Greetings Friends of the 144th Legislative District!
What a busy, busy week this has been for me at the Capitol! I had 4 of my bills being heard in different committees which has kept me extremely busy preparing and presenting. House Bill 1292 has seemed to get the most attention from folks in our area. Several individuals from our district traveled to Jefferson City to testify in support of this piece of legislation.
This piece of legislation was drafted to make sure our private property owners continue to have the right to protect their own property. The bill states that landowners and landowner agents may use night vision and thermal imagery to shoot feral hogs on private property. Missouri Department of Conservation has a new regulation set to go into effect at the end of the month which would require a landowner to seek permission from the local agent. The local agent would make a site visit, assess the damage and make a recommendation. If justifiable, the agent will give written permission to the landowner to use a certain method over a certain number of days. When feral hogs show up on your property you should not have to seek permission from Missouri Department of Conservation to protect your property. We need to be killing each and every one of these hogs on site by whatever means necessary.
The Department of Conservation also testified regarding my bill. They are concerned about people using these methods to poach deer. There are bad apples no matter what the issue is and I do not think we should tie the hands of our law-abiding citizens because someone might poach a deer in the process. Right now, the feral hog problem is much, much larger than our poaching problem. The Missouri Cattleman’s Association along with Farm Bureau also testified in support of this piece of legislation. No one testified in opposition.
The Department of Conservation contacted me wanting to compromise with me regarding the language in my bill. I have suggested to them that they just change their regulation before it goes into effect after all, all our private property owners want to do is to protect what is already theirs.
Cutting Bureaucratic Red Tape (HBs 1511 & 1452 and HB 2046)
This week the members of the Missouri House gave their approval to two pieces of legislation that are meant to eliminate burdensome regulations that may prevent licensed professionals from other states from seeking employment in Missouri. The bills would establish a system of reciprocity that would recognize occupational licenses granted in other states.
HBs 1511 & 1452 focus on easing the burden for military spouses, who face considerable challenges when they move with their active duty partner. Due to state variance in licensing criteria such as education and training, spouses with occupational licenses struggle to practice their profession in states where they are not residents. Approximately 35 percent of military spouses work in a field that requires a license. The bill approved by the House would remove the barriers that impede military spouse licensure and allow them to practice their occupation as long as they hold a valid current license issued by another state or territory of the United States.
We do not do enough for our military and veterans. Passing this bill says to military spouses, we understand your dedication, your service and your sacrifice. We say we welcome you to Missouri and that, even if you’re stationed here only for a short time, we hope that you will call this home.
The House also approved a broader ranging bill, HB 2046, that would allow for reciprocity for all individuals with a professional license from another state. The bill would require individuals to have a license for at least one year from another state before being eligible for reciprocity. It would also require the other state issuing the license to have minimum education requirements, work experience, and clinical supervision requirements. Additionally, the bill would require any out-of-state applicant to pass any exam that is required for those licensed in Missouri.
It’s not just thousands of jobs we have in Missouri; it’s tens of thousands of jobs that we have right now available to be filled that our employers are looking for workers but they can’t find them because we don’t have enough skilled workers here. Both pieces of legislation now head to the Senate for consideration.
Preventing the Abuse of Eminent Domain Heads to the Senate (HB 2033)
Legislation is now headed to the Senate that would prevent the use of eminent domain for a power line that would carry wind energy across Missouri. House members approved the bill to stop the Grain Belt Express power line from acquiring easement rights through the use of eminent domain.
The Grain Belt Express transmission line that would carry power generated by wind turbines in Kansas across Missouri and Illinois and then connect to a power grid in Indiana that serves eastern states. The 780-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.
Both the Public Service Commission and the courts have ruled in favor of allowing the project to utilize eminent domain. The decisions prompted lawmakers to file legislation to protect the private property rights of Missourians.
This bill is to protect personal property rights against eminent domain by an entity that brings no benefit to help our renewable energy standards. In this state we are meeting our renewable energy standards. We need to stand up for Missourians and protect their personal property rights against a private company for private gain. We are not opposed to the project, build the project but don’t use eminent domain. Allowing easements across private property to a private business opens the door for these easements to be used for many other things that the landowner would have no control over.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. Similar legislation was approved by the House in 2019 but failed to secure passage in the Senate before the legislative session ended.
Bill to Combat Drug Trafficking Headed to the Senate (HB 1450)
Another bill the Missouri House sent to the Senate this week would increase penalties for trafficking a dangerous drug, the use of which can easily result in overdoses.
The House voted to make it a class-B felony to knowingly distribute, make, or attempt to distribute or make, more than 10 milligrams of fentanyl or its derivatives. This would carry a penalty of five to 15 years in prison. Making or distributing 20 or more milligrams would be a class-A felony, carrying a sentence of 10 to 30 years in prison.
Law enforcement advocates have told lawmakers that fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is being trafficked frequently in Missouri – particularly illegally made – and is often mixed with other drugs like heroin or cocaine, often resulting very easily in overdose deaths.
Fentanyl can be a very deadly drug. Fentanyl trafficking has continued to increase exponentially in the past year. We hope increased penalties will help law enforcement get to those who are making and selling fentanyl. The legislation would also increase the penalties for trafficking one gram or more of Rohypnol or any amount of GHB, both of which are often used in sex crimes.
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 [email protected] or by phone at 573-751-2112.
Chris Dinkins is the area’s state representative for the 144th Legislative District. She can be reached by email – [email protected] or by telephone: 573-751-2112.