February 18, 2015 - JEFFERSON CITY — Rep. Tony Dugger, R-Hartville, had a very simple explanation in support of his joint resolution that would ask Missouri voters if they believe they should show a photo identification before voting.
"(It) would let them decide if the state of Missouri should implement some guidelines that would require a photo ID to be able to vote in the state of Missouri," Dugger said.
Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County, said the bill is not about letting voters decide.
"There is no reason, there is no purpose that this body has presented that we need to do this," Newman said.
The House first passed the joint resolution, which would be submitted to the voters if it moves through the Senate, and then passed a bill that Dugger said is the "nuts and bolts, I guess you could say, of how we would implement photo ID if the voters do pass the constitutional amendment."
The bill was amended Wednesday to include Missouri paying for birth certificates for those who do not have one.
Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-St. Louis County, said he was glad the amendment was added and therefore, could support the bill.
"We're providing those state IDs to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Missourians for free," Dogan said. "We're allowing them access to vote, in many cases, for the first time when they haven't been able to vote before."
However, the amendment was not enough for Rep. Michael Butler, D-St. Louis City, to support the bill and he attacked Republicans for their governing philosophy.
"This bill is placing a government-issued ID in between the people and their votes," Butler said. "This bill shows that some of members in this body are not being consistent about their message, are not being consistent about what they believe the state should be."
Speaker of the House John Diehl, R-St. Louis County, gave his first floor speech as speaker and launched an attack against Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, who announced Thursday morning his plans to run for the U.S. Senate against Republican Sen. Roy Blunt.
"Why is this bill necessary?" Diehl asked. "It's because the secretary of state turns a blind eye to voter fraud in this state. I'll say it again: The secretary of state turns a blind eye to voter fraud."
Laura Swinford, director of communications for Kander, responded to Diehl's allegations in an email.
"Secretary Kander has launched more formal elections investigations than any other secretary of state in Missouri history," Swinford wrote. "He's also focused on cleaning up the state's voter rolls, and for the first time since the statewide voter database was established, there are now no counties with more registered voters than voting age population."
The House passed the joint resolution by a 118-39 vote and passed the bill by a 118-37 margin.