Capitol Report | August 4th, 2016

Reducing Tax Burdens & Excessive Liability

As promised, over the next few weeks I will continue to provide brief overviews of some of the issues most likely to take center stage during the upcoming Veto Session this September.

The governor recently vetoed SB 641, sponsored by Sen. Schatz, which was passed by the legislature to allow a 100 percent income tax deduction for the amount of any income received as payment from any program that compensates agricultural producers who have suffered a loss as a result of a disaster or emergency. In effect, it would ensure farmers are not taxed on any disaster relief assistance they receive. Supporters said the change is necessary to allow farmers to benefit fully from the financial assistance they receive after an emergency or disaster.

Legislators also will consider overriding the governor’s veto of SB 844, sponsored by Sen. Parson, which was approved to clarify that an animal owner is liable for damages done by the animal to another’s property only if the owner has been negligent. The change approved by the General Assembly would relieve the animal owner from liability for damages when the animals were released because of the actions or fault of another. HB 1414, sponsored by Rep. Houghton, specifies that certain information on an agricultural producer or owner of agricultural land in connection with a producer or owner’s voluntary participation in a government program that is maintained by the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Natural Resources is not considered a public record and subject to public disclosure.

You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below. As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

As promised, over the next few weeks I will continue to provide brief overviews of some of the issues most likely to take center stage during the upcoming Veto Session this September.

Reducing the Tax Burden on Farmers Recovering from Disaster (SB 641)

The governor vetoed SB 641, sponsored by Sen. Schatz, which was passed by the legislature to allow a 100 percent income tax deduction for the amount of any income received as payment from any program that compensates agricultural producers who have suffered a loss as a result of a disaster or emergency.

In effect, it would ensure farmers are not taxed on any disaster relief assistance they receive. Supporters said the change is necessary to allow farmers to benefit fully from the financial assistance they receive after an emergency or disaster.

Protecting Livestock Owners from Excessive Liability (SB 844)

Legislators also will consider overriding the governor’s veto of SB 844, sponsored by Sen. Parson, which was approved to clarify that an animal owner is liable for damages done by the animal to another’s property only if the owner has been negligent.

Currently, if horses, cattle, or other livestock break through a fence and cause damages to another’s property, the owner is strictly liable. Even in cases when the fence is torn down or broken by someone else, the owner of the animals is still liable under current law. The change approved by the General Assembly would relieve the animal owner from liability for damages when the animals were released because of the actions or fault of another.

Agricultural Data Disclosure (HB 1414 HB 1414, sponsored by Rep. Houghton, specifies that certain information on an agricultural producer or owner of agricultural land in connection with a producer or owner’s voluntary participation in a government program that is maintained by the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Natural Resources is not considered a public record and subject to public disclosure.

The departments may disclose the information under certain circumstances. The participation of a producer or owner in any program administered by the departments may not be conditioned on the consent of the producer or owner to disclose this information.

Certain information relating to animals is not considered a public record and may not be subject to disclosure except under specific circumstances. Any person who knowingly releases such data may be subject to civil action, and a court may order appropriate relief including damages up to $10,000 and reasonable attorney’s fees.

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 115-H, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

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