Capitol Report 02/19/2015

Voter IDs, Executive Amnesty, & Co-Sponsorship
The House took action this week to pass legislation intended to protect the integrity of the voting process. The members of the House passed two pieces of legislation – one a proposed constitutional amendment and the other a statutory change – that would put in place a requirement that voters must show photo identification before casting their ballots. You may read more about this issue below. Also, in the same week a federal judge in Texas temporarily stopped the implementation of President Obama’s executive amnesty, the Missouri House adopted a resolution urging our Attorney General to join 26 other states that have filed suit against the executive order.

I am also proud to have cosponsored several bills of my colleagues that I believe will move our great state in the right direction. Those bills are HB 152, HB 275, HB 576, HB 843, HB 889.Click on each bill to view the full details. Also, a summary of each bill can be found below.

I was honored this week to attend a great dinner hosted by my Congressman and predecessor, Jason Smith. He provided updates to all of the Republican State Representatives and Senators in his congressional district who were able to attend. IMG_0008 Pictured with us are Rep. Jeff Pogue-Dent County (left) and Rep. Robert Ross-Texas County (right).

You may read more about what is happening at your Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently and tirelessly for you as your State Representative.

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Voter IDs
The House took action this week to pass legislation intended to protect the integrity of the voting process. The members of the House passed two pieces of legislation – one a proposed constitutional amendment and the other a statutory change – that would put in place a requirement that voters must show photo identification before casting their ballots. This is an issue that has been debated in Missouri and in other states for years now. In fact, Missouri saw a voter ID bill signed into law in 2006 only to see it later struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court. Since that time, the legislature has continued to work on the issue with the goal of finding a compromise that would require voters to prove their identity before voting without disenfranchising Missourians who don’t already have a photo ID.Hillary Vote

The legislation passed this week is meant to address the primary concern of critics by providing a government-issued photo ID at no charge to anyone who doesn’t have one. An amendment added on the floor also provides those without proper identification with a means to obtain a free copy of a birth certificate, which would be needed to obtain a government-issued ID. In addition, to prevent the requirement from being a barrier to those who cannot obtain an ID and those born before 1950 who may not have documentation such as a birth certificate, the bill would allow these Missourians to vote by provisional ballot.

The House has advanced similar proposals in the past only to see them bog down in the Senate. As we send these pieces of legislation to the other side of the building, we will do our best to work toward a compromise with our Senate colleagues so that we can move these bills all the way through the legislative process. Keep in mind that the proposed constitutional amendment will require a vote of the people in order to be approved. Only if the people of Missouri decide that they want a system of voter identification will one then be put in place.Voter ID

In the meantime, I am interested to hear your thoughts on this issue. Do you think it is important to require a photo ID to vote just as we require photo IDs to pick up a prescription or board a plane? Or do you believe a photo ID requirement would serve as a barrier to prevent some Missourians from voting? I look forward to hearing your responses.

Executive Amnesty
In the same week a federal judge in Texas temporarily stopped the implementation of President Obama’s executive amnesty, the Missouri House adopted a resolution urging our Attorney General to join 26 other states that have filed suit against the executive order.

The lawsuit filed and joined by a coalition of states alleges that the president violated his obligations under the Constitution’s Take Care Clause, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act and federal immigration statutes. The lawsuit claims changes to these laws should be made by Congress, not the president.

HCR 12 approved by the House urges Attorney General Koster to join the lawsuit and oppose this president’s decision to suspend the nation’s immigration laws. I think it’s important to point out that this suit is not about the issue of immigration itself, but rather the glaring overreach of the president’s authority. Our government is meant to have a system of checks and balances that require the branches of government to work together in order to put new laws into effect. When the president circumvents the system through an executive order it flies in the face of our Constitution. Moving forward, we want to see the branches of government work together to address this incredibly important issue of immigration.

Co-Sponsorship
I am proud to have cosponsored several bills of my colleagues that I believe will move our great state in the right direction. Those bills are HB 152, HB 275, HB 576, HB 843, HB 889.(Click on each bill to view the full details.) HB 152 expands the crime of sexual trafficking of a child to include advertising a child participating in a commercial sexual act; HB 275 modifies provisions relating to tax rates; HB 576 specifies that any person over the age of 70 must not be required to serve on jury duty; HB 843 establishes the Patient Monitoring Act which allows patients in long-term care facilities or their surrogates to install a monitoring device in the resident’s room which broadcasts or records activity; HB 889 establishes the paper ballot as the official ballot and requires audits before election certification.

District Events
March 12th 6 PM– Lincoln Days at the Recklein Auditorium in Cuba, MO.

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