JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Roughly one-third of the citizen-initiated ballot proposals submitted to the state have been approved to start the signature gathering process. In March so far, only two new proposed measures were filed with one open to comments; the other was withdrawn.
In total, the Secretary of State’s Office has received 48 initiative petitions for the 2020 general election ballot. Of those, 16 have been approved to circulate, four are open to comment, seven have been withdrawn, and 21 have been rejected.
The majority of petitions submitted in the last several weeks have not been new ideas. In fact, all but one of the proposals filed since the beginning of February have been tweaks to previously withdrawn or rejected petitions.
The new measure came in the form of Petition 2020-48, filed by Winston Apple. The initiative petition seeks to start a program called “The Renewable Energy Project” to be funded by taxing long-term capital gains and qualified dividends.
Part of the initiative petition states: “increase the percentage of electricity generated by wind and solar sources until such time as at least 90 percent or more of the electricity generated in Missouri is generated from wind and solar sources.”
One initiative petition was given approval to circulate in the last week. Rick Combs can now start gathering signatures on Petition 2020-38.
“After the effective date of this section, the state, counties, and all other political subdivisions are hereby prohibited from imposing or collecting any tax on personal property other than sales tax which may be collected each time the property is purchased,” reads the constitutional amendment.
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. 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.
Once a petition is approved to circulate, petitioners have until May 3, 2020, to deliver signed petitions to the Secretary of State’s Office. Proposed constitutional changes must be signed by 8 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.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.