Sunday, September 11, 2005

Second week of session should be revealing

Kansas City Star political columnist Steve Kraske has an interesting look at the current Missouri legislative session and its cost in today's Star.
He notes that while efforts are being made to get as much money and help to Katrina victims as possible, the state of Missouri paid more than $100,000 for an extra week before the veto session just to enable Governor Matt Blunt to shore up his position with Missouri's right-to-life groups, which has been damaged by his support for stem cell research.
This week will be a critical one. Kraske notes that Blunt's own party may lead the effort to restore $227,000 in cuts the governor made when he line-item vetoed money allocated for Alzheimer's research. This cut has particularly damaged some legislators in their home districts so they may be inclined to override the veto.
Kraske did not mention it, but perhaps the most important vote will come when legislators tackle the bill that featured a clause making it illegal to put home phone numbers or other information about elected officials on websites.
The governor, knowing the flaw in the bill, went ahead and signed it, then took the almost unprecedented step of telling people to ignore the law on Aug. 28 when it was scheduled to go into effect and let the legislators work it out in September. A court decision delayed implementation of the bill, but the General Assembly will take it up again this week.
If it is allowed to stand, it appears quite possible that nearly all public information will be removed from the web by public officials who want to keep from breaking the law unknowingly. To them, it would be easier to just take information off the internet than to determine who is a public official and should have his or her information removed from the net.
This is simply another example of how out of touch elected officials have become. Remember, the same people who passed this bill to keep their own information private are the ones who passed the bill requiring all Missourians to bring several documents to the license bureau just to prove they are legally here.

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