My Fellow Missourians,
While driving 45 miles across District 125 to attend the 4th Friday El Dorado Springs Chamber Coffee, I noticed Spring time is getting close. The wheat is starting to green up and the farmers are doing a lot of preparation fieldwork for planting. I saw several deer and turkey in the low foggy valleys and it reminds me that agriculture and recreation/tourism are the two biggest industries in our state. Deer and turkey hunting are big business in Missouri. About 155,000 turkey hunters spend more than $125 million each year on travel, food, lodging and hunting equipment. In all, the economic impact of turkey hunting in Missouri is more than $248 million annually and supports more than 2,300 jobs. Over 520,000 deer hunters spend more than $750 million each year directly related to deer hunting in Missouri, which generates more than $1 billion in overall business activity in Missouri annually and supports more than 11,000 jobs.
A very good crowd gathered for coffee at Travis and Melanie Farran’s Shelter Insurance Office. I then met with members of the Listan School Community Youth Center and discussed grants and surplus state equipment that could help education and recreation for the youth. Through a tip from the Sun Newspaper editor and the city manager of El Dorado Springs, I found out that State Statutue 110.010 does not include the security of public funds for ambulance districts such as it does for school, sewer, water and fire protection districts. Representative Sue Entlicher and myself will be sponsoring HB 2216 to bring this statute up to date.
At noon on Friday, I attended the Osceola Chamber luncheon. Daniel Wisner, a 7th generation local young farmer presented an excellent slide presentation on the “Freedom To Farm Amendment” that will be on the November ballot. Voters will be asked to put his important freedom into our state constitution.
On my way to the Capitol on Monday, I conferenced with the Administration of the Bothwell Hospital Clinic in Warsaw. We discussed the pros and cons of Missouri accepting the Medicaid Expansion. Then arriving at the Capitol, I sat in on study group on this issue. It’s currently being adopted in several states, but so far not in Missouri.
I get several e-mails daily, some are for the Medicaid expansion and some are against. I polled this issue in our District in October and it was; 55% against, 24% in favor, and 16% undecided. This was brought up in the Senate this week. It became very controversial and was laid aside. However, if it comes to the House side, I will keep an open mind and try to do what is best for the greater good of all Missourians.
One of the big labor issues being considered this year, HB 1770, is allowing Missouri voters the opportunity to vote on becoming a Freedom to Work state. Freedom to Work is about giving workers the choice to determine whether or not they want to pay union dues. Our Founders envisioned a country where people were protected from the tyranny of the majority. This legislation does not take away anyone’s right to join and pay dues to a union; it simply protects individuals who do not find union representation in their best interest. Freedom of association is fundamental to our liberty.
Some people consider Freedom To Work to be anti-Union, however it isn’t anti-union. It isn’t pro-union. Worker freedom is pro-worker. It is worth noting, though, that union membership has risen in Freedom to Work states compared to forced-unionism states. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2011 to 2012 worker freedom states had an overall increase of 39,000 union members while non-right-to-work states lost 390,000, a 3.4 percent decrease. Between 2011 and 2012, Oklahoma – a bordering Freedom to Work state – added 21,000 union members. Over the same time period, Missouri lost 51,000 union members. Inaction in our economy is the number one threat to unions, not worker freedom. I polled this issue in our District in October and it was; 81% in favor, 12% against, and 6% undecided.
The House passed HB 1235 and HB1214 which will allow trucks hauling livestock and agricultural products to haul 5,500 more pounds which will comply with our border states of Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa where the meat processing plants are located. This is equivalent to five head of finish cattle or 22 head of market hogs. This is especially important to agriculture, our number one industry.
Visitors to the Capitol this week included: The MO Cattlemen’s Association; Keith Stevens, Polk County; Sam Crawford, Benton County; Dean Hawkins, St. Clair County; and Carl Bettles, Bates County.
Other visitors included Sheriff Dean “Leon” Dwerlkotte from Cedar County, and Paula Rodabaugh and four St. Clair County FFA students. A very big surprise was Lawrence and Connie Shuey from Barry County. Brother Shuey was Pastor of First Baptist Church in Osceola and performed Marla and my wedding ceremony in 1972.
If you would like to be added to the e-mail list to receive our Capitol Reports, you can e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Capitol office at (573) 751-4065 and talk to Debbie Poire, my Legislative Assistant.
“Ride For the Brand”
Representing the good people of the 125th District
Representative Warren D. Love