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10 February 2012

Berry: Protecting Integrity of Missouri's Elections

It is our duty here in the House to protect the integrity of our elections and the principles on which they are based. This week, we took a step toward this goal by passing HB 1104 as part of our Blueprint for Missouri. Although some thing that voter fraud is not an issue, flagrant examples of voter fraud have been recognized and are real. And they could certainly affect the outcome of a close election. HB 1104 takes steps to protect the integrity of our elections by requiring voters to prove their identity. This ensures that each eligible person can vote without having their voice taken away by those who vote illegally. Critics of the bill argue that requiring voters to show a photo ID will suppress elderly, minority and poor citizens, keeping them from the polls. In an effort to alleviate these concerns, HB 1104 allows all citizens without the proper photo identification to obtain one free of charge from the state or their local license bureau. It is our goal in the House to make our policies work better by protecting the core of our democracy. We will continue working hard to ensure that all eligible citizens can vote. It is the right thing to do. I hope the Governor does not veto the bill this year.

HB 1329 authorizes the Director of the Department of Revenue to issue a Permit to allow the temporary operation of a motor vehicle or trailer by a buyer and changes the laws regarding motor vehicle registration. This is a good government change to existing law to increase efficiencies in the system.

HB 1311 authorizes a state and local sales and use tax exemption on items related to data storage centers ans several farm facilities.

HB 1219 changes the laws regarding unlawful discriminatory employment practices as they relate to the Missouri Human Rights Act and establishes the Whistleblower Protection Act. This bill corrects inequities that have arisen in our system due to several recent Court decisions over the past several years.

Bill Information

If you want to track legislation you may log on to and select "Bill Information" and then select "Bill Tracking". You maw search by topic or bill number. If you want to track the bills that I have either sponsored or co-sponsored, just enter my last name and you will be able to look at each of those also.

Tax Information

The tax deadline is soon approaching; make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to file your taxes for free. Taxpayers making $57,000 or less can visit to prepare and E-file federal tax returns, for FREE, through a landmark partnership between the IRS and tax software providers.

Unclaimed Property

For the fifth year in a row gift cards and certificates were the most asked for gift for the holidays. In Missouri even an expired gift card or certificate is never really expires, by law any remaining value is required to be turned over to the Missouri State Treasurers Office after five years.

Visiting the Capitol

I also had the pleasure to meet with several area seniors that were visiting the capitol on transportation Day. They traveled by OATS bus and were able to share how important that OATS transportation is to them. I always enjoy when constituents visit the capitol and want to thank all who make the trip. If you ever find yourself in Jefferson City, please feel free to visit.

I am honored to serve as your Representative in the Missouri House of Representatives. If, at any time, you have questions, concerns or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for our citizens, please feel free to contact me at 573-751-2238 or tj{dot}berry{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov.

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