Saturday, September 17, 2016
KC Democrat: Photo ID to vote, but no documentation to carry concealed firearm
Missourians could soon need government-issued photo identification to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Carrying a concealed firearm, however, will require no documentation whatsoever.
Imposing new legal barriers to voting while further easing the state's already lax laws on the possession and use of guns topped the agenda of the Missouri General Assembly's annual veto on Sept. 14, but the Republican-dominated legislature took one final opportunity to run up the score against Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat who is leaving office after his final term ends in January, by overriding 13 of his vetoes from earlier this year.
Nixon has been prolific in exercising the veto power during his nearly eight years as governor, rejecting a total of 159 bills. While Nixon was overridden just twice in his first term, Republicans have held veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers for most of his second, which resulted in another 47 bill overrides, for 49 total. Overrides require 23 votes in the Senate and 109 in the House of Representatives.
Despite pleas from Missouri law enforcement groups that it would put the lives of both officers and the public in danger, Republicans overruled Nixon's rejection of legislation that will allow Missourians to carry concealed firearms without a permit - or undergoing the safety training and background checks currently required to get one. The measure, Senate Bill 656, also makes it easier to invoke self-defense as a legal justification for using deadly force, along with numerous other changes to gun laws.
Although Republicans overrode the veto on the photo voter ID measure, House Bill 1631, it won't actually become law unless Missouri voters approve a companion constitutional amendment later this fall. GOP lawmakers have been seeking to impose a photo voter ID requirement for a decade as a means of suppressing Democratic voters but have been thwarted by a 2006 Missouri Supreme Court decision holding that such a requirement violates the voting rights provision of the state constitution.
Amendment 6 on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot asks voters to grant lawmakers the constitutional power to impose a photo voter ID requirement. There has never been a reported case of voter impersonation fraud in Missouri, which is the only type of fraud a photo ID requirement could prevent. However, key Democratic constituencies, including racial and ethnic minorities, are among the groups most likely to not have a photo ID. As a result, a photo ID requirement could disenfranchise thousands of legally registered, and mostly Democratic, voters.
Another notable override came of Senate Bill 608, which includes a provision seeking to levy fees on Medicaid recipients for missed doctor's appointments. However, federal Medicaid rules prohibit such fees, likely rendering that portion of SB 608 unenforceable.
Lawmakers also overrode three vetoes on bills providing various tax breaks to various businesses and individuals. Combined the three bills - HB 2030, SB 1025 and SB 641 -- could cost the state as much as $70 million in lost revenue, a shortfall that wasn't accounted for when the FY 2017 state budget was written earlier this year. As a result, Nixon is expected to exercise his constitutional power to unilaterally reduce state spending by a like amount to keep the state budget in balance.
Other overrides included HB 1713 allowing future governors to pack the Missouri Clean Water Commission with representatives from polluting industries; HB 1414 shielding from public disclosure certain state records relating to agriculture; and SB 844 granting immunity from liability to livestock owners for property damage caused by their animals in certain instances.
Read the Associated Press article: "A Glance at New Laws Missouri Legislators Voted to Enact"