Greetings, My Fellow Missourians

I hurried home last Thursday after session with just enough time to move the electric fences and give the cattle more grass and hay. My wife, Marla, prepared a very fine belated Valentine’s Day supper. Afterward, I drove to the Methodist Church in Clinton and attended a memorial service for Roy Ackers. Roy spent his lifetime farming and raising cattle. He was a member of the National Cattlemen’s Assocation, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) and the Henry County Cattlemen’s Association. He received the Pioneer Award in 2015, the highest award given by the MCA. My first recollection of Roy went back to the 1970’s when I first got involved with the MCA. Our paths crossed often due to us both being in the cattle business. In my book, Roy was a “Top Hand” and will be greatly missed by many Missouri Cattlemen.

Friday morning started with breakfast at the ‘Round Table’ in Smith’s Restaurant at Collins. The discussion centered around the MO Department of Conservation plans to reduce the deer herd population in the Collins area. I then visited Weaubleau High School to deliver American FFA Degree resolutions for Leo Barnett, Gatlin Freeman, and Lakota Peppel; then to Hermitage High School with American FFA Degree resolutions for Brent Aubuchon and Ashely Wise; and to Skyline High School for Payton Damitz, Fred Reiss, Tyler Sweaingin, and Shian Swearingin. I am sure proud of these young adults for earning this prestigious degree. I also had an opportunity to spend time with Hermitage R-IV School District Superintendent Ed Vest discussing current educational issues. I also enjoyed going to the McCarty Senior Center in Wheatland for a fine fish dinner. While there, I passed out several 2018 legislative surveys and discussed issues with many of the seniors at the center on Friday.

It was great to have Skyline Juniors and Seniors at the Capitol last week with their History Instructor, Brett Bybee. They spent the day observing House and Senate in session as well as touring the historical building.

Allyssa Burrow of Osceola was at the Capitol on Tuesday with fellow classmates from University of Central Missouri participating in the Missouri Speech, Language, and Hearing Legislative Day. They were advocating for certification of music therapists as well as legislative for a hearing aid distribution program.

Hickory County Health Department Environmental Public Health Specialist Jeff Owen, Elizabeth Oxbrey of The Arc of the Ozarks, and Tracy Sexton of MO Foundation for Health met with me on Wednesday regarding the positive impact that the Hickory County Health Department has in promoting a healthy school and community.

I had the opportunity to meet with Cyndee Schmidt, Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission, and Randy Pogue, City Administrator of Warsaw, regarding the Butterfield Overland Trail and other local tourism as well as transportation issues. They were both in Jefferson City to attend a transportation summit with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

I received a welcomed visit from District 125 County Collectors on Thursday.

Legislation this week:

House members have approved a bill (HB2034) that would legalize the growing of industrial hemp in Missouri. Supporters say the bill would help promote industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity in Missouri; it is used in more than 25,000 products that include agriculture, textiles, recycling, automotive, furniture, food/nutrition/beverages, paper, construction materials and personal care. The legislation would exempt industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana and the list of controlled substances. Supporters also point to studies that show farmers who add industrial hemp to their crop rotation may have another cash crop. The bill is in no way related to attempts to legalize marijuana. It will now move to the Senate for consideration.

In other legislation, (HB 1710) passed through the House this week and would change the law on recognizing licenses to practice occupations or professions issued by other states when substantially similar training and educational requirements exist. The bill is meant to reduce barriers to entry and make it easier for folks to immediately get back to work without burdensome and stifling restrictions requiring repetitive education.

State income tax return status alerts:

News Release From the MO Dept. of Revenue…

Missourians can now sign up to receive automatic text and email alerts each time the status of their state tax return is updated. “Instead of having to wait on the phone or check online every day to see their status, customers who opt into email or text alerts will be informed as soon as something changes. This one improvement will make the tax return process easier and less stressful for our customers,” said Department Director Joel Walters. To enroll in alerts, customers only need three pieces of information: Social Security number, filing status and anticipated refund or balance due. Return information will be available 48 hours after filing electronically or four weeks after mailing a paper return. Customers will receive easy-to-read graphics that indicate the current status of their return, the return processing steps that have already been completed, the next steps

DOR will take and the refund issue date, if applicable. To access the Missouri Return Inquiry System and sign up for automatic text and email alerts, please visit:

2018 Missouri Vietnam Veterans day:

Since being signed into law in 2012, Missouri Vietnam Veterans Day is observed on March 30th each year. In recognition of those who served in this conflict, Vietnam Veterans are invited to the Capitol on Thursday, March 29, for a special ceremony and presentation at 9 a.m. to be followed by a formal recognition at the start of session in the House Chamber. House members are encouraging Vietnam Veterans throughout the state to come forward to receive special recognition for their service. If you are able to attend, please call our office at 573-751-4065 for special arrangements. The House of Representatives and I would be greatly honored by your presence, and we hope to make this a day of celebration to recognize all the Vietnam Veterans across the state.