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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
Nationwide, state governments are considering passing or have already passed legislation that would require voters to show photo identification before voting. Last week the Missouri House spent considerable time debating and then passing two voter photo identification bills. House Joint Resolution 47 (HJR 47) and House Bill 1073 (HB 1073) would both require a photo ID for individuals to vote in Missouri. These two bills are now on their way to the Missouri Senate for its approval.
Attempts have been made in our state to pass voter photo identification laws, and our 2006 Missouri’s General Assembly passed the first such law. It was signed by the governor, but ultimately was struck down by Missouri’s Supreme Court as being unconstitutional. Photo identification voting laws have always stirred up partisan party politics, but supporters of this measure—mostly conservative Republicans—contend that photo ID laws are common sense protection against fraudulent voting. Supporters maintain that photo ID requirements would protect the integrity of the election process and help prevent fraud. They also contend that the current system makes it too easy for fraud to occur, and, unfortunately, it is a reality of life in America that there is voter fraud.
For more than seventy years, March 1 has marked the opening day of trout season in Missouri. Only a few days away from this year’s opening, the Missouri Department of Conservation is prepared for this annual event. Hundreds of thousands of anglers, not only from Missouri, but from neighboring states, will flock to our state’s four trout parks. Three of Missouri’s parks are owned by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources: Bennett Spring, near Lebanon; Montauk, near Licking; and Roaring River, near Cassville. The fourth park, Maramec Spring Park, near St. James, is privately owned by the James Foundation. From March 1 through October 31 (Missouri’s designated trout season), the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) stocks trout daily to accommodate the large number of anglers who fish these four parks. Though Missouri is not considered a trout state, she does offer some exceptional trout fishing. State hatcheries raise the fish—mostly rainbow and brown—for release into the waters of the parks. Opening day at the four trout parks usually draws between 11,000 and 12,000 fishermen.
While serving on the House committee on Corrections, I have had the opportunity to work closely with the Missouri Department of Corrections, the major penal system in our state. The Department has twenty prisons across Missouri—eighteen institutions for men and two for women. In these facilities they incarcerate 31,000 inmates; there are approximately 70,000 parolees; forty-seven inmates are sentenced to death.
On November 20, 2013, the Department of Corrections carried out its first execution in nearly three years. Joseph Paul Franklin, a White Supremacist who targeted Blacks and Jews, killed Gerald Gordon in a sniper shooting in 1977 at a suburban St. Louis synagogue.
Following the shooting, Franklin went on a cross-country killing spree until his apprehension in 1980. He was convicted of eight murders but claimed responsibility for up to twenty killings overall. The Missouri killing was the only one that brought the death sentence—and it took over thirty-three years to carry it out. Franklin also admitted to shooting and wounding Civil Rights leader Vernon Jordan and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynn, who has been paralyzed from the waist down since the 1978 attack.