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2024 Missouri Legislator
Spotlight Series

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Phil Amato

Missouri House District #113

All about Representative Amato: 

  • Representative Amato is recognized as the oldest freshman in the Missouri House and serves on the following committees:

    • Local Government

    • Transportation

    • Health & Mental Health

    • Economic Development

  • Phil served on the Arnold City Council for 16 years and Mayor Pro-Tem for 8 years. 

  • Representative Amato led the effort to establishing libraries in northern Jefferson County, and building a 17-million-dollar recreation center in his community. Since 2016, he has been board president on the Arnold Food Pantry, which is recognized as the largest food distribution center in the St. Louis region. 

Top 3 Legislative Priorities for 2024: 

  • "I have already introduced that modifies and increases the cap related to the Missouri food pantry tax credit program. Presently people think they are to receive a 50% Missouri tax credit for donating to food pantry, and most often because the cap has been reached do not. They get a letter from the Department of Revenue telling the donor he or she is not entitled to the entire 50% and to please send the money disallowed including penalty and interest."

  • "HB1731 Authorizes a 50% tax credit program for donating to non-profit hospitals foundations.  Hospital foundations help support the hospital with assisting patients who cannot pay with their medical bills, it can also cover such things as transportation cost of patients who cannot drive after receiving chemo treatments."

  • "Lastly, we are putting together a bill that will be called the Sullivan School Safety Grants program. The matching grant program for schools will cover electronic doors, classroom locks, video cameras, and where needed metal detectors. Included in the legislation will be a provision for construction grants for schools covering roofs and HVAC systems."

Rural Broadband Assessment: 

In your opinion, how would you rate the current state of rural broadband accessibility in Missouri? How do you see the expansion of rural broadband impacting economic and educational opportunities in Missouri’s rural communities?

 

"I believe accessibility for high-speed internet in rural Missouri needs much more work. We must give the students in rural Missouri the same opportunities as the students in the urban and suburban areas. State Representative Louis Riggs from Hannibal has led the charge in the area of rural broadband, and in my mind making significant progress."

 

 

Future Vision:

 

By the end of your current term, what milestones or progress do you hope to see in terms of energy security and rural broadband accessibility in Missouri?  What do you see as the roadblocks to those milestones?

 

"I believe we must get Representative Louis Riggs the tools he needs to get the job done. I also see Representative Bob Bromley from Carl Junction in Jasper County, who is head of Utilities Committee, and a licensed engineer playing a significate role. Bob in the private sector has run powerplants and had hundreds of people working for him at any one time, and is very knowledgeable in this field. Having Louis Riggs, a lawyer and Bob Bromley an engineer, makes me believe that Missouri could not have two more brighter people putting this issue under a microscope. My job, as I see it, would be to support their solution to this very complex problem."

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Sherri Gallick

Missouri House District #62

All about Representative Gallick: 

  • Representative Gallick was elected in 2022 and is finishing her 1st year. She serves on the following committees: 

    • Rural Community Development​

    • Tourism

    • Economic Development

    • Appropriations for General Administration

    • Emerging Issues

Top 3 Legislative Priorities for 2024: 

  • Blair’s Law – unlawful celebratory discharge of a firearm

  • AED Education – Aa plan for every school activity for emergency situations in need of an AED

  • Age Verification – against child pornography

  • Fentanyl – Bring stronger charges against fentanyl distributors.

Energy Security Overview: 

How would you currently assess the state of energy security in Missouri? What do you believe are the most pressing challenges and opportunities in this area?

"I am still learning more about the state of our energy security. The biggest challenge would be preventing hackers and bad actors."

Rural Broadband Assessment: 

In your opinion, how would you rate the current state of rural broadband accessibility in Missouri? How do you see the expansion of rural broadband impacting economic and educational opportunities in Missouri’s rural communities?

 

"The broadband situation in MO is getting better, but there is much to be done to have adequate broadband access for the entire state. With the expansion of broadband comes educational opportunities and economic growth, especially in rural communities."

 

Future Vision:

 

By the end of your current term, what milestones or progress do you hope to see in terms of energy security and rural broadband accessibility in Missouri?  What do you see as the roadblocks to those milestones?

 

"There are contracts for broadband that are not being implemented in the given time frame. That money should be given back, reallocated, and put to good use. There is also information that needs to be challenged as far as access and strength of the internet. What is on paper or reported is not always factual. We need to monitor the programs and processes with oversight and accountability."

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Dave Griffith

Missouri House District #60

All about Representative Griffith: 

  • Representative Griffith was elected in November 2018 and serves on the following committees: 

    • House Veterans (Chairman)​

    • Rules- Administrative Oversight (Vice-Chair)

    • Health and Mental Health 

    • House Administration and Accounts

  • Griffith serves on the Governor's Task Force for Opioid and Drug Prevention Committee as well as the Commissioner for the Missouri Veterans Commission. Griffith is also on the Missouri Consolidated Health Plan Board of Trustees. 

Top 3 Legislative Priorities for 2024: 

  • Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill, will address the veterans suicide in Missouri and charge the Missouri Veterans Commission with collecting data on where veteran suicide’s occur and to look at best practices in other states at their prevention success.

  • The Missouri Afghan Medallion – every war we have fought in from World War I to present has presented every veteran a medallion and with the ending of the Afghan War it is appropriate to offer this to those veterans.

  • Personal Property exemption for 100% Disabled Veterans. This bill is self-explanatory but would allow all 100% disabled veterans exemption from personal property taxes.

Energy Security Overview: 

How would you currently assess the state of energy security in Missouri? What do you believe are the most pressing challenges and opportunities in this area?

"Looking at alternative energy sources is important to Missourians but the method in which it is done by out of state companies and using farm land that has been in families for generations is concerning to me. I believe solar energy is good in some areas but not the total answer to solving energy problems."

Rural Broadband Assessment: 

In your opinion, how would you rate the current state of rural broadband accessibility in Missouri? How do you see the expansion of rural broadband impacting economic and educational opportunities in Missouri’s rural communities?

 

"Broadband access in rural Missouri is definitely a priority of mine and the bulk of my colleagues in the House. With computers playing a larger role in a lot of farming operations, access to dependable internet access is vital and the House along with the Senate and Governor recognize the need and are doing what we can to address this issue. More and more dollars are being accolated to providing Broadband access and will continue in this coming session."

Future Vision:

 

By the end of your current term, what milestones or progress do you hope to see in terms of energy security and rural broadband accessibility in Missouri?  What do you see as the roadblocks to those milestones?

 

"The biggest problem or roadblock is finding one provider that all can agree can deliver the best service to rural Missouri. We have been having meetings for the past three years and in my opinion we are no closer to solving this problem but MUST be done and done soon. I am hoping that by the time I term out this will be in the rear view mirror and all of Rural Missouri will have this service."

Rusty Black

Missouri Senate District #12

All about Senator Black: 

  • Rusty Black lives in Chillicothe, Missouri with his wife, Karie. Together they have four children. 

  • Prior to being elected to the Missouri Senate Black spent 3 terms in the Missouri House of Representatives and 33 years as an Agriculture Educator before retiring in 2016. 

  • Rusty serves on the following committees: 

    • Vice-chair of the Senate Agriculture 

    • Food Production and Outdoor Resources 

    • Appropriations

    • General Laws

    • Governmental Accountability

    • Veterans, Military Affairs and Pensions 

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Top 3 Legislative Priorities for 2024: 

  • SB 805 (Right of First Refusal or Stopping the Next Grain Belt Express) – This piece of legislation aims to protect the personal property rights of Missourians and prevent another Grain Belt Express situation from occurring.  Currently there are no laws in place to safeguard Missouri’s farm and ranch families from private, out of state companies that could argue the use of eminent domain to construct new transmission lines.  Additionally, there is nothing in state law requiring these companies to establish agreements to use existing rights-of-way to build these projects.  These out of state companies are not part of our communities and are primarily focused on profits and private gain, rather than our rural way of life and values.  Under this piece of legislation, incumbent electric companies in Missouri would have the right of first refusal on all transmission projects that connect to their systems and are approved by MISO or other regional transmission organizations.  These companies have long-standing relationships with local businesses, farmers, and landowners and elected officials in our communities. 

  • SB 806 (Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land) – This legislation would return state law regarding foreign ownership of Missouri agricultural land to the way it was in 2013.  Since then, I do not believe the current law has delivered on its original intent and goal to entice more dairy investment or production in Southwest Missouri, as everyone who supported the measure hoped it would.  Rather, the law has divided the agriculture community and has become a political weapon for well-funded campaigns.

 

  • SB 807 (Expanding Collaborative Practice Arrangements between APRNs and Physicians) – This is a bill that was passed last year but unfortunately, the Board of the Healing Arts, which oversees collaborative practice arrangements between physicians and nurses, are not following state statute.  This piece of legislation would remove them from the process.  

Energy Security Overview: 

How would you currently assess the state of energy security in Missouri? What do you believe are the most pressing challenges and opportunities in this area?

"Missouri has traditionally relied on a diverse energy mix, including coal, natural gas, nuclear, and renewable sources.  The state’s energy landscape is subject to changes influenced by economic, environmental, and policy factors.  Some pressing challenges include policy and regulatory uncertainty.  Energy policies can significantly impact the industry.  Uncertainty or changes in policies at the federal level can affect investment decisions and the overall stability of the energy sector.  Upgrading and modernizing energy infrastructure is a continuous challenge.  Aging infrastructure may need substantial investments to enhance efficiency and ensure long-term reliability."

Rural Broadband Assessment: 

In your opinion, how would you rate the current state of rural broadband accessibility in Missouri? How do you see the expansion of rural broadband impacting economic and educational opportunities in Missouri’s rural communities?

 

"I believe that the Office of Broadband Development is working well and is prioritizing access to rural communities but it is a process that takes time and a lot of hard work.  Rural Broadband is essential to education as well economic development, as we continue to advance technologies in the production agriculture industry the need for access to broadband is essential. Students and constituents need to have access to these tools in order to receive education and work in the 12th District."

 

Future Vision:

 

By the end of your current term, what milestones or progress do you hope to see in terms of energy security and rural broadband accessibility in Missouri?  What do you see as the roadblocks to those milestones?

"I don’t know if this will be completed by the end of my term but rural broadband needs to be accessible to everyone who wants it.  In terms of energy security, investing in Nuclear power needs to be a priority and as a state we need to be open to those types of investment.  Nuclear energy provides a consistent and reliable source of power that continuously operates at a high capacity factor.  Nuclear power can enhance energy independence and can decrease the vulnerability to geopolitical issues affecting the supply of oil and gas.  Nuclear power plants have long operational lifespans which provides a stable and predictable source of electricity.  Lastly, the nuclear energy sector supports job creation and economic growth.  Building, operating, and maintaining nuclear power plants involve a skilled workforce, and the industry can stimulate economic activity in regions where these plants reside."

Check back for more spotlight interviews to be added soon!

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