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.
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.
The language in question asks in part if the law should “deny individuals, families and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care.” Attorney Jay Kanzler represents Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) and a group of Republican legislative leaders who filed suit.
The language approved by Carnahan asks if the law should be amended to, “deny individuals, families, and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care plans through a state-based health benefit exchange unless authorized by statute, initiative or referendum.” Kinder says the language skews the ballot question’s true purpose, to bar the governor from creating an exchange by executive order.
At stake are ballot questions that would raise Missouri’s cigarette tax, raise the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, and cap interest rates on payday loans. The fate of all three may turn on whether the State Auditor has the authority to estimate the financial impact of citizens’ petition initiatives. Attorney Ronald Holliger argued that the High Court should uphold a lower court ruling supporting the State Auditor’s authority.
Election officials still have yet to determine if supporters of increasing the minimum wage and tobacco tax, and capping the rate of payday loans, have gathered enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
“(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.’”