Greetings Friends of the 144th!
Last weekend was a wonderful weekend to attend the 43rd Annual Ozark Heritage Festival and the Arcadia Valley Fall Festival. People came out to enjoy the parades and other activities going on. I always enjoy the festivals and getting to see people I don’t get to see that often. Fall Festivals are my favorite part of fall.
Amendment 3 On the Upcoming Ballot
I have debated myself several times on whether or not I wrote about this topic in my report. I have had so many people reach out to me about it that I decided to. This is an issue that I have a strong opinion about. I will not take up too much space telling you everything but if you want more information look on my Facebook page.
Amendment 3 leaves everything in the Constitution that was voted on and approved by the people in 2018. What it changes is it places the responsibility for drawing the District maps into the hands of a bi-partisan Commission whose names are submitted by the Democrat and Republican State Committees and both are equally represented on the Commission instead of in the hands of one unelected individual. Keep in mind this individual could be Democrat, Republican, Socialist or even Communist. I find it hard to believe that one individual could do a better job than a committee of equal representation from both parties.
Amendment 3 simply provides voters an opportunity to improve the redistricting criteria to emphasize local communities of interest and political districts that are contiguous and compact. Amendment 3 reduces political gerrymandering that now exists under current law. I believe rural communities need to be represented by someone from their own community not someone from STL, KC, Columbia or Springfield. Imagine long spaghetti noodles stretching out from these metropolis cities, that’s what our districts will be like if we vote NO. Do you think anyone from the urban areas will understand gravel roads, cattle farming, or feral hogs? No, they will not. It’s a constant battle between rural and urban right now, if all our representation is from the urban areas there will be no one to fight for rural issues and our way of life. How often do you think our representative from STL or KC will visit Iron, Reynolds, Washington or Wayne County? If ever.
This past session I heard an inner city legislator speak very passionately on this topic and I agree with her. Her concern, like mine, is that her people will no longer have a seat at the table. I believe minorities need representation just like rural communities. They will also lose their voice too if amendment 3 fails. Amendment 3 changes the redistricting criteria to emphasize Communities of Interest which is important to a majority of Missourians especially rural communities.
Amendment 3 will also ELIMINATE lobbyist gifts. I’ve had a lot of people try to tell me that it is only reducing them by $5 but the fact of the matter is that it will reduce them to $0. A yes vote will also say that you think everyone needs to be a legal citizen in order to be counted and represented in the political process.
There is a little bit of this and a little bit of that in Amendment 3 but the real meat of the amendment is how the legislative districts will be drawn. This is of utmost important to rural communities across our state. We need to be sure we will continue to be represented by a like- minded individual from our own community. If you have more questions about Amendment 3 please feel free to reach out to me.
Legislature to Return for Second Special Session
Lawmakers in the House and Senate will head back to Jefferson City after the November election for the second special session of 2020. Gov. Mike Parson is calling legislators back to work on a supplemental budget bill that will appropriate additional resources to respond to COVID-19.
The General Assembly passed the Fiscal Year 2021 state operating budget during regular session in May. Since that time, additional federal funding has become available to the state, including funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The supplemental budget will appropriate these funds for several items, including the School Nutrition Services Program, the Emergency Solutions Grant Program for homelessness prevention, job training grants, and child support payments, among others.
The special session is set to begin Thursday, November 5. Members of the House will hold a technical session that day. Committee work on the bill will take place on Monday, November 9. The House will then meet on Tuesday, November 10 to discuss and vote on the bill.
Missouri Food Banks Receive Vital Funding
Money made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is now on its way to Missouri’s six regional food banks. Gov. Mike Parson announced the regional food banks will receive a total of $5 million in funding to help citizens who continue to rely on food assistance.
The food banks serve the needs of more than 1,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and other meal sites across the state. The funding will be distributed as follows:
|Harvesters Community Food Network||$990,413|
|Ozarks Food Harvest||$925,073|
|Second Harvest Community Food Bank||$359,288|
|Southeast Missouri Food Bank||$504,818|
|St. Louis Area Foodbank||$1,462,145|
|The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri||$708,263|
Protecting the health and well-being of Missourians is a key component of our Show Me Strong Recovery Plan. This additional funding for food banks will help ensure continued access to good nutrition for Missouri’s vulnerable citizens during these challenging times.
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 Chris.Dinkins@house.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-2112. Please do not contact me via social media. These messages are easy to overlook and may not be responded to in a timely manner.