By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog
ST. LOUIS – Bowing to public pressure, the House Elections Committee changed the meeting time to discuss a controversial voter ID proposal pushed by Republicans.
That committee had originally announced a 6:45 a.m. start time Tuesday for the hearing, but moved the time to 8 a.m. after receiving jeers from the left.
New Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, said there was no legitimate reason to hold a hearing so early.
“It is not open and honest government, and it creates an unnecessary hardship for Missourians interested in testifying on the legislation or just listening to the hearing,” said Kander, who is against photo ID requirements for voting. “Hearings should always be held at easily accessible times for Missourians, especially when dealing with legislation as controversial and complicated as these proposals.”
Sean Nicholson, who heads the liberal advocacy group Progress Missouri, criticized the committee on Twitter for scheduling the hearing that early.
Committee chairwoman Rep. Sue Entlicher, R-Bolivar, reversed course hours after announcing the original time. She indicated in a statement that the committee wanted to start earlier to provide ample time for testimony before the House went into session at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
“We want to be accommodating to those who are interested in testifying on these bills,” Entlicher said. “Depending on the turnout, we may have to recess and then reconvene upon session adjournment to ensure everyone has the opportunity to express their opinion.”
In addition to hearing testimony on HB 48, which specifies certain forms of photo ID required to vote in an election, the committee will hear talk on companion bill HJR 5, which proposes a constitutional amendment specifying that general law may require a person to provide valid government-issued photo ID to vote.
Both of those pieces of legislation were introduced by Rep. Tony Dugger, R-Hartville.
The committee may also listen to discussion about HJR 4, dubbed the “Term Limit Reform Act.”
That legislation introduced by Rep. Myron Neth, R-Liberty, would keep the 16-year total term limit now in place for lawmakers, but would allow them to serve the entire period in one chamber. Now, legislators can serve eight years each in the House and Senate.