Chris Dinkins

Chris Dinkins

This week I traveled to Ellington to meet with the Reynolds County Retired Teachers at their regular monthly meeting.

I gave them a legislative update and answered questions regarding past and upcoming legislation. This month they met at the Ellington Senior Center so I got to have a wonderful meatloaf lunch before the meeting. If you have not stopped in to eat you do not know what you are missing. We appreciate the wonderful service Paula provides at the center.

I really enjoy stopping in and visiting with everyone. And while I’m there they usually give me a couple of constituent issues to work on and they didn’t fail me this time either. One I followed back up with the next morning and the other is a little tougher issue that I am still working on.

I also traveled to Patterson to the Wayne County Annual Farm Bureau meeting. Farm Bureau never disappoints you with a good meal. I provided them with a brief legislative update and also won three silent auction items! Farm Bureau is very active in State Government so it is very important for individuals on the local level to express their views and concerns to the local group.

Legislation to protect, promote state agriculture now in effect (SB 391)

A law passed by the General Assembly to protect the state’s top industry is now in full effect. The implementation of the law had been delayed by a temporary restraining order, but a judge has now set the order aside.

The bill was passed during the 2019 regular session to provide consistency in the way farm operations across the state are regulated. It was meant to address a problem in state law that resulted in inconsistent regulations placed on farms throughout the state by county commissions and health boards. The new law will not block county ordinances or restrict local control. Instead it will ensure regulations on concentrated animal feeding operations are consistent and not more stringent than state laws.

While the legislature approved the bill and the governor signed it into law, two counties filed a lawsuit in August to prevent the bill from going into effect. A judge then issued the temporary restraining order to put the bill on hold. The judge’s most recent decision to lift the restraining order will allow the law to now go into effect, but the lawsuit will continue.

In response to the lawsuit, the Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Pork Association, Missouri Soybean Association and Missouri Corn Growers Association issued a joint statement saying, “The legal system is being misused by those determined to stifle Missouri farm and ranch families from opportunities to grow and keep future generations on the farm.

This frivolous lawsuit is a last-minute, desperate attempt designed to disrupt Missouri agriculture. Family farmers and ranchers operate on a handshake, not a court order. But make no mistake; we will use every tool available to protect them from this small band of naysayers hell bent on overturning the work of the Missouri legislature.”

The next scheduled court hearing for the lawsuit is in December.

Bill to Ease Vehicle Inspection Requirements Signed into Law (SB 89)

Missourians who renew the license plates on their vehicle after August 28 may not have to get it inspected, under a bill signed into law in July. The legislation will extend from five to 10 years the age of a vehicle before it must be inspected every two years, as long as it has fewer than 150,000 miles on it.

That sponsor of the provision had discussed vehicle inspections with a former representative who wanted to eliminate them altogether. The sponsor initially thought that would go too far, but after doing some research, he felt that there was little connection between requiring regular inspections and ensuring that vehicles on the roads are safe.

Thirty-Five states no longer make their citizens get their cars inspected at all, including all of the states that touch Missouri, and I was very surprised to learn that. So that gave us the data we needed to dig in to compare the states that do have inspection programs to the states that don’t to see if there really is any safety correlation or not and I was very surprised to learn there really doesn’t seem to be much of a correlation.

The change in law will apply to roughly half of the vehicles that currently would have to be inspected and a third of the total number of vehicles on the road today.

Cars have definitely improved in their safety features and their longevity since the days when the inspection program came about. The program started with, actually, a federal mandate back in the ‘60s, but in the 1970s the federal government backed off of that and said they would leave it up to the states, and one-by-one from the ‘70s up until just a couple of years ago 35 states have gotten rid of their program altogether.

The bill also includes a provision that requires the revocation of the driver’s license of a person who hits a highway worker or emergency responder in a work or emergency zone; and a provision that requires that all homemade trailers be inspected.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you might have. As your Representative, I am here to assist you however I can. I can be reached by email at Chris.Dinkins@house.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-2112.

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