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The Missouri House had another busy, productive week. This week alone, the House and Senate gave final approval to 25 pieces of legislation, which now go to the Governor’s desk for approval. Though many important bills have already been approved by both chambers, much work remains and only a mere two weeks now remain before the final gavel falls on the 1st Regular Session of the 97th General Assembly on May 17.

One of the bills that was sent to the Governor’s desk this week was Senate Bill 16. SB 16 is similar to my House Bill 334. The bill exempts farm work performed by children under the age of 16 from certain child labor requirements including: the obtaining of a work certificate; hours/days of performance; and certain prohibited hazardous jobs such as operating and maintaining power-driven machinery, climbing ladders, operating vehicles, and working with certain chemicals. This exemption only applies to children working on their own family farms and, when with the knowledge and consent of their parents, the family farms of others.

It is important that Missourians be able to pass along the time honored traditions and values of hard work and perseverance that come with working on a family farm. I am proud to have been the handler of SB 16 when it was in the House and was pleased that 112 of my colleagues joined me in supporting Missouri’s future generations of farmers.

Unlike Washington, the Missouri Legislature annually is required to produce a balanced budget for the next fiscal year. In fact, it is the only thing the Legislature is constitutionally required to do. Last week, the Senate approved its version of the FY 2014 budget. However, many changes were made to the version of the budget that was approved earlier this year by the House. In order to work out the differences a conference committee must be established with members from both the Senate and the House selected to negotiate a final version of the budget.

This week both the House and Senate selected their representatives for these conference committees, and much of next weeks’ time and energy will be focused on passing the budget. This year’s negotiations are on par with prior years’, as the budget, which is vital to our state’s economic health, normally takes until the early part of May to be finalized, and constitutionally must be passed by next Friday.

For more information about the legislation mentioned above or if you wish to participate in my online survey, please visit the House of Representatives website, www.house.mo.gov. As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House of Representatives.

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