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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
Another constitutional amendment facing Missouri voters on the November 4 ballot is a measure dealing with early voting in the state. Amendment #6 made its way to the fall ballot through the legislatively referred method (having gone through the complete legislative process). It had its beginning in the Missouri House of Representatives as House Joint Resolution 90. After approval by both the House and the Senate, the proposal will now go to Missouri voters as Amendment #6.
The official ballot language of Amendment #6 is as follows:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the election day in general elections, but only if the legislature and the governor appropriate and disburse funds to pay for the increased costs of such voting?
State governmental entities estimated startup costs of about $2 million and costs to reimburse local election authorities of at least $100,000 per election. Local election authorities estimated higher reimbursable costs per election period. Those costs will depend on the compensation, staffing, and planning decisions of elections authorities with total costs being unknown.
As we approach the November General Election, we need to take a closer look at Constitutional Amendment #3. This amendment is perhaps the most controversial of the four that voters will be asked to decide on this fall’s ballot.
In discussing this proposed constitutional amendment, one thing needs to be clarified: this is a petition initiative, meaning Missouri’s General Assembly had absolutely nothing to do with placing it before voters. The fact is that of the nine constitutional amendments in the 2014 election cycle, only one, Constitutional Amendment #3, is a petition initiative. The other eight were legislatively referred. Here’s the difference: a legislatively referred amendment has gone through the complete legislative process, a process that begins as either a House Joint Resolution or a Senate Joint Resolution. The proposed amendment then goes to public committee hearings in both chambers before being moved on to open debate in the House and the Senate. A bill can be amended during the committee hearings before it is voted on and passed by both groups. When the entire process is completed, the bill that will become a constitutional amendment is certified by the Secretary of State, and then goes out to the voters. The initiative process, however, has bills taking a completely different pathway to the ballot.
After deciding five constitutional amendments this past August, Missouri citizens will be asked to consider four more in November. I believe it is especially important for voters to be informed on all of these issues that could change our state’s constitution. Consequently, I will be using my Capitol Report over the next four weeks in an effort to inform readers on these proposed amendments. This week we will take a closer look at Amendment #2.
Amendment #2 is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, meaning it began in the Missouri House of Representatives as House Joint Resolution 16. HJR16 went through the legislative process with public hearings before both House and Senate committees. It then passed the full House and Senate with good bi-partisan support. Not requiring the governor’s signature, it now goes to a vote of the people. The following language will appear on the November 4th ballot:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that it will be permissible to allow relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecutions for crimes of a sexual nature involving a victim under eighteen years of age?