LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS IN THE STATE CAPITOL
This week, the Missouri Senate discussed and debated two very contentious bills.
Senate Bill 391 prohibits county commissions from creating stricter regulations than the state of Missouri on Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
An overwhelming majority of the county commissioners, as well as the agricultural, banking and business groups in the district support this legislation. As it stands, I will vote yes, though I do have concerns with the bill.
The Department of Natural Resources does an excellent job of regulating environmental issues involved with the establishment and operation of a CAFO, but this bill will reduce the ability of local residents to influence the decision as to the establishment of the facilities and exposes these businesses to a significant influence from citizens that do not live in a rural environment.
After several hours of debate, the bill was laid over to be further discussed later during the legislative session.
The Senate also discussed Senate Bill 259, which would create an appeal process for complaints made under Title IX of the Federal Education Amendments. Under this legislation, any individual attending a college or university that receives state funds in the state of Missouri has a right to appeal and to defend their character in a hearing via the Administrative Hearing Commission. I believe that this process is an inappropriate path for the appeal and is ill-equipped to handle proceedings involving sexual assault and rape. I believe such cases should be handled via the criminal and civil court where true due process can be afforded. This bill was also laid over.
In addition to these two bills, the Missouri Senate also third read and passed several bills to the House of Representatives for further consideration. These bills include:
Senate Joint Resolution 14 & 9 is a proposal that establishes term limits for all statewide elected officials at two terms;
Senate Bill 60 is a proposal that reforms state laws relating to rental agreements for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking. In addition, this proposal would provide a list of acceptable evidence that the landlord must accept as proof that the lessee or tenant is a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking;
Senate Bill 210 designates the PawPaw Tree as the state fruit tree of Missouri and the Hellbender Salamander as the official endangered species of the state of Missouri;
Senate Bill 218 requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish two voluntary programs for elementary schools, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. The first program will provide for mental and emotional health education and the second will provide for agricultural education programs; and
Senate Bill 363 authorizes the Department of Social Services and circuit courts to fingerprint applicants for purposes of adoptions, guardians, conservators, advocates and personal representatives over minors, incapacitated, elderly or disabled individuals. Federal law enforcement and the Highway Patrol will then conduct a background check on the individual fingerprinted. If a criminal history is discovered, all criminal records related to the individual will be provided to the state entity that requested the information.