Four Missouri initiatives submit signatures by deadline
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri: The complicated initiative process situation in Missouri didn't discourage supporters from submitting signatures by the May 6 deadline.
Supporters of the following measures turned in signatures to the Missouri Secretary of State's office:
- A measure to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.25 an hour.
- A proposal to impose an additional $1 tax on each package of twenty cigarettes. The generated funds would be directed towards tobacco education and cessation programs
- A constitutional amendment to require that all municipal police forces or departments be controlled by the local governing body.
To qualify for the ballot, each initiated state statutes require signatures from registered voters equal to 5% of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts. This amounts to 91,818.
Constitutional amendments require 146,907 signatures to be placed on the ballot.
The petition drive deadline won't be the last hurdle for initiative organizers in the state. Legal challenges have lead to bigger implications surrounding the state initiative process. On February 28, Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetum struck down a law that directs the state auditor to prepare fiscal analysis for proposed ballot initiatives.
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 Show Me State took another twist this past week when Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich told his staff via e-mail to cease preparation of financial estimates of initiatives, directly because of the recent court ruling.
Ballot initiatives must have the official financial summary included with submitted petition signatures, making it unclear as to what will happen to those proposals for the time being.
Stay tuned for more developments on this story as developments progress.
- Laws governing the initiative process in Missouri
- Missouri 2012 ballot measures
- List of Missouri ballot measures