Split Decision On Missouri Constitutional Amendments
(Updated 2:02 a.m., Wed., Nov. 5 to include latest vote totals.)
Missouri voters have defeated half of the proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot, while passing the other half.
First, the amendments that failed.
It’s probably no surprise that Amendment 3 went down to defeat: Its backers chose to suspend their campaign back in September. The amendment would have created an evaluation system for K-12 teachers based on student performance instead of seniority. It also would have limited teacher contracts to no more than three years and would have blocked teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining over the new evaluation system.
Mike Sherman is with the group Protect Our Local Schools, which vehemently opposed the amendment.
"Voters made it clear that future education decisions should be made at the local level, and that parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, and school boards should be making the decisions about their school districts, and not bureaucrats in Jefferson City," Sherman said. "Now the voters have said, with almost 80 percent of the vote rejecting this amendment, that they don't want their teachers evaluated based on standardized tests, and they don't want their students taking more standardized tests … that could not be more clear."
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers’ national chapter, released the following statement:
"Voters across Missouri saw through one billionaire's attempt to buy a ballot measure. It's clear that the Missouri community wants teachers to have a voice in their schools. Now, let's focus on reclaiming the promise of public education for every child."
Voters rejected a legislative-backed proposal to create a limited early voting period. Amendment 6 would have created a six-day period, but voting would have been allowed only during “regular business hours,” not including weekends. Also, the early voting period would have gone into effect only if the governor and lawmakers approved funding for it each year. Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and other Democrats opposed Amendment 6. They favored a citizens-backed initiative that was not on today’s ballot. That version would have created a six-week early voting period that included weekends.
Missouri voters easily approved Amendment 2 to make it easier to prosecute sex crimes against children. Tonight’s vote in effect reverses a Missouri Supreme Court decision from 2007, State vs. Ellison, which ruled it unconstitutional for prior criminal acts by a defendant (a.k.a. propensity evidence) to be used against him as evidence in trial. Amendment 2 will allow the use of propensity evidence, including past arrests for sex crimes in which the defendant was not convicted or even charged.
The amendment was created by the passage of House Joint Resolution 16, which was sponsored by State Rep. John McCaherty, R-Murphy.
"With this historic vote Missouri has gone from one of the most restrictive states in the nation in regard to propensity evidence to one that now empowers our prosecutors to protect children from those who would commit these heinous crimes," McCaherty said. "I want to thank the people of Missouri for supporting this much-needed change that now brings us up to date with what other states and the federal government are already doing. It is a change that will protect the innocent and save lives."
Perhaps the most politically charged proposal tonight is Amendment 10, which won with nearly 57 percent of the vote, the most narrow margin of the four proposed amendments. It will limit the governor’s ability to withhold money from the state budget. Specifically, it gives the Missouri General Assembly the authority to override by a two-thirds vote the governor’s decision to withhold funding from any budget item. It also bars the governor from estimating revenue based on projections from bills that have not yet been passed and from reducing “any appropriation for the payment of principal and interest on the public debt.”
Bev Randles, chair of the group Missouri Club for Growth, released the following statement:
"While today's decisive vote in support of Amendment 10 is a significant victory for the Missouri Club for Growth, it represents an even bigger victory for every Missouri citizen. Amendment 10 has always been about returning checks and balances to the appropriations process in Jefferson City and ensuring that tax dollars that are appropriated end up where they were intended, when they are expected. The days of Gov. Jay Nixon, or any future governor, being able to hold our state budget hostage for political purposes are over. There's a reason both Republicans and Democrats in our state legislature supported putting Amendment 10 on the ballot, and this victory shows that voters across the state have grown tired of Governor Nixon playing political games with our tax dollars."
So far, no one from Gov. Nixon's office has responded to requests for a comment or statement.
With all but one precinct reporting in Missouri, here are the latest vote counts for all four constitutional amendments:
Yes: 1,015,899 (71.966%)…No: 395,736 (28.034%)
No: 1,097,807 (76.448%)…Yes: 338,216 (23.552%)
No: 983,504 (70.33%)…Yes: 414,911 (29.67%)
Yes: 788,930 (56.804%)…No: 599,929 (43.196%)
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport