Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance
April/ 19 / 2018
Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance (MCCA)
Be an informed and knowledgable citizen and have your voice for conservation in Missouri be heard. 

MCCA has three goals:
  • Unite college students across Missouri who care about conservation.
  • Members are educated on key conservation issues in Missouri through email, social media and the MCCA website.
  • Members engage and have their voice be heard by participating in MCCA's advocacy efforts, including utilizing CFM's Legislative Action Center. 
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In This Issue
Legislative Update 
Ashley Hollis 

The Missouri legislative session is in full swing and MCCA students be aware of bills which could impact conservation and natural resources. There are two pieces of legislation which could negatively impact conservation in our state that you should be aware of. 

  • SJR 20, sponsored by Senator Munzlinger would amend the Missouri Constitution to ask that the sales tax for conservation be brought to the ballot every ten years. Missouri is unique and has enviable conservation services and natural resources because conservation is not funded through general revenue, but by the conservation sales tax. Should the conservation sales tax be abolished, conservation funds would have to come from the general revenue and the budget for the department would likely plummet. Conservation activities and services are a major part of our state's economy, and this less than 1% sales tax supports jobs across the state. SJR 20 has been second read and referred to committee but is not on the senate calendar. For more information on SJR 20 visit senate.mo.gov and look for SJR 20 under "legislation", or visit confedmo.org/lac 
  • HJR 95, sponsored by Representative Hill, would expand and change the composition of the Conservation Commission to allow additional members, two Representatives and two Senators to serve on the commission. Missouri citizens created the Conservation Commission through initiative petition to be apolitical and serve Missourians and natural resource conservation. Commission members are citizens appointed by the Governor, and allowing legislators membership will change the nature of the commission, obstructing conservation efforts and politicizing the commission.The Conservation Commission functions effectively in it's current form and changes to the commission such as adding commissioners or changing commissioner's terms of service could weaken the commission and conservation authority in Missouri. HJR 95 has been second read and is not currently on the House calendar. You can find out more about HJR 95 by going to house.mo.gov and searching HJR 95 under "bills" or visiting confedmo.org/lac
Visit the  Legislative Action Center  to see all the bills we are watching and keep informed about legislative issues. 

MCCA student Ashley Hollis with a group of students in Thibodaux, Louisiana conducting native plant propagation with Mizzou Alternative Breaks and Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program. Working with another student service group from University of Wisconsin Madison, students planted nearly 700 salt tolerant plants in marshes to negate land loss and restore the coast. 

So You Want to Attend a Hearing  

Did you know that you can testify in Jefferson City at a Missouri House or Senate hearing? Attending hearings and providing testimony is one of the best ways to make a difference and practice active citizenship. During a hearing you get to speak to the legislators making the decisions, no more yelling at the TV or sadly sighing reading the news on your smartphone. Before bills are placed on the House or Senate calendar, they are initially read and referred to committees that deal with topics relating to the legislation. For example, HJR 20, mentioned above, was referred to the Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources committee in the Senate after its second reading. 

During hearings legislators on the committee hear testimony in opposition of and in support of the legislation in question from citizens, concerned groups, and others. Some testimony is given by individuals or groups with knowledge or experience dealing with the legislation and they testify just for informational purposes without declaring whether they support or oppose the bill. You can find hearing times and locations by going to senate.mo.gov under hearings and house.mo.gov under hearings. Sometimes hearing times and locations change, so it's a good idea to check up on the status of a bill hearing when making a Capitol visit.

If you decide to attend a hearing, make a game plan for when you will leave home, where you will park (there are numerous free lots around the Capitol, signs will indicate if parking is reserved) and where the hearing is taking place. Generally hearings in house committees are located in a room on the house side of the Capitol and likewise senate hearings are on the senate side, however joint committee hearings involve legislators from both houses and could be located on ether side of the Capitol building. Think about what you want to say and how you will present yourself. You will be asked for written testimony in committee. Writing out what you want to say beforehand will help you remember the points you want to make and give you something to give to the committee so you aren't having to remember what you were wanting to say and write all your points in the hearing room.  There is no strict dress code to attend a hearing, however business casual dress and good hygiene may lend you more respect when speaking to the committee. You will also have to provide your name and affiliations if you are coming on the behalf of a group. 

If you want to attend a hearing the main thing to remember is not to be too nervous! It's often said and maybe a bit hard to believe on occasion, but legislators are people too. If you make a case and state why you care about something, it makes a difference. Legislators are used to seeing lobbyists and the same people continually coming in at hearings, so new faces and young people attending to speak turns heads and can make a big difference.

Prairie Fork Work Day  

MCCA students in the CLC program attended a Prairie Fork Work Day on Saturday April 7th. During the day CLC students mulched outdoor classrooms, removed invasive plants, and learned about the Katy trail and the legacy of Missouri conservation. CLC student Paul O'Donnell spent the day removing invasive multi-flora rose from trails around the site and said "The Prairie Fork Work Day allows CLC students to give back to the sponsors of the program while learning hands-on applications of land management techniques". The Conservation Leadership Program is accepting applications until May 1
st. Learn more at www.confedmo.org/clc.

Conservation Leadership Corps - CLC
2018 CLC group

If you are interested in a career in natural resources, check out the Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC). This program will help with your career goals. The application period is open until May 1st. Don't miss out on this great opportunity. Learn more at www.confedmo.org/clc or contact Jen Sampsell at jsampsell@confedmo.org or 573-634-2322 ext 103.

Twitter: @MCCA_MO