Daily Archives: January 11, 2022

Supporting People’s Power to Pass Laws through Initiative Petitions

Marilyn McLeod testifying at a Jan. 12 hearing.

The Missouri General Assembly is considering legislation to make it almost impossible for citizens to circumvent partisan divides in Jefferson City. Among the most onerous is HJR 79 that would require hundreds of thousands more verified signatures to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot, and once on the ballot, dramatically increase the required voting threshold.

“Ballot measures are the people’s power,” LWVMO President Marilyn McLeod told legislators at a Jan. 12 hearing. “Missouri’s initiative petition system has been in place for 114 years. This valuable and trusted process is not easy, and the citizens of Missouri have not abused it. Just 28 of 69 citizen-initiated Constitutional amendments have ever been approved.”

McLeod said two-thirds approval would be an “unnecessary lift.” A large majority of voters recently approved a higher minimum wage, Medicaid Expansion and medical marijuana, but none passed with more than 65 percent of the vote.

McLeod called it ironic that the proposed change would just require a simple majority for passage in the November general election. HJR79 is sponsored by Rep. Mike Henderson (R-Bonne Terre), but more than a dozen similar bills have been introduced.