The incredible four-headed writer who emerged after The Turner Report began ripping into local legislators for plagiarizing their capitol reports, reared its heads again today with yet another item on the Joplin Daily's editorial page.
While I can only recall criticizing Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, and Rep. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, for apparently not being totally original with their writing, the two have joined forces with Rep. Steve Hunter, R-Joplin, and Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City, to issue these self-serving press releases.
The latest one has to do with legislation which would exempt those over 65 from the new requirements to provide proof of citizenship, including birth certificates and photo I. D. to obtain or renew a driver's license.
While I agree with the representatives that those over 65 should not have to go through this nonsense, I still cannot understand why anyone has to. I went through this process a few weeks ago. It was only a minor hassle, but I did not prove to anyone that I had the legal right to have a driver's license. I had my original birth certificate, which I received by sending $15 to the Department of Health. No one at the license bureau had any way of knowing if that was really me.
I lost my Social Security card three decades ago. I had no problem getting a replacement, but no one at the license bureau had any way of knowing whether that was my Social Security card I used to prove my citizenship.
The fact that I have had a legal driver's license in Missouri for nearly 34 years should have been all of the proof anyone needed...and the state already had that information in its system.
The hydra-like writing team managed to make sure each legislator was quoted:
"This requirement is seen as an undue burden to certain segments of the population by many legislators, me included," said Rep. Bryan Stevenson (R-128).
Rep. Marilyn Ruestman (R-131) added, "I have helped many seniors that have had great difficulties with the current process, and although the department of Revenue and Licensing Bureau has handled these issues very well, this legislation will help to remove the burden on our seniors."
The bill was voted out of the Rules Committee unanimously, "which shows the concern both sides of the aisle have for the difficulty placed on our senior citizens," said Rep. Ron Richard (R-129).
Fortunately, the bill is also equipped with an emergency clause. "Our seniors shouldn't have to wait until August for this to take effect," said Rep. Steve Hunter (R-127). If passed, the bill will immediately become law upon signature by the Governor.
Forgive me for being cynical, but would the rush to get this legislation passed also have something to do with the fact that a much higher percentage of senior citizens go to the polls than any other age group?
Our legislators have told us time and again that this law was passed because the federal regulations required it and we would have to do it eventually. Other states are fighting the requirement because of the additional cost. Perhaps it would have been wiser for our legislators to wait and see what happened rather than to rush things in an apparent attempt to kiss up to the Bush Administration.