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Capitol Briefs: Lawmakers move to rein in who can inspect agriculture facilities 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Legislation proponents said would increase biosecurity for agricultural facilities is headed back to the House for final approval.

HB 547 would designate the Missouri departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources, local sheriffs and law enforcement, and other federal and state agencies as the only authorities able to inspect agricultural facilities, including facilities raising livestock. Sen. Jeanie Riddle handled the bill before the upper chamber. 

“The purpose of this bill is to prevent those who aren’t authorized from inspecting agricultural facilities which would also minimize our biosecurity risk,” she said. “This bill would help clarify for the producers exactly who has inspection authority.”

  • During floor debate, Sen. Doug Beck removed a provision regarding the inspection of facilities raising cats or dogs. 
  • Other amendments added Kansas City and St. Charles County to a list of exceptions from the bill. Charter counters and St. Louis County were already exempted to allow larger communities more room to enforce their own ordinances. 
  • HB 547 ultimately passed out of the upper chamber Thursday afternoon with a vote along party lines. 
  • The bill was heard before the Senate Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources Committee last month. A handful of witnesses, including Missouri Soybean Director of Policy Casey Wasser, supported the bill while representatives from animal group Stray Dog Policy opposed it.