Courtney Everts from Knob Noster, an occupational therapy student at MU, visited the capitol this week with other OT students. (Contributed photo)
We are continuing to have very busy weeks in Jefferson City.
Bills from Your Representative
By an overwhelming majority, the House passed HB 1468 to exempt veteran's organizations from worker's compensation. I earlier introduced this bill in the Veterans Committee which supported it as Do Pass and Consent.
After some debate on the House floor, most members agreed that workers compensation for volunteers is an unnecessary expense to veterans' organizations. Liability insurance covers volunteer's workers and more expense is detrimental to the budgets of these organizations.
I am very pleased my colleagues joined me in this common sense exemption to our veterans. HB 1468 now moves to the Senate for their consideration.
Photo identification is necessary for many activities in life such as opening a bank account, renting a movie, buying Sudafed, or getting on an airplane. Why? To prevent fraud and provide security. Preventing fraud is even more important when it comes to casting your vote on election day. After all, those casting fraudulent votes are stealing elections.
I co-sponsored HJR 47, a proposed change to the Missouri Constitution that will, upon approval of voters, authorize legislation that would require presenting a photo identification to vote in our elections. An unfortunate reality in recent years is instances of election voter fraud that have occurred in Missouri. In the 2008 presidential election, an Illinois man was prosecuted for voting for president in both Missouri and Illinois, and ACORN workers were charged with election fraud in Kansas City. Missouri has a long history of voter fraud especially in the urban centers. This practice is troubling. Elections are the foundation of our democracy, and every Missourian should have the assurance that their vote counts.
Some opponents of photo identification have claimed that the real purpose of these proposals is to reduce participation of certain individuals, particularly minorities. Recent history in Texas and several scientific studies including those in Indiana, Delaware, and Nebraska have demonstrated that these claims are false. In fact, the United States Supreme Court has upheld a photo identification requirement. The author of that court's opinion, Justice Stevens, found that the careful identification of all voters participating in the election process is sufficiently justified by the state's unquestionably legitimate and important interest in counting only valid ballots of eligible voters and maintaining accurate records.
Missouri's election laws lack many of the statutory provisions available to other states that provide the necessary safeguards to prevent voter fraud and abuse. This bill provides protection at the ballot box from those who try to cheat all of us in one of our most fundamental rights.
The House voted out several other bills this week. Among these were several consent bills. Also, HB1073 is the statutory companion to HJR 47. If HJR 47 passes the Senate, it will go to a vote of the people. If the people make the constitutional change, HB 1073 will place the measure into functional law.
HB 1092 increases the investigative time of a child abuse case from 30 calendar days to 30 business days. These few extra days will allow the caseworkers of the state to be more thorough and careful in their determination of these cases.
Finally, HB 1268 adjusts the income tax brackets for inflation. The tax brackets have remained static since 1931 with the effect being that nearly every Missourian pays the top rate in income taxes. This bill will help all Missourians, but especially those in the low income bracket. This bill serves as part of the effort of the General Assembly to remake our tax system and more fairly distribute the tax burden without losing revenue for the state and its vital services.
All of these bills are on their way to the Senate for their consideration.
Last Friday, I attended the Change of Command Ceremony of the 509 Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base. Brigadier General Glen Vanherck assumed command from General Thomas Bussiere.
On Tuesday, I filed for re-election in the 51st District. I am looking forward to earning the right to serve as our district representative for another term!
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City and Missouri. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.