(Brownfield Ag News contributed to this story)
Missouri’s governor traveled to Sedalia this weekend for a ceremonial signing of legislation that supporters say will benefit agriculture.
About 700 people attended Saturday evening’s Missouri Cattlemen’s steak dinner at the state fairgrounds in Sedalia.
Governor Mike Parson (R) held a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 391, which prevents counties from imposing regulations on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that are stricter than state regulations. House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, R-O’Fallon, and State Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, were among the many lawmakers at Saturday’s event.
Governor Parson praises lawmakers for approving the bill, saying it signals that Missouri supports the next generation of agriculture.
“We’ve now opened the doors that will allow Missouri to lead the way in meeting a growing world food demand and ensure we keep more agriculture production in our state, strengthening Missouri’s number one industry,” Parson says.
The governor notes Missouri agriculture is an $88 billion industry, and remains the state’s top economic driver.
Critics of the legislation say this will prevent counties from protecting water and air.
The Missouri Rural Crisis Center’s Tim Gibbons spoke to our sister network Brownfield in May, saying lawmakers should be standing up for Missouri’s 100,000 family farms, not the approximately 500 concentrated animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs.
“We know that DNR (the state Department of Natural Resources) cannot and will not protect us from these absentee controlled operations,” Gibbons told Brownfield in May. “So local control is one way that farmers and people in rural counties have been able to put safeguards on these type of operations to protect the property rights, the property values, the water and air, the livability of our communities from industrial livestock operations.”
State Rep. Doug Clemens, D-St. Ann, who voted against the bill, told lawmakers in May that the CAFO operations are managed by owners who aren’t from the area.
“This isn’t about our family farms,” Representative Clemens said during House floor debate in May. “This is about corporate controlled industry, half of which is foreign-owned.”
The bill sponsors see it differently. State Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, and State Rep. Mike Haffner, R-Pleasant Hill, say it’s important to have a statewide policy, instead of various different restrictions at the county level.
The Missouri Corn Growers Association also praises the bill, saying it will bring positive market growth in Missouri for years to come. The Missouri Farm Bureau also backs the measure, and Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst attended Saturday’s bill-signing.
Under current Missouri law, the notice of intent to file an application for an operating permit for a new or expanded facility is sent to property owners within 1.5 times the buffer distances for CAFOs. The new law requires that the notice be given to property owners located within three times of the buffer distances, and the notices must now be sent by certified mail.
SB 391 also establishes the Joint Committee on Agriculture, which will study the economic impact of Missouri’s agricultural industry and will study ways to create incentives to encourage farmers to adopt best practices to scientifically address the state’s carbon footprint.
The new law is scheduled to take effect on August 28.
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President Trump has announced an agreement with Mexico that reportedly takes on Mexico’s immigration problems. The undisclosed deal dodges tariffs the president threatened to put on goods coming from Mexico. On Sunday’s Face the Nation show, Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt said the agreement is a big win for both countries – not just America.
Listen to the full interview:
The U.S. Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers have closed the Missouri River to all boat and barge traffic indefinitely from St. Louis to north of Sioux City, Iowa.
Officials say vessel traffic may damage levees, or cause river water to flow over the top of levees. Drifting objects in the high water are also a hazard to boats.
The closure is expected to last for weeks. A higher volume of water is being released in the river from the Gavin’s Point Dam in South Dakota through at least the end of June.
Earlier this week, flooding problems led the U.S. Coast Guard to close barge and boat traffic from St. Louis to Kansas City.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)
Governor Mike Parson has requested joint preliminary damage assessments with federal, state and local officials for recent flooding, severe storms and tornadoes. Assessments are expected to begin on June 12 across 56 Missouri counties – nearly half of the state’s counties. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Small Business Administration, State Emergency Management Agency, and local emergency management officials will survey damage that began with severe storms on April 29.
“Since March, nearly every corner of the state has been impacted by historic flooding, destructive tornadoes, and severe storms,” Parson said in a press release. “We’ve closed more than 380 roads, halted barge loading on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, shut down several railroad lines, and hundreds of families have been displaced from their homes – all because Mother Nature has refused to let up this spring. These critical issues place significant strain on our communities, farms, and businesses. We must take quick action to coordinate local, state, and federal resources to ensure Missourians have the tools to recover and rebuild as quickly as possible.”
The governor said assessments for individual assistance, which provides assistance to homeowners and renters who’ve experienced qualifying losses, will be prioritized over public assistance, which assists governments and eligible nonprofit organizations.
Joint damage assessments were requested late Wednesday for the following counties:
Individual assistance: Andrew, Atchison, Barry, Barton, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Dallas, Greene, Grundy, Hickory, Holt, Jackson, Lawrence, Lewis, Pike, Polk, Saline, St. Charles, Stone, Taney, and Webster counties.
Public assistance: Adair, Barry, Barton, Caldwell, Camden, Cedar, Chariton, Clark, Cole, Dade, Dallas, Dunklin, Gentry, Grundy, Hickory, Jasper, Knox, Laclede, Lewis, Lincoln, Linn, Macon, Marion, Mercer, Miller, Monroe, New Madrid, Nodaway, Ozark, Pulaski, Putnam, Ralls, St. Charles, St. Clair, Schuyler, Scotland, Shannon, Shelby, Stoddard, Sullivan, Taney, and Wright counties.
The teams will jointly document damage to determine the resources needed to help recover from a disaster. The assessments do not include every affected home or business, but those who have experienced flood- and storm-related damage should report it to their local emergency manager. Additional counties are expected to be added to the request for joint assessments as they collect more information about damage locally.
National Flood Insurance Program figures show that from March 1, 2019, through Monday, more than 600 claims have been filed in Missouri for flooding losses. More than $9 million has been paid to 213 property owners. According to Parson’s office, the figure is expected to rise significantly as additional claims are resolved and additional claims are filed.
Individuals with unmet needs and those who would like to assist should contact United Way 211. Call 2-1-1 for assistance or contact 211 online at http://211helps.org.
On May 20, President Trump approved Parson’s request for a major disaster declaration to help local governments and nonprofit agencies in Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Holt, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Platte, Ray, and Ste. Genevieve counties recover from flooding and severe storms that occurred from March 11 to April 16.
The declaration made federal assistance available for the repair of damaged roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure, along with emergency response costs associated with the storms and flooding. The governor’s April 24 request stated $25 million in qualifying expenses had already been identified.
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(news director John Marsh at Jefferson City affiliate KWOS Radio contributed to this story)
The Riley Toyota and Riley Chevrolet dealerships in Jefferson City remain closed until further notice, due to the recent EF-3 tornado.
Owner Kevin Riley tells Missourinet Jefferson City affiliate KWOS (AM 950) that the tornado damaged or destroyed about 800 of the dealerships’ cars and trucks.
“We will become operational, our sales will become operational soon,” Riley tells KWOS. “We are looking at different parts of the city, we are looking at staying there. We’re just trying to put the pieces to the pie together.”
KWOS notes Riley Auto Group has been a fixture in the Capital City since the 1930s.
Mr. Riley hopes to have the Toyota dealership back to normal operation in six months or less. He says the Riley Chevrolet Buick GMC dealership will likely take longer, because the tornado destroyed their service center.
“The GM store, man, it (the May 22 tornado) just took it all,” says Riley.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in St. Louis says the tornado’s estimated peak wind was 160 miles per hour.
The Riley Family has posted a message on its website, saying they “are thankful for no loss of life in Jefferson City.” The message also says they intend to repair and rebuild, and that they are strengthened by the community’s support.
The same tornado that impacted the Riley dealerships also struck the nearby Special Olympics Training for Life campus, blowing off part of the roof and blowing out numerous windows. The track was also damaged.
Special Olympics has suspended all building operations, because of the damage.
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(Reporter Bailey Strohl at Missourinet Springfield affiliate KSGF Radio contributed to this story)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- A congressman who represents southwest Missouri on Capitol Hill says a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) is needed in the Show-Me State. U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield, discussed the nation’s opioid crisis during a roundtable discussion this morning at Springfield’s Cox Medical Center South.
“No one doesn’t know someone that’s affected by it. I mean, it’s a scourge,” Long tells roundtable participants. “And so, that’s why we try and have get-togethers like this and find out what works and what doesn’t work.”
Congressman Long says the opioid crisis is killing people across the nation everyday.
“It’s killing 130 people a day in this country, I mean when I was growing up here in Springfield I never went home and my folks said so-and-so’s kid down the block died today,” says Long.
Cox officials are touting their new program that gives assistance and treatment to addicts who want to get clean. Cox officials also emphasize the need for a supervised short stay center to free up emergency rooms.
Congressman Long met with health care professionals today, including nurses. He toured Cox South’s neonatal intensive care unit to see how CoxHealth is treating babies who have a condition called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a condition caused by mothers who are addicted to opioids while pregnant.
“It is truly devastating to see the impact opioid addiction is having in our community. Touring the neonatal intensive care unit and seeing babies affected by opioid addiction is heart-wrenching,” Long says.
Congressman Long notes that President Donald Trump has signed legislation into law called the SUPPORT the Patients and Communities Act, which establishes grants to combat the opioid epidemic.
He says CoxHealth has been awarded a $790,000 federal grant to expand rural telemedicine services such as substance abuse counseling and mental health treatment.
Cox South is located on what’s known as Springfield’s “Medical Mile.”
Long supports a statewide PDMP, which is an electronic database that collects data on controlled substance prescriptions within a state. Long notes 49 other states have it, and that Missouri is the only state in the nation without a PDMP.
“It’s an anomaly that we don’t have it,” says Long.
The Missouri House approved PDMP during the 2019 session, but the measure died in the Senate due to opposition from the Senate Conservative Caucus.
PDMP sponsor State Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Scott City, tells Missourinet she intends to file the legislation again in January.
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Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has denied two referendum petitions today aimed at blocking sweeping anti-abortion legislation from becoming law. Ashcroft says the efforts are unconstitutional because part of the bill – about parental notification when a minor wants an abortion – has already become law.
“Under Supreme Court precedent, which I have to follow, it said very clearly that the referendum is not to be made to take out of action a law that has already been enacted,” Ashcroft says at a press conference in Jefferson City. “We have to follow the courts. We are a nation and a state of laws and not of men. If I make people unhappy because I do what the law says, that’s what is going to happen.”
One of the referendums was spearheaded by Republican megadonor David Humphreys, who urged the governor to veto the bill. In an email to the Kansas City Star, the Joplin businessman said he’s opposed to abortion but he supports a woman’s right to choose, particularly in rape or incest cases.
“We wanted to be very clear and very careful that we didn’t do anything that would lead to any sort of thought that it was a political decision,” says Ashcroft. “Regardless, if you say the sky is blue and the grass is green, someone will say it’s political.”
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, says nearly a century ago, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled the Legislature cannot block a bill from a referendum petition by tacking on a clause enacting the law immediately after the governor’s signature.
“Today’s refusal by Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to do his job further demonstrates the disregard Republican elected officials have for the constitutional rights of Missourians. First, the governor signs a law to force people to remain pregnant against their will, even in cases of rape and incest. Now, the secretary of state is blocking Missouri voters from the opportunity to reject this harmful and unconstitutional law,” Quade says in a press release.
The ACLU calls Ashcroft’s move predictable and says it is assembling a lawsuit. Whether the case will be resolved by the time the rest of the law takes effect at the end of August is unclear.
The wide-ranging measure bans doctors from doing abortions on women if a fetal heartbeat is heard. Physicians who violate the law face five to fifteen years in prison. It would also forbid doctors from doing abortions if the baby would have Down syndrome or for sex or race-selective abortions. Under the bill, abortions would be allowed for medical emergencies but not rape or incest.
A third referendum in response to the anti-abortion bill is under review by Ashcroft’s office. Ashcroft, a Republican, hopes to complete that process in about one week.
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