Missouri Farm Bureau 2019 legislative priorities

One of the top priorities for the Missouri Farm Bureau in this legislative session is the expansion of broadband in rural areas of Missouri.

Public affairs director Eric Bohl tells Brownfield they want to follow up on the success in last year’s legislature – where the Missouri Rural Broadband Development Fund was created, “Governor Parson in his state of the state address mentioned that he would like to put $5-Million-dollars toward that program to get rural broadband to every home in Missouri – that’s our ultimate goal – and that would be a good start towards that.”

Bohl says the funding, if approved by state lawmakers, would be the next step in getting reliable, affordable high-speed internet for all Missourians.

The program would be implemented by the state Economic Development Department’s Broadband director.

Increased transportation funding is a priority again this year for the Missouri Farm Bureau, “It’s pretty clear that there’s something that needs to be done. Our farm to market roads are in pretty bad shape across Missouri especially in the areas of the state that have the heavier trucks on them, carrying the row crops to market.”

Bohl says they’re working with the governor’s office and the legislature to get more funding to improve roads and bridges, “To try to find new ways to fund those roads or just increase the amount of money that we’re giving to them in the first place because we need to do something about it. We can’t continue to spend the revenue of 20 years ago to fix today’s roads.”

Governor Mike Parson has proposed a $350-Million-dollar plan to fix 250 Missouri bridges, not roads. Missourians defeated a gas tax measure on last November’s ballot, meant to fund transportation improvements.

The Missouri Transportation Department says 900 bridges in the state are in poor condition.

Missouri Farm Bureau supports a prescription drug monitoring program for the state to curb opioid abuse – one of its 2019 legislative priorities.

Bohl says Missouri is disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis, “Missouri’s the only state in the union that does not have a prescription drug monitoring program. So, a lot of states around us – since we do have eight states touching us, more than any other state – a lot of states will have people coming over to Missouri in order doctor shop and try to get prescriptions.”

Missouri Farm Bureau members voted at their annual meeting in December to support giving medical professionals the information they need to make informed medical decisions. The opioid abuse rate is higher in Missouri than a lot of other states, affecting one in three Missouri families.

Missouri Farm Bureau has identified other top priorities this legislative session. Listen to our full interview below.

Interview with Eric Bohl, Missouri Farm Bureau 2019 legislative priorities

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