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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
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?
Missouri’s General Assembly, as well as a vast majority of Missourians, is pro-life. This was seen most recently with the override of two pro-life bills that the governor had previously vetoed. These bills were two very important pro-life measures that would support the life of the unborn. One of the bills continues, and increases, the tax credit for pregnancy resource centers, while the other bill increased to 72 hours the waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion. Both of these two pieces of legislation were promoted by pregnancy resource centers all across the state.
In Southwest Missouri, I am proud to support Life Choices Health Network in Joplin and Care Net Pregnancy Centers in Neosho and Anderson. These two organizations held their annual fundraising events in September and I was privileged to attend both and to learn of the good accomplishments they are making in our area. These centers provide not only healthcare for pregnant women, but also education, training, and counseling for the expectant mothers. In addition to parenting advice, these organizations provide information about adoption, and they make ultrasound information available to the expectant mothers. With their on-going efforts, these pro-life organizations have had a tremendous impact over the past twenty-plus years. As the number of abortions in the United States is declining, the number of abortion clinics is declining as well. From a high of well over 2,176 clinics in the U.S. in 1991, the number today is approximately 750 nationwide. This reflects a 70% decline in surgical abortion clinics. However, in Missouri, there is only one remaining clinic. That one is in St. Louis, and it performs about 6,000 abortions per year.