Do you know your state representative, Mike Haffner, and what he stands for? The Raymore Journal caught up with Rep. Haffner and had him break down every bill he has introduced during the current session of Missouri’s General Assembly.
Elected to his first two-year term in 2018, Haffner is poised for reelection this November as he is running unopposed for District 55’s seat in the Missouri House of Representative. What can Cass County residents expect from Haffner during his next term?
The Raymore Journal reached out to the Cass County Democrats for comment on Haffner’s bills and received the following statement:
The bills Rep. Haffner has introduced this session pale in comparison to the bill he co-sponsored in 2019, HB 126. As of Friday, with the trigger law of this bill enacted, a person’s reproductive rights are now illegal in the state of Missouri, even in the case of rape or incest. The only exception will be if a doctor in Missouri, who will be under intense scrutiny, proves that the mother’s life is in imminent danger.
We wish we could have found someone to run against Rep. Haffner in HD55 as a Democrat. Rep. Haffner is a part of the extremist right in Missouri. We are still hopeful that an Independent candidate can gain the signatures required by August 1 to oppose him on the ballot in the general election on November 8th.
Below is a summary of the second half of bills Haffner has introduced to the House during the second regular session of the 101st General Assembly, which has adjourned. To read about the first half of bills, refer to the June 30, 2022, issue of The Raymore Journal or visit TheRaymoreJournal.com.
HB 1875 – Establishes a minimum biodiesel fuel content mandate for diesel fuel sold or offered for sale in Missouri
This bill has seen a lot of action in the House but with little fanfare. Referring to Donald Trump’s America First policy, Haffner calls HB 1875 a Missouri First policy.
Specifically, the bill calls for a biodiesel incentive program. For all tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2023, the bill authorizes a tax credit for retail dealers selling a biodiesel blend at the retail dealer’s service station in the state or for distributors that sell a biodiesel blend directly to the final user in the state.
The credit will be equal to $0.02 per gallon for between a 5% and 10% blend and $0.05 per gallon for more than a 10% blend sold and dispensed through metered pumps at the service station or directly to the final user located in the state during the tax year. If the tax credit exceeds the taxpayers tax liability, the difference shall be refundable. The total amount of tax credits authorized under the bill in a given fiscal year will not exceed $16 million. The program will sunset on Dec. 31, 2028.
As Haffner explains it, initial development of biodiesel fuel was conducted in Missouri through the Missouri Soybean Association. The association developed a process of crushing the soybean and coming up with biodiesel, which Haffner say is far superior to petroleum diesel for at least three reasons:
“It’s a win/win across the board and it can help the state of Missouri,” Haffner said.
Haffner says liquid fuel distribution is not a free marketplace. Rather, he claims it is an oligopoly of seven or eight companies running the pipeline distribution system. Consequently, Missouri biodiesel cannot get involved with the long-term contracts.
Despite biodiesel being better and cheaper, consumption in Missouri has not increased. However, consumption of petroleum has. A lot of that, Haffner claims, has to do with incentives for petroleum fuel at the federal level, even with the current administration. Haffner said surrounding states are making biodiesel more viable. HB 1875 allows a tax incentive to keep Missouri competitive.
Those opposing the bill include, the Pet Food Institute, which states “renewable fuel tax credits and mandates for biodiesel create an unfair government-driven market advantage to the energy sector and a disadvantage to companies purchasing ingredients for pet food.”
The Missouri Coalition for the Environment also opposes the bill:
“Biodiesel fuels at a commercial scale are not a true renewable energy source, as incentives for this fuel production places pressure on producers to maximize production of crops that can be converted into plant oils. This maximization of production puts a strain on farmers (both those who produce such crops and those that do not) and on the adjacent habitats for Missouri’s fauna and flora.”
Proponents include the Clean Fuels Alliance, Iowa 80 Group and Truckstops of Missouri, Missouri Agribusiness Association, Missouri Corn Growers Association and the Missouri Soybean Association.
HB 1882 – Specifies that restrictive covenants shall not limit or prohibit the installation of rooftop solar panels or solar collectors
Haffner calls this a “property rights” bill. It provides that no deed restriction, covenant, or similar binding agreement running with the land shall limit or prohibit the installation of solar panels or solar collectors, as defined in the bill, on the rooftop of any property or structure.
A homeowners’ association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the placement of solar panels or solar collectors to the extent those rules do not prevent the installation of the device or adversely affect its functioning, use, cost, or efficiency.
The bill applies only to rooftops that are owned, controlled, and maintained by the owner of the property or structure.
“That’s a foundational right, within the Constitution and within the United States of America, that you can do with your property as you see fit,” Haffner said.
HB 2652 – Changes procedures and practices for public schools and school districts
Haffner says this bill deals with school accountability. Specifically, how Missouri schools are accredited.
Currently, schools in Missouri use the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) to determine the quality of education for each school. That program then assigns a number to the specific school district.
Missouri has more than 500 school districts. Of those, none are unaccredited. However, less than half of the Missouri students are meeting grade level expectations in math and English, according to Haffner.
According to the American Legislative Exchange Council, Missouri is ranked 30th in overall education, with a failing grade in school choice, a D+ in digital learning and a C for charter schools. Teacher quality and academic standards both received a C grade. Spending per pupil is also among the lowest. More than 20 states rank significantly higher than Missouri when measuring Grade 8 mathematics, according to the Nation’s Report Card.
Haffner pointed out that one school district had a score of 92 out of 100. Yet, the math proficiency sits at around 17%.
HB 2652 adopts a formula that is more reflective of reality for many Missouri school districts.
Proponents include Quality Schools Coalition and Show-Me Institute.
Opponents argue that the bill increases the number of unregulated charter schools. In written testimony, Eric Hadley claims the “bill appears to authorize that, based on yearly accreditation scoring, low-performing schools or districts that remain in the lowest 5% of institutions scored for 4 consecutive years will become charter schools.”
The Missouri National Education Association states that HB 2652 is “Reminiscent of the ‘test and punish’ mindset” of a federal act.
Others opposed include the Missouri Association of School Administrators.
HB 2809 – Establishes the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act
“Innocent until proven guilty,” Haffner said about HB 2809.
This bill prohibits any person, entity, or state agency or county or municipal law enforcement agency from using a drone or other unmanned aircraft to gather evidence or other information relating to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a statute or regulation except to the extent authorized in a warrant.
Haffner said there are situations where people are flying drones over fuel-producing facilities over agricultural farms with the intent of finding anything for which they can file a lawsuit.
Per the bill, a law enforcement agency may use a drone or unmanned aircraft without obtaining a warrant in emergency situations if there is an imminent threat to life or of great bodily harm. A person, entity, or state agency cannot use a drone or unmanned aircraft to conduct surveillance or observation of an individual, property owned by an individual, farm, facility engaged in the creation of fuel from agricultural products, or agricultural industry without the consent of the individual, property owner, farm, facility, or agricultural industry except to the extent authorized in a warrant.
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