Greetings Friends of the 144!
I hope everyone had a wonderful week! I was very busy traveling the district on an agriculture tour with Congressman Smith. We had the opportunity to visit a diverse group of agribusinesses in our district.
In Washington County, we toured Edg-Clif Vineyard and Winery. The family history there and the old homestead were absolutely amazing! We even got to pick a few grapes off the vines to sample.
In Iron County, we visited the Stark Farm in Ironton. They talked about the struggles they have faced over the years with farming and the concerns they currently face. One big obstacle they now face is the ability to find affordable insurance at their age. This is a growing concern among many, not just our seniors.
I was amazed at what was going on at Front Street Farms in Piedmont. If you have not stopped by to check out this business you need to do so. I had no idea so much was happening in that backyard. They use organic methods to grow quality produce. I can’t wait to try my lettuce mix in a salad!
After leaving Wayne County we made our way to Reynolds County to tour Roberts Pallet Mill. There is a lot more going on there than just pallets! Roberts’ mill is a family owned and operated mill that has continued to grow over the years. After touring the mill they took us to piece of their property where they discussed timber management and how they manage their own timber.
It was wonderful to have the Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe stay overnight in Reynolds County this week. It’s not often that a state wide official not only comes to our rural area but stays the night. The Lt. Governor hosted a meet and greet at Twin Rivers Landing in Lesterville where constituents from throughout the district came by to visit with him.
Many topics that are important to these individuals were discussed including: feral hogs (which happens to be a topic no matter where I go), veterans issues, property tax freeze for senior citizens, county reimbursement for prisoners, education funding, cell service, and tourism. It was a good thing the Lt. Governor was planning on staying the night because the discussions lingered on for quite awhile!
Numerous Bills Became Law on August 28
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Much of the work done by the Missouri House and Senate from January to May finally became law as many of the bills approved by the legislature and signed by the governor officially took effect on Aug. 28. It was during the 2019 legislative session that the House and Senate combined to send 92 pieces of legislation across the finish line.
Of the bills sent to the governor, 46 originated in the Senate and 29 started in the House, with an additional 17 appropriations bills originally filed in the House as well. The governor went on to sign the bulk of the bills into law, but did veto two bills from the House, as well as four from the Senate.
As of Aug. 28, many of the bills signed by the governor now have the force of law. One important piece of legislation that is now law creates economic incentives meant to create and retain jobs, and implements a workforce development program to train Missourians to fill jobs in areas of high need. Other bills going into effect will protect some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, make substantive reforms to Missouri’s criminal justice system, and improve the state’s legal climate.
Parts of Pro-Life Legislation On Hold with Fed Court Ruling
During the 2019 legislative session, lawmakers approved the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, which is one of the strongest pro-life bills in the nation. While part of the bill is now law as of Aug. 28, a federal judge has temporarily blocked the provision that bans abortions at eight weeks or after.
The ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU that challenged the law’s constitutionality. In making his ruling, the federal judge wrote, “the legislation on its face conflicts with the Supreme Court ruling that neither legislative or judicial limits on abortion can be measured by specified weeks or development of a fetus; instead, 'viability' is the sole test for a state's authority to prohibit abortions where there is no maternal health issue.”
The judge did allow a portion of the bill to stand that bans abortions based solely on race, sex or a diagnosis indicating the potential of Down Syndrome. The new law also requires referrals for out-of-state abortions to include the same informed consent materials that are required for an abortion performed in Missouri. Additionally, the new law will modify the definition for pregnancy resource centers with the goal of increasing access and safety for women.
The judge’s ruling can be appealed and the attorney general’s office is currently reviewing the judge’s decision in order to determine what steps to take next.
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.