August 5th is the primary election. There are also several amendments for the Missouri Constitution, and this last report before we make a decision will be dedicated to exploring these measures. I hope these short summaries help to clarify the issues.
August 5th Amendments
Amendment 1, Right to Farm -- If you support Missouri agriculture and our ability to feed the world, vote YES on Amendment 1. There are no tricks in the language. It allows farmers to continue farming without fear of outside forces who do not understand farming to place ridiculous rules on agriculture that prevents farmers from feeding people (and that's really the bottom line). Finally, there is nothing in the amendment that allows corporations or foreign entities to take over agriculture. Here is the ballot language you will see on August 5th:
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?
The Humane Society of the United States, HSUS, opposes this measure. I co-sponsored this bill because it provides protection for Missouri farmers and strengthens their private property rights.
Amendment 5, Gun Rights - Amendment 5 reinforces the personal right to bear arms. It also clears up some language concerning your right to carry a concealed weapon. Here is the ballot language:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a declaration that the right to bear arms is a unalienable right and that the state government is obliged to uphold that right?
If you support the individual right to bear arms, vote YES. If you do not believe that gun control laws can get out of hand, please read what happened in Jackson County during the last year: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article816187.html . Fortunately, the voter outcry resulted in a repeal of the hunting ban by the Jackson County Legislature, but what if they had not? There would have been little legal recourse for the citizens of rural Jackson County.
Amendment 7, Road Sales Tax -- This is an important decision for Missouri voters, and a proposal with many safeguards for the taxpayers of Missouri. The sales tax revenue is dedicated to road improvements. The tax is limited to 10 years. The tax revenue will be shared between the Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and local entities. Finally, MoDOT is required to give Missourians a list of projects for the new revenue and to accomplish those tasks as designed.
The specifics of this proposal include: 1) the sales tax will freeze the Missouri gas tax for the 10 year period it is in effect; 2) this tax will not be applied to medicine, groceries, or gasoline; 3) none of this money can be diverted to non-transportation projects; 4) 10 percent of the money will be shared with local entities; 5) All projects, state and local, require plans that include citizen input.
Overall, the referendum will provide $5.4 billion in new revenue for road improvements. For District 51 these improvements will include passing lanes for Highway 13 north of Warrensburg to I-70, improvements to the 765 (north Ohio Street) and 65 intersection, and the expansion of I-70 to six lanes across the state from Kansas City to St. Louis. This encompasses all of Saline County and will obviously impact Johnson and Pettis Counties with more traffic options.
Currently, citizen review and comments are being offered by MoDOT. You may find the plan, entitled Moving Forward, at: http://www.modot.org/MovingForward/index.htm .
Please take time to review this plan, its impact on our district and local communities, ask further questions of me or others if you have them, and make an informed decision on August 5.
Amendment 8, Veterans Lottery Ticket -- This amendment provides the net proceeds of dedicated ticket sales to be allocated to the Missouri Veterans Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund. I co-sponsored this bill to provide funding for veteran services that will actually be used for veterans and not diverted to other areas of government.
Constitutional Amendment 9, Right to Privacy -- This amendment updates the right to privacy as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution under the 4th Amendment and in the Missouri Constitution. Electronic transmissions and records are a relatively new area of law, and this amendment extends the protection of unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause by the government to electronic communication and data just as you have with your person, home, papers, and effects.
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 and Missouri. 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 with me to make Missouri a great place to live.