Click to hear KMZU’ s Kristie Cross speak with District 39 Representative Joe Don McGaugh:

Joe Don McGaugh

Lawmakers are in Jefferson City today to choose their offices prior to the new session in January and are also beginning the process of pre-filing legislation this week.  McGaugh said his Livestock Owner Liability Bill will be included on that list.  “Missouri’s had an equine liability law for a long time,” said McGaugh, “If you’re at a local county fair and you walk up to a horse and the horse kicks you, unless you can prove that the individual that owns that horse is negligent in the way they care for the horse, the person who was kicked is pretty much barred from suing that animal owner.  So, what I’m trying to do is to parley any livestock owner in the state of Missouri to basically look just like that equine liability law.”

McGaugh will also reintroduce his proposed Castle Doctrine for another vote in the new session.  “The ability to use deadly force in their homes is what the Castle Doctrine does now,” said McGaugh, “What my bill will do would be to allow third party individuals that are in your home to use deadly force to protect your family.  The example I give is that if my father-in-law is at my house babysitting my children, with the Castle Doctrine as it’s written now, he would not have the opportunity to use deadly force to protect my children because that is not his property, but, if I give him the inherent ability to use deadly force through my legislation, he would be able to do that.”

Entering the new session as a sophomore legislator will give McGaugh some advantage over last year’s experience.  “It’s a lot like being in high school or college in that the more people you know and the more experience you have, the more confidence you gain,” said McGaugh, “Hopefully, I’ll be higher in the committees this session and I’ll have more bills that will be heard.  We have figured out who you need to talk to and who you need on your side to get good legislation to pass and bad legislation to fail.”

“It’s going to be an interesting year,” said McGaugh, “With the elections that happened in November, we have 118 Republicans in the House and 26 Republicans in the Senate.  We have a mega-majority of Republicans in both the House and the Senate.  We need 109 in the House and 25 in the Senate to override the Governor and we are well beyond those numbers.  We passed Amendment 10 which basically puts a check and balance on the Governor’s ability to withhold funds out of the budget.  There are legislators on the other side of the aisle that I respect immensely and who have good ideas.  You don’t want them to be silenced 100%.  They still have a very big role, not only for their constituents but for the state, as well.  I hope we continue to see bipartisanship and comradery among the members because really we are all there to do one thing and that’s to move Missouri forward.”

The 98th General Assembly will convene on the 7th of January.