2019 Capitol Reports and Press Releases (Archived) February

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.