The past several weeks have been very busy at the State Capitol for agriculture legislation.
House Bill 334, introduced by Rep. Tony Dugger (R- Hartville), a provision that will provide important labor exemptions for children working on farms or family farms, was heard in the House Agri-Business Committee. Similar to Senator Brian Munzlinger's (R-Williamstown) Senate Bill 16, the bill was voted on and passed by the committee. Supportive of the measure, the Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) was on hand to testify in favor of and reiterate the importance of maintaining the structure of the family farm.
The biggest hearing of the week was related to HJR 7, Rep. Jason Smith's (R-Salem) bill that would send to voters a constitutional amendment ensuring farmers' rights to operate using modern farming practices. HJR 11 (The Right to Raise Livestock bill) sponsored by Ag Committee chairman Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho) was also heard, and combined with HJR 7. MCGA as well as other agricultural groups testified in support of both provisions. Those present in opposition of the bill included The Alliance for Animal Legislation and the Environmental Defense Alliance. The resolutions passed unanimously out of the Ag committee
Last week the Missouri Senate also passed two bills sponsored by Senator Munzlinger. Senate Bill 51 brings Missouri in line with federal regulations, providing several important exemptions for farmers hauling their products, including Hours of Service exemptions. Senate Bill 17 re-establishes the Career and Technical Education Board, a move that is meant to ensure the state realizes the importance and maintains important funding for Career and Technical Education programs such as FFA. Today the House Ag Policy Committee passed its version, sponsored by Mike Thomson (R-Maryville). MCGA testified in its support.
Big ticket non-agriculture items being approached in the Capitol include voter photo ID requirements, which passed the House after a late night of debate. The Missouri Senate has indicated that the voter ID provisions are not a priority for the body. Also Right-To-Work legislation was discussed this week, bringing large crowds of labor groups to the Capitol to oppose the measures.
Source: Missouri Corn Growers Association