Senator Ed Emery’s Legislative Report for May 16, 2017

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Governing Priorities

“Never trade what you want most for what you want now.”  – College Heights Christian School Valedictorian

This was my wife’s last year to teach at College Heights Christian School (CHCS) in Joplin, and I accompanied her to their graduation ceremony on Sunday. It is always encouraging to hear high school graduates share their vision and fresh perspective, but CHCS speeches are especially uplifting due to their Christian outlook and Biblical world view. The above quote from one of CHCS’s top students caught my ear because it seemed to echo my sentiments last week as the Senate voted out the REAL ID bill.  I spoke against the bill but was apparently not very persuasive. Most are familiar with the issue because the federal government has been threatening for years to take away critical liberties if the states didn’t knuckle under to what is perfunctorily a national database and registry. My edited remarks from the Senate floor are printed below.

“America’s Founders feared the federal government enough that it took two conventions just to form a workable government. Today this Senate is poised to confirm the validity of those fears. That same federal government has threatened to forbid interstate commerce, forbid access to public property, demand personal data in the form of a national ID and allow your travel and mine only in possession of that ID. The Federal Real ID Act is the epitome of “a bill passed in the dark of night.” It is a giant step away from a federation of states, or “federal” government, toward a “national” government, and presents the threat of great personal inconvenience.

It is a great disappointment to me that in the first legislative session after a historic election of Republicans this body would impose two illegal and unconstitutional national databases on our constituents. (PDMP, which eventually failed to pass; and REAL ID). Twenty of the members of this Senate were members of the Missouri House in 2009 when legislation was passed forbidding Missouri’s participation in Real ID. Twelve of our current number voted for that legislation, seven voted against it and one was absent.  Under Washington, D.C.’s threat of inconvenience we are being asked to capitulate on that stand against Real ID.  I have read and re-read my oath of office and have not found the word “convenience” anywhere therein.

This is not the first time in our history that a king – in this case figuratively, Washington, D.C. – has threatened his subjects.  King George blockaded Boston harbor.  I cannot adequately express how grateful I am that those brave and rugged colonists turned their backs on convenience and faced off against the king. They won that war, and the king lost. Our independence is the reward for their sacrifice.

I hope I am wrong in my preliminary assessment, but my fear is that convenience and the king will win and independence will lose.  I will vote no on this national database, and I plead with each Senator to stand against this king we call Washington, D.C.”

The vote was 29 – 5 in favor of Real ID.

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.