Missouri Supreme Court tasked with untangling state initiative dilemma
By: Al Ortiz
The state supreme court is currently hearing arguments this week on whether or not initiatives that have turned in signatures for the 2012 ballot can be allowed to be placed in front of voters. The developments stem from a challenge to an initiative circulating earlier this year for a fall vote.
Below is a summary of events that lead up to the current situation involving the state high court.
According to reports, Beetem stated that the law was in violation of the Missouri Constitution. Specifically, the ruling stated that the 1997 statute conflicts with a constitutional provision that prohibits laws mandating the state auditor to perform duties unrelated to overseeing the spending and receiving of public money.
What was originally a challenge to the tobacco tax initiative has now grown into a statewide confusion of the initiative process. Events in the state took another twist leading up to the week of April 23, 2012 when Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich told his staff via e-mail to cease preparation of financial estimates of initiatives, directly because of the court ruling.
Ballot initiatives must have the official financial summary included with submitted petition signatures, making it unclear as to what will happen to proposed 2012 initiatives until the supreme court rules on the matter.
Election officials have until August 7 to deem signatures valid or not. However, that may not matter depending on what the high court rules.
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