The AP reports that a lawsuit has been filed attempting to squelch a ballot item authorizing voter identification legislation.
From the article:
Rather than protect voters, as the legislatively approved ballot title states, the measure actually would restrict the constitutionally granted right to vote in elections, Denise Lieberman, an attorney for a group backing the lawsuit, told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday and assigned Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce, online court records show. It asks the judge to bar the measure from the ballot or, alternatively, to rewrite the summary presented to voters.
Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed enabling legislation that would have required a photo identification at the polls.
Lawmakers passed this year a constitutional amendment to allow for a photo identification requirement. The amendment also would have authorized an early voting period.
That amendment will be decided by voters in 2012. But in order for that amendment to become law, a standalone bill would have to pass and be signed by the governor. That was what Nixon vetoed on Friday.
“This new mandate would disproportionately impact senior citizens and persons with disabilities, among others, who are qualified to vote and have been lawfully voting since becoming eligible to do so,” Nixon said in a veto letter of the bill.
While GOP lawmakers could hypothetically try to override Nixon’s veto, it is unlikely they will procure enough votes in the House. House Minority Leader Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City, said in a statement that House Democrats are united on this issue, something that was block Republicans from an override.
Essentially, supporters of a photo identification bill will either have to obtain a veto-proof majority in the House or wait until Nixon is no longer governor to achieve their goal.
Interestingly, Sen. Bill Stouffer - a Napton Republican who sponsored the measure - said “if the enabling legislation is vetoed and if by chance you wind up with a Republican Legislature in 2013, my guess is you get photo ID without early voting.”
Senators gave a rough reception to a reconfigured congressional map passed last week by the Missouri House, with at least two senators vowing to squash the proposal.
The Missouri House overwhelmingly approved a map last Wednesday shrinking the state’s congressional delegation from nine to eight representatives. Because Missouri’s population didn’t grow fast enough with the rest of the country, it must lose a congressional seat.
Both House and Senate committees approved somewhat similar maps that encased St. Louis City in one congressional district, effectively pitting U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis City, and U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis City, against each other. They also created an expansive northern Missouri district and added several rural counties to U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s Kansas City-based 5th District.
But some senators Tuesday expressed outright disdain for some aspects of the House map, including the way Jefferson County was split up and the manner in which some rural counties were arranged. Many stated a preference for the Senate map, which hasn’t been debated on the floor yet.
Sen. Jason Crowell – a Republican from Cape Girardeau who publicly criticized how a big chunk of Jefferson County was placed into U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson’s district – said the House map would likely not make it out of the Senate.
“I don’t mind telling you I have no intention of letting us come to a vote on the House map,” Crowell said in an exchange with Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mt. Vernon. “I think the House map is a wrong direction to go for a variety of reasons, chief among them is the area that I represent – the 8th Congressional District.”
Crowell reiterated his concerns about Jefferson County becoming a population center, which he said will shift the district so much that “it will no longer be what it always has been.”
Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Jefferson County, said he opposed the way Jefferson County was divided. In the House proposal, the fast-growing county would be split between districts currently held by Emerson, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country, and U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth.
“I don’t like either one of them,” McKenna said, referring to the House and Senate proposals.
That grumbling wasn’t just relegated to Crowell, McKenna and Stouffer. Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, expressed concern over Polk County being split between two congressional districts. Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said he was worried about Randolph County being divided, while Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-Smithville, said she was opposed to Clay County’s arrangement.
Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton - who objected to how Ray, Saline and Lafayette County were drawn into Cleaver’s district - echoed Crowell’s sentiments about the House map’s chances of passing.
“I think what [Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville] needs to hear today is that this map doesn’t have a chance to go through this body,” Stouffer said. “I think there are enough senators that have a better solution. And I think that’s why we’re out here today – to give him that message that this one has a problem. And it’s a problem from a number of us, not just one.”
Rupp is the chairman of a Senate redistricting committee who handled the House map on the Senate floor. He laid the proposal over after roughly two hours of debate.
What could happen is that the Senate will construct a different proposal, sending the competing bills to a conference committee. It will be interesting to see how many votes that map receives in both chambers, and whether it’s enough to withstand a veto from Gov. Jay Nixon.
One of my favorite rural Missouri tales involves Jim the Wonder Dog, an almost magical canine from Marshall.
According to legend, Jim the Wonder Dog could, among other things, predict sporting events and recognize several languages. Jim the Wonder Dog’s legend was so great that there is a statue of the pooch in Marshall.
Why mention Jim the Wonder Dog, besides the fact that he was amazing? The dog’s home county - Saline - could play a role in the Missouri redistricting process.
For instance, Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, told St. Louis Public Radio Friday he may filibuster a map that passed the House this week. Saline County is one of several rural counties encased in U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s reconfigured district.
Stouffer isn’t alone in his frustrations over the proposed 5th District. At least two House members - Rep. Bob Nance, R-Excelsior Springs and Rep. Joe Aull, D-Marshall - say including counties like Ray, Lafayette and Saline in Cleaver’s district will dilute that area’s influence.
“My big concern is I represent a very rural area - Lafayette and Saline County. And right now Lafayette and Ray and Saline Counties have been put into [Cleaver’s district], which is mainly urban Kansas City,” Aull said earlier this week. “And the Kansas City area will make up about 85 percent of the proposed district.”
While Aull says he has “a lot of respect” for Cleaver, he said the new 5th will be “an urban district.”
“I just think we’ll lose some clout out in rural area,” he said.
Nance - who was one of three Republicans to vote against the House map - expressed a similar sentiment in my story for the St. Louis Beacon.
Both lawmakers said the solution to their worries was placing the rural counties in question in other districts. Aull suggested that the three counties go into U.S. Rep. Sam Graves’ district, while the rest of Jackson County goes into Cleaver’s district.
Aull unsuccessfully offered an amendment on Wednesday that would have done just that. A few Republicans - such as Nance, Rep. Mike McGhee, R-Odessa, Rep. Brent Lasater, R-Independence, and Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia - voted for the measure. It failed 110-44.
The three counties tend to lean Democratic - they all went for Ike Skelton is last year’s congressional contest. So it may be fair to say that Republicans - who control the legislature - may not want to make Graves’ district more Democratic.
But Aull says the trio of counties have shown signs of moving into the Republican camp.
“I don’t think you can say those are very strong Democratic areas, I think there’s more of a split than a lot of people realize,”said Aull, referring to the rural counties in question.
In any case, while St. Louis and, to some extent, Jefferson County will play a role in forming a new congressional map, the placement Mid-Missouri counties - including Jim the Wonder Dog’s home - could be an intriguing subplot.
The head of the Senate Transportation Committee is questioning an effort to nab $1 billion for “high-speed” rail.
Gov. Jay Nixon announced in late March a two-part process to procure the federal rail funds. The first part seek federal money to bolster speeds and schedule reliability along existing rail lines. The second part would go toward building a “separate, dedicated high-speed line across Missouri, and for purchasing necessary properties.”
Sen. Bill Stouffer - a Napton Republican who is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee - said in a statement that the effort “may not be as good of an idea as it sounds:”
In late March, the governor announced he would pursue approximately $1 billion in federal money for high-speed rail that the state of Florida had previously rejected. This potential funding brings with it the promise of 1,300 short-term jobs and an indeterminable number of long-term jobs. High-speed rail is something the president has been pushing for and other countries have had for a number of years. However, taxpayers are realizing money from Washington, D.C. is not “free,” especially when we are out of it.
Folks can talk about “the future of transportation” all they want, but excluding highways is not a solution. Mass transit is not used outside of Missouri’s two major cities. High-speed rail between St. Louis and Kansas City or Chicago and St. Louis is fine for the few people who would use it, but what about the rest of the state?
There are concerns about the extra costs associated with the railroad tracks a high-speed system requires. No project is “free.” Improvements would have to be made throughout the entire rail system. Additional costs will be seen for years to come. No high-speed-rail system in the world has a decent return on operating costs and with Missouri’s terrain and competing interstate system, no economic study has found this idea to be feasible. These are the types of concerns that need to be taken into consideration before such a large-scale plan is proposed.
Stouffer - who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2010 - announced earlier this year he would run for Secretary of State.
State Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, is used to running in campaigns across a large geographic area. His state Senate district stretches across a number of Mid-Missouri counties, and he spent 2010 running in the vast U.S. 4th District.
After losing in the primary to Vicky Hartzler, Stouffer went back to the Missouri Senate and continues to be the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. But he’s already laying the groundwork for his next campaign, this time across the entire state as a candidate for Secretary of State.
I caught up with Stouffer at St. Louis County Lincoln Days. Among other things, I asked him about what it’s like to transition into a statewide campaign and what role the photo identification issue will play in his bid against incumbent Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. I also asked about the possibility of state Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, also running for the position.
Click on the audio clip to hear more.
Kris Ketz over at KMBC/KCWE Tweeted that Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, [right] will run for Secretary of State in 2012.
The Tweet [which was ReTweeted by linkmaster @johncombest] says:
MO State Sen Bill Stouffer to run for MO Sec of State. Stouffer failed last fall in primary for Ike Skelton’s MO 4th Dist seat in House #fb
Stouffer got roughly 30 percent of the vote in the 2010 primary for the 4th Congressional District race. Hartzler, of course, went on to uproot Skelton, R-Lexington, in November. The two-term lawmaker is the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and sponsored a measure to require photo identification at the polls.
If Stouffer ends up making the run, he may not be the only Republican seeking to run for the statewide office. Arch City Chronicle’s Dave Drebes reported a few weeks ago that Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, was taking a look at the race.
While Rupp and Stouffer would be much stronger candidates than the 2008 Republican nominee, the race will depend heavily on whether Carnahan runs for a third term. Down-ballot incumbents are difficult to defeat, although Tom Schweich broke that trend last year by beating Democratic Auditor Susan Montee. If Carnahan decided to pass on another term, the race to replace her could be competitive.
ADDENDUM: The Post-Dispatch’s Tony Messenger also Tweeted that Stouffer will run for Secretary of State.
The Missouri Senate is debating a ballot item that would enable the legislature to require a a photo identification at the polls.
This short clip features Sens. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, and Tim Green, D-Spanish Lake, discussing whether incorporate early voting into the proposed amendment. Democrats have typically filibustered photo identification requirements since a measure was declares unconstitutional in 2006.