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Capitol Report, Aug. 18

Posted Thursday, August 18, 2016, at 2:30 PM

The Missouri State Fair is in full swing with all types of activities showcasing the state's number 1 industry, agriculture. Today is the Governor's Ham Breakfast, always a busy meal and a great fundraising time for Future Farmers of America and 4-H club members in Missouri. Also, many politicians descend upon the Fairgrounds as do the news media. There will be many meetings around the grounds and in Sedalia, so keep your eyes and ears open for all the latest political news as the week closes!

As promised over the next few weeks, I will continue to recap the bills vetoed by the governor. These bills are likely to be reheard during the Annual Veto Session on September 14th. This week I have three more bills to summarize.

Bills for Veto Session

--Reducing the Tax Burden on Farmers Recovering from Disaster (SB 641) -- Legislators will consider overriding the governor's veto of SB 641 that was passed by the legislature to allow a 100 percent income tax deduction for the amount of any income received as payment from any program that compensates agricultural producers who have suffered a loss as a result of a disaster or emergency. In effect, it would ensure farmers aren't taxed on any disaster relief assistance they receive. The change is said to be necessary to allow farmers to benefit fully from the financial assistance they receive after an emergency or disaster.

Veto Date: 06/28/16

--Protecting Livestock Owners from Excessive Liability (SB 844) -- Legislators will also consider overriding the governor's veto of SB 844 that was approved to clarify that an animal owner is liable for damages done by the animal to another's property only if the owner has been negligent. Currently, if horses, cattle, or other livestock break through a fence and cause damages to another's property, the owner is strictly liable. Even in cases when the fence is torn down or broken by someone else, the owner of the animals is still liable under current law. The change approved by the General Assembly would relieve the animal owner from liability for damages when the animals were released because of the actions or fault of another.

Veto Date: 06/28/16

--Animal Disease Traceability Program Data (HB 1414) -- Another vetoed bill, HB 1414, exempts data collected by state agencies under the federal Animal Disease Traceability Program from disclosure under Missouri's Sunshine Law. Specifically, the bill specifies that certain information on an agricultural producer or owner of agricultural land in connection with a producer or owner's voluntary participation in a government program that is maintained by the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Natural Resources is not considered a public record and subject to public disclosure. The departments may disclose the information under certain circumstances. The participation of a producer or owner in any program administered by the departments may not be conditioned on the consent of the producer or owner to disclose this information. Certain information relating to animals is not considered a public record and may not be subject to disclosure except under specific circumstances. Any person who knowingly releases such data may be subject to civil action and a court may order appropriate relief including damages up to $10,000 and reasonable attorney's fees.

Veto Date: 07/08/16

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Regarding SB 641 -

Your commentary is somewhat misleading. I believe Nixon vetoed SB 641 because for some reason the legislature decided to make this tax break retroactive back to the 2014 tax year, a year with many disaster payments to farmers.

Did you find money in the budget somewhere to do this as it will be pretty expensive? I see you made no mention of the retroactive aspect of this bill.

I could personally get behind not taxing farm subsidy payments, but the retroactive thing makes this bill a non-starter for a state that is struggling to keep it's budget balanced in the first place.

Regarding SB 844-

Apparently you are not a lawyer, and neither am I, but this would add significant problems for the victim of damage from livestock. It would require the injured party to prove negligence in court, thereby making the injured party jump through hoops that currently do not exist.

Why would you think the owner of an animal is not liable for damage done by that animal? If my dog escapes his pen and kills someone, am I only responsible if the family of the injured party can prove I am negligent?

I suggest anyone interested should read Nixon's veto letter posted here. I would add that as Governor Nixon is an attorney, he would be a good judge of the effects of this legislation. Perhaps you have not read it.


Regarding HB 1414-

It seems you are being misleading with this commentary also. This bill is not limited to Animal Diseases and is so general that it would apply to any and all data on agriculture and conservation practices.

Why in the world would you want to shield the payment of public tax dollars from the public that the money came from in the first place?

Do the citizens not have a right to know where our government is spending our tax dollars?

This bill is obviously designed to keep those mega-farmers who know how to milk the most money from farm programs out of the public eye, where folks would be able to scrutinize the methods and amounts paid out to certain individuals or corporate farms.

What is wrong with open and honest government? I am a farmer and I have no problem what-so-ever with anyone who wishes to see what programs I have enrolled in, any amounts I have been awarded, and what it was spent on.

Soil and Water Conservation programs are a great thing, and I think the public access to the information on who and what the public's tax money is paying for is not a bad thing.

This bill reeks of special interest influence.

-- Posted by Smart Dog on Fri, Aug 19, 2016, at 1:14 PM

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Rep. Dean Dohrman, a Republican, represents Johnson, Pettis, and Saline counties (District 51). He was elected to his first two-year term in November 2012. In addition to his legislative duties, Rep. Dohrman is an online professor. Rep. Dohrman is a member of Warrensburg and Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce, and Sedalia Lions Club. He attends Wesley United Methodist Church. A graduate of LaMonte High, Rep. Dohrman earned his PhD from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2004. Born in Warrensburg, Rep. Dohrman currently lives in LaMonte.
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