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MCA Establishes Legislative Priorities
Missouri Ag Connection - 01/09/2018

The Missouri Cattlemen's Association (MCA) established policy priorities for the 2018 legislative session. MCA Policy and Legislative Affairs Chairman Jimmie Long said reviewing current policies, establishing new policies and setting policy priorities is a grassroots function of the association that is completed at the association's annual convention, which occurred in Columbia. He said the association will focus its efforts on private property rights and integrity in the 2018 legislative session.

"There is no policy established by staff or a few people in a closed door meeting. Our policies generally start at the county level and move up. This is a member-driven process that we take very seriously," said Long, who is a cattleman from Cole Camp. "Our members made clear that private property rights and integrity are of the utmost importance. The association will support measures that strengthen private property rights in Missouri and will vehemently oppose any invasion of those rights. We will work to protect the integrity of the product we produce and enhance the integrity in the ballot initiative process."

Long said if an animal owner is charged with animal abuse or neglect and they are found not guilty, the owner is still required to pay for all expenses associated with their case. MCA supports legislation led in the House by Rep. Sonya Anderson (R-131) that ensures owners who are found innocent are not liable for the costs associated with holding their animals and that their animals must be returned immediately. It also supports legislation led by Sen. Bryan Munzlinger (R-18) to ensure officials are adequately trained to identify animal abuse and neglect using materials certified by the State Veterinarian.

Also pertaining to private property rights, current state statutes regarding the Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) authority in regulating Missouri water do little to provide absolute clarity to the Department and to citizens on what is and isn't regulated by DNR. MCA will push for clarity in state statute to ensure DNR has the ability to improve water quality without hampering private property rights.

Long said MCA will work alongside the Secretary of State's office to push legislation to add accountability, transparency and integrity into the state's ballot initiative petition process.

He also said the association will lead efforts to make certain that plant based proteins and imitation meat products created in a laboratory are labeled correctly and do not mislead consumers into thinking they are buying beef produced by Missouri farm and ranch families.

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