Missouri Cattlemen's Association Sets 2020 State Policy Priorities - Eminent Domain Top Focus for MCA
"A big part of the 52nd Annual Missouri Cattle Industry Convention was our grassroots policy process. Members set new policies, reviewed expiring policies and established priorities for the 2020 legislative session in the state," said Missouri Cattlemen's Association President Marvin Dieckman, who was elected at the convention.
The policy process for the association lasts nearly three months and concludes at the annual meeting held during the convention, which took place January 10-12 in Columbia, Missouri. Members have their sights on one issue for the state's legislation session. MCA's top priority will be the issue of eminent domain. MCA Executive Vice President Mike Deering said the purpose of eminent domain is to acquire land for infrastructure and other critical needs for the betterment of the state, but questions if current state statutes provide enough clarity.
"It was intended to be used as a last resort and not an easy avenue for private, for-profit companies to make money at the expense of landowners while providing little to no benefit to the public," said Deering. "We will push legislation to ensure the integrity of the eminent domain process. This should not be a tool used to deprive citizens of their private property rights.
"Deering said legislation is already moving in both the House and the Senate. Legislation (HB 2033) sponsored by Rep. Jim Hansen (R-40) has passed out of committee and was perfected on the House floor January 22. Similar legislation filed in the Senate by Sens. Justin Brown (R-16) and Cindy O'Laughlin (R-18) have been heard in committee and await a vote.
The association also has tort reform as a long-term priority.
"The judicial system is used as a weapon against small businesses, including farmers and ranchers, by activists and others who do not like the business or their location," said MCA Policy and Legislative Affiairs Committee Chair Jimmie Long, who is a cattle producer in Cole Camp, Missouri. "Frivolous lawsuits can put families out of business and there are very few consequences to filing these types of lawsuits. We must ensure the judicial system is not used as a weapon to put law-abiding citizens out of business."