Last week Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest general farm organization, announced its positions on several issues that will be before voters on the November ballot. The state board of directors took action based on the grassroots policies developed by and voted upon by representatives of the more than 130,000 member families across Missouri.
Amendment 1 (“Clean Missouri” redistricting and ethics changes) — Oppose.
Proponents of Amendment 1 claim it will rein in corruption in Jefferson City and make every district competitive in redistricting for state legislature elections. Unfortunately, in practice the ethics reforms are minimal and easily skirted, and the redistricting proposal would make Missouri the most gerrymandered state in the nation.
Currently redistricting attempts to keep “communities of interest” together and keep entire counties and cities in single districts whenever possible. Amendment 1 would mandate extensive gerrymandering in an attempt to balance each district with an equal number of Democrat and Republican voters. This would by necessity require voters from urban and suburban areas to be joined with rural voters in massively contorted districts.
“Clean Missouri” would do little to change the political divide in Jefferson City, but it would have a major detrimental impact on the state. Gerrymandered districts would split up communities, harm rural residents’ representation and ensure political parties and consultants gain even more power in the process.
Missouri needs ethics reforms, but this particular proposal causes far more harm than good.
Amendment 2, Amendment 3 and Proposition C (medical marijuana legalization) — Oppose.
Three November ballot issues would legalize marijuana use in Missouri for medical purposes. Marijuana usage remains illegal under federal law, so legalizing its use under Missouri state law would put our state at odds with federal law and cause unnecessary legal problems.
Missouri Farm Bureau’s members also believe that drug abuse is a significant problem in Missouri and across the United States. Increasing the supply of unregulated drugs to society would have detrimental impacts, so the members oppose these three measures.
Proposition B (minimum wage increase) — Oppose.
Proposition B would increase the state minimum wage by nearly 10 percent and place an automatic escalation clause raising it about 10 percent per year for the next four years. In 2023 the minimum wage would freeze at $12 per hour, a 53 percent increase from the current minimum wage.
Missouri Farm Bureau member policy supports keeping Missouri’s minimum wage in line with the federal minimum wage and opposes automatic escalation clauses in the minimum wage. Mandating wage increases of 53 percent will have a huge detrimental impact on small employers and farms. It ultimately will hurt those it was intended to help, as employers will be forced to lay off workers or automate jobs because of excessive labor costs.
The members oppose Proposition B.
Proposition D (transportation funding) — Support.
Missouri Farm Bureau members have long supported addressing the funding shortfalls for the state’s roads and bridges. Funding for roads and bridges has not been increased in more than 22 years. In that time, the value of that money has been cut in more than half by inflation and increased cost of construction materials. Missouri now has the seventh-largest road system in the nation but is 46th in funding per mile.
Proposition D would generate more than $400 million annually for Missouri’s roads and bridges through a reasonable, phased-in plan. The money would be constitutionally protected from politicians dipping into it for other uses; the Missouri constitution mandates that it must be used on the Missouri State Highway Patrol or roads and bridges.
Cities and counties would have complete local control over $120 million of these funds annually, fairly distributed between urban and rural counties. The remaining funds would be used by the Missouri Department of Transportation solely on roads and bridges across the state.
Whether it is for getting goods to market or children to school, Missouri Farm Bureau members recognize the need for additional funding for Missouri’s transportation system and are in support of Proposition D.
For more information regarding these issues, contact Eric Bohl, director of public affairs, at email@example.com.