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Political Ponderings: Ballot Bait-and-Switch

Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 6:08 am

By Jessica Orsini

The Missouri state legislature is preparing to undermine the ballot initiative process…and to get you to vote for it by pure trickery.

Jessica Orsini

Missouri has a long and storied history with ballot initiatives, starting with a 1920 initiative requiring a new state constitution to be drafted. Since then, major initiatives have required funding for highway construction and repair; public employee benefits; a Conservation Commission to manage fish, game, and forest resources; implementation of the “Missouri Plan” for judicial selection; the famous “Hancock Amendment” limiting state and local taxes; campaign finance reform; implementation of Medicaid expansion; etc.

Our state legislature also has a long and storied history of opposing ballot initiatives, and seeking to undermine them once they are in place. Our legislature effectively reversed an initiative the voters put through to regulate puppy mills, fought tooth and nail at every level to avoid Medicaid expansion, used shady means to reverse a voter-enacted nonpartisan redistricting process, and otherwise has sought by hook or by crook to undo the will of the electorate.

Tiring of this, the state House and Senate GOP majorities have decided to nip what they consider to be a problem in the bud, by raising the bar for initiatives from the current simple majority requirement to a 57% majority — a number that would have been just large enough to kill nearly every ballot initiative passed in recent history.

For the complete editorial, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard