Weekly Capitol Report
Wed, 02/17/2021 - 2:22pm admin
by Rep. Travis Smith (R-155)
The Legislative Process in Jefferson City is similar to a freight train. When the engine starts up the train is barely moving but as time passes, it picks up speed and eventually becomes moving so fast it becomes a blur.
In my few short weeks here, that train is already moving quickly.
House Moves to Streamline Vehicle Licensing Process for Farmers (HB 153)
Members of the Missouri House have approved legislation to cut bureaucratic red tape for farmers so they will have an easier time licensing their vehicles. The bill would allow the many farmers who own multiple vehicles to avoid numerous trips to the license bureau to license each vehicle.
The bill would create a system for Missourians who own multiple farm vehicles to have the vehicles placed on the same registration renewal schedule. All farm vehicles included in the fleet of a registered farm vehicle fleet owner would be registered during April or on a prorated basis. Farm vehicles registered under the bill would be issued a special license plate with the phrase "Farm Fleet Vehicle" and be issued multiyear license plates that do not require a renewal tab.
The sponsor said the bill will help farmers who own multiple vehicles to have a simplified process for vehicle licensing. He said, “It has been a real pain going to the license bureau every time one of those vehicles came up for licensing.” He added that the bill gives farmers the option to “go to the license bureau one time a year in April, license all your vehicles at that one time, and you will be able to get a fleet plate that will be put on your vehicle for multiple years.”
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Legislation Approved to Protect Missouri Farms from Unauthorized Inspections (HB 574)
Legislation is now on its way to the Senate that would protect Missouri agricultural facilities from other states and outside organizations that want to gain access to the facilities without legal authority. The bill is meant to protect producers from animal rights activists who may seek access under false pretenses, and is also designed to limit the spread of disease by ensuring only qualified inspectors are allowed into the facilities.
The sponsor said, “The reason this bill is needed is that oftentimes many of our agriculture producers do not know who has the right to come into their facility.” The sponsor noted that several states have passed animal welfare or animal rights bills and that organizations from those states sometimes want to inspect the facilities of Missouri producers without the authority to do so.
The bill specifies the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture, the county sheriff and any other federal or Missouri state agency with statutory or regulatory authority have exclusive authority to inspect the grounds or facilities in Missouri. Facilities include those used for the production of eggs, milk or other dairy products, raising of livestock, or the production or raising of dogs or other animals not used to produce any food product. The bill also allows a facility owner to request and allow groups outside those listed to inspect.
State Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Navigator
Missourians now have access to a secure registry tool that will help them to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. The newly-created Missouri Vaccine Navigator can be reached online at MOStopsCovid.com/navigator.
Gov. Parson said, “Although vaccine supply nationwide is still quite limited, this registration process will help connect Missourians with more avenues to receive a vaccine. This will not only provide support for Missouri citizens but also help our team determine where the greatest demands for vaccines exist throughout the state.”
The new navigator site allows residents to indicate their desire to be vaccinated. They will then need to answer questions to determine their eligibility based on the state’s priority phases.
Registrants will be notified upon activation of each phase and alerted when they become eligible. Individuals will then be able to seek vaccination from their health care provider if they have vaccines available or view mass vaccination events and other providers in their area.
In addition to helping individuals register for a vaccine, the Missouri Vaccine Navigator will remind registrants when it is time to schedule their second dose. Both vaccines currently authorized for use require two doses, and the second dose is critical to ensure individual and community protection.
Those with online accessibility issues are encouraged to call the COVID-19 hotline at 877-435-8411 for registration assistance. Language translation and other services are available to callers.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you might have. As your Representative, I am here to assist you however I can. I can be reached by email at Travis.Smith@house.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-2042.