More than half of approved initiatives for circulation are tied up in Missouri courts

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February 22, 2010


JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri: Of the 44 initiatives approved for circulation in the state of Missouri, approximately 28 measures are tied up in courts right now, according to reports. Lawsuits, according to officials, are usually filed by opponents of ballot initiatives and those disputing the ballot summary language or potential cost of the initiative should it be approved by voters. State Auditor Susan Montee said the lawsuits usually take up more time than the editing of the language itself. The lawsuits can take months to resolve and can ultimately harm initiatives' chances to qualify for the ballot. The Missouri Eminent Domain Reform Initiatives (2010), for example, had been tied in court after a legal challenge was filed by the Missouri Municipal League. However, after a ruling in January, supporters now have three months to gather about 400,000 signatures by May 2. "The new tactic is if you don't like the measure, just file a lawsuit, slow it down and try to make the proponents spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees," said James Harris, executive director of Better Courts for Missouri, whose proposed Missouri Judicial Selection Amendment (2010) is currently in court.[1]

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