- House Committee Substitute -

HS/HCS/SS/SCS/SB 925 - This act creates state advocacy groups and modifies provisions relating to agriculture.

Section 26.700 - Establishes the Missouri Multicultural Center and Program within the Lieutenant Governor's office to serve as an all-purpose resource for all citizens and agencies of the state. A Multicultural Citizens' Advisory Committee is also established to advise the Center. Members of the Committee shall be appointed by December 31, 2000. This section contains an emergency clause. This portion is similar to HB 1649.

Sections 262.750 and 262.753 - The Missouri Agricultural Advocates Office is created within the Department of Agriculture to advocate for farmers and the agriculture industry. The Office may review and challenge local, state, or federal actions and regulations and may inform the public.

Sections 262.756 and 262.759 - The Office will be governed by a twelve member advocate's council composed of seventeen members representing various farming areas. The Council may employ an executive director and a staff.

Sections 1 to 4 - Enacts the Farmland Protection Act to protect agricultural, horticultural, and forestry land; promote continued economic viability; and promote quality of life. The provisions of sections 1 to 4 apply to tracts of real property comprising 10 or more contiguous acres used for agricultural purposes and not located in a platted subdivision. These provisions do not apply to Kansas City.

The act requires the state or any political subdivision to hold sewer and water assessments in abeyance until improvements on property covered by the act are connected to the sewer or water system. At that time, the owner shall pay a proportionate charge, rather than a total cost. The period of abeyance will end when the owner elects to connect to the improvements. Statutes of limitations are tolled during the time of abeyance. The political subdivision shall notify the owner of the details of the assessment, including the amount to be charged and terms of payment. If the owner disagrees, he or she may appeal the assessment to the circuit court within thirty days of notice.

Property subject to the provisions of the act may not be taken by eminent domain unless a public hearing is held. These sections are similar to HB 1762 and HB 1811.