by Alyson E. Raletz
Monday, April 20, 2009
The House on Thursday, in a 83-69 vote, endorsed HB 361, which would keep the Missouri Department of Revenue from selling off driver’s license information to outside parties. The bill also in a less direct way rejects Real ID, an effort from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to streamline identification requirements among the states to prevent immigration fraud.
Rep. Jim Guest, R-King City, leads a national coalition of lawmakers who argue that Real ID is a movement toward a national driver’s license, the federal government will abuse the information and that it will open up the country to identity theft.
The bill prohibits the Department of Revenue from changing any of its procedures to comply with Real ID, a much stronger stance than the resolution approved by prior Missouri legislatures that simply called on Congress to repeal the act.
Opponents this year have gained in numbers, saying that Missourians will need access to Real IDs, which the federal government will require for citizens to board airplanes or enter certain federal buildings.
“It seems to me a senseless, huge inconvenience on our citizens,” Rep. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, said during floor debate. “There’s no reason to overreact right now.”
Countered Mr. Guest, “Homeland Security says it’s not a national ID, but they know it’s false.”
In the end, Mr. Guest was successful and the bill moves to the Senate for consideration.
Local representatives voting “yes” were Republicans Mike Thomson of Maryville, Jason Brown of Platte City, Dr. Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph, Mr. Guest and Mike Lair of Chillicothe.
Voting “no” were St. Joseph Democrats Ed Wildberger and Martin Rucker, and a Bethany Republican, Casey Guernsey.
Long schools bill
to grow even more
Legislation that started out as an avenue to expand virtual classrooms and then snowballed into an omnibus education bill may pick up some more layers.
The bill from Sen. Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, also addresses a technical glitch with the Proposition A gaming money, enrollment for foster children, charter schools, school capital improvements and teacher performance, among other proposals.
The chairman of a House education committee that considered SB 291 last week said the group likely would take out some of the Senate provisions and add some of its own. With four weeks remaining in the legislative session, Rep. Maynard Wallace, R-Thornfield, opted to wait on a vote. Already passed in the Senate, the bill needs approval from the House before it can go to the governor’s desk.
“It’s too important of a bill to hurry,” Mr. Wallace said.
to keep Blunt’s pick
for Western board
Gov. Jay Nixon re-appointed a former Platte County commissioner to the Missouri Western State University Board of Governors last week.
Former Gov. Matt Blunt in December had appointed Diza Eskridge, a 67-year-old Democrat from Weston, to the post, but her term was subject to confirmation from the Senate. Since the Senate didn’t convene until January, she served in that capacity, but her membership wasn’t official, according to the university.
When Mr. Nixon became governor, as is a tradition of most governors, he withdrew all of the unconfirmed nominations from the prior administration so he could consider them himself. Mr. Nixon last week announced he decided to stick with Ms. Eskridge.
The board sets university rules, bylaws and regulations. Ms. Eskridge also has served on the Mid-America Regional Council’s board of directors. Her term, which is subject to Senate confirmation, would end Oct. 29, 2014.
Alyson E. Raletz covers the state Legislature for the News-Press in Jefferson City. She can be reached at email@example.com or (573) 636-2307.