Keep MO Conservation Commission as it is

Saturday, March 5, 2016

It seems that government at all levels is prone to find a solution in search of a problem. The old axiom of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" clearly does not apply to some within government.

There is no better example than the bone-headed move in the Missouri Legislature to expand the number of members on the Missouri Conservation Commission.

The truth is Missouri, unfortunately, rarely has bragging rights in virtually any area. We are not top ranked in education, economic growth or improving health issues.

But we are high on the pecking order when it comes to the reputation and respect lavished on our state's Conservation Commission.

But now, a Missouri legislator wants to put politics square into the Commission's mission by expanding the number of commissioners. That expansion is likely to create turf battles on the issue of conservation instead of the current four Commissioners who represent the entire state and not regional interests.

There is currently a Senate Joint Resolution in the Missouri Legislature that would require an amendment to the state Constitution seeking to expand the number of Commissioners.

There are absolutely zero reasons to support this measure and ample reasons to oppose it.

The Missouri Conservation Commission was established in 1937 to protect and safeguard wildlife, fish and forests in the state.

And by any measure, this Commission has been a national example of effective management and sound financial policy.

If somehow six Commissioners would be better than the current four, why not 10? Or 20?

By expanding the number of members, regional bias would rear its ugly head. And the ultimate loser would be the citizens of this great state.

By the way, despite a substantial time commitment from each Commissioner, these volunteers are not compensated.

Here's also one important aspect of the move to expand the Commission.

Change in government more often than not starts with citizen concerns and questions. Those concerns lead to a discussion and the government is asked to make whatever changes might bring improvement.

In the case of this Senate Resolution, the call for change is coming from a few elected officials. And that means politics are behind this move. When that is the case, it's all too often the citizens of a state who suffer the consequences.

Missouri has enough concerns such a road improvements, ethics reform and critical budget issues.

The last thing our state needs is a political solution that currently lacks a problem.

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