House Bills 79 and 81 are consent bills that support Missouri’s efforts to keep good-paying American jobs in our state, instead of outsourcing these jobs to foreign workers. House Bill 79 endeavors to bring international companies to our communities, by creating the Missouri International Business Advertisement Fund. Ads will be placed in international business magazines and advertisers will use social media sites in order to attract international companies to do business in our state. HB 79’s companion bill, HB 81, creates the Missouri International Agriculture Exchange Website. This website will set up a marketplace for Missouri’s agricultural sellers to promote their products abroad.
HB 440 allows cottage food producers to continue selling their goods without health department inspections. This means that folks who make home canned jellies and home dried herbs, among other products, can continue to sell them at farmer’s markets, fairs, and to their friends without government intervention. This would also include baked goods such as breads, cakes, cookies, pies, etc. Any risk involved in purchasing these products belongs to the buyer.
HB 451 allows counties to amend their budgets during the middle of a fiscal year, if revenues decline dramatically. Currently, counties are allowed to increase their budgets annually if they choose to do so, but they are not allowed to decrease them during the course of the year, even if revenues fall substantially. HB 451 will allow counties to adjust their budgets to the current economy and give them the ability to better manage their budgets. The budgeting power of individual counties is granted to them by state statute, and this bill gives counties another tool with which to work, especially during difficult economic times.
HB 673 changes the name of a college—Linn State Technical College—to State Technical College of Missouri. Supporters of this say the name change reflects the college’s unique status as Missouri’s premier public institution of technical education. Also, this recognizes the institution’s growth from a regional school to a statewide college. On a personal note: I have had the privilege of taking a legislative tour of this college and agree that it is certainly an outstanding technical educational facility of which Missourians can be very proud.
HB 334. This bill exempts children who are under the age of 16 and who work on family farms from being subject to child labor laws. It supports and promotes the family farm and the values and work ethics that young people acquire while helping their parents or grandparents with farm work.
Finally, HB 412 is a bill that I did for the Missouri Department of Agriculture. This bill simply changes the loan guarantee from $40,000 to $100,000 as the maximum individual amount of loans under Missouri Livestock Feed and Crop Input Loans Guaranteed Program. These are short-term loans for current expenses to help farmers in purchasing livestock feed or with putting in a crop. This program will be administered through the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Presently, no applicants have taken advantage of this program because of the small loan amount of $40,000. It is believed that with the increase, the loan will be more attractive to farmers and livestock producers. These short-term, low-interest loans will help farmers with their cash flow.
The above are just a few of the non-partisan, brief consent bills with which we have worked this past week. There are other consent bills that have passed the House and are on their way to the Senate for their approval.