Love Note from Jeff City
My Fellow Missourians,
My how time flew. The final curtain call of the 97th General Assembly session came to an end at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 17.
The following is a list of truly agreed and finally passed bills that embody our dedication to reaffirming Missouri values and creating opportunities for citizens.
Agriculture is foundation of our state’s economy. This session we took several measures to empower our family farms and to continue growing Missouri as a hub of agricultural innovation. One such major piece of agricultural legislation is HJR 11 and 7 or “Right to Farm.” This resolution forever guarantees the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices. There are organizations whose mission is to destroy agriculture in this state and every other. These groups would put in place environmental regulations and restrictions on the treatment of animals that would amount to a death sentence to Missouri’s top industry. The “Right to Farm” bill would protect farmers – and every consumer of agricultural products – from undue burdens. Because this is a change to the state Constitution, HJR 11 and 7 will be on the ballot this November. Unless modified by the Secretary of State, the language on the ballot will read:
“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?”
Another measure, SB 16 (Munzlinger, R-18), secures the right of minors to work on family farms. These family enterprises could not survive without kids’ help. Furthermore, taking an active role in keeping the family business alive teaches children responsibility and gives them a head start in entering the job market. That’s why employment on family farms should continue to be exempt from child labor laws. Governor Nixon has signed SB 16 into law.
Making School Construction Affordable
HB 34 (Guernsey, R-2) changes the way that the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations determines the prevailing hourly rate of wages on public works projects. Currently, the prevailing wage for a given trade is based on voluntary surveys collected and submitted by contractors on a project. However, because these are voluntary, the information is often skewed towards the higher-end firms, increasing the prevailing wage for the entire area. This act puts in place a new system that determines the most common wage for a specific occupation statewide. This change will make construction on schools and other public works projects more affordable and will give taxpayers a much better value for their tax dollars.
My in-district work will continue throughout the year even though we are not in session. On Monday I discussed issues with the Hickory County Commissioners. The subject was the re-construction of the Hwy. 254 bridge, south of Hermitage, planned for 2014. We will try to get MoDOT to keep one lane open during the project of putting in a new floor so as to not require local residents in the south half of the county to travel so far to get to and from their county seat. This could result in a tremendous economic loss for the town of Hermitage. We also discussed the possibility of a Tri-County Enhanced 911 service made up of Cedar, Hickory, and St. Clair Counties. This emergency service would require a lot of planning, cooperation, and tax support from these three counties.
I met with our Southwest District MoDOT engineer and discussed the current pavement overlay roadwork being done in the Pittsburg area and the overlay being done on U. S. 54 Hwy. in Eastern Hickory County and between Nevada and El Dorado Springs. There is a possibility that bicycle lanes may be marked on the route between El Dorado Springs and Nevada. On Tuesday I traveled back to Jeff City and met with a MoDOT representative about these same issues and then discussed with a staff member from the Attorney General’s office about a DNR issue and the urgency of getting a motel re-opened on 13 Highway in Osceola.
Although the 2013 Regular Legislative Session has ended, my office remains open all year to assist you with state related issues. My staff and I will be happy to help you in any way we can.
If you would like to be added to the e-mail list to receive our Capitol Reports, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Capitol office at 573-751-4065 and talk to Debbie Poire, my Legislative Assistant.
Warren D. Love, State Representative
Representing the good people of the 125th District