Workforce Development & Workplace Safety - Chairman
Joint Committee on Child Abuse & Neglect - Vice-Chair
Professional Registration & Licensing
Subcommittee on Child Abuse Reporting & Investigating - Chairman
Issue Development Standing Committee on Cowboy Caucus on Agricultural Issues
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When we go to the polls on August 5th we will be able to vote on five different amendments to the Missouri Constitution. Unlike the Constitution of the United States, our State Constitution has been amended many times and I'm sure many more amendments will be needed in the coming years. Having said that, some of the amendments being offered have to do with taxes and fees and some have to do with insuring state's rights. As your elected representative, I have had a chance to watch these issues progress through the Legislative process that has brought them to this point. All that those of us in the House and Senate can do is bring these issues to the voters for your consideration. I personally, am going to vote in favor of all these measures. I'll now try to explain why I am in favor of the measures.
Amendment No.1 will guarantee the rights of Missourian's to engage in farming and farming practices, subject to any power given to local government under Article VI of the Missouri Constitution. It does NOT give any additional rights to CAFO's or corporate farms. It WILL allow the state to govern our farming practices not the Feds or outside interests.
Amendment No.5 expands the right to keep and bear arms, including ammunition and related accessories for such arms. It also removes language that could restrict the wearing of concealed weapons by qualified citizens. This amendment was offered to deter Federal intervention in the sale and possession of ammunition for the most part. Many in the Legislature feel that there may be attempts by some factions within the Federal Government to regulate ammunition to circumvent Second Amendment law.
It's a little hard for me to believe that foreign countries can just load children up and send them through Mexico to the United States and we don't seem to be able to do anything about it. We're talking about thousands of children of all ages. Some are teens with gang affiliations and tattoos, some are sick and diseased, some are barely more than toddlers. Our President goes to Texas and instead of offering solutions to the problems, he shoots pool and drinks beer at some honkey tonk! What the heck is this, some poorly written reality show? Now we are being pressured to give him billions of dollars to deal with the situation and in return all we have is the flimsy promise that we can eventually send them back. If you remember, the last time we had a gutless administration, Cuba unloaded all their criminals and dissidents on us with the Mariel Boatlift. There's a heck of a lot of those guys enjoying the comforts of country club prisons instead of being sent back to Cuba where they belong. These same countries that are sending us their children are receiving billions of your taxpayer dollars in foreign aid already. How about if we just cut their aid off and while we're at it, cut off Mexico for allowing them to go through their country to deliver them. So far this year we have given Guatemala $65,249,000, Honduras $41,850,000, and El Salvador $22,181,000. They are sending thousands of children, many of them very young and much in need of our help. They know that we will not send them back unless we know they have a home to go to and are in good health. Meanwhile we are letting our Veterans die for lack of hospital care. Have we gone nuts? Our own Governor says he has to cut the funds allocated for Children's Service and money for K12 Education while the Feds spend Billions on other countries children. No, I'm not heartless and uncaring about these children. I realize that many of them have no homes to go to or parents to care for them, but what the blazes is wrong with expecting their countries of origin to forego their foreign aid to pay for their care? How about we charge the United Nations for their care? Isn't that what happens when other countries get an influx of refugees? I don't care what political party you belong to, most people feel the same way about this deal. Go to the local coffee shop, or the beauty shop for you ladies, and listen to the conversations. We desperately need to elect some adults to run our country!
Those of us who are fortunate enough to have grown up in the Midwest, particularly in Southwest Missouri, have always looked forward to and enjoyed Independence Day. It seems to me that there were always parades with soldiers and sailors during the time I was growing up. There were old cars, marching bands, pretty girls and horses at all the parades. If we were really lucky, we got to go to more than one parade and the fireworks displays were really awesome! Then there was the food! Fried chicken, potatoes salad, fresh lemonade and always watermelon! There were always plenty of kids, (a few fights among cousins), political discussions, (a few fights among uncles), games, music, and fun of all kinds. It was something we looked forward to for weeks and could hardly wait for the fireworks stands to open. Wait a minute! That's exactly what went on last weekend! Every community in McDonald and Newton County had a celebration of some kind. I wonder if we realize how fortunate we are to continue this tradition. Oh sure, the older we get the more we gripe about "kids today not knowing the true meaning of Independence Day". Well, I'll bet that kids in the Midwest know a whole lot more about the reason for the 4th. of July than kids on either coast do. Our schools do a great job of teaching history here and we need to make sure that they have our support to continue teaching American History the way it really happened. When you hear the words "rich tradition" the celebration of Independence Day should be at the top of the list.
I guess I should begin by saying that I am usually adamantly opposes to tax increases or new taxes. The Transportation Tax proposal, however, is a little different situation. We are going to be forced to find additional revenue to support our current system of roads and bridges, not to mention future improvements. I'd like to share a few thoughts on the proposed Transportation Tax. First, a few irrefutable facts: Missouri has more paved road, (33,000 miles) than Illinois and Kansas combined. A big reason for this is that we made a decision years ago that we would pave all the lettered highways. In most of the states surrounding us the "W" and "AA" roads are gravel. It currently costs $50,000 dollars a mile to provide a 1 1/2 inch overlay of asphalt on existing secondary roads. We have more bridges in our state than all but a few states in the country. At this time, nearly 25% of our bridges are in need of some repair. Interstate 70 HAS to be replaced and its cost is estimated at nearly $3 billion dollars. Interstate 44 is in need of major work and the other 4 lane roads in our state are all showing significant wear. Missouri fuel tax is currently 17 cents per gallon, and our usage is dropping each year as cars and trucks become more fuel-efficient. An estimated 35 cents per gallon increase would be necessary to keep up with rising costs and dropping usage. Federal fuel tax is 18 cents and there is a push to increase it by 12 more cents. Fuel tax can be used ONLY for roads and bridges, no other uses, such as bike paths and walking trails are allowed. Truckers would fuel up before crossing the state line to save money on fuel taxes. Building a new Interstate 70 could be accomplished with a toll, but in order to service a $3 billion dollar debt, the toll would have to be nearly 2 dollars per mile for trucks and that would encourage truckers to use other roads that are not intended for heavy loads. Within a few short years every 4 lane would become a toll road. Without a new revenue source within 3 years, MoDot will not be able to overlay any secondary roads and bridges will have to be closed if they are not on main highways. Mowing and snow removal operations are already being curtailed and many branch locations have been closed.