Denny Hoskins District 21 Column
The Senate had a diverse legislative agenda for this week. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and afternoons reviewing budgetary bills from the House of Representative and further understanding the financial needs of the state. My colleagues and I covered a lot of good ground and I look forward to us passing a budget by the May 5, constitutional deadline.
On Wednesday, the Senate passed one of my bills, Senate Concurrent Resolution 14. This resolution proposes an amendment to the United States Constitution to limit the amount of terms members of Congress can serve. Like the citizens of Missouri who voted for term limits in the General Assembly, I think term limits are good for our state and country.
Supporting our seniors
In addition to having the opportunity to help prioritize the state’s funding needs and promote a grassroots initiative, I am grateful to have the opportunity to support another bill that would strengthen our seniors. One of my colleagues is sponsoring Senate Bill 373, which would establish the Missouri Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. With this program, Missouri may receive up to $400,000 in grants, and a recipient of the program, a low-income senior, may receive between $25 and $50 to buy fresh food at farmers’ markets and roadside vendors. Forty-three other states take advantage of similar programs like this one. As my colleague noted this week, this program would be a win-win: (1) low-income seniors can have greater access to fresh and healthful foods; (2) farmers can be able to increase their profits; and (3) local economies can be strengthened. Supporting our seniors has been one my top priorities as a legislator, and I look forward to my colleagues and I passing more legislation like SB 373.
Supporting our local communities
When we talk about state symbols, we often categorize them as noneconomic. But because state symbols can serve as recognitions of local traditions and activities, they are a part of the economic development of many communities, particularly rural and small ones. For example, Warrensburg recently had its annual Old Drum Festival. This year’s festival was one of its largest, attracting tourists to learn not only about Old Drum but also the city of Warrensburg and its history. These attractions may stimulate local economies and provide the resources for investing in infrastructure and job creation.
Our great state of Missouri has many state symbols. We have a state bird (bluebird), a state horse (Missouri Fox Trotting Horse), a state dessert (ice cream cone), and even a state dinosaur (“duck billed” dinosaur). Yet, we do not have a state dog — a recognition of man’s best friend.
I have sponsored Senate Bill 376 that would designate “Jim the Wonder Dog” as Missouri’s Wonder Dog and “Old Drum” as Missouri’s Historical Dog. Jim the Wonder Dog is no unfamiliar pup. Thought to possess remarkable abilities, Jim reportedly predicted the winners of Kentucky Derbies and the World Series and the sexes of unborn babies. Jim even caught the attention of a joint session of the Missouri Legislature!
The roughly 150-year-old story of Old Drum is well known across the state of Missouri. Old Drum died on an early October morning and within a year, Warrensburg’s Old Johnson County Courthouse and households across the state knew the name “Old Drum.” Old Drum’s owner filed a lawsuit for damages, and he was represented by Missouri’s former United States Senator George Graham Vest. On Sept. 23, 1870, Vest presented his emotional and powerful closing argument to the jury. The jury quickly returned the verdict in favor of Old Drum’s owner and the rest is history!
Aside from Mr. Vest’s memorable argument, the case of Old Drum is much more. It was one of the first times in the state of Missouri that members of the defunct Confederacy and the Union came together following a bloody civil war. The story of Old Drum also annually attracts many tourists to Missouri. There is little doubt that the story has a place in Missouri’s history.
On Tuesday night, the Senate perfected Senate Bill 376, and it awaits a vote before it can be sent to the House. Senate bill 376 is about more than state symbols; it is about acknowledging the importance of our state’s history and the economic importance that tourism and tradition have on our communities.
With just four weeks left, the Legislature has much more to do here in Jefferson City. As we meet with family members and friends this weekend, I wish everyone a Happy Easter and hope you enjoy the warmth and comfort of others.
Bill Tracking Update
Extends the Big Government Get Off My Back Act and modifies several provisions relating to the collection of money by public entities
Allows telephone companies to select an alternate method of property tax assessment
Requires the Department of Revenue to issue both REAL ID compliant and noncompliant driver's licenses and identification cards
Modifies the definition of a service dog
Modifies provisions relating to the promotion and sale of alcoholic beverages
Modifies provisions relating to virtual public schools
Changes the law regarding consent for a minor to obtain an abortion
Designates "Old Drum" as the historical dog of the state of Missouri
Modifies provisions relating to the practice of public accounting
Exempts the purchase of utilities for certain food preparation uses from state sales and use taxes
Creates the Missouri Video Lottery Control Act
Modifies provisions of the Missouri Athletic Trainer Practice Act
Modifies the definition of "livestock" to include honey bees for the purposes of the state sales tax law
Excludes funds designated by taxpayers in an urban district as early childhood education funds from the local tax revenue calculation used to provide funding to charter schools that declared themselves as a local education agency
Provides for patient due process for persons receiving services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities
Modifies provisions relating to Department of Mental Health inspections
Expresses support for the people of Israel
Applies to Congress for the calling of an Article V convention of states to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution regarding term limits for members of Congress
Designates August 21, 2017, as "Total Eclipse Day" in the state of Missouri
I urge you to contact my office with any questions or concerns you have about state government so I can better represent you during the 2017 legislative session.
I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4302. You may also email me firstname.lastname@example.org.