The Lake of the Ozarks Regional Economic Development Council is celebrating a major coup in the passage of a bill in the Missouri legislature that will enhance the area's development opportunities.
The Lake of the Ozarks Regional Economic Development Council is celebrating a major coup in the passage of a bill in the Missouri legislature that will enhance the area’s development opportunities. House Bill 1506 was passed by the legislature in the waning hours of the session and signed by Governor Nixon. Instrumental in its drafting was LOREDC past president Brian Meisel, a volunteer committee member from First National Bank in Camdenton. State Rep. Diane Franklin (R-123) and State Sen. Dan Brown (R-16) guided the bill through the legislative process.
A ceremonial signing of the bill took place during LOREDC’s monthly meeting at the Country Club Hotel. Included were Meisel, Franklin, Lake of the Ozarks Council of Governments Executive Director Linda Connor and LOREDC Chairman Corey ten Bensel. Brown was absent.
The legislation involves rural regional development grants which can be used for qualified groups to aid in the development of rural areas.
The bill requires the Department of Economic Development to develop and implement regional development grants with the objective of job creation and investment in specified regions around the state.
Although the governor signed the legislation, he vetoed funding which is not to exceed $5 million. Franklin told LOREDC officials she is optimistic the legislature will override the veto of that particular line item.
“We’re here to celebrate the passage of HB 1506. It’s a great bill for groups like LOREDC,” Franklin said.
She lauded Meisel’s draft of the bill which “was precisely what you needed.” His bill remained intact through the legislative process, though it took two legislative sessions to gain approval due to political maneuvering in 2013.
“On the state level, rural and economic issues don’t get the same attention as other areas of the state,” Franklin said.
This time, however, Franklin and Brown were able to move HB 1506 through the legislature intact.
“We have some great ideas that come before us, but I’ll tell you this is a great idea,” Franklin said of the bill.
ten Bensel said that “as a region, we need to gear up to take advantage of this bill and put this to work for us when the funding is approved.”