The Munzlinger Minutes for the Week of March 14: Moving Vital Agricultural Legislation Through the Missouri General Assembly


Following last week’s nearly 40-hour filibuster, work in the Senate chamber has slowed down. However, committee work continues to be of high importance. In the Missouri Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee, two important measures were passed this week. My bill, Senate Bill 584, would allow farmers licensed by the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) to grow industrial hemp. Industrial hemp, which is not marijuana, would become a pilot project under the authority of the MDA. Other states, such as Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois, have already started industrial hemp production, to economic success. Adding another crop for Missouri farmers to grow will help our state build upon our already great reputation for agriculture.

Senate Bill 945, another one of my bills, also made it out of committee this week. Senate Bill 945 would provide incentives to qualified biofuel producers, ensuring this component of Missouri’s agriculture industry remains vibrant. Our state is well-situated to be the national leader in biofuels, and this bill would help achieve that goal. Passing this bill would ensure Missouri’s role in establishing energy independence by adding value to products in Missouri.

We have also reached the halfway point of this year’s legislative session, which will only leave seven weeks for lawmakers to get work done for 2016. Our biggest concern is the budget, which is also the constitutionally mandated action for the Legislature. The Missouri House of Representatives has passed its version of the state’s spending plan for Fiscal Year 2017, the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee will make any adjustments and then the entire Senate will approve its variation of the budget. After that, if needed, the Senate and House will have a conference committee make changes and then both chambers will have to pass a final budget and have it sent to the executive branch no later than 6 p.m. on Friday, May 6.

I am looking forward to spending some time at home, during our week away from Jefferson City. It is always good to see people from northeast Missouri and get a renewed perspective on those things that really matter here. Plus, spring is almost here, and that means spring planting for a lot of us. After the past few years, farmers are hopeful to see a more balanced season, in terms of weather. It will be nice to work with the land once again before having to return to the Capitol for the final weeks of session.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Thank you.