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HB 722 hurts rural communities

By Rhonda Perry, Program Director, Missouri Rural Crisis Center

As a rural Missouri farmer, I am proud of the ability of rural communities
to make decisions that promote our values and priorities. No two
communities face identical challenges, therefore, the state government
should not be taking a one size fits all approach to issues that can and
should be addressed at the local level. We know what it takes to run our
farms, businesses, and families. Yet, once again, politicians in Jefferson
City and the big special interests that finance their campaigns are trying
to take away our right to make choices for ourselves.

Pushed by well-funded lobbyists, the Missouri legislature passed HB 722
this spring that takes away local control and the right of our citizens to
shape our future. Governor Nixon vetoed this bill, stating that the bill
“is a clear example of unwarranted government intrusion,” and “local voters
ought to have the right to decide these issues.”

On this issue, the Governor is right. Together, we must act to stop this
attempted overreach by the state legislature.

Strong rural economies are built when the state stays out of local
government issues, allowing rural leaders and citizens to make decisions
that benefit our families and neighbors. We know what is best for our
communities, and that out of state corporations do not have our best
interests in mind.

If corporate interests get HB 722 passed, municipalities could be banned
from improving on state standards when it comes to employment benefits for
dedicated, hard working rural workers.

We know state government plays an important role in affairs that go beyond
local jurisdictions. We also know that our city councils and county
commissions are more accountable and accessible. The recent events in
Jefferson City show what happens when there is no transparency. Local
leaders remember who they answer to and if they forget, they are readily
available for us to voice our concerns. State leaders do good work, but
power grabs from our communities don’t help anyone.

Empowering our local leaders and families helps rural, hard working
Missourians. To keep control in our hands and stop one size fits all
policies, join me in contacting our state representatives and senators to
uphold Governor Nixon’s veto of HB722.