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06 February 2012

Lant: Making Voter ID Mandatory For "Mickey Mouse", Storm Shelter Tax Credits

We started our week at the old St. John’s hospital for the Demolition Ceremony. There were hundreds of people there to witness the ceremony and reminisce. They told the story of the first hospital that was built during the mining days and how the present hospital was built 40 years ago. We then went out South Main to the site for the new Hospital and did the ceremonial groundbreaking. They told us that by 2014 the new facility would be in use. It will sure be a welcome sight to see it going up. People at the Capitol are asking constantly how we are progressing with the clean-up and recovery from the storm. They can't believe it when we tell them that the clean-up is completed and rebuilding is well under way. I still contend that we are the most resilient people in the world!

We had an interesting week in Jeff City. House Bills 1219 and 1104 were presented and debated at length. 1219 is designed to protect Missouri jobs and Missouri employers by returning Missouri law to a position consistent with Federal Civil Rights laws. This bill is trying to correct one of those unintended consequences where well intentioned legislators several years ago tried to improve upon Federal Laws and instead created a climate that punishes needlessly businesses and employees from our current litigation happy environment. This bill reinstates the original summary judgment standards that have worked very well for our state and nation for many decades. This bill also adds "Whistleblower" protection for Missouri workers. This means that an employee who refuses to do something illegal cannot lose their job.

HB1104 simply specifies that a person seeking to vote in a public election must show a valid photo identification, driving or non-driving, to election officials before they can receive a ballot and have it counted. This is only common sense in an era where some states have ruled that "Mickey Mouse" and "Adolf Hitler" will be allowed to vote if a person attests that is their name. Any cost incurred by an election authority to implement this provision will be reimbursed by the state. There are provisions to allow a person to vote without proper I.D. and be counted when they return to the election authority within three days and present the proper identification. In the real world, we need picture I.D.'s to cash checks, buy medicine, visit our doctors, and in a lot of instances, go to a sporting event. Why would anyone object to protecting the sacred privilege of casting a vote?

My guess is, that these two bills will occupy a lot of floor time this week.

I presented House Bill 1055 Thursday morning to the Ways and Means Committee. This bill allows an income tax deduction for the installation of a storm shelter. If you install an American made safe room, or in ground shelter at your primary residence you will be able to subtract up to 2500.00 from your Missouri adjusted gross income to help offset the cost. There is a yearly cap of 2 million dollars but if there are more applicants than money, it is to be divided evenly. This way everyone who wishes the additional safety provided by a shelter will have some help paying the cost. I am hoping the bill clears the committee soon and I will be able to get a House vote on it.

Saturday evening we traveled over to Fairview for a delightful meal at The Hammons Center with the Volunteer Fire Department and the Fairview Library. We were met at the door by Mayor Sid Oliber and Librarian Jo Gentry. Jo explained that the Library had qualified for a matching fund donation for Children's books. They were on display and quite honestly, there were some that I would like to read. (One on Amelia Earhart in particular) There were several checks presented to assist the Library and the Fire Department and donations were accepted for the great food. My favorite, as always, were the pies! I visited with the Mayor about some of the needs of the Fire Department as well as some City street work that he would like to see done. He also had some concerns about the new radios required to work with Central Dispatch. I think one of the most important things about my job is identifying and trying to solve problems for some of our smaller communities. I kind of feel sorry for some of the Reps who have inner city Districts. A lot of districts are measured by a few square blocks mine is measured by several hundred square miles. Jane and I both look forward to traveling around to all the communities in the District and thoroughly enjoy visiting with every one of you. In the next few months I plan to do a "Town Hall" type meeting in each community and get your ideas on what needs to be done to keep Southwest Missouri great!

I know this is going to get me in BIG TROUBLE, but when you see Jane, ask her about the snake in her sink drain! Until next week, I am, and remain, in your service.

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