Initiative petition looks to address St. Louis City/County merger


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The amount of initiative petitions filed with the Secretary of State’s Office slowed down in January, with only 12 new measures filed. Of those, one aims address the talk of merging St. Louis City and St. Louis County through a constitutional amendment.

Petition 2020-39, filed by Christopher Pieper, is 22 pages long and seeks to repeal and replace sections of Article VI of the Constitution. In part, the amendment states, “… the territory of the county of St. Louis is extended to embrace the territory heretofore in the city of St. Louis and the county of St. Louis…”

Winton Apple has again filed initiative petitions that would alter the voter-approved Clean Missouri Amendment. Petition 2020-40 and Petition 2020-41 are similar to measures that have previously been withdrawn or rejected.

To date, 41 petitions have been submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office — nearly 30 of which were filed in six weeks after the November 2018 election. Three have been withdrawn, 19 have been rejected, 10 are closed for comment, five are accepting comments, and four have been approved for circulation.

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 weekly update on the initiative petition process. Other stories in the series include:

Four initiative petitions approved for circulation

Missourians seek to create a ranked voting system, alter IP process, and more through initiative petition

Voting by mail? Missourian looks to take the matter to voters through initiative petition

Proposed initiative petitions include right-to-work, Freedom to Remember, and anti-sanctuary cities

New IP filed hopes to revise ethics amendment

Missourian seeks to strengthen union rights through initiative petition

More proposed initiative petitions filed with Secretary of State’s Office

Missourians already filing initiative petitions for 2020 election cycle