pro Tem.  Both Haahr and Wiemann then addressed all House members to share their goals for the 2019 session.  Speaker Haahr delivered an opening day address that outlined his policy priorities for the 2019 session, and talked about how the first General Assembly two centuries ago represented a state of 66,000 citizens, and the 100th General Assembly now represents a state of more than 6 million. He noted in his address that the state is at record low unemployment, the tourism industry is booming, and the state’s geographic location in the middle of the country gives it a natural advantage as it competes for commerce. 

2019 marks two milestone events in Missouri’s history. The First General Assembly of the future State of Missouri convened at the Missouri Hotel in St. Louis on September 19, 1820—nearly a year before the state was officially admitted into the Union.  The General Assembly organized, held the inauguration of the governor and lieutenant governor, and elected Missouri’s two United States senators. The first legislature also designated St. Charles as the temporary capital and appointed a commission to report on the site for the permanent capital. Just over 100 years later, on January 8, 1919, the 50th General Assembly convened in the current Capitol for the first full session of the legislature in the new building. 

Early Thursday morning, my wife, Marla, and I attended the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.  The featured speaker for the service was Sheriff for the City of St. Louis, Vernon Betts.  This afternoon I look forward to attending the 48th Annual Governor’s Conference on Agriculture.  The conference will include a lot of panel discussion and strategic vision as well as Governor Parson’s workforce development and rural infrastructure plan and how it relates to agriculture including technology, transportation and broadband for the agriculture industry.  

COWBOYS AT THE CAPITOL:

I enjoyed attending the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association 51st Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show in Columbia, Missouri, last weekend.    The new schedule for the “Cowboys at the Capitol” program that keeps agriculture issues in front of representatives and senators is now available (see below), and members of Region 6, which includes all of District 125, will be at the Capitol on February 20, April 3, and April 24.  Just like last year, I will be hosting coffee and donuts for cattlemen and cattlewomen as they gather at the Capitol each Wednesday during session. 

January 
23- MCA Executive Committee & CattleWomen’s Officers

February
6- Regions 1 & 2
13 Regions 3, 4, & 5
20- Region 6 & 7
27- Collegiate Cattlemen and MJCA

March 
6- Region 2 & 3
12- County Leadership Conference & MCLC
27- Regions 1, 4, & 5

April
3- Regions 6 & 7
10- CattleWomen
17- Regions 1, 2, & 3
24- Regions 4, 5, 6, & 7


CAPITOL REPORT - January 17, 2019.  Missouri's 100th General Assembly convened last week with mostly ceremonial and introductory activities including formally electing leadership, adopting rules, and establishing committees. Legislators in the Missouri General Assembly have filed over 900 bills so far. 

One of the bills I have filed is HB159.  This bill exempts the current $250 outdoor advertising fee and

biennial inspection fee for certain highway signs under Section 226.550, RSMo, when a sign is displayed by a landowner who also owns the business advertised on the sign and where the business has a physical location within 750 feet of the sign.   I am also in the process of drafting legislation on allowing Missouri to join 23 other states in what is referred to as the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA).  The SSUTA is a compact of states joining together to give common definitions and rules for sales and use taxes across these participating states.  Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow sovereign states to collect sales tax for online and mail order sales, it is estimated this could generate more than $100 million to Missouri’s General Revenue.   Other legislation that I am working on would clarify animals versus livestock when trespassing occurs, urging Congress to make the historic Butterfield Overland Trail part of the National Trails System, and designating the fourth Saturday in July each year as the “National Day of the Cowboy” to promote tourism in Missouri.   

For the 2019-2020 sessions, I will be serving on the House Standing Committees of Agriculture Policy; Consent and House Procedure; and Conservation and Natural Resources and listening to proposed policy and statute revisions in each of these specific areas as each bill begins its legislative process.  There are 43 standing, special and subcommittees in the House that specialize in specific areas of legislation. 

GOVERNOR PARSON DELIVERS ANNUAL STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS: 

Members of the House and Senate gathered in the House Chamber on Wednesday afternoon to hear Governor Parson share his vision for the state. Parson delivered his annual State of the State address where he unveiled the budget items and policy initiatives he wants to put in place with the help of the legislature.  He outlined priorities that include key investments in workforce development, new investments to support and improve the state’s infrastructure, improving access to health and mental health care, and downsizing government by consolidating two correctional centers. He told lawmakers, “I stand before you today to share a vision - a vision that will chart Missouri’s future into the next decade. Missouri is dear to my heart, and by working together, we can protect and build a Missouri that is successful for the next generation.” 

Some of Parson’s proposals include:

A new scholarship program called Fast Track that will help adults over 25 get the certification or training they need to fill a skill gap.
An investment in Missouri One Start, which is a consolidated, streamlined version of the Missouri Works Program, that will help new and expanding businesses by providing and covering the costs of training for employees.
Investment in the Missouri Excels Workforce Initiative to develop and expand employer-driven education, training programs, and initiatives to substantially increase educational attainment.
A bonding initiative to address the 250 bridges statewide that are in need of critical repair or replacement.
A cost-share program that will allow the state to partner with local communities to help address the most serious infrastructure needs in their areas.
Increasing access to broadband Internet in rural areas.
Funding for improvement projects for Missouri’s ports so that they can continue to move billions of dollars in cargo each year.
Improving opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery across the state for high-risk and vulnerable populations.
Curbing costs in the state’s Medicaid program while also improving the quality of care for Medicaid recipients. 
In response to the governor’s address and proposals, Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr, Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, and Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo issued the following joint statement: 

“The Governor did a great job of presenting his vision of building a better Missouri. Whether it’s increasing broadband access, making government more efficient, criminal justice reform, or educating Missouri employees to meet 21st century workplace demands, we share many of the ideas he has for Missouri. 

We know our members have a strong desire to move the state forward with bold solutions to the challenges that face us.  As a co-equal branch of government, we look forward to reviewing the details of his proposals and budget recommendations in the weeks to come.  We appreciate the great working relationship we have with Governor Parson and are optimistic that together we can further our shared priorities for our state.”

CAPITOL REPORT - January 24, 2019.  My in-district day last Friday began at the El Dorado Springs High School.  Each year, Mr. Robert Jansen invites me to speak to students in the Civics classes.  One of my favorite things to do as a state representative is share with students about how our state government operates and representatives’ duties throughout each district and statewide.  While I was at the high school I also delivered a resolution to Ms. Jill Chapman, FFA Advisor, for Maggi Medley in recognition of her achievement last Fall earning her American FFA Degree.  Resolutions have also been prepared for R.D. Stephens and Nathan Wade, Appleton City FFA Chapter; Corey Duskin and Blake Murray, Osceola FFA Chapter; Katelyn Elder and Dylan Harer, Skyline FFA Chapter; and Breanna Daggett and Jalainee Dampier of the Weaubleau FFA Chapter.  I congratulate all of these young adults for this prestigious achievement.

MO Cattlemen’s Association “Cowboys at the Capitol” kicked off on Wednesday, 1/23.  Rep. Jeff Knight (District 129) and I will be hosting gathering time and refreshments for them each week.

Joan Kelley, who is a nurse practitioner with the Truman Lake Clinic in Warsaw, visited with me on Wednesday advocating on behalf of nurse practitioners statewide.

I enjoyed meeting students and faculty of the Cornerstone Academy from Warsaw on Thursday while they attended a celebration for School Choice Week at the Capitol. 

The State Capitol has been the site of construction since March, 2018, with a $28 million restoration project well underway, which was approved during the budget process in 2014.  Renovating, repairing and resetting the exterior stone on the 100-year old building, replacing pavers, repairing retaining walls and fountains, and waterproofing.  Focus is being given on the entire exterior from the top of the dome all the way to the ground.  In order for the workers to work year round, scaffolding and wrapping has slowly taken place to allow for a more controlled environment.  The construction is anticipated to be completed sometime in 2020; while it is an inconvenience for employees and visitors to the Capitol, this renovation will keep the historic building beautiful for the next 100 years.

Scaffolding and protective wrap now covers most of the Missouri State Capitol as renovations take place.

This is the view from our district office as workers carefully inspect, repair, and/or reset each stone piece of the Capitol exterior.

 

CAPITOL REPORT - January 31, 2019.  One day it’s mud, the next day everything is frozen up.  The weather has been the headline this week. I sympathize with workers who work outside in the elements. The days of the week when I am home choring the livestock, I also am out in the elements; and the days that I am at the Capitol in a warm building, I am thinking about all of you who are working outside in the elements. I am sure we might not agree on all the issues, but one thing I am pretty sure of is we will agree that we are looking forward to warm spring weather! Below are some highlights of our legislative work at the Capitol this week: 

Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Delivers Annual State of the Judiciary Address: 

Members of the House and Senate gathered in the House Chamber this week to get an update on the state of Missouri’s judicial branch.  Lawmakers listened to the annual State of the Judiciary Address that was delivered by Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Zel Fischer. 

In his address, Fischer told legislators, “We know our partners in the legislative and executive branches are committed to doing the best job possible to make Missouri better. We are no different. The state of the judiciary is good.” He used his speech to address a variety of topics ranging from the importance of treatment courts to a new rule to benefit military spouses to a rule change that will make pretrial release conditions fairer for low-income defendants. 

As he talked about the benefits of treatment courts, Fischer explained to the House and Senate members that it’s not enough for the courts to simply resolve cases. Instead, courts must help change lives by breaking the cycle of crime among nonviolent offenders and make them more productive. Fischer also praised Gov. Parson for his commitment to not build another prison while he is in office. 

Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking (HB 397): 

House members gave overwhelming approval this week to legislation meant to protect underage victims of sex trafficking from prosecution. Lawmakers endorsed the change to ensure young people who are forced into prostitution aren’t further traumatized by facing criminal charges.  Current law in Missouri makes it an affirmative defense for a minor charged with prostitution to have been acting under coercion at the time of the crime.  House Bill 397 would remove the coercion requirement and make it an affirmative defense that the defendant was under the age of 18.  

“This is a common sense provision in the first part of the bill that says if you can’t consent to a tattoo or to have your ears pierced, that you cannot consent to prostitution,” said state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, who sponsors the bill. She also pointed out that the average age a girl is forced into prostitution is 14, and her life expectancy after entering into prostitution is seven years.  The legislation would also allow a person guilty of prostitution while a minor to apply to the courts to have records of that crime expunged.  In addition, it would add some offenses related to child abuse and sex trafficking to the state law’s definition of “pattern of criminal gang activity.”  Advocates say the provision is necessary because the frequency of trafficking operations being conducted by gangs has increased in recent years.  This bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. 

Upcoming MU Extension Events: 

Thursday, February 21, from 6:30 p. m. to 8:30 p. m., MU Extension program to discuss Missouri’s complicated fence law.  The meeting is being hosted by the Cedar County MU Extension Center and Council and will be at the El Dorado Springs High School Agriculture Classroom at 921 Park Street, El Dorado Springs.  Fee for the workshop is $15 per person which covers the program and materials.  Pre-registration and payment is required by February 19thto the Cedar County MU Extension Center (113 South Street, Stockton, Mo. 65785).   No refunds if cancelation is after February 19th.   If you have any questions, would like to register, or need more information, please contact the Cedar County MU Extension Center at 417–276–3313.

Monday, February 25, beginning at 6:00 p. m., MU Extension will have a beef cattle producers meeting at the Valley Center Church at 930 NE 1126 Rd, Deepwater.  Patrick Davis and Andy McCorkill, Regional Livestock Field Specialists with MU Extension, will provide the evening’s education.  They will discuss proper replacement heifer and bull development.  Cost of the event is $10 per person.  Registration and fee payment and is due by February 22nd to the St. Clair County MU Extension Center at PO Box 523, Osceola, Mo. 64776.  No refunds after registration deadline.  If you need more information, contact the St. Clair County MU Extension Center at 417-646-2419 or Patrick Davis at davismp@missouri.edu. 

Thank A Farmer Week is February 3-9:

Missouri Farm Bureau-Thank a Farmer Week is an appropriate time to ‘thank a farmer’!  These folks, along with their families, have chosen to spend their livelihood providing food and fiber for our nation and abroad. 

Did you know that for every retail dollar spent for food, 81 cents goes for marketing expenses? This amount includes processing, packaging, wholesaling, distributing, transporting, and retailing food products.  The farmer’s share (19 cents) is used to purchase farm equipment, fertilizer, fuel, seed, feed and other input costs.

CAPITOL REPORT - February 7, 2019. FFA State Officers were at the Capitol on Tuesday, and after introducing them to the House members, we were addressed by Student President, Paxton Dahmer, of Nevada, MO.  He presented a full update to the members on FFA and the future of agriculture.  On Wednesday, it was an honor to spend my day with FCCLA job shadow, Maddie Jefferis, from Osceola High School.  It is wonderful to listen to and spend time with young adults and experience their poise and professionalism!  It is such a positive reinforcement of the future leadership we have to look forward to. 

House Approves Good Government Bill (HB 445): 

The Missouri House of Representatives gave approval this week to legislation that is meant to make elected officials at the local government level more transparent and accountable. The bill would require local government officials to abide by many of the same ethical standards that apply to lawmakers and statewide officials.

The bill approved by the House would apply the same standards that apply to state officials to elected officials. It would limit political donations to local candidates to $2,000. It would also implement a gift limit of $5 per lobbyist per day, and it would prohibit local officials from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving office. 

During discussion on the floor, lawmakers approved an amendment to the bill that is meant to protect the private information of constituents. The sponsor noted that constituents often share personal, private information in emails or other correspondence, and it’s important to protect the confidentiality of this information to ensure constituents are comfortable with reaching out to their legislators for assistance. The amendment added to the bill would protect information provided by constituents such as Social Security numbers, phone numbers, home addresses, and other private information that pertains to a constituent’s request for information or assistance.

The bill now heads to the Senate for discussion. 

House Gives 1st-Round Approval to Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (HB 188): 

The Missouri House has given initial approval to legislation meant to provide a tool to help the state address the prescription drug abuse epidemic. Known as the Narcotics Control Act, the bill would create a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to allow medical providers to spot any concerning trends in their patients’ narcotics history.

The Narcotics Control Act would require the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to establish and maintain a program to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of all Schedule II through Schedule IV controlled substances. The bill would require information on these drugs being prescribed and dispensed to be reported within 24 hours. By the year 2022 the information would be updated in real time.

Members of Sac Osage Electric Cooperative visited the Capitol on Tuesday.  L-R:  Aaron Ash and Jim Davis, both of El Dorado Springs; Don Levi of Stockton; and Tim Minehardt of El Dorado Springs.

Missouri Prosecuting Attorneys Association members were in Jefferson City on Tuesday.  I had the honor of visiting with Michael Brown, Hickory County Prosecuting Attorney, and Daniel Dysart, St. Clair Prosecuting Attorney.

Jeff Owens, Hickory County Environmental Public Health Specialist, shared some wonderful projects going on in Hickory County.  He shared about the hydroponics program being operated by FFA youth and information on the Farmer’s Market. 

Upcoming MU Extension Events: 

Thursday, February 21, from 6:30 p. m. to 8:30 p. m., MU Extension program to discuss Missouri’s complicated fence law.  The meeting is being hosted by the Cedar County MU Extension Center and Council and will be at the El Dorado Springs High School Agriculture Classroom at 921 Park Street, El Dorado Springs.  Fee for the workshop is $15 per person which covers the program and materials.  Pre-registration and payment is required by February 19thto the Cedar County MU Extension Center (113 South Street, Stockton, Mo. 65785).   No refunds if cancelation is after February 19th.   If you have any questions, would like to register, or need more information, please contact the Cedar County MU Extension Center at 417–276–3313.

Monday, February 25, beginning at 6:00 p. m., MU Extension will have a beef cattle producers meeting at the Valley Center Church at 930 NE 1126 Rd, Deepwater.  Patrick Davis and Andy McCorkill, Regional Livestock Field Specialists with MU Extension, will provide the evening’s education.  They will discuss proper replacement heifer and bull development.  Cost of the event is $10 per person.  Registration and fee payment and is due by February 22nd to the St. Clair County MU Extension Center at PO Box 523, Osceola, Mo. 64776.  No refunds after registration deadline.  If you need more information, contact the St. Clair County MU Extension Center at 417-646-2419 or Patrick Davis at davismp@missouri.edu.

CAPITOL REPORT - February 14, 2019.  Ole’ man winter weather continues to dish out snow, ice, and hail. I am thankful for the road crews that work tireless hours to keep our roadways clear. Also the utility lineman crews do a great job of keeping our electricity on. Please let them know you appreciate their dedication and hard work.

On Tuesday evening I left the capitol and drove to Wheatland McCarty Center. I was honored by the Hickory County Extension with the presentation of a plaque, in appreciation of my long-term commitment and support of University of Missouri Extension Programs.

Benton County Retired Teachers visited the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 12th.  

My committee work since session has started has allowed me to present HB 159:

This bill exempts the current $250 outdoor advertising fee and Biennial inspection fee for certain highway signs under Section 226.550, RSMo when a sign is displayed by a landowner who also owns the business advertised on the sign and where the business has a physical location within 750 feet of the sign.

The Bill has been voted out of committee. 

Bills presented in Agricultural Policy committee so far; 

HB 161 School Start Date

HB 204 Confiscations of Animals

HB 588 Department of Agriculture

HB 559 Working Animals

HB 107 Service Dogs 

So far we have voted HB 161 and HB 588 out of committee.

Bills presented in conservation and Natural Resource Committee are HB 260 Poaching:

This bill 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 Missouri Conservation Commission's rules and regulations to make restitution to the state. The moneys collected will be transferred to the State School Moneys Fund. 

The bill has been passed out of committee. 

House Gives First-Round Approval to Important Workforce Development Bill (HB 225): 

Members of the Missouri House of Representatives gave initial approval this week to legislation meant to put thousands of Missourian on a fast track to develop the skills they need to obtain good-paying jobs. The bill would create a new state financial aid program known as Fast Track that would address workforce needs by encouraging adults to purse an industry-recognized credential in an area designated as high need. 

The goal of Fast Track is to provide community colleges, tech schools, and universities with the means to equip students for the high-paying, high-demand jobs of the future. It is designed to open up higher education opportunities for hard-working, middle-class families looking for a boost to pursue their dreams. It is also meant to help Missouri businesses find workers with the training needed to fill their workforce demands. 

Fast Track is a needs-based scholarship targeted at adults age 25 and older who are working toward certification, undergraduate degree or industry –recognized credential for high demand occupation. To be eligible, a student must be at least 25 years of age, not have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, and have an adjusted gross income of less than $40,000 for an individual and $80,000 for a married couple filing jointly. If approved, a Missourian could attend an approved Missouri postsecondary institution of their choice and have their tuition and fees paid for by the program. The program is a “last-dollar” program and will be applied after all federal non-loan aid, state student aid, and any other governmental student financial aid are applied. 

The bill now requires a final vote in the House before moving to the senate.

PLEASE WELCOME: 

I am pleased to announce we have a new Legislative Assistant for District 125, Sammie Arnold.  He is replacing Kelley Rogers who was offered an opportunity to work in the Senate.  If you are the Capitol, please stop by and introduce yourself to Sammie. 

CAPITOL REPORT - February 21, 2019.  Each year, FFA chapters around the country celebrate The National FFA Week. The week is always in February, the same week as George Washington’s birthday. This week several of us legislators who were past FFA members ourselves joined in the celebration on Tuesday the 19th. To celebrate the occasion we all brought our FFA jackets and joined together for a group photo in the House Chamber and afterwards we displayed our Blue and Gold jackets on the backs of our chairs. At 11:30am several of us joined Governor Parsons in the rotunda along with several FFA members from across the state. Governor Parson is a cow-calf producer who continues to work his farm. Earlier that day he drove a John Deere tractor from the Governor’s mansion to the capitol and was later quoted saying, “Well, you know, every day you’re on a tractor is a good day for me. I enjoy it. I was on one this weekend but it wasn’t near as nice as this one.” There he declared this week in Missouri the official FFA Week.  Parson’s advice to FFA members, “Learn as much as you can, understand where the future of agriculture’s going, through science, through math, through technology. All of those things are going to play a huge role in how we produce and how we meet the demands of the future. So, if there’s a young kid I’ll be talking out here it’s just tell them how important that role is and remember where they came from. Remember where those roots started.” The National FFA was first organized in Kansas City, Missouri in 1928 and is now more than 669-thousand members strong. Missouri has 27,104 FFA members:

Decoding Dyslexia Missouri “Hill Day”

                This past Wednesday here at the Capitol was dedicated to dyslexia awareness. Decoding Dyslexia Missouri is a cohort of parent led grassroots movements across the nation tasked with broadening the amount of access to educational resources and interventions for dyslexia within the public education system. They aim to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children and inform policy-makers on best practices to identify, remediate and support students with dyslexia. It was my pleasure in hearing from some of district 125’s very on Karen Stokes and her daughter Charlee Stokes, a family with firsthand experience on the difficulties of dyslexia.

                In recent years legislative efforts have been made to help those battling with dyslexia. Senate Bill 638 (now Section 167.950, RSMo) was signed into law in June of 2016.  This law created the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia, a group consisting of 20 members as prescribed in the law. The task force is charged with advising the Governor on matters relating to dyslexia and education. The committee is focused on access, resources, and equality.

Constituents Karen Stokes and her daughter Charlee Stokes stopped by our office of Decoding Dyslexia Day 2-20-19

Two bills were Third Read and Sent to the Senate This Week 

HB 324: Creates the offense of unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft near a correctional center or a mental health hospital. The offense of unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft near a correctional center or mental health hospital would be a class A misdemeanor unless the person uses the unmanned aircraft for the purpose of: (1) Delivering a weapon or other article that may be used in such a manner to endanger the life of an offender or correctional center or mental health hospital employee, in which case it is a class B felony; (2) Facilitating an escape from confinement, in which case it's a class C felony; or (3) Delivering a controlled substance, in which case it is a class D felony.

HB 402: Allows that when following certain criteria drivers may turn left after stopping at a red light for one-way streets. Supporters say most other states have this rule which is just as safe as the right turn on red rule given the configuration of one-way streets specified in the bill.

House Resolution No. 544

Rep. Jeff Knight and I present Mrs. Kelley Rodgers with her very own House Resolution honoring her service and promotion to the senate. 

Members of the Missouri House of Representatives occasionally pause in their diverse legislative duties and responsibilities in order to convey a fond farewell to legislator assistants who are leaving their employment with the Missouri House of Representatives in order to utilize their knowledge, skills, and experiences in the Missouri Senates. Join us in congratulating Mrs. Kelley Rodgers on her advancement to the Senate. 

Farm Bureau Legislative Banquet 

Each year Farm Bureau Members from around the state hold a legislator banquet. Members who represent district 125 were present.

Cedar County’s Billy Bruce, Kalena Bruce, and Sami Bolen. St. Claire County’s David Knight, and Benton County’s Rodney Johnson.

CAPITOL REPORT- February 29, 2019.  My in-district work for last week began by attending the University of Missouri Extension meeting at the El Dorado Springs School. The meeting was about Missouri’s complex fencing laws. Currently Missouri has two Fence Laws;

General fence law:

Chapter 272 of the Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMO 272.010 to 272.190), where the law is located, states that the livestock owner alone is legally responsible for building and maintaining a fence to enclose the livestock. When adjoining landowners or their renters own livestock, each is responsible for his or her half of the boundary fence for as long as they both run livestock against the field or enclosure.

Local option fence law:

RSMO sections 272.210 to 272.370 state that when one landowner requires a boundary fence, both landowners are legally responsible for their portion of the fence. It does not mention livestock ownership, although it is presumed.

You can Visit https://extension2.missouri.edu/g811 for more information 

In-District Events:

            On Friday morning my son John and I got up early and tended to the livestock. We then attended The Osceola FFA luncheon put on by the Osceola FFA officers to promote National FFA Week.

            I then attended the Osceola chamber luncheon and presented an update on the Missouri Civil War Passport Program.

            Tourism is the second largest revenue source for the state of Missouri. The passport program plans to boost that by promoting 29 historical Civil War sites throughout the state. Osceola has been designated a tour stop along with 2 others in our Area; one being the Island Mounds site in Bates County and the other is at Cole Camp.

            There will be a kick-off ceremony for our Civil War Passport Program at 2pm, Friday, March 15th, 2019, in the Missouri state Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City. After the ceremony we will adjourn to a meeting room at the Jefferson Landing State Park, a couple of blocks from the Capitol, along the river. Thanks to the Missouri state Parks for making these arrangements. 
Local Osceola FFA officers celebrating FFA Week in in Missouri 

This Week in the House:

House Members Approve the Strongest Piece of Pro-Life Legislation in the Nation (HB 126) 

On the first day of the 2019 legislative session, House Speaker Elijah Haahr made it clear the House of Representatives stands for the born and the unborn. This week House members made good on that promise by passing what supporters are calling the strongest piece of pro-life legislation in the nation. 

The bill would prohibit physicians from performing an abortion after a fetal heartbeat or brain function is detected, which is typically around 6-8 weeks gestational age. Because similar provisions have been struck down in other states, the bill contains additional clauses to protect the lives of the unborn. Should the fetal heartbeat requirement not stand, Missouri law would prohibit all abortions past 14 weeks gestational age. If that provision doesn’t stand, the bill would implement a “Pain-Capable” standard that would prohibit abortions past 18 weeks gestational age. 

The sponsor said the bill is “the strongest, most comprehensive pro-life bill in the nation that we truly believe is going to withstand judicial scrutiny.”

House Gives Approval to Legislation Creating “Simon’s Law” (HB 138) 

Legislation approved this week by the Missouri House would prevent do-not-resuscitate orders from being issued for Missouri children without a parent being aware. 

Commonly referred to as “Simon’s Law”, the legislation would prohibit a health care facility, nursing home, physician, nurse, or medical staff from putting such an order in a child’s file without a parent’s permission. That permission may be written, or given orally in the presence of at least two witnesses. 

Fast-Track Legislation Heads to Senate (HB 225) 

Legislation is now headed to the Senate that is meant to put thousands of Missourians on a fast track to develop the skills they need to obtain good-paying jobs. The bill would create a new state financial aid program known as Fast-Track that would address workforce needs by encouraging adults to pursue an industry-recognized credential in an area designated as high need. 

The goal of Fast-Track is to provide community colleges, tech schools, and universities with the means to equip students for the high-paying, high-demand jobs of the future. It is designed to open up higher education opportunities for hard-working, middle-class families looking for a boost to pursue their dreams. It is also meant to help Missouri businesses find workers with the training needed to fill their workforce demands.  

Before receiving final approval from the House, members approved an amendment to place a three-year sunset on the program. The program could be reauthorized by the legislature. 

The 3 bills will now move to the Senate for discussion. 

Visitors at the Capitol this week : Cowboys at the Capitol, this week joined by the Junior Cattleman Board Members and Collegiate members. Care connection representatives stopped by Marilyn Gunter & Diana Hoemann.

CAPITOL REPORT - March 7, 2019.  My Friday In-District day started with a hearty breakfast at the Kitchen Table Restaurant in Weaubleau right along the Discover More on Route 54 Highway. I then went to the Weaubleau School and presented two FFA American Farmer Degree Resolutions for Breanna Daggett and Jalainee Dampier. Weaubleau School FFA President Kaylee Lower received them on their behalf.

Weaubleau School FFA President Kaylee Lower received American Degree Farmer Resolutions for fellow FFA Members Breanna Daggett and Jalainee Dampier. 

I then traveled to the Benton County Courthouse in Warsaw and attended a retirement reception for Donna Hart. Representative Roger Reedy and I presented Donna with a Resolution honoring her for more than 35 years as the Benton County Collector.  Donna has been recognized as an outstanding citizen delivering exceptional service and dedication over the years.

Representative Roger Reedy and I had the privilege of presenting Donna Hart with a Resolution honoring her more than 35 years of dedicated service as Benton County Collector. 

HOUSE BILLS OF THE WEEK THIRD READ, PASSED AND SENT TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION:

HB 260  Poaching

Members of the House of Representatives have approved legislation that would create stiffer penalties for poaching certain animals.

Supporters say the bill will address an issue that currently exists where it’s cheaper for a non-Missourian to come into the state, poach an animal, and pay the fine than it is to buy an out-of-state hunting tag. The bill would increase the fines for poaching wild turkeys, deer, elk, black bears, or paddlefish in Missouri. Specifically, it would make the fines range from $500 to $1,000 for poaching a wild turkey or paddlefish; between $2,000 and $5,000 for poaching a white-tailed deer; and between $10,000 and $15,000 for poaching a black bear or elk. 

The poaching of paddlefish has been very lucrative because paddlefish roe is often sold on the black market as caviar. This means one fish can be worth thousands of dollars. Supporters say they are happy the bill includes increased fines for poaching those fish.

When a fine is collected under HB 260 that money would go to the school district in which the poaching incident occurred.

HBs 161 & 401 prohibits local school districts from setting an opening date for the school term that is more than 14 calendar days prior to the first Monday in September. Supporters say that as school start dates have become earlier, students who participate in fall sports and agricultural education have had to choose between the two activities. It has hurt more than just those students participating in agricultural education events such as the Missouri State Fair; it has hurt the tourism industry as well. It also cuts part-time jobs for students and teachers short, even most municipal swimming pools close before Labor Day weekend.

I spoke on the House Floor in support of this Bill and basically this is what I said “This is a very reasonable compromise on school start date. It will give all schools in Missouri an opportunity to get 2 full weeks of school in before Labor Day weekend. Plus it gives all the Business in the Tourism industry across our State both city and rural to have 3 full weekends for business before school starts. It will also allow all the Students and Teachers to have more of August to earn money in their Part-time jobs.”

VISITORS OF THE WEEK:

Jennifer Gundy and Amanda Fisher with On My Own, Inc. visited the Capitol on Tuesday.  On My Own, Inc. has a branch office in Collins serving District 125.

March 7th was Hemophilia Disorders Advocacy Day at the Capitol. I had the privilege of visiting with John and Pam Carleton and their daughter Kristin Marema, and grandson Trenton Marema.  .Missouri has six Hemophilia Treatment Centers and two non-profit organizations.  Hemophilia affects as many as 800 Missouri citizens.

Keith Carmichael, Lowry City stopped by to update me on the progress of having a Convention of the States.

CAPITOL REPORT- March 14, 2019.  Upon arriving to the Capitol Monday I welcomed my first visitors of the week.  They were Kolby Estes, his parents Lance and Tamena Estes, sister Shyla Estes and wrestling coach Jared Steenburgen.  I had the honor of introducing them to the full house body and of presenting Kolby with a resolution for taking first place at the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 1A State Wrestling Championship. 

Coach Jared Steenburgen, Kolby Estes, Tamena Estes, Lance Estes and Shyla Estes with Representative Warren Love. 

House Reaches Session Mid-Point with Numerous Legislative Successes 

House Speaker Elijah Haahr began the 2019 legislative session by asking his colleagues to be bold as they tackle a number of the critical issues facing the state. The Speaker called on his colleagues to work together to implement policies to strengthen Missouri’s workforce, provide full funding for K-12 schools, confront the opioid epidemic raging across the state, reform the state’s criminal justice system, and protect the lives of the most vulnerable Missourians. 

As the legislative session reached its mid-point, House members were able to celebrate a long list of accomplishments that include most of the Speaker’s legislative priorities. In total, the House has sent nearly 70 bills to the Senate and the two chambers have worked together to see one bill already passed and signed into law by the governor. 

House Budget Committee Finalizes FY 2020 Spending Plan

The members of the House Budget Committee have worked long hours during the course of the session to craft a fiscally responsible state spending plan. This week they concluded months of work by finalizing the appropriations bills that will make up the Fiscal Year 2020 state operating budget. When they return from their annual break on March 25, House members will work to approve the appropriations bills and send them to the Senate so that both chambers are on track to complete the budget by the May 10 deadline.

As the budget comes to the House floor, it is balanced, and leaves approximately $133 million on the bottom line for FY2020 supplemental expenses. Education funding highlights include:

$61 million increase to fully fund the school foundation formula at more than $3.94 billion
$3 million increase for Parents As Teachers program
$5 million increase for transportation expenses for local school districts
$700,000 increase to bring funding for school safety grants to $1 million
$1 million of spending approved to make improvements to the Missouri School for the Blind
Funding of Missouri scholarshipsThe newly proposed workforce development scholarship (Fast Track funded at $18 million)
$500,000 increase for A+ Scholarships
Nearly $1 million increase for Access Missouri Scholarships
$11 million to perform maintenance and repairs at Missouri colleges and universities
Funding of higher education workforce development initiatives (MoExcels projects = $17 million)
$8.5 million to support adult high schools
VISITORS OF THE WEEK: Silver Haired Legislature members Larry Pursley, and Bill Arnold visited the Capitol on March 12th. 

The Silver Haired Legislature coordinates with Area Agencies on Aging and Department of Health and Senior Services.  In the past the Silver Haired Legislature has supported legislation that is now law such as the Missouri Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Senior RX Program. 

The Missouri State Teachers Association visited legislators at the Capitol on March 12th.  The members of MSTA discussed their legislative priorities with legislators.

I had the privilege of visiting with MSTA representatives Steve Gallivan, Jeff Stacy, Marvin Manring, Megan Richner and Jennifer Ray.

March 12th I had the honor of meeting Emily Christian who is the 2019 Breckenridge Scholar recipient from Hermitage.  The Joanne Breckenridge Scholarship Program encourages young ladies to become interested in their state government.  This year these Breckenridge Scholars visited their legislators at the Capitol, and following that visit, the young ladies attended a reception at the Governor’s Mansion with First Lady Teresa Parson.

I had the honor of presenting Emily Christian with the Breckenridge Scholar Resolution. 

The Missouri Interfaith Disaster Response Organization (MIDRO) was created in 1993 to assist Missouri’s faith communities in responding to disasters. I had the privilege of visiting with Chaplain Dan Porterfield from Warsaw who visited the Capitol on March 12th as an advocate for MIDRO.

Pastor Dan Porterfield from Warsaw visited the Capitol on March 12th in support of MIDRO.

The Benton County Youth Coalition visited on March 14th.  This non-profit organization focuses on teaching youth the dangers of substance abuse while hosting events and sharing fellowship.

The Benton County Youth Coalition visited  Senator Crawford and Representative Love at the Capitol. 

UPCOMING EVENTS - APRIL 2019 DONATE  LIFE  MONTH IN MISSOURI : Tuesday, April 9th is Blue-Green Day at the Capitol.  This is the Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation Capitol Day and Fourth Annual Donor Family Recognition Program. The program is from 9:45 to 1:00 in the Capitol Rotunda (1st and 3rd Floors).  I am extending a special invitation to the constituents of District 125 who have either received from a donor or donated to a recipient. 

CAPITOL REPORT - March 21, 2019.  We have reached the midway point of the 2019 Session and have adjourned for Spring Break. However, I drove home Thursday evening to check the cattle and do chores as I usually do. On Friday I drove right back to the Capitol to attend the Kick-off ceremony of the Civil War Passport Program.

The Passport Program came about because of the combined efforts of Mel Gilbert, Jerry Fry, Teresa Smith, Doreen Woodward, Blanca Madani and Jackie Worth. The program is sponsored by Fry’s Lyon Foundation. 

The Passport Program is a project to increase Civil War tourism in Missouri and to keep history alive for future generations to enjoy. Most people do not realize that Missouri played a major role in the Civil War. Unfortunately our Missouri sites seem to be “on life support” with only a handful of volunteers. Some historical societies and museums have been forced to close their doors.

Hopefully, the interest demonstrated by passport participants will encourage site managers to apply for federal funds for the preservation and improvement of sites to benefit future generations. 

I was honored to speak to a group of about 75 Missourians from around the State that gathered in the Capitol Rotunda together in one accord to kick off the program. My message was entitled The Four P’s. I stressed that we need to have a Passion for History, we need to help Promote our History and we must Preserve and Protect our History.

Among attendees were Osceola Mayor Rob Heckenlively and his wife St. Clair County Economic Developer Teresa Heckenlively. Also attending was esteemed members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy LaDonna Scott and Gina Dixon.

Our group then moved to the historic Lohman Building at Jefferson’s Landing along the Missouri River in Jefferson City. We were able to glean more Civil War information from the speakers. John Moloski, a member of the Colonel John T. Coffee Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans spoke about the 1st and 2nd Missouri Brigade Monument. 

It was here in 1861, at the fork of the Sauk and Osage rivers, Major General Sterling Price maintained a recruitment camp of 12,000 men. Later 8,000 of those men went with Price into the Confederate States Army. They fought more than a dozen battles in 7 states. No men endured more hardships or served more valiantly than these fighting Missourians. It was said, “In discipline and combat effectiveness, they had few peers and no superiors. They were the souths finest.” President Jefferson Davis was quoted in 1863, saying that the men were “The finest body of soldiers ever gazed upon.” Out of this body of men, came fourteen Generals for the Confederate States of America. The Sauk River Monument is located 3 miles South West of Osceola along Highway 82. 

Besides the Sauk River Monument, there are two other featured Civil War sites in Osceola. One is the Burning of Osceola Monument located in the Osceola Cemetery at 755 Hwy WW. The other site is the old Cox-Harris Plantation House located 2.4 miles south of Hwy 82 at the junction of Hwys WW and V.

To receive your passport stamp for these sites, visit the St. Clair County Library, 115 Chestnut Street, Osceola. Library Hours: Monday – Thursday 8- 9, Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-2, Closed Sunday.

Another point of interest is the Old Commercial Hotel located at 610 2nd Street in Osceola. It is owned by Osceola Mayor Rob Heckenlively and his wife Teresa.

For more information on the Passport Program or these sites visit www.mo-passport.org

Passports will be available to purchase for $10 at Missouri State Park retail sites, all 39 passport sites or online at mostateparks.com. Participants will receive a stamp for their passports at participating locations. The program will begin April 1 and end Dec. 31, 2020. Participants who visit and receive stamps for all the sites will receive a certificate of completion by Fry’s Lyon Foundation. Missouri State Parks has eight sites included in the passport program:

Battle of Athens State Historic Site
Battle of Carthage State Historic Site (stamp location is at Battle of Carthage Civil War Museum)
Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site
Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site (stamp location is at Bates County Historical Society and Museum)
Battle of Lexington State Historic Site
Missouri State Museum, located in the Jefferson City State Capitol
Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site
Battle of Belmont, in Mississippi County (the historical marker for this site is located near Towosahgy State Historic Site and the stamp location is Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site 

CAPITOL REPORT - March 28, 2019.  Saturday was a Milestone for the Pasley Auction Company. I had the privilege of presenting owner Colonel Dale Pasley with a Resolution honoring him and his parents Colonel Clyde & Ada Pasley, whom founded the company. Pasley Auction Company was founded in 1919 and has achieved 100 years as a family business. Dale Pasely has always been an asset to the community. He is a Veteran of the United States Army and a member of the Grand Lodge of Missouri Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The final Pasley auction was held Saturday, March 23rd, Dale Pasley’s own machinery and equipment were sold. In the future, the business will be known as the Bruce Auction Company. Louis and Carolyn Bruce have been co-workers with the Company for several years and plan to continue the tradition set forth by the Pasley family.

On March 27th I presented HB 908 in the Ways and Means Committee. As the sponsor of this bill, I want to create the "Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement Act".  This will require the Director of the Department of Revenue to enter into the "Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement" with one or more states to simplify and modernize sales and use tax administration in order to substantially reduce the burden of tax compliance for all sellers and types of commerce. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can require internet retailers to collect sales taxes, even if the merchant doesn't have a physical presence there. This is a collection issue; I feel the best method of collecting this sales tax is to join the 23 other states that are currently streamlining online sales tax. 

I invited the Streamline Sales Tax Governing Board Director, Craig Johnson from Wisconsin to come present information to the committee. I was surprised when he boarded a plane and came to the 8 am committee. Craig was very helpful in presenting facts and answering the committee member’s questions. There are about a half dozen bills concerning this online tax and my hope is to be able to get something to come together. I want to get a law passed so this money will come into the state of Missouri. To read the full bill, visit https://house.mo.gov/Bill.aspx?bill=HB908&year=2019&code=R. 

State Budget:

This week the members of the House of Representatives put their stamp of approval on a balanced, fiscally responsible state operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year that starts in July. The 13 appropriations bills that make up the state spending plan contain approximately $29.25 billion in funding allocated among the state’s departments and programs. One of the key points of emphasis in the budget is funding for the state’s K-12 public schools. As it heads to the Senate, the budget fully funds the school foundation formula with $3.94 billion in funding. The total represents an increase of more than $61 million in funding for the formula. The education budget also includes a $5 million increase for a total of $108 million in funding for transportation expenses for local school districts. Additionally, the budget includes a $3 million increase for the Parents as Teachers program. In total, funding for pre-K-12 education is increased by $116 million in the spending plan approved by the House. 

Visitors of the Week:

On March 26th the Missouri Community Action Agency came to the Capitol. I was pleased to meet Kim Thornburg and Laurie Kedigh of the West Central division. West Central is dedicated to empowering people to make positive changes in their lives. Laurie and Kim work with the Head Start program to prepare young children for school and beyond.

On March 27th I was able to visit with juniors and seniors from Skyline High School and their teacher Brett Bybee. The students took a Capitol tour and were able to sit in and listen to debate in the House of Representatives. Some students live in Representative Jeff Knight’s district, so he joined our group for conversation and a photo.

Upcoming Events:

APRIL 2019 DONATE LIFE MONTH IN MISSOURI: Tuesday, April 9th is Blue-Green Day at the Capitol.  This is the Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation Capitol Day and Fourth Annual Donor Family Recognition Program. The program is from 9:45 to 1:00 in the Capitol Rotunda (1st and 3rd Floors).  I am extending a special invitation to the constituents of District 125 who have either received from a donor or donated to a recipient. 

The Vietnam Veterans 50th Commemoration Ceremony will be on April 25th in the Missouri Capitol Rotunda at 9:00 am. If you are a Veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, we would love to have you attend. To be recognized at the ceremony, please register and RSVP through Eventbrite. https://www.eventbrite.com/myevent?eid=58329260388

If a Veteran or family member is not comfortable with computers, please call Jamie at (573) 522-4228.

CAPITOL REPORT - April 4, 2019.  Monday afternoon the Agriculture Committee took a bus tour of the POET Biorefining Plant in Laddonia, MO. We were able to see the ethanol process firsthand. 

The ethanol industry helped support nearly 366,000 direct and indirect jobs last year and contributed more than $10 billion in tax revenue for federal, state and local governments. One bushel of corn creates 3 gallons of ethanol or 18 pounds of livestock feed. America’s heartland provides short transportation distances from farmers to ethanol plants creating more economic independence and vitality in rural areas. There are six ethanol plants in Missouri and it is the only transportation fuel produced in our state. 

On Monday evening my wife Marla and I had a great evening with the senior class at the Governor’s Mansion!  Governor and First Lady Parson opened the top two floors of the mansion to the public for the FIRST time ever in the history of the mansion. Of course, you can only go to those floors with a tour guide. We even were able to see the Governor’s living quarters!  It was exciting to see all the bedrooms, baths and the huge ballroom. Our guide was so knowledgeable about the history of this magnificent estate. It was built in 1871and took seven months to construct, costing $74,960. Much of the work was done by prisoners of the nearby penitentiary. Each family that has lived in the mansion has left their impact on the building through renovations, design or history. Our beautiful Governor’s Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

House Floor Action

On Wednesday, I presented HB 159 to the House of Representatives. This bill exempts the current $250 outdoor advertising fee and biennial inspection fee for certain highway signs under Section 226.550, RSMo when a sign is displayed by a landowner who also owns the business advertised on the sign and where the business has a physical location within 750 feet of the sign.

For more information on the bill visit https://house.mo.gov/bill.aspx?bill=HB159&year=2019&code=R. 

Legislation Sent to the Senate this Week

HB 824 modifies the requirements relating to the production of industrial hemp. Supporters say the federal government has completely legalized the growth and sale of industrial hemp. The acreage limitations were part of the pilot program and are no longer needed. Expanding the program and allowing more farmers to take advantage of the new crop would allow for more economic opportunity throughout the state.

HB 715 removes the sunset provision for the Wartime Veteran's Survivor Grant Program. Supporters say the bill would remove sunset provisions to the Veteran's Survivors Grant Program, but would still leave the program subject to appropriations. Supporters also say that this program does not cost that much money and the program should be extended. 

Visitors of the Week

On April 3rd I was able to visit with 4th grade students from El Dorado Christian School and their teacher Darla Daniel. The students took a Capitol tour and were able to visit the Governor’s Mansion.

Upcoming Events

APRIL 2019 DONATE LIFE MONTH IN MISSOURI: Tuesday, April 9th is Blue-Green Day at the Capitol.  This is the Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation Capitol Day and Fourth Annual Donor Family Recognition Program. The program is from 9:45 to 1:00 in the Capitol Rotunda (1st and 3rd Floors).  I am extending a special invitation to the constituents of District 125 who have either received from a donor or donated to a recipient. 

The Vietnam Veterans 50th Commemoration Ceremony will be on April 25th in the Missouri CapitolRotunda at 9:00 am. If you are a Veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, we would love to have you attend. To be recognized at the ceremony, please register and RSVP through Eventbrite.  https://www.eventbrite.com/myevent?eid=58329260388

If a Veteran or family member is not comfortable with computers, please call Jamie at (573) 522-4228.

If you are able to attend the ceremony, please reach out to my office so we can meet and visit. Amy will be happy to help you in any way (573) 751-4065.

CAPITOL REPORT - April 18, 2019.  On Friday, Marla and I attended the El Dorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala as my in district activity for the week. The Chamber of Commerce celebrated 120 years of service to the community. They also are a Missouri Chamber of Commerce of the Year!  Over 100 community leaders and business were in attendance. Many outstanding citizens were recognized for their devotion to the community. It was a wonderful evening of food and music. 

It is always great to hear our Missouri Senator Roy Blunt speak. He updated us on legislation in Washington DC and the growing economy. It was encouraging to hear Blunt say “When you get unemployment under four (percent) and growth near four (percent), something big is happening”. Blunt went on to say that in March and the 12 previous months, there were more available jobs in the US than people looking for work.

Floor Action

The Big Bill of the week was HB 1062, it Protects Land Owners from Eminent Domain Abuse,  I cast a YES vote as did 114 of my fellow Legislators 

As hundreds of concerned land owners gathered in the State Capitol this week to rally in support of their property rights, the Missouri House of Representatives took action to prevent the misuse of the state’s eminent domain law. House members approved a bill that would specify that a private entity cannot use the power of eminent domain for the purposes of constructing above-ground power lines. 

The bill comes in response to the proposed Grain Belt Express transmission line that would carry power generated by wind turbines in Kansas across Missouri to other states in the Midwest and neighboring states. The 750-mile line would run across eight northern Missouri counties - Buchanan, Clinton, Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Randolph, Monroe and Ralls.

In March the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a request made by Grain Belt Express to construct the high-voltage transmission line. As a result of the decision made by the PSC, developers would have the authority to utilize the power of eminent domain to obtain easement rights from landowners who are unwilling to sell. 

The legislation approved by the House would prevent the use of eminent domain for the purpose of constructing the Grain Belt Express transmission line. Supporters of the bill said it is important to prohibit private companies from using eminent domain to maximize their profits for a project that will provide little benefit for Missouri consumers. They say less than 12 percent of the electricity carried by the transmission line would be sold to Missouri consumers. 

As the sponsor of the bill told his colleagues, “The issue here is this; a private company wanting to use private property for private profit.” 

HB 301 was sent to the Senate, it requires certified nursing assistant training programs to be offered at skilled nursing or intermediate care facility units in Missouri veterans homes and hospitals. It also requires advanced practice nurses (APRNs) to be licensed by the Missouri Board of Nursing and sets out the requirements for that licensure. Supporters say the bill will allow the Board of Nursing to give APRNs a separate licensure, instead of just a document of recognition, which will allow the board to have better oversight and discipline for APRNs. They say the bill will streamline and simplify APRN licensure.

Visitors of the Week

Last Thursday I was able to visit with the 4th graders of Appleton City Elementary. They enjoyed a Capitol tour and visited the Governor’s Mansion.

This Tuesday the Wheatland 4th graders came for a visit. They visited the Whispering Gallery after their tour of the Capitol building.

On Thursday the Missouri Association of Public Administrators stopped by the office to chat. They wanted to voice their support of SB 230.

Upcoming Events

This year the El Dorado Springs Annual Car Show will be held on May 11th.  I will be honoring VFW Post 257 for their 100th Anniversary. A vehicle from the Wounded Warrior Family Support Division will also be there. Come join us for a day of patriotism and cars! For more information, visit their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Route-54-Cruisers-729822893719997/

CAPITOL REPORT - April 25, 2019.  Easter weekend at our home is always very traditional. Our children and grandchildren come home for a big family gathering. Some of the weekend activities are fishing, planting the garden and burning a brush pile so the grandchildren can roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Then on Sunday morning we attend Hopewell Church and worship our risen Savior Jesus Christ.

One of the community activities was the annual Easter Egg Hunt at Osceola. This event is sponsored by the Osceola Optimist Club. This year was extra special because the Optimist Club had a ribbon cutting to dedicate the new playground equipment. Their club has worked hard to raise funds to purchase and install the new playground at the Osceola City Park.

After the ribbon cutting, I visited briefly with Bradly Wright and Dylan Roeder, Natural Resource specialist with the U.S. Corp of Engineers, Harry S. Truman Project Office along with Optimist President Eric Brockus. I suggested another project to enhance fishing along the steep banks of the river/lake. I would like to see constructed level cutouts along the water’s edge where people could fish without the risk of slipping and falling into the water. I offered to help write a letter of support for grants if the City of Osceola and the Optimist Club would coordinate with the Corp of Engineers in such project.

Last Thursday, it was my honor to present a resolution to Chase Ratcliff, a student at Weaubleau High School, for his first place performance in the MSHSAA Cross County Class 1 State Championship. His father Kenny, mother Renae and sister Addison accompanied him. Chase looks forward to attending the University of Central Missouri on a cross country scholarship.

Thursday morning I presented HCR 4 - National Day of the Cowboy in the Special Committee on Tourism. Ernie Brauch, the ranch manager at Lucas Cattle Company owned by Lucas Oil and Isaiah Dunn the owner of Amped Up Bull Riding Tour came to testify in support of this special day. The mission of the National Day of the Cowboy is to contribute to the preservation of America’s Cowboy heritage so that the history and culture can be shared and perpetuated for the public good, through education, the arts, literature, celebrations, gatherings, rodeos and community activities. The first National Day of the Cowboy was July 23, 2005. The National Day of the Cowboy Organization is hoping this can be passed in every state so future generations remain aware of the Cowboy’s contribution to America’s rich Western heritage. Ernie and Isaiah were a hit with the committee members and the hearing went well! Hopefully Missouri will join 14 other states in recognizing this day and we can honor Missouri’s Cowboys.

Missouri General Assembly Honors Missouri’s Vietnam Veterans 

The halls of the Missouri State Capitol were filled with hundreds of the state’s greatest heroes this week as the Missouri House of Representatives held a special ceremony in recognition of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War.

Governor Mike Parson and Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe participated in the event and offered words of support and appreciation for all of the veterans in attendance. The governor also presented an official proclamation in recognition of the “valiant men and women who served our country in the Armed Forces; protecting our rights, our freedoms, our ideals, and our hopes.” The governor and lawmakers also participated in a special ceremony where they presented each veteran with a lapel pin. The pins were meant to serve as a symbol of the nation’s thanks for the service and sacrifice of Vietnam veterans. The pinning ceremony provided a wonderful opportunity for members to personally welcome veterans from around the state and thank them for their selfless service to the United States.

Floor Action - House Bills Sent to the Senate 

HB 919 creates the "Save the Family Farm Act," creating new provisions regulating the partition of property among heirs. Supporters say the bill would help keep family farms and other property within the family by establishing a process to allow an heir to assert an interest in the property and proceed through a judicial process of equitably purchasing the property. 

HB 337 establishes the "Senior Services Growth and Development Program" within the Department of Health and Senior Services to provide additional funding for senior services through area agencies on aging. Supporters say this is a small step toward restoring badly needed funding for significant unmet needs of seniors. 

Visitors of the Week

Also last Thursday it was Missouri Farm Bureau Youth Leadership Day. I was able to meet many students from my district. I am proud of these young men and women that are working so hard to develop their skills and knowledge in agriculture.

Megan Richner, Cedar County Farm Bureau with students Alexis Barnett, Andrew Russell and Sawyer Williams from El Dorado Springs and Shanae Potts, Reagan Kennan and Lauren Ford from Stockton.

Lakeland Teacher Clint Johnson brought students Drake Vermillion and Savannah Mount from Appleton City, Abigail Scott and Joe Guerin from Osceola, Alexandria Call and Noah Murray from Lakeland.

Lerran Yoder from my District area of Warsaw came with a group from Representative Reedy’s District. 

Thursday, Bill Arnold attended the Vietnam Veterans Day at the Capitol and it was a privilege to visit with him and his wife on this special day. Bill is also a Representative for the Silver Haired Legislature and updated me on the current things they support for our senior citizens.


David Brodersen, the Benton County Collector stopped by the office for a visit. He was in Jefferson City for the Annual Collector Conference.

Upcoming Events

This year the El Dorado Springs Annual Car Show will be held on May 11th.  I will be honoring VFW Post 257 for their 100th Anniversary. A vehicle from the Wounded Warrior Family Support Division will also be there. Come join us for a day of patriotism and cars! For more information, visit their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Route-54-Cruisers-729822893719997/

CAPITOL REPORT - May 2, 2019.  Last Friday, I had an in-district opportunity to present a Resolution to Sugarfoot BBQ during the monthly Osceola Chamber Luncheon. Sugarfoot BBQ, in Osceola, was chosen as a recipient of the Restaurateur of the Year award by the Southwest Missouri Restaurant Association. They were awarded this accolade during the Southwest Missouri Restaurant Association’s 3rd Annual Golden Fork Award ceremony held on January 20, 2019. Sugarfoot BBQ is owned by Craig and Nancy Bryant, Tyler Bryant and Jody and Meredith Phillips. The restaurant opened for business in 2010.

I also updated the Chamber on the Civil War Passport Program and presented them with the official Passport Book. Osceola has three sites included in the Passport Program: 1st and 2nd Missouri Brigade Monument (fork of the Sauk and Osage Rivers along Hwy 82), Burning of Osceola Monument (Osceola Cemetery at 755 Hwy WW) and Cox-Harris Plantation House (2.4 miles south of Hwy 82 at the junction of Hwys WW and V). To purchase a passport book or receive your passport stamp for these sites, visit the St. Clair County Library, 115 Chestnut Street, Osceola. Library Hours: Monday – Thursday 8- 9, Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-2, Closed Sunday. An alternate stamp site is RV Park and Campground, 140 Parkview Drive, Osceola, open through November. Please call ahead (417)646-8675

On Saturday evening, Marla and I attended the 19th Annual Col. John T. Coffee SCV Camp Banquet and I was able to update camp members about the Civil War Passport Program also. 

Monday morning on my way to the Capitol, our “Discover More on Route 54” committee met at Smith’s Restaurant in Collins, MO. We welcomed new members Ken and Sue Molzahn. Ken and Sue have created three flagway projects on their property in Collins. The Molzahn’s have the world’s largest display of American Revolutionary War Flags. They have also added a Southwestern Missouri Flag Heritage 1703-1913 Flagway that is the largest display of Missouri Civil War Flags in the state and a Caribbean Pirates vs Europe's Royal Navies Flagway. This will be a great site to see along Route 54. Also we plan to once again plan and promote our Annual 100 Mile Yard Sale on Labor Day weekend. The two day event will be on Friday August 31stand Saturday September 1st. For more information please visit www.discover54.com. 

Floor Action 

House Approves Plan to Empower Local Voters to Decide Potential Merger of St. Louis City and County (HJR 54) 

Members of the House have advanced a proposal that would allow Missouri voters to decide whether to change the constitution to ensure local residents get the final say on a potential merger of St. Louis City and St. Louis County. The legislation comes in response to the Better Together ballot proposal that would utilize a statewide vote to decide if the city and county should merge into a metropolitan city with a unified government. 

HJR 54 would also prohibit ballot measures to dissolve any city or county or merge any city or county with another city or county unless there is a majority vote in each affected city or county authorizing the dissolution or merger. The sponsor of the bill said the provision will protect all counties in the State of Missouri. 

“This is not just singling out St. Louis City or St. Louis County. In the event there is ever a statewide vote to force consolidation of two counties, you can rest assured that HJR 54 will come to your aid,” he said. 

The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration. If approved by both chambers, the proposal would go on the November 2020 ballot for voter approval. 

HB 1137 establishes the criteria of a worker to be considered as an independent contractor. It states that independent contractors shall have a written contract that states the person is an independent contractor, not an employee, and that the person is responsible for all costs, fees, and taxes as an independent contractor. Supporters say the bill will help define who is considered to be an employee. They also say the bill provides a definition of an independent contractor and an objective analysis. They say the bill will give statutory clarity that would be helpful for businesses, employers, and employees. 

Upcoming Events

This year the El Dorado Springs Annual Car Show will be held on May 11th.  I will be honoring VFW Post 257 for their 100th Anniversary. A vehicle from the Wounded Warrior Family Support Division will also be there. Come join us for a day of patriotism and cars! For more information, visit their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Route-54-Cruisers-729822893719997/

CAPITOL REPORT - May 10, 2019.  On Saturday Marla and I attended an Eagle Scout Honor Ceremony for Trevor Henderson. Eagle Scout is the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting. Trevor has earned an impressive forty-one merit badges during his six years in the scouting program. I had the privilege to present a Resolution to him during the Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony in Warsaw, MO. I enjoyed meeting his family and honoring his achievements.

On Sunday afternoon, Marla and I attended the 50th Wedding Anniversary of former State Representative Larry Wilson and his wife Linda. Larry served the 119th District for eight years in the House of Representatives. Linda and my wife Marla worked together for several years as Registered Nurses for the St. Clair County Health Department. It was a wonderful party and nice to catch up with friends.

Floor Action

General Assembly Gives Final Approval to Balanced State Operating Budget (HBs 1-13)

A balanced state budget that contains record funding for elementary and secondary education is now on its way to the governor’s desk. This week the Missouri House and Senate gave final approval to the appropriations bills that make up the $29.7 billion state spending plan that provides funding to the state’s departments and programs.

For the third consecutive year, the budget approved by the General Assembly fully funds the school foundation formula with a total of $3.94 billion in funding. The total represents an increase of more than $61 million and brings the amount of funding for K-12 public schools to its highest level in state history. The education budget also includes a $5 million increase for a total of $108 million in funding for transportation expenses for local school districts. Additionally, the budget includes a $3 million increase for the Parents as Teachers program. In total, funding for pre-K-12 education is increased by $116 million in the spending plan approved by the legislature.

In the budget process, the General Assembly agreed to provide an additional $1 million in core funding for most of the state’s four-year colleges and universities. During the discussion on higher education funding, House members also fought to preserve language that prevents colleges and universities from offering in-state tuition to students with unlawful immigration status. The language was placed in the budget in 2015 in an effort to ensure taxpayer dollars are used only for students who are legal residents. While the Senate initially moved to remove the language, the House fought to keep it, and the two legislative bodies ultimately agreed to the House position. As a result, these students will continue to pay international tuition rates. The language in the budget will also continue to prohibit institutions of higher learning from providing these students with state-sponsored scholarships.

The budget plan also makes it a priority to fund repairs for the state’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure. It includes critical funding that is part of a proposal to fix 250 bridges statewide. The budget contains $50 million in funding for the repairs, which would be used in conjunction with a $301 million bonding plan that still requires House approval and also requires the state to receive a sizeable federal infrastructure grant. In the budget, House and Senate members also agreed to allocate $50 million in funding for a cost-sharing program that will allow the state transportation department to provide a 50/50 match to counties and municipalities to improve local roads and bridges.

Visitors of the Week

The 8th grade class from Weaubleau came for a field trip on Tuesday. They toured the Capitol and Whispering Gallery and ended their visit to Jefferson City at the Highway Patrol Museum.

On Wednesday the Lakeland 8th graders came to the Capitol for a visit. They also enjoyed a Capitol Tour and a visit to the Whispering Gallery.

Dr. Wayne Morton stopped by my office on Thursday to visit. He was in the House of Representatives as Doctor of the Day. If any Representative needs medical care the Doctor of the Day will assist them.

Upcoming Events

This year the El Dorado Springs Annual Car Show will be held on May 11th.  I will be honoring VFW Post 257 for their 100th Anniversary. A vehicle from the Wounded Warrior Family Support Division will also be there. Come join us for a day of patriotism and cars! For more information, visit their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Route-54-Cruisers-729822893719997/

CAPITOL REPORT - May 17, 2019.  On Saturday I attended the Route 54 Cruisers Car Show in El Dorado Springs. I had the pleasure of presenting a Resolution to VFW Post 257 in honor of the 100th Anniversary of their organizations founding. VFW Post 257 is the oldest continuously active post in the Show-Me State. Its members help the community by providing needed assistance, presenting scholarships and teaching patriotism and flag etiquette. They also advocate for legislation on veterans’ issues and encourage people to vote. The Stockton “Trent Sallee” American Legion Post 230 presented the Colors during the Ceremony honoring the El Dorado Springs VFW Ceremony. They did an excellent job Stockton “Trent Sallee” American Legion Post 230

FLOOR ACTION: Tuesday the House passed Senate Bill 391 with a 103-44 vote. The legislation now moves to Governor Mike Parson for his signature. The Missouri Cattlemen's Association was a driving force in moving the legislation forward and its president, Bobby Simpson, wasted no time in calling the passage a "historic victory" for farm and ranch families.  

The legislation prevents county governments from passing rules and regulations on farm and ranch families that are more stringent than scientifically founded rules and regulations promulgated by the Department of Natural Resources and other agencies. Proponents argue that a patchwork of county-by-county regulations creates regulatory uncertainty for farm and ranch families and prevents them from expanding and stops new operations from starting. 

Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act - HB 126 is a bill that supporters are calling one of the strongest pieces of pro-life legislation in the country. Referred to as the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, the bill would prohibit physicians from performing an abortion after a fetal heartbeat or brain function is detected, which is typically around 8 weeks gestational age. Because similar provisions have been struck down in other states, the bill contains additional clauses to protect the lives of the unborn. Should the fetal heartbeat requirement not stand, the bill has a tiered approach that would then enact bans at 14 weeks, 18 weeks, or 20 weeks. 

The legislation also states it is the intent of the state of Missouri to prohibit all abortions in the state under any circumstances. The comprehensive ban on abortion would go into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, or if changes are made at the federal level to empower states to further regulate abortion. The only exception to the abortion ban would be in the case of a medical emergency. 

Additionally, the bill contains provisions that would expand the existing tax credit for pro-life pregnancy resource centers and require referrals for out-of-state abortions to include the same informed consent materials that are required for an abortion performed in Missouri. 

HB 604 Education Omnibus, titled the School Turn Around Act, passed today. This allows each local school district to set its opening date each year, which date shall be no earlier than fourteen calendar days prior to the first Monday in September. It allows the department of elementary and secondary education, through its agricultural education section, be authorized to establish a pilot program, beginning in the 2020- 22 2021 school year, to provide for agricultural education in elementary schools in the state. The purpose of the pilot program shall be to determine whether and how to implement an elementary agricultural education program statewide. 

The school start date and the clarification of the Statute 192.300 that applies to County Health Ordinances have been two of my priorities since being elected to the House of Representatives. https://house.mo.gov/Bill.aspx?bill=HB604&year=2019&code=R 

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.   

INTERIM HOURS: Now that Session is over for 2019, I will be back in the District full time. If you need any assistance my Legislative Assistant Amy Helton will continue to be in my Capitol office Tuesday-Thursday and will be happy to help you.

CAPITOL REPORT - May 30, 2019.  In the past two weeks damage has come into the district. Windstorms, rain and more rain have been the news. Highway 54 has taken the brunt of high winds that have caused lots of damage. Trees were uprooted and buildings blown apart. The small town of Wheatland was hit hard and has experienced a lot of damage. Lucas Oil Speedway also had severe damage. I am so proud of the community that has come together in this time of need. Volunteers and first responders have surpassed expectations in their non-stop efforts to aid people and properties that need help.

On Wednesday, May 23 a tornado went down Highway 54 and hit in Jefferson City. Speaker Elijah Haahr closed the House of Representatives for two days due to the destruction in the Capitol City. Multiple power lines were hit and I was not able to send out my Capitol Report last week. Some residents went without electricity for two days and many streets are still closed. 

On Memorial Day, I attended the Cross Timbers Memorial Day Service and had the privilege of speaking. This annual community ceremony honors Veterans who gave their All in the line of duty serving our Nation’s Military. I read a poem called “The Dash” because I believe it’s our Civic Duty and Obligation to Preserve and Protect our Rights to Life, Liberty & the Right to own Property.

The Dash Poem – by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak

At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
From the beginning...to the end

He noted that first came the date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears, 
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
Know what that little line is worth

For it matters not, how much we own, 
The cars...the house...the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering this special dash
Might only last a little while

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash...
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent YOUR dash?

On Tuesday I joined Teresa Smith and Mel Gilbert in a TV interview for KY3 out of Springfield. They were promoting the Civil War Passport Program that was recently written about in The Carthage Press Newspaper. https://thecarthagepress.com/featured/carthage-gets-a-passport-for-2019/?fbclid=IwAR2m_893Pb8u4nkn0CE9R8RUbtcGBjzsuNpMlRMaFQWGRNJ0vDmrkwln0OE

Interview:  https://www.ky3.com/video/?vid=510567272

Last night I attended a public meeting held at the Truman Dam Visitor Center. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers addressed the concerns of flooding at the Truman Dam. There were about 225 people in attendance. The crowd was so large that the meeting had to be divided into two groups. The emotions of many were frustration, unhappiness, and some were even angry. The Corp did a good job of explaining how the Dams are regulated. Truman Lake is approaching historic levels at 31 feet over its normal level. Many campgrounds and marinas have shut down because they're underwater. The flooding has devastated tourism for the summer. Unfortunately this is a state wide issue. Missouri tourism will be greatly affected this year, not to mention many farmers will not be able to plant a crop. 

INTERIM HOURS: Now that Session is over for 2019, I will be back in the District full time. If you need any assistance my Legislative Assistant Amy Helton will continue to be in my Capitol office Tuesday-Thursday and will be happy to help you.

CAPITOL REPORT - June 6, 2019.  DISTRICT NEWS - The Lighthouse Children’s Theatre in El Dorado Springs has received state arts funding from the Missouri Arts Council. The Theater is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities to children ages 3-17 to learn the fine arts in acting, singing and dancing. The Missouri Arts Council reaches out to communities across the state to offer assistance to cover artistic and/or technical fees for programs, performances, school residencies and other programs. Congratulations Lighthouse Children’s Theater!

CONSERVATION - The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is proposing price increases for some nonresident hunting and fishing permits. Permit prices have not been raised in over a decade and adjustments are needed to help keep up with increasing costs of providing conservation work and services around the state. MDC is also proposing offering discounted deer and turkey permits for nonresident landowners with 75 acres or more to show appreciation for wildlife habitat work completed on their Missouri properties.
NONRESIDENT PERMIT    CURRENT $  PROPOSED $   $ NEIGHBOR STATES

Daily Fishing (1 Day)                   $7                    $8                    $15

Daily Fishing (3 Days)                 $21                 $24                  $27

NR Annual Fishing                      $42                 $49                  $49

NR Furbearer Hunting/Trapping  $130                $192                 $257

NR Annual Small Game Hunting  $80                 $94                   $111

Daily Small Game (1 Day)            $11                  $14                  $59

Daily Small Game (3 Days)          $33                 $42                  $74

NR Spring Turkey Hunting            $190               $224                 $206

NR Fall Turkey Hunting                $110                $130                  $177

NR Firearm Deer Hunting            $225                $265                  $361

NR Archery Hunting                     $225                $265                  $398

NR Managed Deer Hunting          $225                $265                  Not Applicable

Nonresidents account for nearly 100% of daily fishing permit purchases and daily small-game hunting permit purchases. As part of the changes, MDC will also limit daily fishing permits and daily hunting permits to 1 and 3 days and eliminate daily fishing permits and daily hunting permits for other numbers of days (2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 days).

MDC is proposing increasing prices for the following nonresident (NR) permits and proposing permit discounts for nonresident (NR) landowners with a minimum of 75 acres:

NR PERMIT  CURRENT PRICE  PROPOSED PRICE  PROPOSED NR LANDOWNER PRICE

Spring Turkey    $190                           $224                               $165

Fall Turkey         $110                            $130                              $96

Archery              $225                           $265                               $195

Firearm Deer     $225                           $265                               $195

The proposed changes were given initial approval by the Missouri Conservation Commission at its May 23 meeting. As part of the rulemaking process, MDC is asking for public comment on the changes during July and early August at short.mdc.mo.gov/Z49. The Commission will consider input received and make a final decision to move forward, modify, or withdraw the changes during its Aug. 23 meeting. If approved, the anticipated effective date of the changes would be Feb. 29, 2020.

UPCOMING EVENTS – Discover More on Route 54 is hosting the annual 100-mile yard sale on Labor Day weekend, August 30-31st. This will cover communities along US Hwy 54 from Nevada to Camdenton. They need sellers and bargain hunters to make this event a success! For more information on rules and locations visithttps://100mileyardsale.wordpress.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverRoute54/.

CAPITOL REPORT - June 13, 2019.  On Saturday evening, Marla and I attended the Annual Missouri Cattleman’s Steak Fry at the Sedalia State Fair Grounds. Governor Mike Parson was the keynote speaker. As a Cattleman himself, our Governor is a longtime member of MCA and a supporter of agriculture, our state’s #1 industry. During the event he signed Senate Bill 391. This legislation prevents county governments from passing rules and regulations on farm and ranch families that are more stringent than scientifically founded rules and regulations promulgated by the Department of Natural Resources and other agencies. Proponents argue that a patchwork of county-by-county regulations creates regulatory uncertainty for farm and ranch families and prevents them from expanding and stops new operations from starting. Nearly 30 affiliate Ag organizations are included in the list of proponents.

Construction improvements are underway at the intersection of 13 Highway and C Highway on the north side of Lowry City. This creates a more dangerous intersection. On Sunday, the first visitor day to the Boy Scout Camp, there was a fatal car wreck. During the summer months, the Boy Scout Camp houses nearly 2,000 campers and staff. There are 5, 10 day camp sessions with each session having a visitor day. On these visitor days, thousands of people drive into Iconium. Please be especially cautious on weekends because of the numerous visitors to the camp and lake. I have spoken with MODOT’s Southwest District engineers in hopes to encourage them to speed up the project. Until improvements are completed it would be wise to use alternative routes to Iconium from Kansas City. The best choice would be about 12 miles south of Clinton by taking Highway Z East to Highway ZZ. Please be cautious and safe while driving. Also, spread the word to fellow travelers for a safe camp season. 

Tuesday evening I attended the 85th Annual Sac-Osage Electric Coop Annual Meeting In El Dorado Springs. I attend as many of these as possible in District 125 because I want to stay informed on the issues of our Rural Electric Cooperatives, of which there are 5 Co-ops in our District. It is of the utmost importance that we have Electricity in our Rural areas that is reliable and affordable.

General Manager Jim Davis spoke to about 300 co-op members with the news that the co-op is starting a feasibility study to possibly install fiber optics to provide better Broad Band service to co-op members.

Legislation Signed into Law to Address Feral Hog Problem in Missouri (HB 655) 

Gov. Parson also recently signed legislation into law that will help landowners deal with the feral hog problem that plagues many areas of the state. The legislation will clarify that land owners can bring in agents to eradicate hogs on their property. 

Feral hogs are an invasive, non-native, destructive species in Missouri. Their rooting and wallowing cause soil erosion, reduce water quality, and damage agricultural crops and hay fields, as well as destroy sensitive natural areas such as glades, fens and springs. According to the Department of Conservation, a single group of 10 hogs can destroy 10 to 20 acres in one night. 

Last year, the Department of Conservation and the USDA killed over 9,000 hogs through trapping. However, hogs are “prolific breeders” capable of maintaining a 166 percent yearly population growth rate. Despite the fact many hogs are trapped, snared or hunted, many more are born each year. 

To help landowners combat the numerous problems associated with feral hogs, the legislature passed the bill to define the term "landowner's agent" for the purposes of who may take, attempt to take, or kill a feral hog with the use of an artificial light. Because the hogs are active at night, that is when they are most effectively hunted. However, farmers and landowners often do not have the time to hunt the creatures during the evening hours. Many times landowners bring others in to combat the damage the hogs cause. The legislation that is now set to become law will allow landowners to have more options to stop the nuisance created by feral hogs. 

UPCOMING EVENTS – Discover More on Route 54 is hosting the annual 100-mile yard sale on Labor Day weekend, August 30-31st. This will cover communities along US Hwy 54 from Nevada to Camdenton. They need sellers and bargain hunters to make this event a success! For more information on rules and locations visit https://100mileyardsale.wordpress.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverRoute54/.

CAPITOL REPORT - June 20, 2019.  On Friday I went to Osceola High School and had the opportunity to speak at an officer training meeting for the 2019-20 Osceola FFA students and their Advisor Charles Simpson. I discussed an issue that is very controversial with some of my Cedar County constituents, Senate Bill 391. Senate Bill 391 was truly agreed to and finally passed the House the last week of Session. Vote count was Yes 108, No 41 along party line vote. Governor Parson signed the Bill formally into law May 31st and again signed it Ceremonial at the Missouri Cattlemen’s Annual Steak Fry & PAC Auction at the Sedalia State Fair Grounds on June 8th with about 700 MCA members in attendance. All agricultural organizations in the State supported the bill, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Cattlemen, Pork Producers, Corn and Soybean Associations just to name a few. The three major associations in opposition were HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), Missouri Rural Crisis Center, and the Sierra Club. 

In my opinion Cedar County and the other 20 counties, “hijacked” Statute 192.300, a law that was meant to allow County Commissioners and County Health Boards to control human waste water systems and regulate food handling facilities such as restaurants. This statute was never intended to be used by counties to adopt ordinances for livestock operations. Livestock ordinances are to be regulated by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Agriculture. Statute 192.300 was meant to be under jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Services.

I have been trying to talk with as many people and attend as many meetings as possible to help people better understand SB 391.

Thirty-six agricultural businesses and organizations have come together to create the organizationMissouri Farmers Care. They want to protect agricultural opportunities in Missouri. They have an Agri-Ready County designation program that promotes counties that support Missouri farmers and Missouri’s economic interests in agriculture. The Agri-Ready designation protects the 284,000 Missouri jobs created by agriculture and also supports the 97 percent of family farmers who provide fresh, quality food and feedstuffs in our community. Sixty-one Missouri counties are Agri-Ready. For more information, visit their website http://mofarmerscare.com/agri-ready/.

Another point of interest to our district is the Butterfield Overland Trail. The trail was once a stage coach mail line that ran from Tipton, Missouri to San Francisco, California starting in 1858. It took the mail line only 23 days to make its first 2,812 mile run. The section of trail between Jefferson City and Springfield, Missouri is becoming active again! This 250 mile historic route is being traveled by bicycles instead of stage coaches. The Butterfield Stage Experience bicycle route is a mostly gravel route across some of the most beautiful scenery and historic places in Missouri. It has been broken up into 6 segments so you can do small parts on different trips. You can download the map to your smart phone. There are even plans to push the route all the way to Ft. Smith, Arkansas. I hope you take some time this summer to grab your bike and get away for a day or a weekend and see this state’s beauty the way our ancestors did! For more information and to download the maps visit https://mobikefed.org/ButterfieldStageExperience. 

CAPITOL REPORT - June 27, 2019.  It’s fescue Seed Harvest time throughout Southwest Missouri and our family like many others are busy combining fescue seed.
Our cattle ranch’s objective is to turn forage to cash. We do that by grazing cattle on predominantly fescue grass inter seeded with legumes. One of the fringe benefits of growing Fescue for grass and hay is it also produces a seed crop that can be harvested for a cash crop. 

I wrote these comments last year and revised it again for this year;

“Grease under fingernails, skinned knuckles, and sweaty brows are what many fescue seed harvesters experienced this last week.  Due to above average rainfall in May and June, the fescue seed matured about a week later 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 this week operating an old 1978 Model F2 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.

CAPITOL REPORT - July 2, 2019.  During my second year in legislation, the Hickory County license office had a dispute with the Department of Revenue (DOR) over the bidding process when they had a vacancy in their office. The DOR bidding process is to allow interested groups and individuals to bid to operate one or more Missouri license office as they become vacant. Bidders with an active Federal Employer Identification Number will be evaluated on items such as methods proposed for performing the service and the proposal that scores best in areas including customer service and business. At that time Senator Parson and I had a heart to heart discussion with DOR and were able to successfully work to keep that office open.

In 2016 the Osceola license office had a vacancy and once again I had to negotiate with DOR to keep it open. Unfortunately sometimes DOR cannot keep the local license offices open due to the lack of funds to pay staff, rent a building and provide utilities. The Osceola office was closed for 6 month before we were able to work out the funds and was it successfully re-opened. The Carney family stepped in and offered a very reasonable rental space for the Osceola office that was a tremendous help. This past summer the same issue came up at the Stockton office in Cedar County. Although I was not involved in that issue, Senator Sandy Crawford worked with DOR and a local bidder and were able to keep the office open.

This year Representative Jeff Knight sponsored a bill to allow increase in fees. Due to having experienced three license offices struggle to remain open in my district, I was for the fee increase. I became a supporter and co-sponsor of HB 584. We were successfully able to get it into law and it is currently waiting on the desk of Governor Parson’s for a signature. Feel free to call and encourage him to sign this legislation at (573) 751-3222.

The fees are increased as follows: (1) Licenses increase from $3.50 to $6.00 for annual and from $7 to $12 for biennial; (2) Transfer of title increases from $2.50 to $6; (3) Instruction permits, nondriver, chauffeur's, operator's, and driver's licenses increase from $2.50 to $6, and (4) Notice of lien processing increases from $2.50 to $6. You can read the full bill here HB 584.

The first day of school in 2020 could come little later than normal based on the recently passed HB 161. In an effort to give the tourism industry a few more days in August to make money, HB 161 modifies the school start date by removing the option that school districts may set an opening date more than 14 calendar days prior to the first Monday in September.

Representative Jeff Knight sponsored the bill in hopes to help businesses that have suffered in recent years as school districts have moved their start dates earlier and earlier. Rep. Knight noted “The revenue that is being lost is significant”. With Tourism as Missouri’s second largest generator of revenue we need to allow our businesses to thrive in order to bring in the funds that support our state, including our schools. I also support this legislation with the knowledge that many teachers along with high school and college students have summer jobs and depend on many of our tourism sights for employment. For the full bill visit HB 161.

CAPITOL REPORT - July 11, 2019.  Since I have been in the Missouri Legislature I have Sponsored and Co-sponsored Prevailing Wage Reform Repeal every year. I believe it’s our obligation as Representatives of tax paying Missourians to spend the people’s money as wisely as possible on public work projects. Finally during the 2018 Session a major compromise was made on HB 1729. Instead of complete repeal Statewide it ended up being a reform that reflects a more accurate wage rate in the counties were the Public Work project is located. As of July 1, 2019 the compromises reform on wage rates throughout Missouri has been determined and is in effect.  

Prevailing wage laws are created by state governments or local municipalities to set a rate of pay that is thought to be standard for a labor group contracted to do public-sector projects in that area. Twenty-four states do not have prevailing wage laws. Those states have a policy to operate and choose the most qualified, competitive bid. I believe this a responsible way to be good stewards of tax payer money.

Twenty-nine states currently have prevailing wage laws. The Missouri Annual Wage Order contains prevailing wage rates for each occupational title in each county. The prevailing wage is the minimum rate that must be paid to workers on public works construction projects in Missouri, such as bridges, roads, schools, and government buildings. However, the wages paid may be higher which is up to the employer and employee to decide. The changes do not impact public works projects valued at $75,000 and under. Public work projects valued less than $10,000 are not subject to a competitive bidding process. 

Missouri’s Division of Labor Standards gathers wage information from public and private commercial construction projects. The average county wages are based on the Census of Employment and Wages Report. The wage information is used to determine wage rates for the 25 different occupational titles in each county in Missouri. This data report is published annually and the new prevailing wage law uses it as a data base and multiplies it by 120 percent.

Annual Wage Order No. 26 rates are as follows;

Building Construction Positions: Asbestos Worker, Boilermaker, Bricklayer, Carpenter, Cement Mason, Communications Technician, Electrician (Inside Wireman), Electrician Outside Lineman, Elevator Constructor, Glazier, Iron Worker, Laborer, Mason, Operating Engineer, Painter, Plumber, Roofer, Sheet Metal Worker, Sprinkler Fitter and Truck Driver

Building Construction Rates for the following counties: Benton $17.50, Cedar $16.40, Hickory $14.97 (with the exception of Electrician Inside Wireman $43.18) and St. Clair $15.91.

Heavy Construction Positions: Carpenter, Electrician (Outside Wireman), Laborer, Operating Engineer and Truck Driver

Heavy Construction Rates: Benton $17.50, Cedar $16.40, Hickory$14.97 and St. Clair $15.91 (with the exception of General Laborer $41.01 and Group 1 Operating Engineer $46.46). 

For the complete list, please visit labor.mo.gov/prevailing-wage and enter your county. If you are a public works contractor or public body and have questions please contact the Division of Labor Standards at prevailingwage@labor.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-3403. For the full bill visit HB 1729.

CAPITOL REPORT - July 18, 2019.  Tourism is big business in Missouri! Actually, it is rated as the number two industry, second only to Agriculture. Tourism has a major economic impact in Missouri and the Missouri State Parks is a major contributor with an estimated economic impact of more than $1 billion every year! This impact also includes $307 million in income (wage and salary income, proprietor’s income and employee benefits), $123 million in federal, state and local taxes, and 14,535 jobs. The 91 state parks and historic sites attract more than 20 million visitors annually, including 1.2 million overnight guests in our campgrounds, cabins and other facilities. Approximately 25 percent of state park visitors come from out of state, which brings new money into Missouri.

To help promote our state parks, Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe travels around Missouri visiting camp grounds on a summer bus tour. He holds a Wake Up Breakfast event once or twice a month for campers. I joined him bright and early on Thursday for pancakes at the Harry S Truman State Park. After breakfast the Missouri State Parks offered a guided kayak tour of Truman Lake. Also when visiting a Missouri State Park make sure to get a stamp in your Passport. The Civil War Passport Program and the Missouri State Parks Passport Program share seven sites. For more information on the Civil War Passport Program visit https://mo-passport.org/ or

https://mostateparks.com/page/80901/missouri-civil-war-passport-program.

Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe and the Missouri State Parks Director Ben Ellis

We are very fortunate to have three of Missouri’s amazing state parks in our area; Stockton, Pomme de Terre and Harry S Truman. All three offer opportunities to enjoy the water, hike, explore nature and spend the night in a campground or cabin. In 2018, these three state parks attracted more than 845,000 people to our area. While in our area, visitors may have shopped at your store or visited your establishment. And you can bet that when these visitors got back home, they told their friends and neighbors about their amazing experience in Missouri State Parks.

Missouri State Parks has a reputation of being one of the best state park systems in the nation. That great reputation has a positive impact on our community.   

The Lt. Governor’s Bus at the Pancake Breakfast

On Monday I arranged a meeting with MoDOT Engineer Danny Roeger and Transportation Project Manager Kristi Bachman to discuss the planned bridge re-construction of two bridges in northeast St. Clair County. The bridges on Hwy C and Hwy Z will be completely closed for about 90 days. This will affect all Lakeland School students on the east side of both bridges. MoDOT is planning to meet with the Lakeland School District to help determine the best timing for the bridge closures. Originally MoDOT’s intention was to close the bridges at the same time but after some discussion they have decided to space out the closures. One bridge will be closed next summer in 2020 and the other will close the following summer in 2021. I appreciate the hard work from MoDOT and their willingness to work with the community to help minimize impact of the closures. MoDOT will hold a public meeting later this summer to update the public on the project. They will also take bids at this time. I will update everyone with the date and place once that decision has been made. 

Also attending the meeting were Boy Scouts of America camp representatives, Program Director David Riker and Barry Slotnick. The bridge closures will greatly affect the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation for the next two summers. By working with MoDOT, they hope to avoid as much interruption to traffic as possible. 

The H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation, formally known as Camp Osceola in Iconium, is home to over 6,000 Boy Scouts and 3,000 camp leaders in the summer. The 4,200 acre reservation has been a summer home to Scouts and their leaders since 1929. Each year the camp holds 5, 10 day Sessions with each Session housing 2,000 campers and leaders. Each Session has a Visitor Day and on those days, another 5,000 people pour into the small, rural town of Iconium. 

Iconium normally has around 20 residents, so 7,000 people coming in every 10 days has a huge economic impact. Shannon Tucker owns the Iconium General Store and is flooded with camp visitors each week stopping to enjoy the store’s legendary peach float.

CAPITOL REPORT - July 25, 2019.  The intersection at the junction of 13 and Highway A and C on the north side of Lowery City is nearly finished. All of the north and south bound lanes are open. Everything is completed with the exception of the road signs and painting the stripes. 

Currently there are eight intersection improvement projects from Clinton to Springfield. The work began in May and the contractor needs to have them completed by November 15th. All eight projects were awarded to the same contractor. This helps the state save money when multiple projects can be awarded to the same contractor. The total project is estimated to cost $9 million. 

Back in June, on one of the Visitor Day’s at the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation, there was a traffic accident at the intersection junction of 13 and Highway A and C. I felt this project needed to get completed as soon as possible. I began encouraging MoDOT to make this project a priority and fast track this site. They did and have done a great job! The intersection was closed on the first Visitor Day and was already open by the last one this past Sunday. I want to give MoDOT and the construction contractors “two thumbs up” for moving quickly to get the work completed as quickly as possible. 

Also, MoDOT has announced another extension of an allowance for heavier-than-normal truckloads of rock, sand and gravel to travel on Missouri highways in flood relief and for levee and other public infrastructure flood repair. The waiver allows private and for-hire motor carriers to haul up to 10% more than their licensed weight on Missouri highways.

The waiver remains in effect through Aug. 21. While the waiver is in effect, participating motor carriers are limited to:

A loaded, gross weight no greater than 10%  above the gross licensed weight of the commercial motor vehicle;
Transportation of rock, sand and gravel only within the state of Missouri;
Drivers must obey posted bridge weight limits;
When crossing a bridge, the driver must restrict the vehicle speed to no more than 30 mph;
Travel under this allowance is only allowed on non-interstate highways. Those taking advantage of the weight allowance cannot operate on any portion of the interstate highway system.
Check the MoDOT Traveler Information Map at www.modot.org for more information.
Missourians received good news this week as the state received a federal infrastructure grant that will trigger a bonding plan to repair more than 200 bridges across the state. The bonding plan was approved by the state legislature during the 2019 regular session and was one of Gov. Mike Parson’s top priorities. 

Parson made the announcement that the state had received an $81.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to build a new I-70 Missouri River Bridge at Rocheport. The grant will enable a project to replace the existing four-lane bridge with a new six-lane structure. The existing bridge has been rated in poor condition, and a repair plan could have caused traffic backups of 20 miles in each direction, and delays of up to 8 hours. 

In announcing the state had received the funding, Parson said, “The Rocheport bridge has long been in need of repair, and we're thrilled that we now have the funds to complete this critical project and trigger our bold transportation plan. Transportation drives our economy, and replacing the bridge is a major step toward maintaining our highway system and ensuring we have the framework for access and expansion in the future.” 

The INFRA grant also triggers the $301 million bonding plan that was approved by lawmakers on the final day of the legislative session. The legislation is designed to provide funding to allow the state transportation department to fix 215 bridges across Missouri. The bonding plan also works in conjunction with $50 million in funding allocated in the state budget to fix 35 bridges. 

UPCOMING EVENTS – There is an exciting addition to the attractions along “Discover More On 54” near Collins, MO. To kick off this new site, I am presenting a Resolution to the creator and owner of this amazing site. Come out and visit us!

Discover More on Route 54 is hosting the annual 100-mile yard sale on Labor Day weekend, August 30-31st. This will cover communities along US Hwy 54 from Nevada to Camdenton. They need sellers and bargain hunters to make this event a success! For more information on rules and locations visit https://100mileyardsale.wordpress.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverRoute54/.

For more information and to download the section maps or the entire route map visit https://mobikefed.org/ButterfieldStageExperience.