Ballot Initiatives

StanJourdan | Flickr

Less than two weeks after the November 2014 election, only three proposed initiative petitions for the 2016 ballot had been filed with the Missouri secretary of state’s office.

But this time, less than two weeks after the November 8 election, the 2018 floodgates are already open. As of Thursday, at least 39 proposed initiative petitions have been filed. Dave Robertson, head of the political science department at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, ties the state’s early deluge of 2018 initiatives to voter unrest, nationally as well as locally.

Gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens looks at his ballot before sitting down to vote at the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Of the four constitutional amendments passed by Missouri voters on Tuesday, rumblings have started about legal challenges to three of them.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks with reporters before the start of the presidential debate at Washington University. (Oct. 9, 2016)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill understands why people are fed up with the election. But “that’s no excuse to check out of democracy or give up the freedom we have in our country to decide who our leaders are,” she told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on the Friday before many people will head to the polls on Nov. 8.

St. Louis on the Air hosted a town hall with a proponent and opponent of Missouri's proposed Constitional Amendment 3on Nov. 1, 2016.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation in the Community Room at St. Louis Public Radio about Amendments 3, 4 and 6 as well as Proposition A. This was an effort to inform voters on statewide ballot issues they would see on Nov. 8.

St. Louis on the Air hosted a town hall with a proponent and opponent of Missouri's proposed Constitional Proposition A on Nov. 1, 2016.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation in the Community Room at St. Louis Public Radio about Amendments 3, 4 and 6 as well as Proposition A. This was an effort to inform voters on statewide ballot issues they would see on Nov. 8.

St. Louis on the Air hosted a town hall with a proponent and opponent of Missouri's proposed Constitional Amendment 6 on Nov. 1, 2016.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation in the Community Room at St. Louis Public Radio about Amendments 3, 4 and 6 as well as Proposition A. This was an effort to inform voters on statewide ballot issues they would see on Nov. 8.

File photo

After leading the fight to get the proposed tobacco tax increase known as Proposition A on the ballot, Ron Leone is forsaking that proposal so he can focus on defeating its rival.

“We’ve had to leave the fate of Proposition A to the gods,” said Leone, executive director of Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores. “Our entire focus of our resources and our effort has been to defeat Amendment 3.”

St. Louis on the Air hosted a town hall with a proponent and opponent of Missouri's proposed Constitional Amendment 4 on Nov. 1, 2016.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation in the Community Room at St. Louis Public Radio about Amendments 3, 4 and 6 as well as Proposition A. This was in an effort to inform voters on statewide ballot issues they would see on their Nov. 8 ballot.

Join St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh for a town hall event on Tuesday, Nov. 1 to discuss four of Missouri's most contested ballot measures.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Come Nov. 8, Missourians will have many important decisions to make. Who will be the country’s next president? Missouri’s next U.S. senator and congressmen? Our state’s governor? Our state’s next senators and representatives?

That’s not all Missourians will be deciding on. There are also a handful of ballot measures that you should think closely about before the day of the election. A week before you head to the polls,  St. Louis on the Air hosted an evening town hall to hear from proponents and opponents of the four most contested ballot measures.

Patrick Henry Elementary School in St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans have spent roughly a decade trying to implement a requirement that voters show government-issued photo identification before they can cast a ballot. After numerous starts and stops, the GOP is one public vote away from achieving a long-standing public policy goal.

Amendment 6 would authorize Missouri lawmakers to pass a photo ID statute. The constitutional change is needed because the Missouri Supreme Court years earlier had tossed out photo-ID mandates, saying they violated the state constitution.

Van Tyler checks a list of names and addresses while delivering meals in Jennings for the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging saw its funding slashed by about $2 million during the recession, the agency has had to piece together grants for major projects.

“We’ve had to close senior centers over the years because we can’t support the number that were originally being utilized. And yet at the same time the population is growing,” Director Mary Schaefer said.

That could soon change. On Nov. 8, voters in St. Charles County, St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis will see a box for “Proposition S” on the ballot. The initiative would increase property taxes to pay for programs for seniors, to help them continue living at home.

Eric Greitens, left, and Chris Koster
Carolina Hidalgo and Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s two major candidates for governor disagree on many things. But Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens do share similar views on the dueling tobacco-tax hike proposals on the Nov. 8 ballot. They oppose both of them.

That opposition could be significant, since whoever is elected governor will likely have significant roles in implementation of any of the six ballot measures that go before voters. Here’s a rundown on where Greitens and Koster stand on those issues, including some of their observations.

The Missouri Capitol building.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For roughly a decade, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee was a firm opponent of campaign donation limits. When he voted to get rid of contribution curbs as a Republican state senator in 2006 and a Democratic state senator in 2008, he believed that an unlimited system would give Missourians a better sense of where money came from and where it was going.

But  Chris Koster abandoned his long-standing opposition to donation limits earlier this year and threw his support behind a proposed constitutional amendment that limits contributions to $2,600 for state-based offices. He says that the current system where million-dollar donations are relatively commonplace is completely out of control.

Yard signs in favor of Amendment 4, which would bar state sales taxes on services
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

As the Missouri Realtors group sees it, it’s just being proactive.

The state of Missouri doesn’t generally impose sales taxes on services. But some legislators and political donors, notably Rex Sinquefield, have for years floated the idea of expanding the state’s sales tax so they can cut or eliminate Missouri’s income tax.

Missouri Realtors and its allied groups want to kill that notion in its tracks.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

The first of six ballot measures before Missouri voters this November has not generated any controversy – so far. Constitutional Amendment 1 would renew the state's parks and soils tax for another 10 years. 

Brian Boucheron I Flickr

Missourians are slated to vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban sales taxes on services.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander certified the measure, known as Amendment 4, last week for the Nov. 8 ballot. The relatively short amendment says:

cigarette closeup
G.Arands | Flickr | Creative Commons license

Updated with MNEA decision - One of two ballot initiatives that would increase Missouri’s cigarette tax may be in trouble. A Cole County judge has said the fiscal note on a 60-cent-a-pack proposal overestimates the revenue that would be raised. He has directed the auditor to review the projection, and that would invalidate the petitions turned in by Raise Your Hand for Kids.

The organization has said it will appeal.

StanJourdan | Flickr

For now, it’s all over but the counting. The Missouri Secretary of State’s office will be busy the next few weeks determining whether five initiative-petition proposals collected enough valid signatures to get on the state’s August or November ballot.

Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio

President Barack Obama sent a message during his State of the Union address to every mayor, governor and state legislator who want to increase the minimum wage: Don't wait on Congress, Americans will support more local government initiatives.

Flickr/MoDOTNews

Wes Shoemyer was content to ride off into the political sunset. 

The former Democratic state senator lost his re-election bid decisively in 2010. Afterward he told people in Jefferson City that he had a great “consolation prize” – going back to his farm near Monroe County.

But Shoemyer is leaping back into the fray to fight an amendment making it more difficult to regulate agriculture. And he’s taking on familiar adversaries – some the state’s largest agricultural organizations.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Updated 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15

Advocates for partly legalizing the growing and use of marijuana in Missouri have gotten the go-ahead to circulate 13 different initiative petitions in the state.

But that doesn’t mean any of the proposals will be on this fall’s ballot.

On Wednesday, the Missouri secretary of state's office said it had approved all 13 initiatives for circulation. Nearly 158,000 signatures from registered voters will be needed to put any of the proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot.

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

As soon as the snow melts, Missourians may find themselves confronting a horde of people stopping them outside stores, on the streets or at their front doors.

The object: to get their signatures on petitions that would put a variety of issues – such as early voting, income taxes and teacher tenure – on the August or November ballot.

(via Flickr/frankjuarez)

A group of educators is suing the state of Missouri over a proposed constitutional amendment requiring tenure for public school teachers be based on performance, not seniority.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Opponents of an initiative-petition proposal that requires a new evaluation process for teachers, and does away with tenure protections, have filed a lawsuit challenging the proposal’s ballot summary, which they say would mislead voters.

Among other things, the ballot summary doesn’t mention the word “tenure.”

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has approved legislation aimed at increasing the transparency of initiative petitions that bypass the Legislature to put proposed laws or constitutional amendments on statewide ballots.
 
Sponsors of the petitions must gather signatures from registered voters for their proposal to qualify for the ballot.
 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) has made changes to the initiative petition process.

Effective immediately, the Secretary of State’s office will begin posting initiative petitions to its website before the summary language is written.  Kander has also authorized 5-day comment periods that will begin the same day the initiative petitions are posted.

(via Friends of Shane Schoeller)

Agricultural interests are being highlighted in the Missouri Secretary of State’s race this week.

Republican nominee Shane Schoeller is conducting a “Farm Values Tour” across the state, in which he’s reviving memories of the recent battle over dog breeding regulations.  He says his Democratic opponent, Jason Kander, would follow in Robin Carnahan’s footsteps in writing ballot summaries that could greatly harm farmers who also breed dogs.

s_falkow |Flickr

A Cole County judge has upheld a ballot summary prepared by Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) for a proposed constitutional amendment that would expand the governor’s role in appointing State Supreme Court judges.

The ballot language for Amendment 3 asks:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to change the current nonpartisan selection of supreme court and court of appeals judges to a process that gives the governor increased authority to:

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

There will be no challenge to the new language inserted onto a ballot initiative by a Cole County judge regarding health insurance exchanges.

The version initially approved by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) had asked if state law should, “deny individuals, families and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care,” unless the people or the legislature created an exchange.  In a statement, Carnahan says Attorney General Chris Koster (D) refused to file an appeal on her office’s behalf.  Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) filed suit against Carnahan over that language.  He applauded the Democratic Attorney General’s move.

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

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.

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