Gov. Mike Parson on Friday signed his first five bills into law since taking office, including one that exempts small farms from parts of the state’s clean water law.

The legislation said farms would not need a permit to allow water from their property to run into the state’s waterways, whether from irrigation or precipitation. The exemption would not apply to larger farms, and the Department of Natural Resources would still be allowed to intervene to stop pollution.

The law also restricts the department from applying new regulations to certain landfills with coal ash, a toxic byproduct of coal plants, unless it has data that confirms there is an “imminent threat” to people or the environment.

When a version of the coal ash proposal was debated on the House floor, some lawmakers criticized it as a potential threat to Missouri’s groundwater. Proponents responded that the changes removed needless regulation and still provided multiple ways for the department to fight pollution.

Another element of the law establishes a “Radioactive Waste Investigations Fund,” a topical investment considering a federal report released Monday concluded that “radiological contamination” in North St. Louis County could have increased residents’ risk of cancer.

Parson did not directly comment on any of the bills in a statement, but did praise lawmakers overall for their work.

Another bill signed into law makes disposable diapers part of the Back to School Sales Tax Holiday that occurs every August.

The Legislature passed 143 bills this year, and just over half were signed into law by former Gov. Eric Greitens hours before he resigned June 1. Dozens of proposals are still in limbo, including the state budget.

Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby

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