This week's highlight of the First Session of the 97th General Assembly takes a detailed look at some legislation that secures our fundamental rights.
Guaranteeing Constitutional Rights:
In the midst of an alarming trend towards gun control at the national level, the Missouri legislature took action to guarantee our citizens' Constitutional right to self-defense.
The most important piece of Second Amendment legislation undertaken this session was the Second Amendment Preservation Act or HB 436. This bill affirms some basic, fundamental rights established in the Constitution it declares that while some states may unconditionally submit to Washington, the state of Missouri and the people of Missouri reserve many powers. These include the right to bear arms in defense of one's life, home, and family. Because the Constitution does not grant the federal government the power to infringe on the people's right to self-defense. Any attempt by the federal government to usurp this power will be invalid in this state.
Another piece of Second Amendment legislation, HB 533 (Riddle, R-49) allows all public employees to keep a firearm in their vehicle during work hours. This act ensures that public employees can exercise their right to self-defense should they find themselves in a dangerous situation traveling to or from work.
Following the admission of Governor Jay Nixon's office that his officials at the Department of Revenue had sent data on concealed carry holders to Obama officials in the federal government, the Missouri House and Senate passed SB 75. The bill gives each Sheriff in every county the duty to handle conceal and carry (CCW) permits. SB 75 strikes a good balance in both reforming and respecting the current protections that the current process helped ensure. This is why the $100 application fee will remain the same, and permits will be good for five years. To enhance current safeguards, SB 75 also adds an additional background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is seen as the most comprehensive background check available. If signed by Governor Jay Nixon, the duty of issuing concealed carry permits will be transferred to each individual Sheriff department by December 31st. The Department of Revenue will begin the transition process on August 28th to ensure a seamless transition.
Agriculture is foundation of our state's economy. This session we took several measures to empower our family farms and to continue growing Missouri as a hub of agricultural innovation.
One major piece of agricultural legislation is HJR 11 and 7, or the Right to Farm. This resolution forever guarantees the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices. There are organizations whose mission is to destroy agriculture in this state and every other. These groups would put in place environmental regulations and restrictions on the treatment of animals that would amount to a death sentence for Missouri's top industry. The Right to Farm bill would protect farmers -- and every consumer of agricultural products -- from undue burdens. Because this is a constitution change, the proposal will be on the ballot for the next state general election (November 2014). The legislative language reads:
"Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?"
Another measure, SB 16, secures the right of minors to work on family farms. These family enterprises could not survive without the family working together. Furthermore, taking an active role in keeping the family business alive teaches children responsibility and gives them a head start in entering the job market. Governor Nixon has already signed SB 16 into law.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working me to make Missouri a great place to live.
Serving the Constituents of the 51st District,
State Representative Dean Dohrman.