Judge erases, replaces health care exchange language approved by Sec. of State Carnahan
Updated 4:15 p.m. Thursday: Carnahan will not appeal Judge Green's new language, saying Attorney General Chris Koster refused a request for further legal action, and the Secretary of State's office is not in a position to appeal on its own. A full version of today's developments can be found here.
Our original story:
The language used in a ballot initiative approved by Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) has been tossed out by a Cole County judge.
Proposition E centers on the conditions for creating a health care exchange in Missouri; the language authorized by Carnahan read in part whether the law should “deny individuals, families and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care.” Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) called the language used by the Secretary of State unbelievably biased.
“This was not a close call for the judge; he ruled swiftly, today, the same day we had oral arguments in his court," Kinder said. "It’s about as complete a victory for our side as you can have, and it restores the integrity of our process.”
The new language authorized by Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green (R) reads: “Shall Missouri Law be amended to prohibit the Governor, or any state agency, from establishing or operating state-based health insurance exchanges unless authorized by a vote of the people or by the legislature?”
Solicitor General Jeremiah Morgan represented the Secretary of State’s office. He argued that Kinder and other Republican plaintiffs are using Proposition E to try and block the implementation of the president’s Affordable Care Act in Missouri.
In response, Carnahan issued the following statement:
"We are disappointed by today’s ruling. The Secretary of State's office has a legal obligation to provide Missourians with fair and sufficient summaries of ballot measures. We still believe our summary meets that legal standard. The court’s summary would provide Missouri voters with less information about the impact of the proposal and how Missouri individuals, families and small businesses can access affordable health care. Our office is reviewing the decision to consider our next steps."