The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

January 21, 2014

Darvin Bentlage, guest columnist: Losing to politics

GOLDEN CITY, Mo. — As we start a new year, I have nothing but dread for this year’s state legislative session. Missouri lawmakers seem committed to treating their constituents as second-class citizens while crafting legislation with the express intent of giving corporations and their wealthy donors free rein to do as they please in our state.

I am a farmer from Barton County and can bear witness to the fact that our state Legislature has been in full attack mode against non-factory farmers and rural Missouri in general for many years.

In 2011, legislators passed Senate Bill 187, which severely limits the damages a factory farm can be liable for. It also limits the legal recourses available to force those farms to address the nuisances or hazards they have created for farm families that have lived here for generations. This is a prime example of the Legislature fighting tooth and nail for giant agribusiness while throwing independent family farmers and other rural citizens under the bus. I could list many more examples of our state Legislature catering to the whims and big donations of Big Ag, but space is limited.

Rural health care has also been in the cross hairs of the state Legislature. The Affordable Care Act has taken effect despite the Republicans’ 40 or so attempts to repeal it at the federal level. Yet here in Missouri, we still see our lawmakers fighting for the “crime” of trying to insure hardworking, low-income Missourians while they throw as many roadblocks as possible for those of us seeking affordable health insurance.

The refusal to adopt a state-run exchange or embrace the expansion of Medicaid keeps Missouri from accepting the federal funds to start the process. These federal funds are tax dollars that we have paid. By expanding Medicaid, Missouri would get those dollars back to help citizens here rather than fund programs elsewhere in the country.

It would be nice if, after all their failed attempts at repeal, Republicans put our country and the well-being of the American people before partisan politics and worked to make the Affordable Care Act function to the maximum benefit of our citizens. Our state Legislature should fully expand Medicaid this session to keep the rural health care system from disintegrating.

Finally, I wish Missouri lawmakers would learn Latin and read the state motto engraved on the rotunda ceiling: “The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.” The motto does not mention the corporations that they give tax breaks to or that they protect by taking away citizens’ rights. Lawmakers should stop denying rural Missourians the same opportunities offered in other states.

Darvin Bentlage lives in Golden City and is an independent family livestock and grain producer.

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Opinion
  • Our View.jpg Our View: No need for No. 9

    “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: ‘Right to Farm’ is wrong

    On Aug. 5, voters will be asked to make a decision about Amendment 1.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: No on Amendment 7

    The Missouri Department of Transportation is wanting more money through a three-quarter-cent addition to the sales tax. Consider one example of how it spends your money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: Bad way to get revenue

    I received two fliers through the mail today asking me to vote “yes” on Amendment 7, which would add a three-quarter-cent tax to Missouri’s sales tax to help maintain roads and bridges.

    July 29, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Symptom of bad policy

    The Obama administration continues to be surprised and shocked when its policies of good intentions suddenly meet the hard reality of unintended consequences.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rebecca French Smith, guest columnist: Amendment 1: Farmers are 'boots on the ground'

    Take a moment and ask yourself who was the last person in your family to farm.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View; Makes no sense

    Chess was never my game. It’s too complicated.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Time value of money

     I was shaking my head along with Anson Burlingame (“Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years,” Globe, July 22), then he offered his readers a chance: “Go ahead — take your pick.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Boiling a frog

    We voters are now being urged to vote on Aug. 5 for Amendment 7 “to fix our roads, highways and bridges.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Our view: 'Yes' on 7

    Opponents of Amendment 7 say this: “Missouri families are already hard pressed to pay their bills during this period of slow economic recovery.”

    July 26, 2014

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