ballot initiatives

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

Two ballot questions going before Missouri voters in November won’t cost or save the state any money, according the State Auditor’s office.

One in particular would make changes to how appellate judges are selected.  The fiscal note for that measure was put together by Deputy Auditor Harry Otto.

“(We contacted) four statewide offices, 20 other departments/agencies, the House and Senate," Otto said.  "Out of those 24 places that we contacted we received comments from 16, and all 16 said ‘no costs associated with this measure.’”

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich has instructed his staff to stop doing financial estimates for ballot initiatives because of several recent court decisions.

Schweich says the court rulings have made it impossible to conduct financial estimates that can withstand legal challenges.

The memo telling staff to temporarily stop providing financial analyses for initiatives was obtained by The Associated Press under an open-records request.

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Mo. National Guardsmen safe after insurgent attack

All 55 members of a Missouri National Guard agriculture team are safe following an insurgent attack on the forward operating base where they are stationed in Afghanistan.

(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)

A lawsuit seeking to block a proposed constitutional amendment regarding voter identification in Missouri was heard today in Cole County.

The ballot measure was passed last year by the General Assembly and is scheduled to go before Missouri voters in November.  If approved, it would clear the way for lawmakers to pass enabling legislation to require voters to show a photo ID at the polls.  Tony Rothert is an attorney with the ACLU of Eastern Missouri.  He calls the ballot measure misleading.

Both sides of the debate on how St. Louis would handle local control of its police department are digging in their heels over issues of public oversight and transparency.

At a Board of Alderman community forum last night, critics argued that language on a proposed ballot initiative would preclude the department from a civilian review board and restrict public access to disciplinary records. 

John Chasnoff is a program director for the ACLU, which supports local control but is suing to block the initiative.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Missouri judge has struck down the State Auditor's authority to prepare financial estimates for ballot initiatives.

The ruling by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem comes in a challenge to a proposed tobacco tax initiative for which supporters are not gathering signatures. But attorneys who specialize in initiative petitions say the ruling ultimately could affect other initiatives.

Flickr/PinkMoose

Critics challenge Mo. measure to limit payday loan interest

The proposed ballot measure would cap interest, fees and charges for payday and car title loans at 36 percent per year.

Critics of the proposal filed a lawsuit in the state Capitol's home of Cole County. The suit contends a ballot summary for the proposal is inadequate and unfair and that the cost estimate for the proposal does not address all the possible costs.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

An effort to cap campaign contributions to candidates in Missouri has moved one step forward.

The secretary of state's office on Friday approved a summary for a proposed ballot measure. That clears the way for supporters to begin collecting the more than 91,000 signatures needed to put the question to voters in 2012.

The proposal would bar candidates from accepting more than $5,000 per donor for each election.

Missouri's campaign finance laws have undergone numerous makeovers in recent years.

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