JEFFERSON CITY, Mo — As the Missouri General Assembly rushes to finish its session, it’s tackling some big issues alongside some quirky ones. With the clock ticking down, lawmakers are focusing on a bill that mixes serious housing matters with unexpected chicken rules.

Supporters of a major bill say it’s all about protecting property rights, but critics worry it might take away local control. Lawmakers from both parties are behind the bill, which aims to make historic tax credit processes smoother.

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One part of the bill is stirring debate—it toughens penalties for squatting, deals with eviction moratoriums, and oddly enough, settles the backyard chicken debate. Some worry that banning local eviction rules could hurt people in tough situations, like during the pandemic when moratoriums kept folks from losing their homes.

The bill also tells homeowners associations they can’t ban chickens if local officials say it’s okay. There’s a part of the bill that could help fix up rundown properties, especially in poorer areas.

Now, the bill is off to the governor’s desk for a final decision. It’s a mixed bag of concerns, from housing rights to backyard poultry, as Missouri’s lawmakers wrap up their work for the year.