Missouri Lawmakers Pass Bill to Help Agriculture Industry

March 31, 2015 07:43 PM
Missouri Lawmakers Pass Bill to Help Agriculture Industry

A bill aimed at helping Missouri's dairy and cattle farmers is once again heading to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's desk — this time without a contentious provision to shift state regulation of farmed deer that led to a veto last year.

Senators voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the bill, the last step needed to send it to Nixon. The House voted 101-48 in its favor March 19.

Although Nixon's spokesman Scott Holste said only that the legislation "would receive a full and fair review," sponsor Sen. Brian Munzlinger said he's hopeful the bill has a better chance of becoming law this year.

At issue last year was a provision that would have shifted control of captive deer from the Department of Conservation to the Department of Agriculture. Nixon and other opponents said that would threaten the state's ability to deal with chronic wasting disease — a deadly deer illness.

Concerns with that measure fueled Nixon's veto of the bill, which also would have allowed trucks to carry more livestock and grain at some times and would reduce liability for some livestock farmers.

Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, this year said he dropped any potentially controversial aspect of the bill in an attempt to pass the legislation, which he said will help spur growth in the state's agriculture industry.

A proposal to further limit foreign ownership of agriculture was dropped following public criticism, for example.

Other provisions in the bill include increasing the amount of weight a livestock truck is allowed to carry and letting grain trucks carry up to 10 percent above the current limits during the harvest season.

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