During Session this week, HB 1073 Voter Identification passed with a vote of 98-49. This bill requires anyone who wants to vote to provide an approved photo id that establishes their eligibility to vote as a United States citizen lawfully residing in this state. The state and fee offices are required to provide, at no cost, at least one form of personal identification to a qualified individual who does not already possess the required identification. Individuals will be allowed to vote by casting a provisional ballot after signing an affidavit if he or she does not possess a required form of personal identification because of a physical or mental disability or handicap, the inability to pay for a birth certificate or other supporting documentation necessary to obtain the identification required to vote, a sincere religious belief against these forms of personal identification, or the person was born on or before January 1, 1949. Someone is also allowed to vote by casting a provisional ballot if he or she lacks photographic identification and then return to the election authority within three days after the election with a valid form of identification so the provisional ballot may be counted.
This bill will only go into effect upon voter approval of a constitutional amendment (HJR 47) that authorized the General Assembly to enact laws regarding photo identification requirements for elections.
Misinformation from the Governor
Last week, Governor Nixon sent a letter to the House of Representatives accusing the House Budget Committee of overestimating the revenue that would be available from riverboat gaming, lottery, and other revenue dedicated to the school foundation formula in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget that was approved last session. According to the Governor, schools will lose $44.1 million in funding if the House Budget Committee does not take the $44.1 million from General Revenue and give it to the schools through the supplemental budget. A supplemental budget allows the Budget Committee to modify the current budget to help “fill in the gaps”.
The House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream and Senior Democrat Representative Chris Kelly have refuted Governor Nixon’s false claims over the last week. In a letter to the Governor, Representative Kelly pointed out that the Governor’s office told the House budget Committee that they would not need a supplemental budget for 2014, and the Budget Committee appropriated the exact amount of money the Governor told them would be available from riverboat gaming. According to the House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream, it is still two-thirds of the way through the fiscal year and Gaming has assured the Budget Committee that they are fairly confident they can make up much of the projected shortfall in the remaining time. Also the Governor is attempting to abscond with dollars from General Revenue from the Fiscal Year 15 for a possibility of a shortfall in 2014. This would cause a shortfall in Fiscal Year 15. If it turns out the Governor is correct, even though he is basing his opinion on the shortfall on partial data, the House Education Appropriations Committee passed a budget last week that included a $100 million increase to K-12 education, which would again be the biggest education budget of all time.