As the legendary college football coach Lou Holtz once said, “How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser.” Last week was the annual legislative spring break, marking the symbolic halfway point in the 2023 spring legislative session. Looking at the first half, we saw progress on a number of Missouri Farm Bureau priority issues.
Both the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bureau Health Plan bills were heard in committees, with the Senate voting the bill out of committee and one step closer to providing Missouri Farm Bureau members another, more affordable, option for health coverage. The House passed legislation that would reform the initiative petition process, raising the threshold for Constitutional Amendments from a simple majority of votes cast to 60%. The House and Senate are also considering several other initiative petition reform bills. Legislation passed in the House to further restrict foreign ownership of agricultural lands and is headed to the Senate, and the House Agriculture Committee passed legislation to assist with passing the family farm onto the next generation by tackling the impact of crippling capital gains taxes. Protecting private property rights and improving our road systems, including expanding I-70 to six lanes, are also high priorities.
Last week, we spent halftime assessing what we need to do to continue the momentum. At Missouri Farm Bureau, we know this isn’t a game. Improving access to affordable health coverage, enhancing the safety and reliability of our roads, and protecting private property rights are real needs of our members and our fellow Missourians—and there are real solutions pending in the General Assembly.
Sports fans know all too well that games are often won or lost in the second half. Working with bill sponsors and other legislative leaders, the needs identified by our members are positioned to be addressed, but nothing is ever certain. Opponents of our legislative proposals are out in full force and will be through the end of session.
The legislature needs to hear from Missouri Farm Bureau members. They need to hear about the issues we face every day in rural Missouri, and they need to hear how these real world solutions can make a difference.
If you haven’t joined us for Capitol Connections yet, consider taking the time to do so. Additionally, consider picking up the phone and having a conversation with your legislators.
The second half is underway, and we need you in the game.