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Sending money back where it came from

Holly Rehder

Sending money back where it came from

Submitted by Holly Rehder

Most of us are taught from an early age that when you contribute more while work takes place, you receive more of the gains.

I bring this up because this is the basis of what brought me to file Senate Bill 481, which ultimately passed through the General Assembly as part of Senate Bill 109. This bill makes sure that the bulk of royalty money from mining companies that makes its way to the state government will be distributed to the counties where a majority of the mining is taking place.

It shocks most people to find out that approximately 98% of the lead mined in the United States comes from Iron and Reynolds Counties, which sit in the heart of the “Lead Belt.” I am extremely proud to represent these counties in the Senate and of this massive contribution to the state, national and worldwide economies. It is also important to note, however, that supporting such a massive industry can put a strain on local infrastructure.

That is why I was shocked to find out that while these two counties export nearly all of the lead that comes from the state, they receive just a sliver of the royalties that those mines pay.

Every mining company pays royalties to the federal government for use of the land. Seventy-five percent of that money goes to the federal government, while 25% is passed along to the state where the mining took place. Because there was no statute to guide how that money is specifically distributed, Missouri has simply distributed that 25% equally to the 29 counties that have national forest land. That means, of the approximately $2 million that Missouri received in mining royalties in 2022, around $69,000 is all that went to both Iron and Reynolds Counties. 

In my opinion, it is not only fair for more of this money to go back into the counties where this work is taking place, but it also makes much more sense from an economic standpoint. All the trucks and equipment that come to and from these mines do a number on the state-maintained roads in these regions. Using this money to keep the roads usable and in good condition is an investment in the future success of the mines themselves. These are also very rural communities and any little bit of additional financial help that could go towards local schools makes a huge difference for our future generations.

The new law creates, in my mind, a much more fair distribution. It specifies that 85% of total royalty revenue will now be given to counties where mining takes place, in proportion to the amount of minerals extracted. The remaining 15% will be distributed equally to other counties that have national forest land.

The law also stipulates that the funds provided to counties be divided equally between public schools and road improvements and maintenance.

Senate Bill 109, which was amended to include the same provisions as my SB 481, has been signed by the governor and is set to become law. This is the kind of legislation that makes a real and direct impact for people in Missouri. I look forward to seeing this money make a difference for these communities.

Contact Me

I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at 573-751-2459. You may write me at Holly Rehder, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Rm 433, Jefferson City, MO 65101, send an email to or visit

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