The Missouri Senate spent a great deal of time discussing a measure that comes in response to some of the protests and other activity we have seen over the past year. Despite the fact the goings on have not taken place — for the most part — in northwest Missouri.

Unfortunately, some of these protests have gone beyond the scope of peaceful or acceptable, in my opinion. If you look at what has happened in Minneapolis, Portland, Oregon or St. Louis over the past 12 months, you will see some instances where I think some people with the right intentions may have let their passion go a bit far. When this has happened, innocent people with no connection to these demonstrations have been injured and sometimes killed.

To this end, Senate Bill 26 seeks to make changes to some of the laws overseeing protesting and other activity. Thanks to input from a lot of different senators, this proposal seeks a balance, so that private property rights are protected just as strongly as the right to protest continues to be ensured.

I believe we need to take care of our law enforcement officers. They do so much to keep us safe. Senate Bill 26 looks after them as much as it works to crack down on vandalism or blocking traffic as part of protesting.

Peacefully protesting is perfectly fine. It is a part of our country’s history. When it goes beyond peaceful, it makes things more difficult for all of us, including those who take part in the activity. In my opinion, this legislation works to keep civility in mind and protect everyone’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Bringing jobs to Missouri

As a lawmaker, one of my top priorities has been to support legislation that helps provide jobs to the men and women serving our country in the military. Over the years, the Missouri General Assembly has crafted legislation with this very goal in mind. This year, we have an additional piece to this puzzle that is moving closer to fruition.

In late January, the Missouri Senate passed Senate Bill 2, which I sponsor. This measure would make changes to the Missouri Works program. More specifically, the benefit would be for projects that relate to the military. In this case, the goal is to benefit Rosecrans Memorial Airport and bring more military jobs to our state.

Fortunately, my proposal is now moving rather quickly through the legislature, having been heard in a Missouri House committee and voted out for the entire House to consider. If they approve this legislation, it would then go to the governor for his signature. With the emergency clause in the measure, it would become law as soon as it is signed.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our veterans and to those who are serving right now. Anything we can do to help these brave men and women, once they are out of active duty and back at home, is just a small token of appreciation we have for everything they have done for us.

I believe SB 2 is another way of saying thank you for everything they have done for our country. I would like to thank my colleagues in both the Missouri Senate and House for helping to fast-track this legislation.

Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, represents District 12 in the Missouri Senate. His constituency includes part of Clay County including Kearney. Hegeman can be reached at (573) 751-1415 or dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov.

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