On a brisk Louisiana night in October of 2010, thousands of football fans packed Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge to watch LSU take on Tennessee in a thrilling contest between two powerhouses. New Orleans was packed with thousands more fans ready to celebrate and party as only New Orleans can. But only 50 miles away in Mandeville, two young 12-year old girls were being called “queen” and “princess” by 51-year old Juan Velasques as he kissed and fondled them. This was not Velasques’ first time going after our most innocent members of society—Velasques also had a conviction on his record in Michigan for felony criminal sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13 in Michigan.
One of Missouri’s native sons—the most famous, perhaps—once said, “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” Besides giving us some of the greatest written works of all time, Mark Twain certainly had an ability to put a humorous twist on a government and a bureaucracy that has often been downright foolish in some of its operations for well over a century.
Let me start this week’s Capitol Review with a story that has so far escaped national attention.
This story is about a state—led by a governor known for controversial positions, and backed by an overwhelmingly partisan legislature. This state recently passed a bill to require photo identification before allowing its citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Critics from the Democratic Party dismissed it as “out-of-touch,” “discriminatory,” and a step back.