Area lawmakers were in Neosho on Friday for an Eggs and Issues legislative forum.
Hosted by the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce and held at the Wright Conference Center on the Crowder College campus, each of the lawmakers told those in attendance about the accomplishments and the disappointments of the current session.
"This session was really full of things done and left undone," said Rep. Tom Flanigan (163rd district). "Always, there are things that we try to do at the beginning of the session and there are things at the end of it that we were not able to complete. Not everything crosses the finishing line, but as a team, those of us in Southwest Missouri, all of us here, work well together and we always work for the primary goal of improving Southwest Missouri."
Local representatives Bill Lant (159th district) and Bill Reiboldt (160th district), also spoke during the brunch.
Reiboldt is the chairman of the house committee on agriculture policy.
"I have enjoyed working on issues that involve agriculture across the state of Missouri," he said. "It is the number one industry in our state, and it is very important. We, this year, have on the ballot the Right to Farm and Livestock, and that is huge for the farming industry in the state of Missouri."
The Right to Farm and Livestock is joint resolution 11 and 7.
"A joint resolution doesn't go to the governor," he said. "It passes both the senate and the house. I passed it in the house three times and sent it to the senate, and then we went to conference twice on it until we finally worked out the language and in that language, it guarantees local control. It doesn't disrupt local control in anyway."
Reiboldt said it would give the people the opportunity to decide that.
"This is something that we feel would be huge to have that guarantee in our constitution," he said. "Like the Right to Bear Arms — that is a right that would be guaranteed by our constitution. So the constitution would guarantee us the right to do what we have always done to farm, to raise livestock. It is not dealing with corporate farming or GMOs or anything like that. It leaves local control in place and virtually nobody has a problem with that even the outside groups … we are hoping that going down the line to the ballot in 2014 that it will pass and that guarantee will be in the constitution."
That ballot issue will go to the people in Aug. 2014.
Lant gave an update about the Second Injury Fund.
"It was designed to help returning soldiers after World War II. If they had, as an example, lost an eye, industry was reluctant to hire them because if they should happen to lose the other eye, they would be 100 percent disabled," said Lant. "So the second injury fund was designed to help those people. It (Second Injury Fund) is something that we determined early on that we would work with the senate, come up with a joint bill that we thought everyone could live with. What makes it difficult is that it is something we have been trying to do something with for the past 10-12 years. We have got the governor's office, the attorney general's office, the trial lawyers association, the Missouri Chamber, big business, small business, all have a stake in this thing."
Page 2 of 2 - Lant said it took a lot of negotiating, but they found some young lawyers in the house that did an excellent job of tightening the bill and arguing the bill in debate.
"We were fortunate in the last week of session to get that bill passed out," he said. "It is on the governor's desk and he has indicated he will sign it. That will be a huge help for Missouri industry. Other than that, we got a bill through committee early on for prevailing wage adjustment. And what it provides for is a different way of wage reporting for second, third, fourth-class counties. Second-class county would be Newton County. Then all of the third, fourth counties in the state would have an opportunity to have a lower prevailing wage for school construction or municipal building construction, that type of thing."
One thing Lant did note is up in the air is the paycheck protection plan.
"It is sent to the governor," he said. "I doubt that he will sign that, but he certainly has the opportunity to do so."