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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Rep. Jason Smith's Capitol Report: Protecting Rural Missourians

  • Missouri House Republicans met this week to discuss our legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative session. While our talks focused primarily on ways to improve our economy and enhance our system of education, my colleagues also made a strong statement about their desire to support the rights of Missourians to hunt, fish, and farm.
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  • Missouri House Republicans met this week to discuss our legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative session. While our talks focused primarily on ways to improve our economy and enhance our system of education, my colleagues also made a strong statement about their desire to support the rights of Missourians to hunt, fish, and farm.
    The clear message delivered at the meeting is that the House is fully committed to standing in defense of the traditions, values and rights that Missourians have held dear for generations.
    During the 2013 session, we will work in the House to approve a constitutional amendment that will give voters the opportunity to make their voices heard on this important issue in the next statewide election. It will allow all of us who value our agrarian traditions to stand in opposition to the radical animal and environmental rights groups that have assaulted our freedoms in recent years.
    As a farmer from rural southeastern Missouri, I am introducing this common-sense measure to protect Missourians from the encroachment of out-of-state special interest groups and overzealous bureaucrats.
    As the national animal rights lobby continues to partner with the entrenched bureaucrats in Barack Obama's department of agriculture, it's important to remember that we can take actions at the state level to protect ourselves. This session, I will stand alongside my colleagues to defend the traditions that have been passed down from father to son for centuries here in Missouri.
    As we engage in this effort to protect the rights of farmers, hunters and fishermen, it's important to understand that one of the most powerful weapons in the war on Rural Missouri has been the authority of federal and state agencies to put new 'rules' in place.
    These 'rules' are not enacted by the legislature, but have the force and effect of law. For example, the Missouri Department of Agriculture could pass a 'rule' limiting the number of cattle that a farmer could own, or a 'rule' limiting how many acres of corn that a farmer could plant.
    In a similar fashion, outside groups have also sought to use the 'rule-making' process to restrict our ability to hunt and fish. That's why it is so important to protect the right to hunt, fish, and farm in the Missouri Constitution. While state 'rule-making' authorities may be able to shape the law, they cannot change the constitution.
    State and federal agencies will continue to expand their powers to legislate through the 'rule-making' process until we push back. In the Missouri House we are taking this challenge on by proactively working to safeguard the rights of all Missourians who love to farm, hunt and fish. If you're interested in standing with us on this important issue, feel free to call my office at (573) 751-1688 or email me at jason.smith@house.mo.gov.

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