Legislative Column for July 15, 2014

August Ballot Issues

First, my apologies for the long intermission between Capitol Reports, I hope to do better in the coming weeks. August 5 is the Missouri primary election, and there will be five issues for voters to decide. I support three of those issues and oppose two. The amendments are listed below, followed by brief descriptions of the reasons for my support or opposition.




Amendment 1


Guarantees farmers and ranchers the right to engage in their livelihoods, produce food for others

Amendment 5


Establishes the right to keep and bear arms, ammunition and accessories

Amendment 7


Increases state sales and use taxes for 10 years to fund transportation projects

Amendment 8


Creates new lottery ticket with profits going toward veterans' programs

Amendment 9

Civil Rights

Protects electronic data from unreasonable searches and seizures









Amendment 1: I will vote YES.

Amendment 1 is designed to constitutionally protect all Missouri farmers, ranging from the person with six steers in the back yard to mega operations with thousands of acres. There are liberal groups who oppose Amendment 1 and are trying to confuse the Farming Rights amendment. A concern over foreign ownership of Missouri farmland is a red herring because foreign ownership of Missouri farm land is capped by law at 1 percent and currently stands at .29 percent. One of these liberal groups is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which employs a former Missouri lieutenant governor.  This is the same organization that nearly put the canine breeding industry out of business in Missouri with their Proposition B campaign. A few conservatives oppose Amendment 1 due to their concern about the possibility of inappropriate protections for GMO merchants. However, Senate legal staff has assured me that although Amendment 1 may affect the legal environment of GMO’s, it does not impair the courts in the case of lawsuits.

Amendment 5: I will vote YES.

This amendment affirms the duty of elected officials to protect your right to keep and bear arms. It extends the right to keep and bear arms to include ammunition and related accessories for such arms. Given the imperial actions being taken in Washington, D.C., such legislative action is needed.  This amendment does not prevent the legislature from limiting the rights of certain felons and certain individuals adjudicated as having a mental disorder.

Amendment 7: I will vote NO.

No one can deny the bad timing of this multi-billion dollar tax increase on Missourians, even though a small cadre of state senators was successful in negotiating the tax down from $8 billion to $6 billion over 10 years. Our roads are in need of maintenance, but my opposition is because of the refusal of this legislature to advance reforms that would allow increased competition to benefit Missouri taxpayers. The same legislators who are willing to impose $6 billion of new taxes on Missourians stand in firm opposition to labor reforms, tort reforms, regulatory reforms, and judicial reforms that would benefit taxpayers and businesses. If a tax increase is necessary, it should be the last resort, not the first choice. When the goals of special interest groups conflict with what is good for the taxpayer, why must the taxpayer always lose?

Amendment 8: I will vote NO.

We don’t all agree on the significance of gambling or buying a lottery ticket. However, no one in business, law enforcement, the military, or banking would view gambling as a character asset. We already see billboards across the state inviting us to support education by buying lottery tickets; next it will be to support our veterans. Have we reached the point that we entrust the wellbeing of our veterans to dependency upon what has historically been considered a vice?

Amendment 9: I will vote YES.

Security of our persons and papers against unlawful search or seizure is recognized by our Constitution as an unalienable right. Amendment 9 simply clarifies that our digital-electronic “papers” enjoy the same protection. They will still be subject to lawful search, as with a warrant or court order, but not an unwarranted search.

I hope these views are helpful. More details and the statements from both advocates and opponents can be surveyed using the links in the table above.

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.