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Mo. gov. signs Missouri Rx legislation, mum on voter ID

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
Lawmakers look on as Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon signs the Missouri Rx legislation into law during ceremonies in St. Louis on June 10, 2011.

Governor Jay Nixon signed legislation today reauthorizing the state's prescription drug assistance program for low-income seniors for three more years.

Missouri Rx pays half of the cost of prescription drugs, including co-pays and deductibles, for eligible seniors. It's designed to cover the gap in Medicare prescription drug benefits known as the donut hole.

The governor says the program will still be needed even as President Obama phases in his overhaul of the health care system.

"There could be some rules and regulations later on but the line is that this extension was necessary," Nixon said. "There is no other federal law that is or will completely take care of this problem."

More than 212,000 individuals are enrolled in MoRx. The legislation authorizes $20 million for each of the next three years, which the governor's administration says is enough to cover those who are enrolled.

Voter ID

Nixon also said that he hasn't yet decided what he'll do with legislation that would put a voter ID requirement on the ballot in November 2012.

During his 2008 campaign, Nixon called the requirement "onerous." But he sidestepped a question the MoRx bill signing event in St. Louis today about whether he'd veto the new measure, saying he had not fully reviewed the bill.

"I said what I said, and … obviously we're always trying to work to make voting as easy and efficient for people as possible," Nixon said. "It's an important part of democracy, we like to have people to be able to get to the polls and vote in an organized and appropriate way."

A Missouri judge in 2006 struck down a similar measure as unconstitutional. The new version means a photo ID requirement would not take effect without voter approval.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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