Greetings Friends of the 144th!
Old man winter definitely showed his face this week. I don’t know about you but I am tired of this cold weather. Please remember to check on your elderly neighbors and family during these extremely cold temperatures. The cold temperatures hasn’t slowed us down any at the Capitol. Next week I will have 3 more of my bills presented in committee hearings. My Right to Hunt and Fish will be voted on executive session on Monday. I will be presenting a Land Conveyance bill for Iron County on Tuesday. Wednesday I will have a hearing on a veteran’s property tax bill that was brought to my attention by Wayne County Clerk Kent Sisco who is a 29 year veteran. I am excited to get this bill moving.
Streamlining Vehicle Licensing Process for Farmers (HB 153)
Members of the Missouri House have approved legislation to cut bureaucratic red tape for farmers so they will have an easier time licensing their vehicles. The bill would allow the many farmers who own multiple vehicles to avoid numerous trips to the license bureau to license each vehicle.
The bill would create a system for Missourians who own multiple farm vehicles to have the vehicles placed on the same registration renewal schedule. All farm vehicles included in the fleet of a registered farm vehicle fleet owner would be registered during April or on a prorated basis. Farm vehicles registered under the bill would be issued a special license plate with the phrase “Farm Fleet Vehicle” and be issued multiyear license plates that do not require a renewal tab.
This bill will help farmers who own multiple vehicles to have a simplified process for vehicle licensing. It always has been a real pain going to the license bureau every time one of those vehicles came up for license renewal. The bill will give farmers the option to go to the license bureau one time a year in April, license all their vehicles at one time, and be able to get a fleet plate that will be put on their vehicle for multiple years. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Legislation Approved to Protect Missouri Farms from Unauthorized Inspections (HB 574)
Legislation is now on its way to the Senate that would protect Missouri agricultural facilities from other states and outside organizations that want to gain access to the facilities without legal authority. The bill is meant to protect producers from animal rights activists who may seek access under false pretenses, and is also designed to limit the spread of disease by ensuring only qualified inspectors are allowed into the facilities.
The reason this bill is needed is that oftentimes many of our agriculture producers do not know who has the right to come into their facility. The sponsor noted that several states have passed animal welfare or animal rights bills and that organizations from those states sometimes want to inspect the facilities of Missouri producers without the authority to do so.
The bill specifies the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture, the county sheriff and any other federal or Missouri state agency with statutory or regulatory authority have exclusive authority to inspect the grounds or facilities in Missouri. Facilities include those used for the production of eggs, milk or other dairy products, raising of livestock, or the production or raising of dogs or other animals not used to produce any food product. The bill also allows a facility owner to request and allow groups outside those listed to inspect.
Supplemental Budget Bill Sent to Governor (HB 16)
A supplemental spending plan that will provide assistance to renters is now on its way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. The Senate completed the work started by the House by passing the bill that appropriates more than $324 million to the Missouri Housing Development Commission to help Missourians with rental assistance and utility assistance.
The bill allocates Missouri’s share of a $25 billion federal aid package for housing that was passed in December. Missouri’s portion of the federal funds will be disbursed by the Missouri Housing Development Commission and can be used to pay landlords and utilities in arrears or to help keep renters current.
The aid can provide up to 12 months of rent and utility assistance, ongoing rent and utilities for up to three months, and help cover missed rent or utilities since March 1.
State Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Navigator
Missourians now have access to a secure registry tool that will help them to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. The newly-created Missouri Vaccine Navigator can be reached online at MOStopsCovid.com/navigator.
The new navigator site allows residents to indicate their desire to be vaccinated. They will then need to answer questions to determine their eligibility based on the state’s priority phases.
Registrants will be notified upon activation of each phase and alerted when they become eligible. Individuals will then be able to seek vaccination from their health care provider if they have vaccines available or view mass vaccination events and other providers in their area.
In addition to helping individuals register for a vaccine, the Missouri Vaccine Navigator will remind registrants when it is time to schedule their second dose. Both vaccines currently authorized for use require two doses, and the second dose is critical to ensure individual and community protection.
Those with online accessibility issues are encouraged to call the COVID-19 hotline at 877-435-8411 for registration assistance. Language translation and other services are available to callers.
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.