Mo. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) holds a press conference at Jefferson City Memorial Airport on his lawsuit against Sec. of State Robin Carnahan (D) regarding the language used for a ballot initiative on health care exchanges.
Credit Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio
Kinder (far right) prepares to board an airplane during a fly-around tour of Missouri, during which he announced details of a lawsuit he filed against Sec. of State Robin Carnahan.
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.’”