To the Editor
The article in last month’s Traveler titled “Missouri’s Outdoors is Under Attack” by Britt Graber was very informative and inspirational.
I followed his example and wrote a letter to my State Representative. Here is a copy of my letter as I thought Traveler readers might be interested:
April 11, 2015
Representative Genise Montecillo
201 West Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO, 65101-6806
I would like to thank you for your dedication in representing the people of the 92nd district and also the entire population of the great state of Missouri.
Your involvement in the numerous educational committees is of great importance for the future growth and development of Missouri which also will have the same effect on the United States.
Our youth and their education is one of the most important resources that Missouri has.
There is another important resource that Missouri has that is second to none. It is our Great Outdoors with all of its natural wonder and beauty. This natural resource brings in tens of millions of dollars to our state.
The Missouri Department of Conservation has worked hard and successfully for the past 85 years to preserve and expand these resources. There are several bills introduced to the Missouri Legislature that in my opinion could damage the landscape of Missouri forever.
• HJR 27: Lower the 1/8 of a cent sales tax to 1/16 of a cent. This is literally cutting the Conservation budget in half. The 1/8 of cent sales tax has worked for 85 years and the general population has not complained for all this time.
It seems that some legislators want the extra money to fund some of their pet projects that would only benefit a few constituents in their district. The Department of Conservation benefits the entire population of Missouri. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Please vote NO.
• HJR 28: Everyone needs the ability to plan for long-term projects. People need the ability to plan for a 30-year house mortgage, a five-year car payment, college expenses, and a bass boat. This would be extremely difficult if they would have to worry about their income being cut in half every ten years.
There are numerous projects that the Missouri Department of Conservation has been working on for decades. Research projects such re-populating endangered species, both animal and plants, takes years of constant maintenance, keeping our state parks and the many waterways safe and enjoyable to use so we can reap the financial benefits, developing and maintain new forest and prairies takes longer than 10 years. The Conservation needs financial stability. Please vote NO.
• SB 56: In all of the years that I have been fishing and enjoying the outdoor beauty of Missouri I have never heard any fisherman, hunter, trapper or camper complain about the licenses and permit fees. Do not take this money from the Conservation Department. Please vote NO.
• SJR 1: What is the value of this piece of legislation? How would it benefit the Missouri Department of Conversation? Legislation should be designed to improve whatever it effects, not to hinder or destroy it.
• SB 178: Deer are not livestock. My concern is that if the captive deer escape, and they will, it then becomes the responsibility of the Conservation Department.
If captive deer are treated like livestock they could be subject to all sorts of unnatural growth hormones to increase antler size and composition of the deer genetic makeup and then they would escape and mix and bred with the wild deer herds.
This would not be good or natural. Please vote NO.
• SB 337: Volunteer groups such as Clean Stream Teams, Open Buddy Bass Tournaments (benefits Catch a Dream Foundation), Missouri Smallmouth Alliance, Fly Fishers of Missouri, Ducks Unlimited, Wild Turkey and Quail organizations, plus countless other organizations are dedicated for a specific improvement to the resources of Missouri.
These organizations give the general public a place to join and participate in what will make a difference in their environment. These organizations cost the State of Missouri nothing. All of these organizations need to fall under an umbrella of rules and regulations that will protect both them and the state. The best organization for that is the Missouri Department of Conversation. Please vote NO.
• HB 316: The members of the Conservation Commission are basically volunteers. They receive no pay for the six years they spend on the commission, unlike lobbyists who are paid a great deal of money to represent a specific interest without regard to anything else. To make volunteers register as a lobbyist is absurd. Their only interest is in the improvement of Missouri outdoors resources. Please vote NO.
• HB 710: This has to be one of the silliest bills ever. This is why Missourians are supposed to have automobile insurance. How about when drivers see the sign warning that there is a deer crossing area that they slow down and pay attention. Please vote NO.
I see no advantage for this bill and again it would take funds away from the Conversation Department. If you do not live in the state you should not receive its privileges.
• HB 955: This bill would reclassify how navigable and non-navigable streams are used by the public. I believe I speak for many outdoorsmen when I say that I am vehemently opposed to any changes that would limit or eliminate public access from any of our Missouri streams.
The proposed bill would have devastating effects on recreation and tourism, as well as water quality and wildlife. Restricting access would take away income from outfitters and other small businesses that survive on this seasonal recreation.
Due to the recent proposals that have been directed toward conservation and public access, there has been increased awareness by many outdoorsmen across Missouri.
People do pay attention to these things. Protecting our access to public lands and waterways is extremely important to me and everyone else who enjoys a relaxing float down one of our beautiful streams. Please vote NO.
Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns. These issues are important to me and also to the other millions who use and enjoy the great outdoor resources that this state has to offer.
If there is anything that I can do to help you in preserving the good works of the Missouri Department of Conversation, please let me know.
9707 Pauline Pl.
Affton, MO 63123