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Very much on my mind and the minds of the citizens of the 153rd district is the federal Executive Orders being passed down from Washington DC concerning infringement of our Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. In the Missouri Legislature, House Bill ill 170 introduced by Rep. Guernsey and co-sponsored by myself and other concerned legislators is working its way through the legislative process. A companion bill is currently being filed in the Missouri Senate sponsored by Senator Munzlinger. House Bill 170 read as follows….” Section A. Chapter 571, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 571.048, to read as follows:

571.048. 1. It shall be unlawful for any officer or employee of this state, or any political subdivision, or any federal firearms dealer licensed under 19 U.S.C. Section 923 to enforce or attempt to enforce any act, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the federal government relating to a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in the state of Missouri and that remains exclusively within the boundaries of the state of Missouri.

2. Any official, agent, or employee of the federal government who enforces or attempts to enforce any act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the federal government upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in the state of Missouri and that remains exclusively within the borders of the state of Missouri shall be guilty of a class D felony.

3. Any person in violation of a federal law relating to the manufacture, sale, transfer, or possession of a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition owned or manufactured and retained exclusively with the boundaries of the state of Missouri may request the attorney general to defend him or her for such violation.

4. Any federal law, rule, regulation, or order created or effective on or after January 1, 2013 shall be unenforceable in the state of Missouri if the law, rule, regulation, or order attempts to:

(1) Ban or restrict ownership of a semi-automatic firearm or any magazine of a firearm; or

(2) Require any firearm, magazine, or other firearm accessory to be registered in any manner.

Section B. Because immediate action is necessary to protect the rights of the citizens of this state the enactment of section 571.048 of section A of this act is deemed necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health, welfare, peace, and safety, and is hereby declared to be an emergency act within the meaning of the constitution, and the enactment of section 571.048 of section A of this act shall be in full force and effect upon its passage and approval“.

This piece of legislation is modeled after legislation recently passed in Wyoming which protects state’s sovereignty and Second Amendment rights. If you will to follow this legislation, go to the Internet and enter www.house.mo.gov and click on the House Bills link.

Committee Announcements

Late last week we finalized our list of membership to the various House Committees and I am honored to have been selected by the Speaker of the House to serve as chair of the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education, and as a member of the House Committee on Higher Education, and the House Committee on Tourism and Natural Resources. Before I continue discussing the details of the committees I have been selected to serve on, I wanted to give you a brief description of the committee process and its importance in passing legislation.

In Article III, Section 22, of the Missouri Constitution it talks about the referral of bills to committees in which it states, “Every bill shall be referred to a committee of the house in which it is pending.” This means once a House Bill passes through the committee process and is Third Read and Passed by a vote on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives, it still needs to be sent to the Senate for consideration and, constitutionally, must go through the committee process again in the Senate. The same process occurs for Senate Bills sent to the House of Representatives.

Serving on committees gives us the opportunity and, more importantly, the responsibility to truly dig deep into the substantive issues surrounding how proposed bills will affect life here in Missouri. This process also provides the avenue for public testimony in favor of, or against, proposed legislation. It is a remarkable process giving us the best possible legislation to ensure proper governance of the State of Missouri.

Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education

The House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education may consider and report upon bills and matters referred to it relating to elementary and secondary education and life-long learning in this state, including teachers, financing, property, indebtedness and curriculum. This is important to us here in the 153rd District because the education of our children is our future. Rural Missouri is not forgotten in all the conversations concerning education reform.

Committee on Higher Education

The House Committee on Higher Education may consider and report on bills and matters referred to it related to higher education, including matters relating to financing, facilities, staff, curriculum and related matters. This is important to us here in the 153rd District because we can provide higher education and training opportunities in the rural southern Missouri areas.

Committee on Tourism and Natural Resources

The House Committee on Tourism and Natural Resources may consider and report upon bills and matters referred to it relating to the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Conservation, fish and game laws of this state, preservation and protection the natural resources of this state, development and promotion of travel, tourism, recreation, the arts, and cultural affairs. This is important to us here in the 153rd District because in Southern Missouri, tourism and natural resources are some of our untapped economic assets.

If you find any of the above committees of interest to you, I encourage you to go online to http://www.house.mo.gov/content.aspx?info=/bills131/commdesc.htm#455. There you will find up to date information about bills referred to committees, scheduled meetings, bill summaries, and a variety of other information concerning this process.

Let the People Choose

House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith’s legislation to give the people a voice in filling statewide office vacancies is one step closer to House approval. Smith’s legislation, HB 110, was approved by a vote of 11-1 by the House Elections Committee Tuesday. The bill is the first legislation to receive committee approval in the House this session.

Smith said the bill is one he has championed for the past several years because it represents good government and the right thing to do for the people of Missouri. The governor has stated he believes he has the authority to appoint a successor should the lt. governor’s office have a vacancy, which flies in the face of existing state law. HB 110 makes statute crystal clear that the people should and will choose who will fill a vacancy for a statewide office.

Smith has filed similar legislation in each of the last several sessions to require special elections to fill vacancies in the offices of lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state auditor, state treasurer and United States Senator. Smith’s legislation would allow the governor to appoint a temporary office holder to fill a vacancy until the next general election is called.

The bill also would require the governor to call a special election to fill a statewide vacancy at the same time as a scheduled general election—preventing any additional cost from being passed on to Missouri taxpayers.

Influenza Hits Missouri

As we enter what health professionals traditionally dub “peak flu season” I want to urge you to know the signs of the flu and take the proper measures to protect yourself and your family. Symptoms of the flu are similar to the common cold, but tend to be more severe. Signs of the flu include; fever, body aches, tiredness and cough. Your health care provider can administer at test to determine if you have the flu or not. According to the CDC Influenza has spread to more than 80% of the United States and they are advising everyone who has not been vaccinated to do so now. WHACK the Flu is a community based flu prevention program from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The acronym WHACK is simple:

W—Wash your hands often

H—Home is where you stay when you are sick

A—Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

C—Cover your coughs and sneezes

K—Keep your distance from people who are coughing and sneezing

For more information on flu prevention and vaccination, visit www.flu.gov.

As always, it is an honor to serve the good folks of the 153rd District. If you would like to discuss any issue, please call 573-751-1066 or you can e-mail me at steve.cookson@house.mo.gov .

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