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Four initiative petitions approved for circulation

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Four initiative petitions for the 2020 election cycle have been approved to start gathering signatures.

The petitions filed by Mike Louis, president of Missouri AFL-CIO, were the first ones to meet the necessary requirements to get approval for circulation. To date, 38 petitions have been submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office. Three have been withdrawn, 19 have been rejected, nine are closed for comment, and three are accepting comments.

The four petitions approved for circulation aim at amending the constitution to ensure union negotiating rights, in other words, to prevent Missouri from becoming a right-to-work state through either a statewide vote or county-by-county — two proposals presented in the wake of voters rejecting right-to-work in August 2018.

Petition 2020-12’s ballot language would read, “Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit any law or ordinance that would restrict or impair an agreement requiring employees to support a labor union and apply strict scrutiny review to any such restrictions or impairments?”

Petition 2020-14’s ballot language would read, “Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit any law or ordinance that would impair, restrict or limit the ability of employees to negotiate, enter into and enforce any collectively bargained agreement with an employer providing financial support of the labor union?”

Petition 2020-15’s ballot language would read, “Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit any law or ordinance that would impair, restrict or limit the negotiation and enforcement of any collectively bargained agreement with an employer respecting financial support by employees of their labor union according to the terms of the agreement?”

Petition 2020-13’s ballot language would read, “Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to: prohibit any law or ordinance that would impair, restrict or limit the negotiation and enforcement of any collectively bargained agreement with an employer respecting financial support by employees of their labor union according to the terms of the agreement; and protect the right of employers to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing?”

State and local government entities expect no costs or savings to any of the four proposals.

Before circulating petitions for signatures, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the Secretary of State’s Office. The office then has 23 days after the formation of the petition is approved to draft ballot summary language. Every proposal received by the Secretary of State’s Office is sent to the Auditor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office.

The Attorney General’s Office reviews the petition and forwards its comments to the Secretary of State’s Office within 10 days after receiving the proposed petition. The Auditor’s Office prepares a fiscal note and fiscal note summary and forwards it to the Attorney General’s Office within 20 days after receiving the proposed petition.

Comments are taken pursuant to Section 116.334, RSMo. This provision allows Missourians to offer their observations on the submitted proposal online, by mail or phone. Missourians can provide their comments online. The Secretary of State’s Office will review all comments submitted. 

Petitioners have until May 3, 2020 to deliver signed petitions to the Secretary of State’s Office. Proposed constitutional changes must be signed by eight percent of legal voters in any six of the eight congressional districts, which amounts to a minimum of 160,199 signatures. Proposed statutory changes — none to date have been approved for circulation — must be signed by five percent of legal voters in any six of the eight congressional districts, which amounts to a minimum of 100,126 signatures.

More about the initiative petition process can be found on Secretary of State’s webpage.

This article is part of a periodic update on the initiative petition process. Other stories in the series can be found here