Last weekend I attended Lincoln Days in Iron County and Washington County where we were privileged to have Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, and Congressman Jason Smith as guest speakers. We are fortunate to have so many executive branch officials attend our local area events. I also was very honored to attend the POW/MIA ceremony in Piedmont. Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe also attended this event. A special thanks to Philip Baker and the American Legion Post for their work in assisting me to make Piedmont a POW/MIA City. The city of Greenville and Wayne County also received the Pow/MIA designation.
As session begins to wind down, things are becoming extremely busy. Last Monday I had six bills being heard or voted out in committees, that made for an exceptionally busy day! We had several individuals up from the district to testify and support these bills. Attending the hearings were Brad Parker (Parker Wild Hog Hunts), James Watts (Lesterville Superintendent), Brian & Nadia Parker (Iron County PA), Jim Scaggs (Iron Co PC), Lance Mayfield, Kent Sherrow (Iron Co C4 Superintendent), Carol Hardy (Iron Co Treasurer), Stephanie Lebron (Iron Co Clerk), and Dave Huff (Iron County Assessor). ). Nadia is a young elementary student who did an outstanding job presenting her testimony in support of HB 460 and SB 202. I am very proud of this young lady.
Protecting Land Owners from Eminent Domain Abuse (HB 1062)
As hundreds of concerned land owners gathered in the State Capitol this week to rally in support of their property rights, the Missouri House of Representatives took action to prevent the misuse of the state’s eminent domain law. House members approved a bill that would specify that a private entity cannot use the power of eminent domain for the purposes of constructing above-ground power lines.
The bill comes in response to the proposed Grain Belt Express transmission line that would carry power generated by wind turbines in Kansas across Missouri to other states in the Midwest and neighboring states. The 750-mile line would run across eight northern Missouri counties - Buchanan, Clinton, Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Randolph, Monroe and Ralls – and would deliver a portion of the power it transmits to utilities and customers in Missouri.
In March the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a request made by Grain Belt Express to construct the high-voltage transmission line. As a result of the decision made by the PSC, developers would have the authority to utilize the power of eminent domain to obtain easement rights from landowners who are unwilling to sell.
The legislation approved by the House would prevent the use of eminent domain for the purpose of constructing the Grain Belt Express transmission line. This bill is important to prohibit private companies from using eminent domain to maximize their profits for a project that will provide little benefit for Missouri consumers. Less than 12 percent of the electricity carried by the transmission line would be sold to Missouri consumers. The issue here is this is a private company wanting to use private property for private profit.
Improving the License Renewal Process (HB 679)
Members of the Missouri House have approved legislation that would make it easier for residents to renew a driver’s license or a motor vehicle license. The legislation also would allow drivers to obtain a secure digital driver’s license in addition to the physical card-based license.
The bill would authorize the Missouri Department of Revenue to design and implement a remote driver's license renewal system that would be accessed through the department's Internet website, or through self-service kiosks that would be available at one or more locations within the state. Missourians would also be able to use the kiosks to renew their motor vehicle license just as they currently can through the department’s website. This option would be available to residents who live in a county where property tax records are kept online.
The plan would be to roll out a handful of kiosks in select locations initially as a pilot project. If the kiosks prove successful and cost efficient, they would then be made available in more fee offices throughout the state. The expansion of the self-service kiosks would be subject to appropriation. The change would help streamline services offered by the department and allow consumers to use the kiosks so they can get renewals completed faster.
Under the bill, a Missourian who opts to renew a driver’s license remotely would be exempted from vision and road sign tests. Applicants who have applied in-person and received a driver’s license would be able to remotely apply for one three-year or one six-year renewal. The bill would require the department to have a remote renewal system in place by January 1, 2021.
The bill also authorizes the department to design a secure digital driver's license program that allows applicants to obtain a digital version of their license in addition to the physical card-based driver's license. The bill will give Missourians the option to have an electronic license on their phone or mobile device that works in the same way as their current license for all applications. Users would pay an additional fee to obtain the electronic version.
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.