On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Rep. Elijah Haahr to the show for the first time.
The Springfield Republican was first elected to the Missouri House in 2012. Haahr represents a somewhat suburban area of Springfield, an area that encompasses a very popular Bass Pro Shop. And he is chairman of the House Emerging Issues Committee, which has been a staging area for some high-profile pieces of legislation.
A native of northern Iowa, Haahr was home-schooled as a youngster. He often visited state capitols and even met with several future legislative colleagues. Haahr received his undergraduate degrees from Ozark Technical Community College and Missouri Western University. He earned his law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
During the current legislative session, Haahr has handled bill aimed at stamping out human trafficking, bolstering the free speech rights of college journalists and establishing statewide standards for ride-hailing services like Uber.
Here’s what Haahr had to say during the show:
- Haahr wants to make it a crime to advertise sex trafficking in Missouri. He says he’s talked with federal proponents of cracking down on human trafficking, including U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin. “There’s a variety of ways that if you have a victim, you can advertise that victim to johns around the state,” Haahr said. “If we could figure out a way to cut off that advertisement, it essentially dries up the market.”
- Much of an overhaul of municipal governance was struck down this week by a Cole County Circuit Court judge: Haahr says the legislature will likely wait to see how higher courts rule on the matter before trying to change aspects of the measure, widely known as SB5.
- House members will likely decide whether to pass a constitutional amendment that would allow certain businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples. Haahr says this proposal is different from ones in North Carolina or Georgia, primarily because the voters will decide it. “Because unlike what happened in Georgia or North Carolina where something advanced very quickly, if this goes to the voters, the earliest it would be heard is August. And it could be heard as late as November,” he said. “This is not something that will be rushed through really quickly. It will have time to marinate.”
- Haahr says the legislature may act soon on requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote: “I think it’s something that’s so important to public perception as far as our integrity of our election system, that I think it being a part of our state constitution is probably a good move for Missouri.”
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies
Music: “The Places That You’ve Come to Fear the Most” by Dashboard Confessional