Legislative Column for the Week of Monday, June 2, 2014
2014 Session Constitutionally Ends; Upcoming Conservation Events for Local Families

Legislative News

Although the 2014 legislative session came to a close on Friday, May 16, at 6 p.m., the session didn’t constitutionally end until last Friday, May 30. The two week difference—written into our state constitution—allows time for bills to be finalized before they are signed and sent to the governor.  This is why the Senate President Pro Tem and the Speaker of the House were in Jefferson City on Friday.

Together, the two legislative leaders signed approximately 180 bills. Once they were finished, the measures were officially sent to the governor. Following that, I motioned the Senate adjourn sine die, or “without delay,” a legislative term that simply means we won’t come to back to the Capitol until the next constitutionally appointed day, which will be in September for our annual veto session.

I believe it was an incredibly productive session, with legislators working together to tackle some of the state’s biggest issues. However, even though we’re no longer in the Capitol, our work continues. Committees meet throughout the interim, and many senators, me included, use the time away from Jefferson City to connect with constituents and hear their concerns.

Please feel free to contact me throughout the year with the issues that matter most to you. I’m here to serve as your voice in state government, and I can do that most effectively by speaking with the citizens I represent.

District News

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering “Free Fishing Days” on June 7 and 8.  During “Free Fishing Days,” anyone can fish in the Show-Me State without having to buy a fishing permit, trout stamp, or trout park daily tag.  Normal regulations remain in effect, such as limits on size and number of fish an angler can keep.  Some private fishing areas may still require permits, and trespass laws remain in effect on private property.

The Department of Conservation makes Missouri a great place to fish, and “Free Fishing Days” encourages people to sample the state's abundant fishing opportunities. Missouri is blessed with more than a million acres of surface water, and most of it provides great fishing. According to the department, more than 200 different fish species are found in Missouri, with 40 of them being game fish for the state’s more than 1.1 million anglers.

The department also enriches Missouri’s economy and Missourians’ quality of life. Fishing in the state generates more than $1 billion for local communities and the state’s economy, and supports thousands of jobs.

Public fishing areas are available in every county in Missouri. Many state-owned fishing areas also have special facilities for anglers with disabilities. Contact your local MDC office for “Free Fishing Days” near you or go online to www.mdc.mo.gov/node/3675

For information on Missouri fishing regulations, permit requirements, fish identification and more, get a copy of MDC’s “2014 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations” where permits are sold, at MDC offices, and online at www.mdc.mo.gov/node/6108.

The Missouri Department of Conservation will hold open houses at 14 locations around the state to discuss white-tailed deer management with citizens.

The meetings will not have formal presentations. Instead, they will use an open-house format where people can come and go any time between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. They will be able to visit booths focusing on the history of deer management in Missouri, the state’s new deer management plan, possible regulation changes, hunter retention and recruitment, public comments received so far, and other issues related to deer management.

The open-house format lets attendees concentrate on their particular interests, asking questions and discussing their ideas one-on-one with biologists and other key staff. Missouri’s free-ranging white-tailed deer population supports 12,000 jobs and generates more than $1 billion in economic activity annually in the Show-Me State.

The open forum will be held here in Joplin on Wednesday, June 18, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., in the Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall at Missouri Southern State University, located at 3950 Newman Rd.

Additionally, the Department of Conservation aids schools in starting their own archery programs. The department helps train teachers, provides funds for archery equipment, and organizes regional and state tournaments.  The department provides a $500 grant, with the help of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, to help with the purchase of equipment.  Please visit the Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program for more information. 

The program teaches basic archery skills and is often taught during the physical education class for grades 4 through 12.  The program was started in Missouri in 2007 and has exploded to over 330 schools with over 34,000 students participating each year. 

For more information, please contact Eric Edwards, Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program Coordinator, at eric.edwards@mdc.mo.gov or call (573) 522-4115, ext. 3295.

The department is also offering a number of free events for local families, including:

  • 13th Annual Kellogg Lake Kids' Fishing Day
    Location: Kellogg Lake Park, Carthage, Mo.
    Date and Time: Saturday, June 7, 8 a.m. to noon

    Join the department for the 13th annual Kellogg Lake Kids' Fishing Day. Registration starts at 8 a.m. at the pavilion, and then it is on to the education stations and the freshly stocked lake for a morning of fishing fun. Bring your own pole; a limited number of loaner rods are available on a first-come basis. Bait and basic tackle will be provided at bait stations around the lake.

    Learn new skills, from rigging a pole to casting a fly-rod. Conservation education stations make learning fun and interactive. Participating in education station activities gives kids a chance to register for the prize drawings held at noon. Make a great day of family memories at Kellogg Lake Park with conservation education, refreshments, prizes and a chance for the kids to reel in a big one.

  • Gettin' Twiggy With It
    Location: Walter Woods Conservation Area
    Date and Time: Tuesday, June 17, 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

    Parents and grandparents, bring your young explorers to the woods and see the wonders of late spring. From the tree canopy to the forest floor, secrets are revealed of an important place for both humans and wildlife. Local naturalists will help the children discover nature as we overturn fallen leaves, explore the world of twigs, and create a woodland nature craft. Registration required. For ages 4 to 8.

    Located in the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center in Wildcat Park just south of I-44, the Joplin Conservation Office is your local connection to Missouri’s fish, forests and wildlife. Stop by for a fishing/hunting license, and stay for a nature program, go for a hike, enjoy a picnic or access Shoal Creek.
  • Discover Nature - Families: Archery Basics
    Location: Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center
    Date and Time: Saturday, June 7, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

    Join the department to discover the basics of archery shooting. This class will cover things like bow nomenclature, hand set, bow set, pre-draw, stance and much more, and then go shooting on the static archery range. You may bring your own bow to the program or use those provided. To register, please call (417) 742-4361 or email daltonrange@mdc.mo.gov.

  • Department of Conservation Offers Family Fishing Fair
    Location: Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery
    Date and Time: Saturday, June 7, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Come join the department for its free event to fish in a stocked pond and learn more about how to be a better angler. In addition to fishing for children 15 and younger, several learning stations will help participants learn to: tie knots, fillet and cook fish, bait and fly cast, fish print art, ethically fish, and how to rig up a pole.

    Free ‘goodie bags’ will be given to every kid and there will be a drawing for a free rod/reel combo at the end of the day. There will be a limited number of loaner fishing poles, but you will have no waiting if you bring your own pole and cooler.

    The “My First Fish” station is for anyone who catches their very first fish. Bring your first fish to this station and you will have your photo taken and a certificate will be mailed to you.

    At noon there will be a special performance by the “Fishin Magicians,” who will introduce you and your family to the importance of water resources and amaze you with their fun magic. No reservations are required. Call (417) 334-4865 ext. 0 for more details.

    Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery and Visitors Center is located in Taney County just below the Table Rock Dam. Shepherd of the Hills is the department’s largest trout-rearing hatchery. The hatchery produces between 350,000 and 400,000 pounds of rainbow and brown trout each year.