Legislation to Protect Missouri Children and Support Farm Families
This week, the Senate worked on and passed several pieces of legislation. Two bills of great importance, Senate Bill 641 and Senate Bill 804, were both passed on Thursday, March 3, in an effort to protect and support our communities around the state.
Sen. Onder’s Senate Bill 804 broadens the definition of adult and child sex trafficking in statute by making advertisements on the availability of another person for sexual conduct or commercial sex acts without their consent a crime. Additionally, the legislation would add advertising a child as available for commercial sex acts, performances or explicit material production to the definition of child sex trafficking. This new, expanded definition would help law enforcement officials expose and hold accountable sex trafficking offenders throughout the state by accurately addressing the issue as a whole.
Senate Bill 641, introduced by Sen. Schatz, would allow income tax deductions for farmers and ranchers when property has been damaged by disasters and emergencies. Many farming families in our communities experienced devastating inclement weather and flooding, which hindered their farms’ productivity late last year. SB 614 would ensure that any person receiving compensatory income from programs including the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Emergency Conservation Program and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, among several others, can deduct that income from their tax totals. Currently, this disaster relief is treated as pure income and this legislation aims to help Missouri farmers and ranchers rebuild their livelihoods after unexpected disaster occurs, without further financial strain.
In addition to the legislative action that occurred this week at the Capitol, lawmakers from the House and Senate recognized Missouri military leaders to celebrate the 2016 Missouri Military Appreciation and Awareness Day. The Legislature welcomed top military officials Maj. Gen. Kent Savre (U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence at Fort Leonard Wood), Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets (Whiteman Air Force Base) and Brig. Gen. Greg Mason (Missouri National Guard) to meet and discuss their concerns surrounding the future of our state’s defense infrastructure.
Military Appreciation Day is an annual opportunity for legislators and military leaders to discuss the best management options for our state’s resources. It gives us a chance to consider the real issues facing our state’s service men and women, and to jointly address these concerns through effective legislation and resource use. This week, the House and Senate considered various solutions, such as helping transition military personnel from active duty to home life, offering supportive programs in school districts for military families and compensating service members appropriately through tax policies and tuition assistance.
One of my constituents, Terry Martin of Elsberry, was recognized for his service and volunteer work this week. Martin was awarded a Lieutenant Governor’s 2015 Veterans Service Award. Martin, an Army X-ray technician and medic during the Vietnam War (1965-70), continues to serve in our district regularly. Martin’s tremendous contributions to his community and neighbors include: membership on the Lincoln County Council on Aging’s board of directors, over 20 years as the commander of the District 9 VFW Post #9064, weekly volunteering at the Elsberry Food Pantry, helping the Marine Corps League’s Toys-for-Tots donation and helping to raise money for under-privileged students’ school supply drives.
I am humbled by Mr. Martin’s service and continued efforts to strengthen our communities, and I am further thankful for the men and women who served our country and continue fighting for our freedom. These individuals are shining examples of hardworking Missourians, who have worked so hard to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
It is an honor to be your State Senator and my door is always open to your concerns, questions or comments. Please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-2757 or visit my web page at www.senate.mo.gov/riddle.