JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri legislature wrapped up at 6 p.m. Friday, May 12. Interestingly, the Senate adjourned 53 minutes early due to rowdy uproar from the minority over parliamentary tools used to pass House Bill 1194 which prevents cities or counties from creating their own minimum wage greater than the state minimum wage. The House kept working up to the deadline, passing HB 1194 and House Committee Bill 3, a controversial fund sweeping bill to make up the shortfall from senior services in the budget sent to Gov. Eric Greitens a week earlier.
The controversy stemmed from differences in the House and Senate versions. The House said the bill was unconstitutional because the funds weren’t appropriated through the appropriations process; the Senate said it was constitutional and the best option. The Missouri Corn Growers Association’s policy team is watching how these fund sweeps are implemented as fee funds relevant to farming and fuel may be targeted.
All in all, the legislature ended session with a record low-59 policy bills passed and 16 budget bills. Remains to be seen if Gov. Greitens will call a special session to address his priorities that did not pass: ethics reform, prescription drug monitoring and job development in southeast Missouri to replace those lost when Noranda Aluminum closed last year. Specific to agriculture priorities, we saw several wins and a few efforts to revisit next session.
- Early in session, Rep. Don Rone’s (R-Portageville) House Bill 662 was passed and signed by Gov. Greitens. HB 662 addresses dicamba misuses and increases the penalties for those applying off label herbicides to crops.
- Rep. Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville) passed legislation clarifying the law allowing farmers to operate farm machinery on roadways at night so long as they use proper lighting. Brattin’s language passed on Senate Bill 8 and Senate Bill 222.
- Senate Bill 283 was sponsored by Sen. Dan Hegeman (R-Cosby). This bill had many provisions, one of which related to drainage in ditches, a measure spearheaded by Rep. J. Eggleston (R-Maysville). This provision began moving quickly late in session. Agriculture groups came together with the bill’s sponsors to ensure those taking shortcuts with field runoff resulting in damaged roads would be affected by the law change while ensuring those producers who correctly manage terraces and waterways cannot be targeted by the county.
MCGA was tracking two bills that did not make it across the finish line. Rep. Rusty Black’s (R-Chllicothe) House Bill 1036 would have prohibited the State Tax Commission from increasing ag land productive values for property tax purposes under certain circumstances. Rep. Bill Reiboldt’s (R-Neosho) House Bill 175 would have prevented counties and other political subdivisions from restricting the labeling or use of seeds, fertilizers or soil conditioners. This provision would have eliminated the potential patchwork of county-by-county regulations. Both provisions are important and MCGA will be working next legislative session to move these priorities forward.
— Missouri Corn
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