Missouri Government News:
(MO Government news comes from Rep. Judy Morgan of the 24th District this week)
House Takes First Step on REAL ID, Senate Takes a Pass
You've probably heard that Missouri is one of just five states that remains non-compliant with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. Passed during the George W. Bush administration,
the law's intent was to prevent terror attacks by setting minimum standards for state-issued identification that individuals use for entering federal buildings or military bases or boarding planes.
The REAL ID requirements for state-issued Identification include:
- Retaining and scanning source documents, like photo ID containing name and address;
- Requiring applicants to show "name traceability," such as in cases where a person's current name is different than their birth name; and
- Taking a front facing photograph at the licensing office.
Many states initially resisted complying with the law, and the federal government repeatedly delayed enforcement. However, the feds plan to fully enforce the law beginning in January 2018.
Last week the House debated HB 151, a bill that requires the Department of Revenue to issue REAL ID compliant drivers' licenses unless applicants request licenses that aren't compliant with this federal law. However, if one chooses the non-compliant license, he/she will be prohibited from entering a federal building or military base, or boarding a plane.
Even with the looming possibility that Missourians may soon be prohibited from getting on a plane unless they have an alternative compliant form of ID, such as a U.S. passport, many Republican state lawmakers remain steadfastly opposed to Real ID. They argue that the REAL ID law violates personal privacy and states' rights.
As an opponent of REAL ID, Rep. Keith Frederick, Republican from Rolla, said, "Our constitutional rights are being stepped on by this." (From the St. Louis Post Dispatch - 2/21/17.) A number of his Republican colleagues expressed similar sentiments and cited various constitutional amendments to support their position.
This one is a real doozy! Rep. Robert Ross, Republican from Yukon, offered an amendment that would have required elected officials who vote for REAL ID to publish a statement in a prominent location when they seek re-election. It's listed below and I typed the statement just as it appeared in the amendment - all in caps.
"I WOULD RATHER KNEEL TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAN STAND STRONG PROTECTING MY CONSTITUENTS' RIGHT TO PRIVACY."
During House debate on his amendment and as reported in the KC Star (2/22/17), Rep. Ross said: "This amendment is about being honest. Honest with ourselves and honest with our constituents." I'm happy to say that amendment went down to a resounding defeat!
Rep. Kevin Engler from Farmington and one of the Republicans who supports REAL ID, countered the opposition, "You think you're getting calls about this now, wait until January." (From the Kansas City Star- 2/22/17.) And when Rep. Engler referred to "the crazies," I think he meant those folks who want to continue defying the REAL ID law.
The House gave preliminary approval (perfection vote) to HB 151 last Tuesday. FYI - we must vote on every bill twice before sending it to the Senate side. In case you might want to know the difference between the two types of votes, I've listed a description below.
- The first vote - "Perfection." Amendments can be added to the bill prior to the perfection vote, it only needs a majority to pass, and the vote can be taken by voice or roll call. A roll call vote is a recorded one.
- The second vote - "Third Read." No amendments can be added, it needs a constitutional majority to pass (82 votes), and a roll call vote is required.
Although HB 151 was on the Third Read calendar last Thursday, the Republican leadership didn't bring it up for a vote. Even though Republicans hold 116 seats in the House, support from Democrats likely will be required to reach the minimum 82 votes necessary for final passage. The Senate set aside a similar REAL ID bill after three hours of debate last Wednesday and they aren't immediately expected to return to it.
Just a note about Governor Greitens on this issue. The Springfield News Leaderreported (2/22/17) that he hasn't taken a "strong position publicly on REAL ID." In addition, they said, "Multiple questions about compliance with the law were asked when he conducted a Facebook Q & A last week, but Greitens did not answer them." Quite interesting!