This week we discussed and passed three bills. We also attended the last State of the State address from Governor Jay Nixon.
Discussions continue concerning Real ID and the protection of privacy. We also attended the last State of the State address from Governor Jay Nixon who outlined his priorities. Economic growth and education were prominent in his list of priorities: these are certainly areas of great interest shared by the General Assembly.
House Moves to Reject Tax Increase on Agricultural Land (HCR 58)
As has occurred several times over the years, the Missouri House of Representatives took action this week to reject a proposed tax increase on Missouri's agricultural land. The House gave bipartisan support to HCR 58, which would reject a recommendation made by the Missouri Tax Commission for a five percent tax increase on agricultural land. A five percent increase went into effect in 2015 after the Tax Commission made a similar recommendation in 2014. Although we recently had several years of rising agricultural prices, many of do not believe it is time for yet another tax increase for farmers and ranchers. Besides declining commodity prices, there have been many acres adversely impacted by flooding, which is something the commission does not take into account when making its recommendation. The measure now moves to the Senate where it is expected to move quickly through the process.
Voter ID Legislation Receives House Approval (HJR 53 and HB 1631)
The House approved and sent to the Senate this week two pieces of legislation designed to require a valid form of photo identification in order to vote. One piece of legislation would change the Missouri Constitution to allow a system of voter identification. If approved by the legislature, this will go on the ballot for voter approval. The constitutional change is necessary because a voter identification requirement put into law in 2006 was ultimately struck down as unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court. Lawmakers hope to avoid a similar challenge in the future by amending the constitution to allow voter identification. The second piece of legislation would implement the system of voter identification if the constitutional amendment is approved by voters. The bill would require voters to present a specified form of identification in order to vote in a public election. Valid forms of identification would include photo IDs issued by the state, the federal government, and/or the military. The bill also would require the state to pay for individuals to obtain a valid ID if they do not have one, or to obtain documents necessary for an ID. The bill also states that individuals without a photo ID could still vote by casting a provisional ballot. The majority believes the measures are a necessary step to protect the integrity of the election process. Both measures now move to the Senate for discussion.
Real ID Update
I attended privacy caucus this morning. The topic was Real ID, which took about an hour of discussion. This is certainly a topic of concern, and is open to several interpretations. There are 39 provisions in the 2005 Real ID Act. I have listed below the provisions not currently implemented by our state. As a caucus we discussed three options: 1) do nothing, 2) repeal existing Missouri laws and fully comply (not a likely action), or 3) find a middle ground, most likely an option of what type of driver's license to be issued. This could include the option of our current type of license, sufficient for those who do not fly or visit military installations, or the compliant license which would
meet the federal requirements. There are currently two bills filed offering this middle option. Of course, there are several provisions within Real ID that cause Missourians to pause. The collection and storage of vital information, such as your birth certificate, is one, and another is biometric photography. Pictures taken with these cameras have easily identifiable features unique to you so that you can be identified from a still picture or video still. It is worth noting that if you have a pass for Whiteman's Base Community Council your biometric image is stored in a federal database ( this is listed at the bottom of the card). Needless to say, there are many issues to be discussed.
Below is a list of the provisions we do not currently with as a state (Listed with the Provision Number, a description, and then notes).
1: Subject each applicant to a mandatory facial image capture and retain such image even if a driver license (DL) or identification card (ID) is not issued. Biometric data already on Whiteman BCC ID; Currently, we do not take a photo if a card is not issued.
6: Make reasonable efforts to ensure that the applicant does not have more than one DL or ID already issued by that State under a different identity; Missouri does not do photo validation and cannot collect or use biometric data.
11: Commit to mark materially compliant DL and IDs with a Department of Homeland Security-approved marking; Missouri statute prohibits implementation.
16: Conduct name-based and fingerprint-based criminal history and employment eligibility checks on all employees in covered positions or an alternative procedure approved by DHS; Name-based criminal history checks are completed; however, finger-print based criminal history checks are not.
17: Commit to be in material compliance with Subparts A through D no later than January 1, 2010 or within 90 days of submission of this document, whichever date is earlier; Missouri statute prohibits implementation: RSMo 302.183.
18: Clearly state on the face of non-compliant DLs or IDs that the card is not acceptable for official purposes; Missouri statute prohibits implementation: RSMo 302.183.
19: Issue REAL ID DL/ID cards valid for a period not to exceed eight years; Missouri is prohibited from issuing a REAL ID DL/ID. Missouri DLs and DLs are normally issued for 3 to 6 years.
20: Take sufficient steps in issuing REAL ID DL/ID cards to safeguard the identities of designated persons; The Department is not taking steps to issue REAL ID DLs/IDs and is prohibited from doing so.
21: Verify birth certificates; Only manual inspection is performed upon the initial application. Documents are not verified after initial verification and there is no retention of the documents.
22: Verify a U.S. passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, and U.S. Visa with accompanying valid I-94; Only manual inspection is performed unless the applicant is a non-citizen.
23: Verify REAL ID DLs and IDs w/ state of issuance; No verification with a national system. However, the Department will verify electronically w/ Problem Driver Pointer System, CDLIS, and Digital Image Access and Exchange.
25: Conduct a review and submit a report to DHS on card design and the ability of the card to resist forgery and counterfeiting; Missouri DLs do resist forgery and counterfeiting; however, a report to DHS has not been submitted.
28: Have a procedure in place to verify an applicant's identity each time a REAL ID DL/ID card is reissued; Missouri is prohibited from and does not issue a REAL ID DL/ID.
29: Conduct remote re-issuance, if permitted in state law; NA -- online applications are not accepted.
30: Require in person re-issuance when there is any material change in personally identifiable information since prior issuance; Missouri does not re-verify SSN nor does it verify the documents electronically.
31: Prior to renewal: Updated photograph at least every sixteen years; re-verify SSN and lawful status, among other applicable information; The Department does not issue or renew REAL ID DLs/IDs. SSN is not re-verified.
32: If remote REAL ID renewals are permitted: re-verify applicants information through SAVE and SSOLV; prohibit the remote renewal of REAL ID DL/ID when there has been a material change; NA -- online applications are not offered. REAL ID DLs/IDS are not issued.
33: Not permit an individual to hold more than one REAL ID and one DL; query other states for existing cards or applications; Missouri does not verify with a national verification system; however, verification is electronic through PDPS, CDLIS, and DIA.
34: Retain copies of the application, declaration, and source documents. Paper must be retained for seven years. Digital images must be retained for ten years; Missouri follows the prescribed process for the source documents that are required under RSMo 302.065.
39: Submit Final Certification package, which shall include: certification checklist, AG letter, Exec. Official overseeing DMV; Missouri statute prohibits implementation.
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. 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 email@example.com. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.