The big news splash last week was SJR39 failing to make it out of committee. This bill originated in the Senate early in the session and caused a 39-hour filibuster, which ended in a little used procedure forcing a bill to come to a vote. I was one of 12 members on the Emerging Issues Committee that heard the bill two weeks ago in a 5-hour marathon that didn’t end until 2:00 A.M. At the end of the hearing we thought we were probably one vote short of having the 7 needed to pass it on and after an intense 10 days of lobbying, we ended up with a 6-6 tie. The bill was titled Religious Freedom and would have prevented the State from penalizing a person for refusing to participate in a same sex wedding. I voted to pass the bill out of committee because I felt that we should have sent the bill forward for floor debate and eventually put it on the ballot for the voters of Missouri to decide. The sponsors have assured us that they will bring the bill back next session with improvements to make it more acceptable. We’ll have to wait and see.
With only 2 weeks left before adjournment, we still have some important bills left unresolved. One of them is Photo ID. It was filibustered in the Senate and set aside for consideration this week. We also have to decide on the fuel tax increase and the override attempt on the Paycheck Protection measure. We have some long days ahead of us for sure.
I was the speaker at the Crowder Ag Banquet Thursday evening. I gave the students a little lesson on the history of food production. I pointed out that at the end of World War2, there were only 150 million people in this country compared to over 312 million today. The world population was 2 ½ billion compared to 7 ½ billion today. Beef numbers were at 17 million and today, 38 million, and poultry was nearly nothing compared to over 9 billion chickens being processed last year. To accomplish this, we use fertilizer, pesticides, insecticides, antibiotics and genetic modifications. In the next 50 years world food needs will double from today’s levels. I told them they had a big job to do to meet those needs while dealing with the Government mandated reductions in the use of all the minerals and chemicals that allowed us to keep up with the growth since the 50’s.
Friday morning we met with the Crowder Board and were given a presentation lining out their needs for next session. They are doing an amazing job of educating while keeping the costs low enough to be affordable. They are emphasizing vocational training and have a high school dual credit program that allows high school students to graduate with their high school degree and a two-year college degree simultaneously! Our hat’s off to the Administration and faculty for an outstanding job!