Greetings, My Fellow Missourians

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 19th to 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, Feb. 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

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.