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Looking at key legislation

This week we continued to make great progress on common sense reforms for Missouri, some of the key proposals were:

HJR 5 – Constitutional Right to Hunt and Fish

The past several years have not been friendly to gamesman in our state. Federally, President Obama is talking about gun control, and nationwide, the price of guns and ammunition continue to sky-rocket in response.

Worse, groups like the Humane Society have stated that they want to end all sport hunting in the country:

“If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.”  – Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, Associated Press

We are already battling what they have done in Proposition B, but it was just a test-case. HSUS often times follows up an initial effort with a broader more reaching effort to curtail hunting and fishing.

In other states it may start with an obscure style of hunting or fishing or a rare animal, but vague language and high priced attorneys then fight to expand or uphold what was already passed.

The constitutional amendment we passed makes it harder for liberal outside groups to tell us how we should appreciate our land, property, and heritage. Conservation and appreciation of the outdoors have been a hallmark in Missouri’s history with huge numbers of hunting and fishing advocates and we want to keep it that way.

HB 708 – American Law in American Courts

Unless you’re a lawyer, going to court is often bad. You may be getting sued, or suing someone or something terrible has happened and you face being fined or imprisoned. It’s a confusing and stressful time – under American laws.

Now imagine you go to court, and instead of using American law, the judge decides that he’s going to try your case under New Zealand law, or Brazilian law, or even a religious law.

Good luck. It’s hard enough for the average citizen to figure out what’s going on under American laws. Worse – courts across the country have begun to use these foreign laws in their cases, and if we don’t do something, this might become the norm instead of an exception.

That’s why we passed HB 708 – a measure to make sure that Missouri courts use Missouri and American law when they decide cases. They can still look at foreign laws that are the same as ours, but they can’t use a different remedy or outcome than would happen under our law.

It just makes sense. In a Missouri law, you should be subject to the laws of Missouri and of the United States. New Zealand, Brazilian, or Sharia law has no place here unless it’s the same as ours.

HB 661 – Debt Adjusters

With the economy as bad as it is right now, you have probably seen a lot of ads on TV promising to help people get out of debt. Sometimes these “debt” adjusters actually provide useful services, and help people lower what they owe. Unfortunately, sometimes these adjusters take advantage of people.

This bill helps formalize the process by which these companies operate. For example, right now, these companies might be able to start charging people for lowering their debts before they complete any service.

This bill makes it clear that debt relief agencies cannot charge people without lowering the debt they owe. It also makes it clear that they can’t charge people without explaining to them how they will repay their debts, and how long it will take.

We want to encourage debt repayment – it’s better than bankruptcy. That’s why creditors will often work with debt relief agencies; they know that if the person goes bankrupt, they will probably get nothing.

Unfortunately, some bad apples have been exploiting people who don’t know how or aren’t willing to declare bankruptcy by charging them a lot of money without giving them a repayment plan or reducing the amount of money they owe.

This bill makes it a crime to take advantage of people in hard times without lowering their debt or helping them create a repayment plan. We want it to be easier for people to repay their debts without going bankrupt, not harder.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve here in the House of Representatives.

This report is filed at the end of each week during the legislative session. This report was filed at the close of business last week.

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