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Politically Speaking: Rep. Newman on why guns and photo ID could dominate veto session

State Rep. Stacey Newman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome back state Rep. Stacey Newman to talk about the legislature’s upcoming veto session – and the November election.

Newman is a Richmond Heights Democrat who entered the legislature in 2010 after a special election. With the exception of a zany Democratic primary in 2012, Newman’s subsequent elections have been relatively easy. For instance: She was completely unopposed this cycle, meaning she will return to the Missouri House for her final term.

But before the 2017 session begins in earnest, Newman and her colleagues will be headed back to the Capitol for veto session. The bills that could capture most attentions include multi-faceted firearms legislation and a bill implementing a photo identification requirement to vote. The latter bill will only become effective if Missouri voters approve a constitutional amendment authorizing the mandate for a photo identification.

Newman has been outspoken proponent of firearms restrictions and an opponent of the photo identification requirements. While it may be difficult for House Democrats to stop either bill from being overridden in the General Assembly’s lower chamber, it’s not out of the question the measures could face filibusters in the Missouri Senate.

There are also some intriguing political considerations with the gun bill. The National Rifle Association launched an advertising campaign in support of the override, zeroing in specifically on a provision implementing a “stand your ground law.” And while most Democrats will likely vote against the override, the party’s gubernatorial nominee, Chris Koster, signaled his support for the measure. He also has a good chance to receive the NRA’s endorsement in his bid against GOP nominee Eric Greitens.

Here’s what Newman had to say during the show:

  • Newman says she’s disappointed that both Koster and Greitens oppose firearms restrictions. But that’s not going to make her stop advocating for tightening the state’s gun laws. “This is really about human life. And if the gun lobby, NRA, attorney general, whoever, wants to be at the table and say ‘OK, yes. We’ve sold enough weapons. The gun industry’s doing just fine.”
  • She doesn’t find arguments convincing from Republicans that constituents want the gun bill overridden. Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, said his constituents are overwhelmingly in support of an override.
  • Newman doesn’t think the absentee ballot irregularities highlighted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the 78th District House race provide a convincing case for a photo ID bill. She said that the bill in question doesn’t do anything to change how absentee balloting goes forward.
  • She said she’s optimistic that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton can compete in Missouri, citing recent polls. “Latest polling shows that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are almost neck and neck in Missouri, which is kind of new for Missouri,” Newman said. “I was on the John Kerry staff or campaign back in 2004, we were never up.”

Follow Jason Rosenbam on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Stacey Newman on Twitter: @staceynewman

Music: “Kamera” by Wilco

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.