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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
Missouri’s legislative process will begin this week with the pre-filing of bills for the 2016 session that will start in January. Though numerous bills may be filed, typically only a few will make their way through the House and Senate and on to the governor’s desk. Several pieces of legislation will be considered as priority. One such piece will focus on passing a voter’s photo identification law. Again, legislation will be proposed to create new voter photo ID requirements. Current Missouri law does not demand voters show a form of photo identification when casting their ballots at the polls, though Missouri does require voters to show some form of non-photo ID, such as a utility bill or a voter registration card.
Protecting the election process from potential fraud has always been a priority for Missouri lawmakers, and most believe that requiring a photo ID will benefit the integrity of that process. Proper identification is required for much of what we do. For example, if one uses a banking or financial institution or goes to a hospital or a healthcare provider, it is necessary to show proper identification. Even when writing a check for groceries, one is required to have proof of identity. Why should something as important as voting require any less? It only seems reasonable for voters to provide the same type of identification when casting their votes at the polls, verifying they are indeed whom they claim to be. Many are asking, then why has the issue of providing proper voter photo ID proven to be such a political “hot potato” across our nation.
Once again the holiday season is upon us and people are asking, “Where did this year go?” Yes, 2015 is rapidly winding down and this week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day, a holiday that is deeply rooted in our respect and appreciation for Divine guidance and favors that can include the perseverance and wisdom of our founding fathers and their work in the establishment of our nation. The United States is the greatest nation the world has ever known. Our nation, a constitutional republic, has stood the test of time, providing liberty and freedom to all its citizens. This Thanksgiving, let us truly be grateful for the country in which we are privileged to live and the efforts and sacrifice it took to make it what it is.
This past week, like most of the members of the Missouri General Assembly, I answered a multitude of calls and letters concerning the Syrian refugee crisis. These calls and letters didn’t come from hysterical or inhumane individuals, but from concerned Americans who truly love our nation. On Friday, November 13, Islamic terrorists attacked innocent people in Paris, France, killing 129 and injuring over 360. This most recent attack has fueled the debate as to whether we should accept refugees from Syria here in the U.S. At least 30 state governors have come out against allowing any of them to relocate within the borders of their states. Many of these governors have stated that they don’t trust that the Obama Administration can accurately check the background of them. Other elected officials are concerned that allowing Syrian refugees to relocate within the United States perhaps could leave our country very vulnerable to future terrorist attacks.
Last Saturday evening I was asked to be a part of the Newton County 4-H awards banquet. For the last several years, I have been privileged to attend this annual event and have always enjoyed recognizing the many accomplishments of these fine young people. Some awards presented to the older 4-H’ers were in the form of college scholarship money. It was pointed out last Saturday that these kids not only excel in their 4-H activities, but they are also leaders in the schools they attend, in their church youth groups, and in their community activities. These young people set a high standard for themselves and are good role models to other young people in our communities and in our schools and universities. The Newton County 4-H program is blessed to have approximately 240 young people in individual clubs in our area.
The 4-H program is a part of University of Missouri Extension Cooperative Service.
MU was founded in 1839 in Columbia and was the first public institution of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. It became a land grant university after the passing of the Morrill Act of 1862. Senator Justin Morrill is considered to be the father of the United States system of land grant universities and the grandfather of extension programs. He believed that the key to democracy, peace, and prosperity was to provide educational opportunities for all Americans. After several attempts to pass the Morrill Act, it was finally signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862.
This week America will recognize and honor all those who served in the nation’s armed forces as we celebrate Veteran’s Day 2015. We want all veterans to know how much we appreciate their service to our country. Their sacrifices were great and are not forgotten. Thank you to each and every one who gave so much.
Individual stories from veterans need to be preserved. One such account from WWII I heard this past week involves two young men who loved to fly—one was from the U.S. and one was from Germany. Some of you may already be acquainted with this account from A Higher Call, a book (and a movie) about the true story of these two country-boy pilots.
Twenty-one year old American B-17 pilot, Charles Brown, the West Virginia farm boy was on his first combat mission over Germany, five days before Christmas in 1943. His B-17 bomber had literally been shot to pieces by German fighter planes and was struggling to stay in the sky. Half his crew of 10 were wounded, and his tail gunner was dead when Brown noticed a German Bf-109 fighter plane was hovering about 3 ft. off his right wing tip. Seeing the plane, the co-pilot told Brown, “He is going to destroy us; he is going to finish us off.” Though expecting the worst, at that moment something unusual happened. The German pilot, Luftwaffe’s Major Franz Stigler, stared at the pilot, but instead of pressing the gun trigger, he nodded at Brown and waved. What happened next has been called “one of the most remarkable acts of chivalry ever recorded during WWII.”
On October 9th of this year, the Missouri House of Representatives inducted Edward D. “Ted” Jones, Jr. into the Hall of Famous Missourians, making Jones the 45th inductee into this very elite group. Located on the third floor rotunda of the State Capitol in an area between the House and the Senate chambers, the Hall houses bronze busts of all 45 inductees.
The Hall of Famous Missourians was originally established by members of the House of Representatives, and choosing a new inductee to this Hall is at the prerogative of the current Speaker of the House. The unofficial rules that were adopted specify that selection of members to the Hall would not be a matter of partisan politics and that no living politician would be inducted. Selections are to honor the achievements of the greatest of Missouri’s citizens.
The first inductee into the Hall was on September 8, 1982, and it was no surprise that Mark Twain was selected. On March 29, 1983, George Washington Carver—especially dear to us in southwest Missouri—was inducted. The expense of the gallery has always been maintained by private contributions and no state funds are expended for its upkeep.
On Wednesday, October 28, the St. Louis Gateway Arch will celebrate its 50th birthday. It was on this day in 1965 that the last section of the 630 ft. monument was inserted to join together the two legs of the Arch, a project that was completed “within budget and without loss of a single life.” On that October day, the then vice-president of the United States, Hubert H. Humphrey, was watching from a helicopter hovering near the Arch as that last section was put into place. He commented, “The Arch is to the West, and to the future…a soaring curve in the sky that links the rich heritage of yesterday and the richer future of tomorrow.” His words spoken fifty years ago could be just as appropriate today.
In celebrating the Arch’s fiftieth anniversary, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, one of our national parks, is currently undergoing a $380 million renovation. The structure was built as a monument to the vision of Thomas Jefferson, our nation’s third president, and to the role that the city of St. Louis played in the westward expansion of the United States.
Select Committee on Agriculture - Chairman
Appropriations - Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources