SUMMARY OF STATEWIDE PETITION INITIATIVES
AMENDMENT 1: Clean up Missouri Politics: CLEAN Missouri’s initiative increases fairness, accountability, integrity and transparency in Missouri politics. Amendment 1 would do the following:
- Lower campaign contribution limits to $2,500 for state Senate candidates and $2,000 for state House candidates
- Eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts to members of the General Assembly
- Require that all legislative records be open to the public, including committee reports, correspondence and electronic communication, and allow taping of all meetings open to the public
- Require politicians to wait two years after leaving office before becoming paid lobbyists
- Ensure that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new legislative district maps are drawn after each census. An independent demographer would draw maps that would then be reviewed by a citizen commission that must hold public hearings. Currently, politicians draw the maps to protect incumbents and their parties.
- Districts must be drawn using the following criteria, in order of priority:
- make districts as equal in population as practicable;
- comply with U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, other federal laws;
- promote partisan fairness and competitiveness
- be composed of contiguous territory, coincide with the boundaries of political subdivisions and be compact in form.
The League has been advocating for redistricting reform for decades and supports Amendment 1.
AMENDMENT 2: MEDICAL MARIJUANA – Care of Veterans: Amends the Missouri Constitution to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes with a 4% tax on its retail sale at dispensaries. Funds estimated at $18 million would go toward veterans’ health programs, including Veterans’ Homes, state operating costs and $6 million to local governments for their costs if they have a retail marijuana facility or a marijuana growing facility. The Missouri Department of Revenue would oversee the taxation and revenue regulations. Local governments may not refuse to allow a facility within their jurisdiction. The Department of Health and Senior Services would license and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities. It creates the Missouri Veterans Health Commission for Health and Care of Veterans to oversee use of the license fee and tax. Approximately $7 million will be spent on state operating costs. The 30-day allowed prescription amount is 4 oz.
The League hasn’t taken a position on Amendment 2 or 3 or Prop C. Since 2015, the Missouri League has supported the lawful use of marijuana for medical treatments.
AMENDMENT 3: MEDICAL MARIJUANA – Biomedical Research Institute: Similar to Amendment 2, but it imposes a 15% tax on the retail sale of marijuana that would be used for a “Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute.” The purpose of the Institute is to conduct research and develop cures for cancer and other incurable diseases or medical conditions. Submitted and financed by Brad Bradshaw, who will be the Chairman of the Board of the Institute and select all of the Board members. Implementation cost would be $186,000 with an increased annual operating cost of $500,000. They anticipate an annual income of approximately $66 million. The 30-day allowed prescription amount is 3 oz.
The League is concerned that Amendment 3 stipulates that the Institute’s board members be chosen by one individual (Brad Bradshaw) who is also the chairman of the Board and administrator of the Institute. The revenue from the enterprise will be overseen by a private, non-elected individual.
PROPOSITION B: MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: This initiative by Raise Up Missouri increases the state minimum wage by 85 cents an hour each year until it reaches $12 per hour in 2023. The current state minimum wage is $7.85 an hour, which is not a living wage (defined as what an individual needs to pay for food, housing medical, child care, transportation, taxes and other basic needs). Prop B would account for changes in the Consumer Price Index after 2023 and penalize employers who do not pay their workers minimum wage. Minimum pay would also increase for restaurant staff and other exempt workers (51 percent of the minimum wage in 2019 rising to 60 percent in 2024). Government employers and businesses with annual gross income less than $500,000 are not required to pay the state minimum wage.
The League supports Prop B because a higher minimum wage will advance self-sufficiency for individuals.
PROPOSITION C: MEDICAL MARIJUANA – Health and Senior Services: Removes state prohibitions on personal use and possession of medical marijuana by anyone diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition and allow growth, possession, production, and sale of medical marijuana by licensed and regulated facilities. One-half of 1% of a 2% tax on the retail sale of medical marijuana would be used for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education overseen by the Department of Health and Senior Services and the State Treasurer. Funds also go to public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility. Annual revenues are estimated to cover annual costs of $10 million. The Division of Liquor Control would administer the program to license and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities. The 14-day allowed prescription amount is 3 oz. Financed by Missourians for Patient Care, donors’ names not available.
The League is concerned that .5% of $10 million in revenue would be just $50,000 total for the four listed beneficiaries: veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education and public safety in cities with medical marijuana facilities. Also, as a statute, this proposal can be changed in any way or not implemented by the Legislature.
BALLOT ISSUES FROM THE STATE LEGISLATURE
AMENDMENT 4: BINGO: The Missouri Management and Advertisement of Bingo Games amendment was submitted by the General Assembly to lower the time required for someone to belong to a group before he/she can manage a bingo game for the organization from two years to six months, and to remove the constitutional ban on advertising for bingo games. A constitutional amendment is necessary because the original authorization approving Bingo in the state was passed as a constitutional amendment.
PROPOSITION D: GAS TAX INCREASE: This initiative was submitted by the legislature to increase the state motor fuel tax by 10 cents a gallon by 2.5 cents per year until it reaches the full amount in 2022. The current tax is 17 cents per gallon for both gasoline and diesel fuel, compared to Iowa’s 31 cents for gasoline and 32.5 cents for diesel fuel. The higher tax is estimated to generate at least $288 million annually for the Highway Patrol and $123 million annually to local governments for road construction. Subject to appropriation by the General Assembly, the state portion of the revenue generated by the increase shall be used for the actual cost of the Missouri Highway Patrol in administering and enforcing state motor vehicle laws and traffic regulations. Money originally budgeted for the Highway Patrol could then go for road and bridge projects. Prop D establishes an “Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund” that will select and oversee appropriate projects to be funded by the State Treasurer at the will of the Legislature. Those projects must meet freight route and cost requirements. The measure also exempts Special Olympic, Paralympic and Olympic prizes from state taxes.
While there’s a well-known need for additional funding to maintain and repair state roads and bridges, the League is concerned that this is a regressive tax, putting more burden on lower socioeconomic individuals.
Judge Information – 2018: Go to http://www.yourmissourijudges.org/judges/ for information on Missouri’s nonpartisan judges seeking retention.
Candidate Information – 2018: Local Leagues in Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis gathered information on local candidates and ballot issues for the August Primary. Columbia will also be doing a Voters Guide before the Nov. 6 election. Go to Vote411.org for the latest information on general election candidates and ballot issues.