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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
With the August 5 primary election rapidly approaching, I would like to revisit Amendment #1, the Farming Rights Amendment. The idea behind the proposed constitutional amendment probably began around 2008; however, it wasn’t until 2013 that the General Assembly was able to pass this legislative referendum, sending it to a vote of the people. Prior to its overwhelming bi-partisan support and passage by 132 to 25 votes in the House and 28 to 6 in the Senate, it went through a very intense legislative procedure of committee hearings in both chambers, floor debate, then back to committee hearings with additional work, research, and public input from all sectors of the agriculture community. Because Missouri is a very diverse agriculture state, it took a great deal of hard work to get it this far. Consequently, the language of the amendment was extremely critical so as not to create a conflict in any of the agricultural sectors.
The purpose of Amendment #1 is to ensure the long-term future of agriculture in our state and is similar in scope and protection to our current constitutional freedoms of speech, religion, and the right to keep and bear arms, rights that are already guaranteed by the Missouri Constitution and the United States’ Constitution. It is important to note that with any constitutional privilege comes reasonable regulations and responsibilities. For example, the freedom of speech does not allow a person to shout “Fire” in a crowded area or to slander someone. The right to keep and bear arms does not allow a person the right to open fire on innocent citizens. So it is with the Farming Rights Amendment. It will not protect the lawbreakers or those who engage in proven harmful agriculture practices.
Constitutional Amendment #5, another proposed amendment that will appear on the August 5th primary ballot, seeks to strengthen the right to bear arms in Missouri. This is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, which simply means that is has passed both the Missouri House and Senate and goes directly to a vote of the people. Before being placed on the ballot, the proposal was certified by the Missouri Secretary of State, who is responsible for the ballot language. The governor then had the responsibility to determine at which election the proposal would appear. His choice was August 5.
The Secretary of State played a major role in the process as the proposed amendment language had to be concise and was limited to a certain number of words. This is the language voters will see when they go to the polls:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right?
If this amendment is approved by voters it would amend Section 23 of Article 1 of the Missouri Constitution to read as follows:
Section 23. That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. Any restrictions on these rights shall be subjected to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the General Assembly from enacting general laws which limit the right of convicted, violent felons or those duly adjudged mentally infirm by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Saturday, July 12, was the 71st celebration of Carver Days, an annual event that commemorates the life of George Washington Carver and the establishment of the national monument to honor him and his work. Located west of Diamond, MO, the national park and monument was founded on July 14, 1943 by an act of Congress. The U.S. Park Service maintains 210 acres of the original 240-acre Moses Carver farm. This was the first national monument that was dedicated to an African American as well as the first monument that was dedicated to a non-U.S. president.
Carver Days this year was extra-special in that a new film about the life of Dr. Carver was released. This quality movie was professionally done and will replace the older movie that has been shown at the park since 1984. Both the older film and the new film— “Struggle and Triumph: The Legacy of George Washington Carver”— can be purchased in the park’s bookstore.
Dr. Carver was a renowned agricultural scientist, chemist, educator, and humanitarian. He was born into slavery around the end of the Civil War era. Although there were no official records kept, July 14 of 1865 is recognized as his birthdate. Born during difficult and changing times, as an infant, he and his mother were kidnapped by Confederate raiders (bushwhackers) in hopes of selling them for money. Eventually, young George was recovered and returned to the Carvers; however, his mother was never seen again.