KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Fifteen versions of an initiative petition (IP) seeking to raise taxes on cigarettes have been approved for circulation by the Secretary of State’s Office (SOS). The versions vary in total increase, as well as whether or not any of the proceeds are provided to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and other changes (see chart).
Of the 15 IPs, 14 are law changes, while one is a constitutional amendment.
The petitions were submitted by Edward Greim, an attorney at Graves Garrett in Kansas City, on behalf of Raise Your Hands for Kids (RYH4K), a nonprofit organization focused on early childhood health and education.
The organization accepted a donation of $1 million on December 28 from RAI Service Company, the parent of R.J. Reynolds, which produces Camel, Doral and other tobacco products.
The early childhood tobacco tax is rivaling another tobacco tax initiative petition focused on funding MoDOT.
In order to get onto the ballot, the circulated petition must receive signatures of registered voters at 8% of the total previous gubernatorial electorate in six of eight congressional districts.
Petitions must be in to SOS by May 8 at 5 p.m.
Rachael Herndon is the editor at The Missouri Times, and also produces This Week in Missouri Politics, publishes Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosts the #moleg podcast. She joined the Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.
To contact Rachael, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @TheRachDunn.