Greetings Friends of the 144th!
This week I met with U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer in Washington County. As many of you know, the redistricting process has brought about many changes. With those changes, Washington County now leaves the 8th Congressional District with Congressman Jason Smith and joins the 3rd represented by Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer. Don Thompson with First State Community Bank had invited Congressman Luetkemeyer, former banker, to visit with some from the banking industry and others from the community. After our meeting we had a wonderful lunch at Hub’s Pub before touring Reed Lumber Company and Pucell Tire. I have had the opportunity to tour Reed Lumber before and always enjoy visiting our local mills as this is a major industry and employer in our rural communities. I had been wanting to tour Purcell Tire for some time now so I was glad this opportunity arose to visit it with Congressman Luetkemeyer.
Election Integrity Law Now in Effect (HB 1878)
It was during the 2022 legislative session that the House and Senate approved legislation to ensure safe, secure elections with timely, accurate results. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is now embarking on a statewide campaign to educate and inform Missourians of the election law changes that took place with the passage of HB 1878.
The new legislation has many components, including a Voter ID requirement. On Election Day, a voter is required to show a valid government-issued ID or cast a provisional ballot. Examples of valid photo ID include: Missouri driver license, U.S. passport or military ID. Other changes in the law will allow for two weeks of no-excuse in-person absentee voting; allow the secretary of state to audit voter rolls; require the use of hand-marked paper ballots rather than electronic voting machines; mandate the use of air-gapped election equipment that prevents the possibility of electronic manipulation, and require all election authorities or political subdivisions to have cybersecurity reviews.
If a registered voter in Missouri does not have a government-issued ID, the secretary of state’s office will help the individual acquire documents needed to obtain a non-driver license for voting purposes at no charge.
To avoid any misrepresentation or confusion, Ashcroft will be traveling the state talking about the new law. As well, public service announcements will begin in September to inform voters about the changes. Though several modifications were made to the voting law, the primary message of the “Go Vote Missouri” campaign will focus on the ID component, with emphasis placed on the campaign slogan – “If you’re registered – you can vote on Election Day.” If a registered voter does not have an ID, they can cast a provisional ballot on that day.
Legislators to Return to Jefferson City to Support Missouri’s Farmers
Governor Mike Parson has called us back to Jefferson City for a special legislative session to address a number of proposals to support the state’s farmers.
The governor in July vetoed a bill (HB 1720) that included the extension or creation of tax credits benefitting urban and family farms, biodiesel producers, retailers of biodiesel and higher ethanol blends, meat processors and others. The governor said the two-year expiration on those credits wasn’t long enough, especially given that the legislature passed and he signed incentive programs with six-year sunsets for non-ag interests.
Tax credits always face a lot of opposition for a variety of reasons. Supporting agriculture tax credits especially because when family farms go out of business, it is unlikely they will return.
When family farms go out of business Corporate agriculture takes over. Corporate agriculture often has ties to foreign countries. I don’t want to become dependent on foreign countries for our food supply. I’m not opposed to corporations but if we want to keep the family farm in business then we have to give that family farm some incentives. There are people that don’t like tax credits. They say you’re giving somebody an unfair advantage. I don’t think any of the tax credits that we passed in the agriculture omnibus bill gives any of our farmers an advantage over anybody else. It gives them a level playing field.
At least one of the tax credits that HB 1720 would have extended, for the Missouri Agricultural Small Business Development Authority, has already lapsed. I think the majority of the people want to keep our family farms around and want to give those family farmers some incentives and some opportunities to increase their farms but at the same time stay in business, and that’s what these tax credits are about.
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.
Chris Dinkins is the area’s state representative for the 144th Legislative District. She can be reached by email – Chris.Dinkins@house.mo.gov or by telephone: 573-751-2112.