Greetings, My Fellow Missourians
On Friday morning, I attended Coffee with the Superintendent of Osceola Schools. The morning started with an introduction and update of Osceola students that will be participating on the Special Olympics team. Special Olympics has provided year-round sports training and athletic competition to adults and children with special needs for years. Since the founding in 1968, Special Olympics has given nearly 5 million athletes the opportunity to develop physical fitness and share their gifts with the community and 16,000 of those participants were from Missouri. For Winter they will participate in basketball and bowling and for Spring they will have track and field. One eligible student will get to go to Mizzou for courses in Life Skills and Leadership. The athletes have local support from the Osceola Foundation for Community Assistance and the Osceola Optimists.
On Monday, I attended Farm Bureau’s 105th Annual Meeting in Osage Beach. Each year Farm Bureau chooses delegates to review and adopt resolution policies. The policy on feral hogs came up, and after a lengthy discussion, this is the resolution they adopted: “We believe feral hogs are an unacceptable risk to both humans and livestock and support federal and state eradication efforts. We support increasing the penalty in Missouri from a misdemeanor to a felony for the intentional release of any hogs on public land or private land without acceptable confinement. We also believe it should be a felony to hold alive or transport feral hogs without a special permit from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.” The legislation I am currently purposing will support Farm Bureau’s stance. My bill will work to increase the penalties for transporting, moving or letting loose feral hogs. It will define feral swine in a way that they retain their designation as feral and can not include any heritage swine and protect the ownership, possession and transportation of heritage swine.
Pre-Session Caucus was held in Jefferson City on Thursday. We were updated on Interim Committee hearings and discussed subjects that will need to be worked on this upcoming Session: Wayfair/Online sales tax collection; the subject of crime reduction; sports wagering; how to have more transparency and slow down the rising cost of healthcare; and updates on the state budget, general revenue has increased $370 million for the same period as last year, which is a growth of 9.35%.
Saturday was National Wreaths Across America Day. It was an honor to speak at the opening ceremony to about 60 Daughters & Sons of Confederate Veterans during the Christmas Memorial Service at the Confederate Veterans Cemetery State Site at Higginsville. After the service, inside the Chapel everyone followed the Honor Guard out to the Cemetery and placed Christmas Wreaths on over 800 Gravesites.
This Christmas season, I plan to spend time with my family and attend my home school’s 70th Osceola Christmas Pageant. The Pageant is put on by the Ministerial Alliance and is a wonderful program proclaiming the birth of Jesus Christ.
This year as we gather together to celebrate the birth of Christ, we will share our love and exchange gifts as a way of reminding one another of how much we care and how deeply blessed we are. Christmas is a time to thank God for all that He has given us; it is much more than just a day to give and receive gifts.
I hope this Christmas is filled with joy for you and your family. I wish you safe travels if you are visiting loved ones, and wish the same for those who may be coming to stay with you. At the same time as we celebrate the greatest of holidays, I also ask us to remember there are many Missourians who are not as fortunate. They won’t have the luxury of the companionship of family and friends, presents to open, or possibly even a warm meal. I ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this holiday season. Christmas is a time of giving and it’s important that we remember that means more than presents. It should also be a time to give of ourselves to help those who are less fortunate.
My wish is for this time of year to be one filled with joy and celebration as you share your time with those who mean the most to you. Merry Christmas.
As the curtain closes on this year, we wish you a wonderful, healthy, prosperous 2020.
This will be my last report for the year, but I will continue regular, weekly reports in January.
As Session begins.
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.