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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
For various reasons, including political correctness, an increasing number of Christians in America today believe their religious freedoms are under attack. However, compared to some other places around the world, Americans have not experienced the same kinds, nor the severity of persecutions as Christians in the countries of Nigeria, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt or Syria. According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, approximately, three-fourths of the world’s population lives in countries where there is no religious liberty or where there are major restrictions placed on religion.
Though Christians here in the U.S. aren’t victimized as are those elsewhere, there does seem to be an increased hostility and intolerance to basic Christian beliefs and teachings. For a large part, it has now become permissible in our society to mock or ridicule religion in general and Christianity in particular. Irreverence is seen daily in our liberal media, where much TV programming will somehow make jokes about Christian values. We have numerous cases in our nation where these values have come under attack. One such case that I am following with interest is the Joe Kennedy situation.
Perhaps most Missourians can readily tell you that our state’s number one industry is agriculture, but not all Missourians are aware that our state’s number two industry is tourism, nor that in 2015, our state’s tourism industry brought a record 40.4 million visitors to our state, visitors who spent more than $12.4 billion here that helped support more than 297,000 Missouri jobs.
This past week at the Missouri State Fair, I could see how agri-tourism works together to provide good opportunities for Missouri residents. Our fair is a showcase of agriculture, with an emphasis on youth in agriculture. It should make us all proud that many of our local and statewide youth had projects on display in the 4-H building, while others had prize livestock filling the various barns and pens at the fair. Their hard work and their talents were on display for thousands to admire.
The Obama Administration recently decided to keep marijuana on its list of dangerous drugs, stating that there is still more research needing to be done, especially in the area of medical usage. In Missouri, the Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative and the Recreational Marijuana Legalization Initiative will not be on the November ballot. For whatever reason, these ballot initiatives were not certified for the 2016 election. The medical marijuana initiative would have allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes and would have created regulations and licensing procedures for its usage. The major complaint about medical marijuana is its high potential for abuse, with little to no accepted medical benefits. The other initiative—the Recreational Marijuana Legalization Initiative—seeks legalization for those 21 years of age or older in order to allow its use for recreational purposes.
In the 2016 session, a proposal to legalize medical marijuana was defeated twice in the Missouri House. Members in support of the measure portrayed the bill as a more restrained approach to any proposed constitutional amendment being pursued by those pushing an initiative petition for the 2016 ballot. This legislation would have allowed doctors to recommend marijuana for their patients suffering from certain debilitating illnesses. The proposal would have regulated the licensing for commercial marijuana growers and retailers, along with creating a system to track the drug from seed to sale.
On July 26, 2016, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled by a 4-3 vote that HB 150, an unemployment reform bill that had been decided on a veto override, was invalid. The court stated the process by which HB 150 was passed was unconstitutional.
During the 2015 legislative session the Missouri General Assembly approved HB 150, a bill crafted with hopes of reforming our state’s system of dealing with unemployment insurance. The intention of the bill was to strike a balance to ensure Missourians would have access to unemployment benefits, but at the same time protect our state’s job-creators from excessive taxes and fees. It was needed to help bring financial stability to a system that had gone insolvent after the 2008 economic downturn.
The insolvent system resulted in Missouri having to borrow money from the federal government to cover unemployment benefit claims, and employers were required to pay millions in interest alone on the borrowed funds. Though several other states were faced with this same problem, Missouri’s unemployment fund was especially unstable. In fact, we are the only state who had to borrow funds from the federal government to provide benefits to unemployed workers during the last five economic downturns.
As most of you are aware, Representative Bill Lant was injured in a one-vehicle automobile accident early last week. His car hydroplaned on wet pavement and struck a road sign in McDonald County, as he was leaving for a committee hearing in Jefferson City. He is still in a Joplin hospital recovering from his injuries. The family will appreciate your thoughts and prayers but are requesting there be no visits at the present time.
It appears the 2016 political campaign is off to a mud-slinging start, and many are asking, “As bad as it is now, could this possibly be the most negative political campaign ever experienced?” I think history can answer this question for us with a resounding, “No!” We read of political races in the past which have been so hard fought and so emotionally stressing that even in the aftermath of the election, anger and deep hurt remained.
Select Committee on Agriculture - Chairman
Appropriations - Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources