Archive for the ‘Missouri Politics’ Category

‘Right to Farm’ in Missouri Doesn’t Cover Pot
September 2, 2015

(AP) – A new constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to farm doesn’t protect a woman who reportedly grew marijuana in her home, a Missouri judge ruled this week.
Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled against a woman Tuesday whose public defender tried to argue that cultivating marijuana falls under the farming-rights amendment, the Jefferson City News Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1O8OCcy).
Public defender Justin Carver argued that Green should set aside a grand jury indictment against Lisa A. Loesch. She was charged in 2012 after Jefferson City police arrested her for allegedly growing pot in her basement.
“The conduct alleged in the indictment, even if taken as true, does not give rise to an offense in that the conduct is protected by the Missouri Constitutional right-to-farm,” Carver wrote in an April motion.
Voters added the amendment, which states that “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state,” to the Missouri Constitution in August 2014.
Green ruled that the amendment only applies to livestock and “legitimate” crop cultivation, and even those practices still are subject to regulations.
The “argument that growing marijuana in a basement constitutes a ‘farming or ranching practice’ goes way beyond the plain meaning of ‘farming or ranching practice,'” Green wrote. “Simply put, marijuana is not considered a part of Missouri’s agriculture.”

Pot Lifer Released “It’s a Shame”
September 1, 2015

(AP) – A man sentenced to life without parole on a marijuana-related charge was freed Tuesday from a Missouri prison after being behind bars for more than two decades – a period in which the nation’s attitudes toward pot steadily softened.
Family, friends, supporters and reporters flocked to meet Jeff Mizanskey as he stepped out of the Jefferson City Correctional Center into a sunny morning, wearing a new pair of white tennis shoes and a shirt that read “I’m Jeff & I’m free.”
“I spent a third of my life in prison,” said Mizanskey, now 62, who was greeted by his infant great-granddaughter. “It’s a shame.”
After a breakfast of steak and eggs with family, Mizanskey said, he planned to spend his post-prison life seeking a job and advocating for the legalization of marijuana. He criticized sentencing for some drug-related crimes as unfair and described his time behind bars as “hell.”
His release followed years of lobbying by relatives, lawmakers and others who argued that the sentence was too stiff and that marijuana should not be forbidden

Missouri Ethics Commission Cites Lobbysts
September 1, 2015

(AP) – Several Missouri lobbyists likely broke state laws requiring that they name the lawmakers they buy meals for when they first reported a steakhouse dinner at a conservative legislative policy meeting, according to a report by the state’s ethics panel.
The Missouri Ethics Commission issued letters of concern Friday to seven lobbyists, who were among 15 who split a nearly $5,700 dinner bill during last year’s annual American Legislative Exchange Council meeting. The group provides template legislation for conservative lawmakers.
Five Republican lawmakers – former House speakers John Diehl and Tim Jones, Rep. Sue Allen and Sens. Ed Emery and Wayne Wallingford – were among the crowd of about 40 that dined at a Dallas steakhouse.
The commission report says seven lobbyists improperly reported the meal as being bought for the entire General Assembly, rather than listing individual lawmakers present. That’s because not all legislators were invited, which would have allowed lobbyists to report the meal to the group as a whole even if only a few attended.
The report, agreed to by the lobbyists, says the lobbyists believed all lawmakers had been invited and later corrected their reports to list the expenses as going toward specific lawmakers.

Nixon’s Son Cited, Accused of DWI
September 1, 2015

The 25-year-old son of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has been cited for reportedly driving while intoxicated.
Willson Wheeler Nixon was pulled over around 3 a.m. Sunday after allegedly driving without turning on his headlights.
Columbia police arrested him for driving while intoxicated after he allegedly hit a parked car while being pulled over. He posted bond set at $500 at 8:30 a.m. Sunday.
A spokesman for Gov. Nixon says this is a private matter and did not comment further.
Willson Nixon is the governor’s youngest son and pleaded guilty in June to driving with an excessive blood-alcohol content. He had restricted driving privileges when he was cited Sunday

Only 1 Woman Registered in Proposed Tax District–Her Vote Will Decide Project
August 26, 2015

(AP) – An oversight by representatives of a business community improvement district in Columbia means a 23-year-old woman might be the only one voting on a proposed sales tax increase needed to make the district successful.
The Columbia City Council established the Business Loop 70 Community Improvement District in April at the request of some property owners within the district’s boundaries. The CID planned to hold an election in August to enact a half-cent sales tax, which is projected to raise about $220,000 to fund improvement projects.
Under state law, only registered voters within the district are allowed to vote on proposed sales tax increases in the district. If no registered voters are present, property owners vote. Organizers of the CID in Columbia thought they drew up the boundaries so it included no residents, meaning property owners would decide the fate of the proposed sales tax, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1PylYSw ).
CID Executive Director Carrie Gartner said that when district officials contacted the Boone County Clerk’s Office about holding the August election, they discovered Jen Henderson, 28, had registered to vote in February with her Business Loop address.
Gartner said the CID hoped to use the sales tax revenue to pay down “significant debt,” including more than $100,000 it owes the city and for legal representation.
Henderson said Gartner approached her in June to explain the goals of the CID and asked her to consider “unregistering her vote” so the property owners could vote. However, she said her research indicated things “just didn’t seem to be as good as they were saying to me at first.”
Gartner “tried to get me to unregister, and that’s pretty manipulative,” Henderson said. “The district plan and the district border is manipulative, too.”
Henderson, who attends the University of Missouri, said she doesn’t plan to give up her right to vote and has not decided whether she will support the sales tax.

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