The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 16, 2013

Local House delegation backs state proposal for ‘voter ID’

Bill not top priority in Senate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday that would require voters to present a form of photo identification at the polls.

The policy, known as “voter ID,” has been long sought by Republicans in Missouri to combat alleged cases of voters casting fraudulent ballots. During floor debate, however, despite hours of repeated questioning from Democrats, Republicans did not point to any specific cases of voter fraud in Missouri.

Democrats accused Republicans of pushing policy that could disproportionately affect the party’s base — urban voters, often minorities.

“Jim Crow is alive in this room,” state Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, said during floor debate late Wednesday night. “This is the single most immoral act that I’ve ever seen happen in my time in the General Assembly.”

House Speaker Tim Jones, who is working closely with Kelly — a veteran lawmaker who is one of the few Democrats with a committee chairmanship — said he felt Kelly’s accusation that the legislation had some sort of racial impetus was out of line.

“I was very disappointed that Rep. Kelly decided to go down that road,” Jones said. “This has nothing to do with racism. This has everything to do with protecting the integrity of our electoral system.”

The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, and supported by the entirety of the Joplin-area delegation — including state Reps. Charlie Davis, Tom Flanigan, Bill Lant, Bill Reiboldt and Bill White.

In the Senate, President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, said the proposal was not a priority for his members and that he wanted to focus his attention instead on economic legislation.

“It is not a top-tier priority,” he said. “We continue to be interested in making sure that people are able to vote easily and that there is no fraud in the system. We will consider legislation where we think we accomplish those goals.”

Workers’ compensation

The Senate passed legislation that would fix the state’s broken second injury workers’ compensation fund. The bill — sponsored by Sen. Scott Rupp, R-St. Charles — calls on employers to pay more into the fund, caps the size of awards anyone can pull from the fund, and identifies occupational diseases the fund will cover.

The fund, currently millions of dollars in the red, is in a severe backlog. Rupp, along with Attorney General Chris Koster, representatives of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and others, had repeatedly met in private to work on a solution to the fund’s financial problems.

“It is now near insolvency, with more than $28 million in outstanding liabilities and thousands of cases that haven’t even been considered yet,” Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said in a statement. “There was a great deal of urgency with this issue, and I was proud we moved quickly to address it this year.”

The legislation now moves to the House, where Jones said members will seriously consider the Senate’s bill.

Medicaid expansion

House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream introduced his fiscal year 2014 budget and, as expected, he did not include funding for Medicaid expansion — as called for by Gov. Jay Nixon. He visited Joplin last week for another stop on his statewide campaign, making his case that accepting federal funds for expanding the state’s Medicaid rolls is “the smart thing to do” and “the right thing to do.”

“We are facing an important business decision for the state of Missouri: Do we bring billions of dollars back home to Missouri, or do we let our tax dollars — dollars that already come out of Missourians’ paychecks — go to work in another state?” Nixon said during a visit to Missouri Southern State University. “If we take a pass on these dollars, some other state will get the benefit and we’ll get the bill.”

Legislative Republicans have said they do not want to accept federal dollars for expansion because of its effect on the federal debt, as well as its potential influence on the state’s credit rating, which Moody’s has said could be weakened by further expanding the state’s reliance on federal funds.

Speaking with reporters in Jefferson City, Nixon said the state’s AAA credit rating is not at risk. A greater threat, he said, is the looming “sequester,” the automatic spending cuts that would affect entitlement and military spending, the latter of which is important to the military bases in Missouri.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Cancer patient’s drug, probation cases postponed ‘until further notice’

    A Joplin woman who is battling a rare type of cancer has gotten a temporary reprieve in her drug and probation cases so she can focus on her health issues, according to her attorney. Velma Crain, who appeared Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court, was facing the possible revocation of her probation after having been arrested last year on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.

    April 15, 2014

  • Suspect in assault on officer apprehended in Texas

    The U.S. Marshals Service caught up with a suspect in Texas who was wanted in an assault on a Seneca police officer and alleged probation violations in Arkansas. Cody A. Rantz, 25, is being held in Collin County north of Dallas on warrants issued in Missouri and Arkansas. Federal marshals reportedly located the fugitive at a strip mall in Texas on Monday afternoon and took him into custody.

    April 15, 2014

  • Ex-Jasper teacher’s aide accused of sexual contact with student

    A former teacher’s aide at Jasper High School has been charged with having sexual relations with a 16-year-old student and is being investigated for possible sexual contact with other boys at the school. Janice L. Rusk, 43, was arrested Tuesday and charged with second-degree statutory rape and second-degree statutory sodomy following investigations by school officials and law enforcement.

    April 15, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Open a beer, chat with Tom, see his exhibit

    I like to think that I would have gotten along with Thomas Hart Benton. Sure, I’ve read that sometimes Tom (I think I can call him Tom) could be grouchy, and if someone said something stupid or acted like a jerk, he didn’t mind telling that person exactly what he thought of him. But hey, I grew up with people like that.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Neosho Ethics Board calls witnesses in complaint against council members

    City Manager Troy Royer on Monday night described what he said was an assault by City Councilman Steve Hart, and other incidents involving Hart and Councilman David Ruth. His statements were made to the Neosho Ethics Board, which is investigating a complaint filed against Hart and Ruth. Board members had described Royer as their key witness.

    April 15, 2014

  • r041514recycledfashion.jpg Joplin High School students to model ‘recycled’ dresses at fashion show

    Audrey Kaman will walk the runway later this week wearing a dress she designed herself — made out of 250 doilies. “I’d say it’s a fun dress,” the Joplin High School sophomore said. “It’s not really elegant because it’s short, but it’s cute.”

    April 15, 2014 4 Photos

  • Shooter in Joplin murder sentenced to life in prison

    The teen convicted of being the triggerman in the murder of Jacob Wages was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole. At a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin, Circuit Judge Gayle Crane followed a jury’s recommendations in assessing Daniel D. Hartman, 18, two life sentences on convictions for second-degree murder and armed criminal action, and 15 years on a conviction for burglary.

    April 15, 2014

  • Interchange construction work near Carterville to create safer off-ramp

    As the Missouri Department of Transportation begins rebuilding eastbound ramps at the Missouri Highway 171 and Route HH interchange near Carterville this week, drivers can expect ramp and occasional lane closures. The $1.5 million project, funded by the state, will increase the distance between ramps for drivers traveling northbound on Highway 249 and exiting eastbound to Highway 171.

    April 15, 2014

  • Commission awards contract for bridge replacement project

    The Jasper County Commission on Tuesday approved a contract for construction of a new bridge on County Road 48.

    April 15, 2014

  • moon 2 Julie Mi…ell Kruege.jpg SLIDESHOW: Lunar Eclipse turns moon red Globe readers sent in their photos of the lunar eclipse which could be seen early Tuesday morning in the Joplin area.

    April 15, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

In an effort to curb prostitution, St. Louis police are targeting, and perhaps humiliating, the "johns" who use the services. Postcards mailed to the homes of those charged with trying to pick up prostitutes will offer a reminder about spreading sexually transmitted diseases, along with listing the court date. Do you think this is a good approach?

A. Yes.
N. No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter