January 26, 2015

Missouri Agriculture Bill set to be first on Senate floor

An Agriculture bill similar to one Governor Jay Nixon vetoed last year is likely to be the first piece of legislation debated on the Senate Floor.

Senator Brian Munzlinger is proposing Senate Bill 12 without the deer provision that Governor Nixon said caused him to veto it.  Munzlinger decided to file a separate bill with the language from last year that transfers the regulatory control of captive deer from the Department of Conservation to the Department of Agriculture.

Senator Brian Munzlinger

Senator Brian Munzlinger

Munzlinger thinks this year’s omnibus Agriculture bill will pass this time around.

“As we heard the bill last year, the comments around veto session was that if the deer part wasn’t in it, that it would be fast tracked this year,” said Munzlinger.  “I’m looking forward to having it on the Senate floor next week and hope to get it over to the House.”

The majority of those at a committee hearing for the bill were in support of the new legislation, but a few groups voiced their concerns on specific issues within the bill.

A Department of Transportation spokesman said MoDOT is worried increased weight limits for trucks carrying produce would destroy Missouri roads and bridges.  The Department said it will not have the funds to make repairs.

“Based upon the testimony that we had from both the railroad and MoDOT…  What we really absolutely need is a harvest waiver and the railroads and MoDOT said ok, we’ll go with that,” said Munzlinger.

Munzlinger added such a waiver to the bill that would allow farmers to carry ten percent more produce over their license.

A New Zealand grass dairy farmer addressed concerns about the percentage of foreign ownership of agricultural land.  Munzlinger says he decided to take that language out of the bill since it was controversial.  He plans to file a separate bill for limitations on foreign ownership.

To view the updated Agriculture bill Munzlinger made changes to click here.

To view the original Agriculture bill Munzlinger filed this year click here.

To view the bill the Governor vetoed last year click here.

#MoSOTS: Nixon revisits familiar themes, calls for bipartisanship (AUDIO)

In his seventh State of the State speech, Gov. Jay Nixon told a joint session of the Legislature, “A lot has changed since last year.”

Not much has changed in his year-to-year priorities, but a lot has changed for Nixon.

He now faces an adversarial supermajority in the Legislature,  new constitutional restrictions on how he spends and withholds money, and continuing racial unrest in Ferguson that thrust his state–and his handling of the situation–into national notoriety.

By creating an Office of Community Engagement and a Ferguson Commission, Nixon says he has taken “meaningful steps forward in Ferguson,” but added “the legacy of Ferguson will be determined by what we do next.”

Nixon suggested that lawmakers:

– reform municipal courts

– update the state statute governing deadly force to be consistent with constitutional requirements and U. S. Supreme Court precedent;

– support policies that foster racial understanding and compassion;

– create greater economic opportunity and encourage personal responsibility;

– strengthen failing schools and provide access to affordable health care;

– recruit, train and certify professional law enforcement that reflects the diversity of the community it serves.

standing O

Missouri legislators applaud Nixon’s praise for police.

There was little response to this list from the GOP side of the room until Nixon praised law enforcement: “We are proud of our law enforcement, for all they do, each and every day.”

This drew a standing ovation from the joint assembly.

Nixon’s renewed plea to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act drew a deadpan response from Republicans, as did his suggestion to consider a gas tax or a toll road on Interstate 70 to improve roads and bridges. There has been no increase in the Missouri gas tax in about 20 years.

As in years past, he touted the recovery of the state’s auto industry, praising about 40 United Auto Worker’s union members who attended and cheered from the gallery.

“Your work ethic is second to none. Your product is the best in the world. You make Missouri proud,” Nixon said amidst their cheers.

The governor praised public schools and calls for “record funding for K-12 education” but some House leaders took issue with his math.

Nixon called for boosting cattle processing inside Missouri and announced he will be going to Cuba with state Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce in March to “make sure Missouri is first in the door” in agricultural trade.

He also proposed building a new veterans’ home along with modernizing existing ones.

Listen to the entire 2015 State of the State speech (47:38):


Missouri Speaker’s ‘real’ response to Nixon’s State of the State (VIDEO)

Newly-elected Speaker of the House John Diehl was tapped to deliver the official pre-taped Republican response to Governor Jay Nixon’s State of the State Address, but his unscripted response to reporters afterwards revealed more.

After the speech, Diehl spoke candidly about what Nixon actually said, or didn’t say if you ask Diehl.

Diehl accused Nixon of speaking in generalities about, but not having a plan for transportation or ethics. The Speaker also took Nixon to task over the amount of money he proposes spending for K-12 education.

Watch The Video Below To See More Of Diehl’s Unscripted Response

#MOSOTS: Missouri Senate leader not concerned about Governor’s message

The leader of the Republican supermajority in the state Senate says he isn’t concerned with what Governor Jay Nixon (D) has to say in his State of the State Address tonight.

Senator Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles)

Senator Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles)

Senate President Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) says he hasn’t thought much about what the governor might say when he outlines his policy and spending priorities. After all, his party has more than enough votes to overturn vetoes by the governor.

“We’ve got the numbers to really dictate our agenda if we’re united in our legislative efforts,” said Dempsey. “Where the governor wants to work with us we’ll provide a seat at the table for him.”

Asked whether the governor should be given more consideration, for the fact that he is elected by voters statewide, Dempsey says his word shouldn’t carry as much weight, “as [117] Republican members in the House and 25 in the Senate. No, his concerns do not outweigh the concerns of the majority party in the legislature.”

Still, Dempsey credits the Governor, saying he is being more communicative and cooperative with lawmakers than in past years, and he is interested in seeing if that is reflected in tonight’s address.

“So far [the governor’s staff’s] outreach has been better and I’m looking for, I guess, statements to the effect of recognizing that the legislature is a partner,” said Dempsey.

Watch the State of the State Address and the GOP response from House Speaker John Diehl, Junior, tonight at Missourinet.com and KMIZ/KZOU starting with a preview at 6:45 and ending with reaction from former House Speaker Tim Jones and Progress Missouri Executive Director Sean Nicholson.

Missouri Senator proposes a ‘no call list for minors’

A bill has been filed that would create a no call list for minors.  It calls for the Department of Public Safety to establish the Missouri Child Protection Registry:  a secure list of contact points that belong to or are available to minors.

Senator David Sater

Senator David Sater

Senator David Sater’s (R-Cassville) proposal would prevent marketers of adult products from contacting minors through electronic devices.  Marketers who send out pornography, gambling, alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drug advertisements would not be allowed to send electronic messages to those registered on the list.

Sater says it’s becoming more common to see children communicating via cell phone or computer.  Missouri has a no-call list for Missourians that don’t want calls from telemarketers, and Sater thought a similar approach would be a good way to protect children from certain advertisements.

“All these marketers would have to scrub their list against the registry,” Sater told Missourinet.

Adult marketers would pay 7/10 of a penny per contact point to verify compliance when they want to send such a message.  Sater said that money would go into a child protection fund.

“This program would be neutral in cost.  In fact, in some instances, it might even make a little bit of money,” Sater said.

Sater said participation in the program would be voluntary.  Parents, guardians, or schools would be able to register a child’s phone number or email with The Department of Public Safety.  Registration would be good for three years.

“The reason I’m putting this bill into law is to make sure if there is a violation, if the adult marketer does not scrub their list against the protection registry, that there are penalties involved,” said Sater.

Violators would be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and could face up to one year in jail, and/or a fine up to one thousand dollars.  Civil action could be taken against offenders, allowing plaintiffs to recover $5000 for each message received or $250,000 for each day the violation occurs.

The legislation is SB 179.