Last week Governor Nixon announced that five of these proposed constitutional amendments would appear on the August 5, 2014 primary ballot and three would appear on the November 4, 2014 ballot. There are approximately nine weeks until the August primary, and I want to take this opportunity to give readers a brief explanation of these proposed amendments that will appear on the ballots.
House Joint Resolution 11 was passed by the Missouri General Assembly in 2013 and proposes to amend the Missouri Constitution to guarantee the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in agriculture production in our state. This will appear on the ballot as Constitutional Amendment #1 and is commonly called the Farming Rights Amendment. As the sponsor of this proposal, I believe it is very important to have the amendment in order to help protect our state’s number one industry—agriculture—from out-of-state intervention.
House Joint Resolution 48 was passed by the General Assembly in 2014 and seeks to establish a special lottery benefit for Missouri veterans. If passed, the State Lottery Commission is to develop and begin selling a Veteran’s Lottery Ticket from which all net proceeds will be deposited in the Missouri Veteran’s Commission’s Capital Improvement Trust Fund. These monies will be used for Missouri veteran’s homes and outreach programs. Currently, all the proceeds from the Missouri Lottery go to help fund Missouri elementary and secondary education, but the revenue from sales of this special veteran’s lottery ticket will go exclusively to help provide services for our Missouri vets.
House Joint Resolution 68 was passed by the General Assembly in 2014 and proposes to enact an additional sales tax of ¾ of a cent to go to the Missouri Department of Transportation to help fund infrastructure projects. Presently, MoDot is faced with declining revenues, but if this measure passes, it is projected to bring in up to $534 million annually to help fund highway and road projects in the state. This amendment will come with a ten-year sunset attached.
Senate Joint Resolution 27 was passed by the General Assembly in 2014. The proposed amendment contains language stating the people shall be secure in their electronic communication and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their person, homes, and papers.
Senate Joint Resolution 36 passed the General Assembly in 2014 and proposes to amend the Missouri Constitution to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is an “unalienable” right and that the state government is obligated to uphold this right. It would require the state to defend against any “infringement,” including the keeping of ammunition and the defending of one’s family with a firearm.
The other three proposed amendments will be on the November ballot. They are House Joint Resolution 16, which was passed by the General Assembly in 2013 and proposes to amend our state constitution to allow relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecution of crimes of a sexual nature involving persons under the age of 18.
House Joint Resolution 72 was passed by the General Assembly in 2014 and is a proposed constitutional amendment relating to the way a governor manages state appropriated funds and deals with his or her ability to withhold those funds after they have already been appropriated by the General Assembly.
House Joint Resolution 90 passed the General Assembly in 2014. This is a proposed constitutional amendment that would permit voting in all general elections in person or by mail for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the Election Day.
Missouri’s citizens have the ability to decide through their votes the direction of these important issues facing our state as we move into the future. It is important that all of us are informed, knowledgeable voters and exercise our responsibility to vote.