State Representative Tony Dugger’s resignation could impact the fate of legislation he’s championed.
The term limited Hartville Republican left office shortly before a new statute went into effect requiring former lawmakers to wait six months before returning to the Capitol as lobbyists.
At the time, Dugger said he wanted to keep his employment options open. But his most prized achievement will require a legislative override in the upcoming veto session. “I think probably my biggest accomplishment that I’ve worked on my entire time in the House is the photo ID to vote bill, which I was able to get done this year” said Dugger. “And it will be on the November ballot.”
The photo ID law that will put the process into place passed with a veto proof number of Republicans voting for it in the House. But two GOP members, including Dugger have since resigned, complicating its future.
Fellow Republican Kevin Engler of Farmington can’t explain why Dugger would vacate his office before the override vote. “That’s his decision he has to make that he doesn’t think that it’s worthy enough position that he would stay long enough to vote for it.” Engler says people who run for office “should continue” their term.
He also questions to need for lawmakers to resign early to avoid the new six month waiting period to lobby in the legislature. “He (Dugger) could wait (to resign) until after veto session and not become a lobbyist until February, so what” said Engler. “Anybody that really would want to hire you in January when there’s hardly anything happening during the inauguration period and the setting up of the committees, surely would hire you in February or March”.
Another Republican House member, Travis Fitzwater of Holt Summit, contends Governor Nixon’s veto of the Photo ID law will be easily overridden. After the two resignations, Republicans still hold a commanding 114-45-1 majority in the House. 109 votes are required in the chamber to override vetoes. Fitzwater tweeted late Friday to Missourinet “It was truly agreed/finally passed with 112 votes on May 4th in House with 11 absent. I believe it will be overridden”.
The legislation requires voters to present a photo ID at polling places before voting. Those who don’t can still vote if they sign a statement declaring their identity, and their votes will still count. Proponents of the measure who are mostly Republicans claim it’ll prevent voter fraud. Democrats who opposed it claim voter fraud effectively doesn’t exist, and say it would disenfranchise elderly, disabled and minority voters. A similar law in North Carolina was struck down by a federal court.