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Variety of issues discussed at 19th Legislative Banquet

Posted on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at 8:47 am

State Sen. Jeanie Riddle

State Sen. Jeanie Riddle

Constitutional rights, Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) concerns, bridges, a county official retiring, and overflow issues for the women’s jail are just a few of the topics discussed during the Audrain County Farm Bureau’s 19th Annual Legislative Appreciation Banquet held last Friday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Mexico.
After the event opened with Audrain County Farm Bureau President Darren Reynolds welcoming those in attendance and Patty Fennewald’s invocation, emcee Jerry Johnson introduced the first of many speakers during the evening.
Jordan Wood, a Field Representative for U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, noted the Senator’s efforts  regarding mental health. He’s also worked on monitoring President Barack Obama’s “overreach” to make sure “our constitutional rights aren’t being violated.”
Wood specifically noted issues such as gun control and the Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS). He also mentioned the Senator’s efforts regarding a federal transportation bill that would bring dollars back to Missouri.
Field Representative Austin Kramer, who was speaking on behalf of Rep. Vicky Hartzler, said U.S. Rep. Hartzler was looking closely at dietary guidelines that have been released. He noted that the final list of guidelines did not include limiting consumption of red meat.
“This is a victory in the Congressman’s view,” Kramer said.
He also noted the issue of Country of Origin Labeling that was included in the Appropriations Bill last year. The issue was removed and was noted for saving about $1 billion for the United States.
In regards to the Waters of the U.S. issue involving the E.P.A., Kramer said he had an opportunity to discuss the issue with E.P.A. Administrator Gina McCarthy.
“And The congresswoman’s pushed back against Waters of the U.S. and will continue to do so,” he said.
Kramer did say the fight is not over on the issue and encouraged attendees to contact their representatives and senators to tell them you want the ruling to be done away with.
Commodity prices are also on the Congresswoman’s radar and is an issue currently being monitored.
Field Representative Bryan Nichols, who attended the meeting on behalf of U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, discussed the Transportation Bill.
Rep. Graves is currently the chairman for the House Subcommittee for Highways and Transit. He co-authored the five-year bill that could bring approximately $90 million per year back to the State of Missouri. The measure is predicated on what the state legislature can do in regards to transportation funding due to the need of a financial match. It also includes the 15% program giving funding to the counties at the level from before.
Nichols also noted the Omnibus Bill and Tax Extender Bill, in particular a farmer’s measure on Section 179.
“And being able to do the expensing at $500,000, that is now permanent so we don’t have to wait each year…,” Nichols said as some members of the crowd applauded his statement.
He also discussed the private sector delivery of the crop insurance program and how the issue was addressed in the Omnibus Bill.
State Sen. Jeannie Riddle said she’s been in session for two days and noted that this is a year where many bills have been filed.
She said she’s excited for having state leadership that really understands agriculture business.
Rep. Riddle mentioned some bills that are currently on tap for agriculture.

Read the rest of the story in the January 13 issue of The Vandalia Leader.