Monday, May 20, 2013

Rep. Hampton tells how legislature wasted its time this session

In his latest report to constituents, Rep. Kent Hampton, R-Malden, offers a rundown of everything that was done during the recently completed legislative session...and he is actually proud of this stuff.

The session has officially ended (some would say that’s good for all of us). Listed below are a few of the bills that were truly agreed and finally passed by both chambers and sent to the governor’s desk for his signature to become law.

In the midst of an alarming trend towards gun control at the national level, the Missouri legislature took action to guarantee our citizens’ Constitutional right to self-defense.

The most important piece of Second Amendment legislation undertaken this session was the Second Amendment Preservation Act or HB 436. This bill affirms some basic tenets that supporters of the Constitution hold true: that the states created the federal government as an agent to resolve international disputes and regulate interstate commerce. HB 436 declares that while some states may unconditionally submit to Washington, the state of Missouri reserves the power to make laws regarding the everyday life, liberty, and property of its citizens.

 Furthermore, some powers – including the right to bear arms in defense of one’s life, home, and family – belong to the people of this country. Because the Constitution does not grant the federal government the power to infringe on the people’s right to self-defense, any attempt by the federal government to usurp this power will be invalid in this state.

The dubious actions of the Department of Revenue regarding scanning source documents and submitting lists of CCW holders to the federal government have caused an uproar this spring, and rightly so. Individuals need to go through government agencies to get licenses and permits, but personal information should be private, not carelessly tossed in the mail or made readily available to hackers.
To prevent such breeches of privacy from occurring again, the Missouri Legislature has passed two bills that will safeguard confidential information and move responsibility for issuing concealed carry permits to county sheriffs.

SB 252 prohibits the Department of Revenue from scanning and retaining images of any source documents needed for approving licenses. The state of Missouri doesn’t need a one-stop site for privacy invasion. DOR will also be required to dispose of the scans of personal documents they have made in the past few months, by January.

Another step towards protecting women and babies from exploitation by abortion groups was achieved with the passage of HB 400. This piece of legislation requires that when the abortion chemical RU-486 is administered, the prescribing physician must be physically present. While it unfortunately doesn’t prohibit abortions, it does ensure that abortion clinics cannot push women to undergo substandard chemical procedures. In states that don’t have this requirement, clinics are making easy, cheap money from women in crisis by authorizing chemical abortions via telecam. In these abortions, the clinic doesn’t have to pay a doctor to come in, yet they can charge the woman the same amount. In Missouri, we care about infants and the health, physical and mental, of women who face tough circumstances.
Agriculture is foundation of our state’s economy. This session we took several measures to empower our family farms and to continue growing Missouri as a hub of agricultural innovation.

One such major piece of agricultural legislation is HJR 11 and 7, or Right to Farm. This resolution forever guarantees the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices. There are organizations whose mission is to destroy agriculture in this state and every other. These groups would put in place environmental regulations and restrictions on the treatment of animals that would amount to a death sentence to Missouri’s top industry. The Right to Farm bill would protect farmers – and every consumer of agricultural products – from undue burdens. Because this is a change to the state Constitution, HJR 11 and 7 will be on the ballot this November.

Another measure, SB 16, secures the right of minors to work on family farms. These family enterprises could not survive without kids’ help. Furthermore, taking an active role in keeping the family business alive teaches children responsibility and gives them a head start in entering the job market. That’s why employment on family farms should continue to be exempt from child labor laws. Governor Nixon has signed SB 16 into law.

One of the first pieces of legislation to be signed by the Governor this session was SB 20, which extends the sunset on several benevolent tax credits. Benevolent tax credits include the Children in Crisis, Pregnancy Resources Centers, Residential Dwelling Accessibility, and Public Safety Officer Surviving Spouse tax credit programs, as well as donations to food pantries.

These programs were designed to give individuals an incentive to make their communities a better place. The government doesn’t always know which programs best serve those going through hard times. Individuals, however, are familiar with the track records of food pantries and crisis pregnancy centers in their areas.

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