Our founding fathers envisioned a government that worked for the people, not against them. Needless to say, they would probably not be too satisfied with the mess that is the Washington, D.C. of today. As Washington insiders and career politicians continue to lose touch with what the people really desire and deserve from their government; I like to think that here in Jefferson City, we are keeping the founding fathers’ vision alive.
This week, the House Committee on Ag Policy passed a resolution which proposes a constitutional amendment affirming the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices. Without a doubt agriculture is the cornerstone of Missouri’s economy. However, in recent years there has been a barrage of attacks from various interest groups trying to limit the ability of hardworking Missourians to earn a living. This is simply unacceptable, and in the Missouri House we take these outside threats seriously. Food, contrary to what some people today believe, does not come from the grocery store; it comes from the soil and rolling hills of this great state. More importantly, it comes from the blood, sweat, and countless hours of work put in by Missouri’s farmers.
Also this week, the Missouri House addressed another area of concern, voter fraud. Some say that this requirement is an attempt to suppress voter turnout. However, this idea has been around for many years, and is not politically motivated at all. Rather, it serves to protect the greatest right given to us by our founding fathers; the right to vote. That is why the Missouri House third read and passed House Committee Substitute for House Bills 48 & 216.
The goal of this legislation is solely to protect the sanctity and integrity of the election process, not to restrict anyone from voting. In fact, there are several provisions in the bill which ensure people who might not have or want a photo ID can still vote on election day. Those individuals who have a religious belief that prohibits them from having a photo ID, or are disabled or individuals born before January 1, 1948 are exempt from the requirement and allowed to vote a provisional ballot. Moreover, the bill contains a provision to help Missourians, who might not be able to afford an ID or the supporting documentation, obtain photo identification at no cost. Thus, allowing everyone to partake in the democratic process while safeguarding against voter fraud.
Along with HB 48 & 216 the Missouri House also passed House Joint Resolution 5 & 12. These resolutions would allow the voters of Missouri to decide whether or not to allow a voter ID requirement to be added to the Missouri Constitution. As I mentioned earlier, the right to vote is the fundamental foundation of our democratic republic. Since the Missouri Constitution does not specifically allow a voter ID requirement, it is important to first allow the voter of Missouri to voice their opinion. HB 48 & 216 even if passed by the Senate, would only go into effect if the voters of Missouri also approved of HJR 5 & 12.
As many of you are now aware Representative Rory Ellinger filed House Bill 545 this week. House Bill 545 would make it a class C felony to manufacture, import, possess, purchase, sell, or transfer any assault weapon or large capacity magazine and would give gun owners 90 to turn in assault rifles to authorities. This bill is a blatant violation of our second amendment rights and I doubt that it will even see the light of day. I will always do everything I can to protect vital right to bear arms.
Government should serve to protect the people from external and internal threats. It should never constrain or impede on a person’s ability to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Providing measures that ensure our most sacred right to farm and vote are good government policies.
For more information about the legislation mentioned above or if you wish to participate in my online survey, please visit the House of Representatives website, www.house.mo.gov. As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House of Representatives.