Missouri House Approves Bill to Reinstate Voter ID Law

Dear Citizens:  The Missouri House has approved legislation (HB 334) that would reinstate a voter ID requirement that was struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court last year. When they go to vote, Missourians will need to present a photo ID, but the bill will also allow people without a photo ID to cast a provisional ballot.

The bill’s sponsor said, “This bill is a necessity as a response to the Missouri Supreme Court judgement in a case in January 2020 called Priorities USA that utterly and wholly gutted the intent and practicality of the statute.”

The legislature approved a voter ID bill in 2016 that required a photo ID at the polling place, but also allowed those without a photo ID to vote by provisional ballot or by signing an affidavit stating they don’t have a form of personal identification approved for voting. The bill approved by the legislature was contingent upon the passage of a constitutional amendment, which 63 percent of Missourians supported.

The Missouri Supreme Court in January 2020 then struck down the affidavit provision saying it was contradictory and misleading. The removal of the affidavit requirement prevented the legislation from effectively impacting voter identification procedures.

The bill approved by the House this week removes the affidavit language that was struck down, and will allow voters without an ID to vote by provisional ballot. In order for the provisional ballot to be counted, election officials would have to verify the voter’s signature based on voter records, or the voter would need to return later that day with a valid photo ID.

House Approves Legislation to Prevent Abuse of Eminent Domain (HB 527)  – The Missouri House has once again approved legislation meant to protect the rights of land owners. The bill would prevent the use of eminent domain to take property from Missourians for use by the Grain Belt Express power line.

The Grain Belt Express is a wind-energy power line that is planned to run from Kansas to Indiana. The project was approved to use eminent domain to seize land if land owners refuse to sell easements. The Missouri House approved similar legislation last year to protect the rights of land owners. This year’s bill aims to prevent the use of private land for the project without the permission of property owners. It specifically states no entity has the power of eminent domain for the purposes of constructing merchant lines.  The bill would not apply to rural electric cooperatives or to power lines that provide energy substations every 50 miles. The bill’s sponsor said the provision is meant to encourage companies to give Missourians greater access to the energy being transmitted.  The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

First Responders Protection Act Receives House Approval (HB 59) – The members of the Missouri House took action this week to protect law enforcement officers and other first responders and their families. The House approved the First Responders Protection Act to ensure the personal information of these individuals is not used against them.

The bill would bar counties from disclosing the address or personal information of law enforcement officers and first responders, upon their request. This would be directed at county clerks, collectors, treasurers, auditors, and recorders of deeds. It would also make illegal the “doxing” of law enforcement officers and first responders. “Doxing” is the posting of personal information on the internet with the intent of causing harm to the individual.

The legislation also establishes the “Police Use of Force Transparency Act of 2021.” The act provides that all law enforcement agencies must, at least annually, collect and report local data to the National Use of Force Data Collection through the Law Enforcement Enterprise portal administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on use-of-force incidents involving peace officers.  The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

For further information contact or call 573-751-5388.