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More than a decade ago, when I was teaching creative writing at Diamond Missouri Middle School, I came across an egregious example of cheating and it led to the accusation that I was a racist.

The eighth grade students in the trailer where I taught were taking an essay examination and I was circulating around the room checking on their progress. In the very back of the room, I noticed that two students, a white boy and a black girl, had exactly the same answers to a question, something which is extremely difficult to do on an essay test.

I quietly pulled the white boy aside and said, "You copied your answer off (the girl)."

I had tried to be as quiet as possible so no one could hear me, but the boy was having none of it. "I did not cheat," he shouted. "You're racist!"

I picked up his paper and read aloud what he had written. "Growing up as a black girl in Joplin..."

He quickly gave up the protest and he received a zero on his paper.

It is virtually impossible for two students to express an answer to an essay question in exactly the same way. You would think that same logic would apply to our elected officials.

When members of the Missouri House of Representatives send out their legislative reports at the end of the week (those who take the time to do so), their constituents receive them with the confidence that the ideas expressed in those reports belong to the legislators.

This week, that faith has been put to the test.

Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, and at least four other Republican legislators spoke about photo voter ID legislations in nearly identical words.

On his blog, Speaker Jones wrote:

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 the 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 closer to home here in Jefferson City, we are keeping the founding fathers’ vision alive. Just this week, the Missouri House passed a key measure that ensures that our state government is a service to the people of this great state.

On Thursday, February 14 the House Third Read and Passed HCS HB 48 & 216 and HCS HJRs 5 & 12, sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger (R-Hartsville). This legislation requires a person to submit a specified form of photo identification in order to vote in a public election. HCS HJRs 5 & 12 creates a Voter ID ballot measure for approval of the people and HCS HBs 48 & 216 is the statutory laws that would govern Voter ID should the ballot measure prevail.

The goal of these proposals is to protect the sanctity and integrity of the election process, not to restrict anyone from voting.   Acceptable forms of identification under these measures include: non-expired Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license; a document issued by the federal or state government that contains the individual’s name, signature, photograph and expiration date; or a photo ID issued by the National Guard, US Armed Forces or US Department of Veterans Affairs. There are also provisions in the statutes that would help Missourians who might not have or be able to afford an ID obtain a proper form of identification.  Even still, a voter can cast a provisional ballot should they not have the required identification – allowing everyone to partake in the democratic process while safeguarding against voter fraud.

Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger, R-Lake St. Louis, had the same thing in his report, adding only that he co-sponsored Rep. Dugger's bill.
Yesterday, the House Third Read and Passed HCS HB 48 & 216 and HCS HJRs 5 & 12, which I co-sponsored with Rep. Tony Dugger (R-Hartsville).  This legislation requires a person to submit a photo identification in order to vote in a public election. The bill creates a ballot measure to be voted on by the people that would add this language to the Missouri Constitution.
The goal of the legislation is to protect the sanctity and integrity of the election process, not to restrict anyone from voting.   Acceptable forms of identification under these measures include: non-expired Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license; a document issued by the federal or state government that contains the individual’s name, signature, photograph and expiration date; or a photo ID issued by the National Guard, US Armed Forces or US Department of Veterans Affairs. There are also provisions in the bills that would help Missourians who might not have or be able to afford an ID to obtain a proper form of identification at no cost to the voter or vote by provisional ballot. Thus, allowing everyone to partake in the democratic process while safeguarding against voter fraud.
Government should serve to protect the people from external and internal threats.  Providing measures that ensure our most sacred privilege to vote is good government policy.
And Rep. Chrissy Sommer, R-St. Charles:
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 the 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 closer to home here in Jefferson City, we are keeping the founding fathers’ vision alive. Just this week, the Missouri House passed a key measure that ensures that our state government is a service to the people of this great state.

On Thursday, February 14 the House Third Read and Passed HCS HB 48 & 216 and HCS HJRs 5 & 12, sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger (R-Hartsville) this legislation requires a person to submit a specified form of photo identification in order to vote in a public election. HCS HJRs 5 & 12 creates a Voter ID ballot measure for approval of the people that would add language identical to that in HCS HBs 48 & 216 to the Missouri Constitution.

The goal of these bills is to protect the sanctity and integrity of the election process, not to restrict anyone from voting.   Acceptable forms of identification under these measures include: non-expired Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license; a document issued by the federal or state government that contains the individual’s name, signature, photograph and expiration date; or a photo ID issued by the National Guard, US Armed Forces or US Department of Veterans Affairs. There are also provisions in the bills that would help Missourians who might not have or be able to afford an ID to obtain a proper form of identification at no cost to the voter or vote by provisional ballot. Thus, allowing everyone to partake in the democratic process while safeguarding against voter fraud.

Government should serve to protect the people from external and internal threats.  Providing measures that ensure our most sacred right to vote is good government policy.

From Rep. Paul Wieand, R-Imperial:
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 the 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 closer to home here in Jefferson City, we are keeping the founding fathers’ vision alive. Just this week, the Missouri House passed a key measure that ensures that our state government is a service to the people of this great state.

On Thursday, February 14 the House Third Read and Passed HCS HB 48 & 216 and HCS HJRs 5 & 12, sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger (R-Hartsville) this legislation requires a person to submit a specified form of photo identification in order to vote in a public election. HCS HJRs 5 & 12 creates a Voter ID ballot measure for approval of the people that would add language identical to that in HCS HBs 48 & 216 to the Missouri Constitution.

The goal of these bills is to protect the sanctity and integrity of the election process, not to restrict anyone from voting.   Acceptable forms of identification under these measures include: non-expired Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license; a document issued by the federal or state government that contains the individual’s name, signature, photograph and expiration date; or a photo ID issued by the National Guard, US Armed Forces or US Department of Veterans Affairs. There are also provisions in the bills that would help Missourians who might not have or be able to afford an ID to obtain a proper form of identification at no cost to the voter or vote by provisional ballot. Thus, allowing everyone to partake in the democratic process while safeguarding against voter fraud.

Government should serve to protect the people from external and internal threats.  Providing measures that ensure our most sacred right to vote is good government policy.

And finally, one that ran late this week in my blog, The Turner Report, from Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar:
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 the 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 closer to home here in Jefferson City, we are keeping the founding fathers’ vision alive. Just this week, the Missouri House passed a key measure that ensures that our state government is a service to the people of this great state.

On Thursday, February 14 the House Third Read and Passed HCS HB 48 & 216 and HCS HJRs 5 & 12, sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger (R-Hartsville) this legislation requires a person to submit a specified form of photo identification in order to vote in a public election. HCS HJRs 5 & 12, creates a Voter ID ballot measure for approval of the people that would add language identical to that in HCS HBs 48 & 216 to the Missouri Constitution.

The goal of these bills is to protect the sanctity and integrity of the election process, not to restrict anyone from voting.   Acceptable forms of identification under these measures include: non-expired Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license; a document issued by the federal or state government that contains the individual’s name, signature, photograph and expiration date; or a photo ID issued by the National Guard, US Armed Forces or US Department of Veterans Affairs. There are also provisions in the bills that would help Missourians who might not have or be able to afford an ID to obtain a proper form of identification at no cost to the voter or vote by provisional ballot. Thus, allowing everyone to partake in the democratic process while safeguarding against voter fraud.

Government should serve to protect the people from external and internal threats.  Providing measures that ensure our most sacred right to vote is good government policy.

The idea of these weekly reports is for legislators to update their constituents on what his happening in Jefferson City, not to take ready-made talking points and pass them off as their own viewpoints. That would be like taking ready-made legislation from a group like, oh, say, ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council and trying to pass it off as your own.

We all know that honorable legislators like Speaker of the House Tim Jones and his colleagues would never do anything like that.

Originally posted to rturner229 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:35 AM PST.

Also republished by Show Me Kos and American Legislative Transparency Project.

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