On many occasions, I have read a politician's news release and I have strongly disagreed with whatever it is the politician is saying. The latest release by Governor Matt Blunt, however, has me downright angry.
Our governor is praising the new program which requires Missourians to have to provide all kinds of identification to prove that they are Missourians and that they are who they say they are.
Of course, the Department of Revenue officials have given it a snappy name, "Show Me Proof," but all it amounts to is another way of creating more of a need for the kind of bureaucracy that Governor Blunt is supposed to abhor.
"While protecting Missourians by cracking down on identity theft and fraud," the news release starts, "the Missouri Department of Revenue on July 1 will unveil "Show Me Proof," a new customer-friendly program that fine-tunes and simplifies the new lawful presence requirements to obtain or renew a driver license, nondriver license, or instruction permit."
Wait until you hear what Governor Blunt's idea of "customer-friendly" is.
The news release continues, "The program is designed to make it easier for customers and the department to meet their legal obligations and is consistent with Governor Matt Blunt's charge to agency directors to make state government more accessible and responsible to citizens."
Then the governor commends Director of Revenue Trish Vincent and her staff for the program, saying, "They have taken a confusing and difficult legal obligation and turned it into a straightforward program that has real benefits to Missourians."
After that nonsense, the governor, who I'm sure wrote every word of the news release (sarcasm alert), gets down to explaining "Show Me Proof." Here is the rest of the release:
Beginning July 1, customers will have to Show Me Proof and will be required to show proof of lawful presence, show proof of identity, and show proof of residency when the customer obtains a new license or permit or renews a license or permit for the first time after July 1.
“There are all kinds of reasons for the department to implement Show Me Proof, but most importantly, we are protecting the identities of Missourians,” said department director Trish Vincent. “Show Me Proof will help ensure that license holders are who they say they are.”
For more detailed information about the new identification requirements, including a guide to obtaining the required documentation, please visit the department’s web site at http://www.dor.mo.gov/ or call (573) 751-2730. On the department’s web site, click the “Show Me Proof” icon to go directly to the new requirements.
What this glib news release does not tell you is exactly how many items they want you to have when you apply for a new driver's license or for a renewal. In addition to an authentic birth certificate, you have to take some kind of utility bill or voter registration card to show that you live where you say you live, you have to provide a Social Security card to prove your identity, you have to have documents to prove a change of name if you have married, the list goes on and on. In fact, the section of the DOR site that shows how to get the proof you need is nine pages long. That should really simplify things.
The simple fact is there's nothing simple or customer friendly about these ridiculous new requirements. It is easy for Governor Blunt to say how simple the requirements are. When it comes time for him to get his driver's license, I can guarantee you he will not have to stand in line for two or three hours. And believe me, it is going to be a nightmare. In many locations in this state, you already have people who are brand new at working at license fee offices. Now you are going to have these people take the time to go through four or five documents for each person who comes in.
Why should a person who has lived in Missouri for 65 years have to prove citizenship? You can't tell me there was not an easier way to live up to federal and state requirements. This shows a lack of imagination, and even worse, a lack of consideration for Missourians.
And on top of that, our governor has the nerve to tell us that it's customer-friendly.
I would suggest contacting your state senator or state representative, but I am sure they are probably on the phone to the governor or writing him and saying, "Oh, yes, Governor Blunt, you are right, this is the most customer-friendly idea I have ever seen. Is there anything else we can kiss?"