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Rep. Black files bill relating to historic event that took place in Chillicothe in 1928

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Legislation making Sliced Bread Day Official, Moves Forward
By Angie Talken, C-T

Earlier this week, the Missouri House of Representatives debated, and ultimately gave first round approval to House Bill 78, legislation sponsored by Rep. Rusty Black, designating July 7, as Sliced Bread Day in Missouri. This is the second year, Rep. Black, R-Chillicothe, introduced the legislation which encourages Missourians to commemorate the first sale of sliced bread, which happened in 1928 in Chillicothe.

So far, the bill is moving quickly through the legislative process. It was introduced on the House floor on Jan. 9, then sent to he House Special Committee on Tourism, which approved the bill with a bipartisan 9-0 vote on Feb. 21. Rep. Black was then able to speak on the House floor and his fellow lawmakers joined him in giving initial approval to Senate Bill 78 on March 6. Rep. Black expected the bill to be take up again and passed out of the House of Representatives on Thursday before the Legislature adjourns for the weekend or Monday afternoon.

Black's legislation, House Bill 78, is identical to his 2018 legislation. The House of Representatives approved the bill last year by a 128-16 vote, but it died in the Senate. "Senate Bill 78 is a big deal but one that doesn't cost Missourians anything. There is no negative to this legislation at all," Rep. Black said. The legislation is being handled by Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, in the Missouri Senate. "Sen. Hoskins said he plans to add this legislation to a package over on the Senate side," Rep. Black said. "Or he will amended a Senate Bill later this session and add it to that bill language."

Local leaders are hopeful it will pass this year. "I think it is a big deal. On a statewide level, it recognizes July 7 as an important day and what sliced bread stand for," Ed Douglas, president of the Sliced Bread Committee, said, "It is the standard of innovation - past, present and future." The annual Sliced Bread Day event is hopeful statewide designation will only help all Chillicothe residents for years to come. "Not only is it (sliced bread) one of our hooks to bring folks into town and see the other things we have to offer," Douglas said, "It is an important part of American history." "This bill isn't just important for residents in Chillicothe, but for people across the state," Rep. Black said. "It points out our region and state as a leader in something that changed history."

Last year was the first-ever Sliced Bread Day celebration in Chillicothe. Douglas said it will now be an annual event. The day-long celebration included as many as 15 events including a 5K run, sing-a-long, a parade, several speakers at the library, a bread baking contest, a bluegrass festival, and a large fireworks display. "We had a really great turn out for the event," Douglas said. He noted this year's celebration will feature similar events and will be held on July 6.

Missouri Sliced Bread Day Talks Likely to Resurface
By Catherine Stortz Ripley

Legislation that would have designated July 7th as Missouri Sliced Bread Day didn't make the cut on the final day of session as the measure failed to be heard on the Senate floor prior to adjournment. "Unfortunately, we ran out of time before we could take up that bill," Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) told the Constitution- Tribune on Saturday.

The Missouri Sliced Bread Day proposal was part of a package of bills that was considered on the last day of session, which also included a proposal designating an official state tartan, which Sen. Maria Chappelle Nadal (D-University City) opposed. Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) said Chappelle Nadal's opposition led to legislators running out of time to consider the Missouri Sliced Bread Day proposal. "Her intent was not directed at Sliced Bread Day," said bill sponsor Rusty Black (R-Chillicothe)." She killed a package of bills that included Sliced Bread." Sen. Nadal said she was unaware of the bill that would have designated July 7th as Missouri Sliced Bread Day before the legislative session ended Friday. "I didn't know anything about it," she said, when contacted by the Constitution-Tribune following the legislative adjournment. After learning that on July 7, 1928, Missouri became the first place in the world to sell commercially-sliced bread, Chappelle Nadal said she would like to see July 7th designated as Missouri Sliced Bread Day. "It's a wonderful history; and I wish it was explained on the Senate floor," she said.

Chappelle Nadal is completing her second term in the Senate and is a candidate for the House of Representatives in this year's election. She previously served in the House from 2004 until 2010. If elected, she said she'd like to see the Missouri Sliced Bread Day legislation pass. "I will be supporting Sliced Bread in the future," she said.

Black prefiled the bill in December; and it quickly worked its way through House committees and ultimately received resounding support once put to a House vote in February. The measure was sent to the Senate side for consideration. In the Senate, the bill was voted do pass in executive session and placed on the Senate's informal calendar, where it failed to be put to a vote. Black, if re-elected, said he would file the legislation again next year. Hoskins stated that he would work with Black to try to pass the bill next year.

Sliced Bread Day Bill Clears House; Heads to Senate
By Catherine Stortz Ripley
02 23 18
Photo Courtesy / Tim Bommel / Missouri State Capitol

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A proposal declaring July 7th as Missouri Sliced Bread Day received overwhelming support by the Missouri House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon. Upon its 128-16 vote approval, the bill was forwarded to the Missouri Senate and had its first reading. In his introductory remarks on the House floor, Rep. Rusty Black (R-Chillicothe), the bill's sponsor, provided information about the earliest records of bread up through the introduction of the world's first automatic bread slicing machine which was first used in Chillicothe, Mo., on July 7, 1928. "In 1911, Otto Rohwedder, the father of sliced bread, began working on a machine to mechanically slice bread," Black said. At the time, Rohwedder was a jeweler in St. Joseph, Mo. "In 1928, the first automatic bread-slicing machine was first used in the great town of Chillicothe, in the greater state of Missouri," Black said. "Missouri: The home of sliced bread." Applause could be heard coming from the House floor. Black continued. "We've talked about value added agriculture," said Black, a retired ag education teacher. "Sliced bread, folks, is value added agriculture... as well as the peanut butter and jelly... that becomes very popular when we add sliced bread." Rohwedder, Black said, talked with bakers throughout the country but none wanted to give his invention a try. None, except for Frank Bench, of Chillicothe Baking Company, in Chillicothe, Mo. "Within two weeks, the amount of bread that he sold went up 2,000 percent," Black said. "The rest is history." Black concluded his remarks on the House floor by stating that July 7, 2018, will be the 90th anniversary of commercially-sliced bread. He once again renewed his motion that his bill declaring July 7th as Missouri Sliced Bread Day be third read and passed.

More applause came from the House Floor and Rep. Richard Brown (D-Kansas City) offered comments in support of the bill. Brown is the ranking minority member serving on the Special Committee on Tourism. "We heard this bill in the Tourism Committee, and it is a very good bill for the city of Chillicothe as well as the state of Missouri," Brown said. "This bill is the greatest thing since sliced bread and if we don't pass this bill, we'll all be toast! And with that, Mr. Speaker, I urge the body to pass this bill."

Several individuals from Chillicothe were in Jefferson City in support of the bill, including Pam Clingerman, curator of the Grand River Historical Society Museum. Clingerman and Museum Board President Marvin Holcer approached Black with the idea of establishing a state designation for sliced bread. "This is an amazing piece of history," Clingerman said. "This is important to everybody in Missouri; not just Chillicothe. It revolutionized the baking industry." Amy Supple, director of the Greater Chillicothe Tourism Region, also was at the state capitol Wednesday afternoon. "In Chillicothe, we are so fortunate to have an amazingly innovative story as part of our history," Supple said. "July 7th is a day worth celebrating and that's what we plan to do."

Rep. NateWalker (R-Kirksville) is a co-sponsor of the Missouri Sliced Bread Day bill. Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg), who represents Chillicothe in the Senate, will handle the bill in the Senate. Wednesday's House vote was 128 "yes" votes, 16 "no" votes and 1 "present" vote. There were 13 members absent. House Speaker Todd Richardson declared the bill passed.

Sliced Bread Bill Advances

C-T 02 21 18 - JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Missouri Rep. Rusty Black's bill to have July 7th declared as Missouri Sliced Bread Day is scheduled to be introduced on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives this afternoon. The proposal received unanimous support last month from the Special Committee on Tourism and then passed through Consent and House Procedure. Several individuals from Chillicothe were expected to be at the state capitol when the bill is presented today. If the bill passes out of the House, the measure will be up for Senate consideration. On the Senate side, Senator Denny Hoskins (R- Warrensburg), who represents Livingston County, will help move the proposal through the Senate. This bill has received widespread interest and media attention for Chillicothe since Black (R-Chillicothe) filed the bill late last year, bringing recognition to the fact that commercially-sliced bread was first introduced to the public in Missouri. That event took place July 7, 1928, in Frank Bench's Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri. The most recent media coverage came Tuesday in the form of a news article printed in the Washington Post online edition. The bill also received online exposure on CNN's website.

C-T 01 31 18 - JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Missouri Rep. Rusty Black's bill to have July 7th declared as Missouri Sliced Bread Day received support Tuesday morning during its second round of committee hearings. The Consent and House Procedure Committee heard the bill as presented by Black (R-Chillicothe). The committee voted unanimously in favor of the proposal. The bill now goes back to the speaker's office to be considered for placement on the calendar for debate on the House floor. Black stated that the proposal still has a long way to go before reaching the governor's desk but, so far, has been well received. "Things like this make a difference," Black stated. "This recognition highlights Highway 36 and tourism opportunities provided along this highway. It may be 15 or 20 miles between historic highlights, but there is great, rich history in this part of the world."

The Sliced Bread bill was among several bills heard in committee Tuesday morning. In addressing committee members, Black noted the history found along U.S. Highway 36, including J.C. Penney's hometown of Hamilton, Congressman Jerry Litton's hometown of Chillicothe, Gen. John J. Pershing's hometown of Laclede, Dr. Howard A. Rusk hometown of Brookfield, and Walt Disney's boyhood home of Marceline. There's another important one, Black told committee members, "the greatest thing since... sliced bread."

Black provided committee members with a brief history of slice bread's introduction to the world that took place in Chillicothe on July 7, 1928. Several legislators asked questions and made comments. "Rep. Curtis Trent (R-Springfield) said this is a celebration of innovation, ingenuity and hard work for our entire state," Black said. Once presented on the House floor, the bill would need to be read again before moving to the Senate's consent calendar.

The Sliced Bread bill's first hearing took place Wednesday, Jan. 24, and was heard by the Special Committee on Tourism. The committee unanimously voted the measure out of committee as a consent bill. The bill, HB1349, is co-sponsored by Nate Walker (R-Kirksville).

C-T 01 26 18

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Missouri Rep. Rusty Black's bill to have July 7th declared as Missouri Sliced Bread Day received support during its first hearing Wednesday evening. The Special Committee on Tourism heard the bill as presented by Black (R-Chillicothe), along with testimony from Pam Clingerman, curator of the Grand River Historical Society Museum, and Catherine Ripley, news editor of the Chillicothe Constitution- Tribune. After hearing testimony, the committee unanimously voted the proposal out of committee as a consent bill. Wednesday's action is the first of several steps the bill will need to take before reaching the governor's desk, Black stated. The next hearing on this bill is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 30, before the Consent and House Procedure Committee. The bill, HB 1349, is cosponsored by Nate Walker (R-Kirksville).


Seventh District Missouri Rep. Rusty Black (R-Chillicothe) has filed a bill to designate each July 7th as "Missouri Sliced Bread Day." The legislator pre-filed the state bill in December. The bill had its first reading on Wednesday, its second reading on Thursday, and now awaits committee assignment for a hearing. The bill language calls for the declaration of Missouri Sliced Bread Day and encourages Missourians to participate in appropriate activities and events to commemorate the first sale of sliced bread on July 7, 1928, in Chillicothe, Mo.

The building in which the first loaf of commercially-sliced bread was introduced to the world still stands at the corner of First and Elm streets in Chillicothe and is owned by the Sliced Bread Corporation. It was here where Chillicothe Baking Company owner, Frank Bench, put Otto Rohwedder's bread slicing machine into operation. Last summer, Black visited Grand River Historical Society Museum in Chillicothe where a Rohwedder bread-slicing machine is on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and is displayed. At the conclusion of his visit, Pam Clingerman, museum curator, and Marvin Holcer, of the Livingston County Historical Society, asked if Black would be willing to file a bill declaring July 7 as Missouri Sliced Bread Day. "I told them I would be happy to file the bill," Black said. "I have visited the museum a few times, but it has been a few years, and I found it very interesting to see the exhibits and changes to the museum." Although it is undocumented as to what happened to the original bread-slicing machine, it is believed to have been used until it fell apart. The machine on display at the Chillicothe museum was used at Korn's Bakery in Davenport, Iowa, and is the second one that was put into use. It was donated to the Smithsonian about 30 years ago by the family of Otto Rohwedder.

PHOTO CAPTION: On July 7, 1928, Chillicothe, Missouri, became the first place in the world to introduce commercially-sliced bread. Missouri Rep. Rusty Black has filed a state bill that would designate each July 7th as Missouri Sliced Bread Day.

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