JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Approval has been given to two more initiative petitions to begin the signature gathering process, upping the total number of circulating proposals to 18.

The measures, one instituting a ranked-voting system and the other starting “The Renewable Energy Project,” received approval from the Secretary of State’s Office to circulate in an attempt to gather the necessary signatures to make it on to the ballot. Winston Apple filed both petitions.

Petition 2020-46 asks voters to amend the constitution to reduce the number of state representatives from 163 to 80 (10 representing each of the eight congressional districts), have state senators represent the entire state instead of a district, and institute a ranked-voting system in Missouri. The proposal is projected to reduce General Assembly operating costs by roughly $7 million annually while potentially increasing election-related costs.

Petition 2020-48 asks voters to amend state statute to impose a state tax on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends and use the tax revenues to increase the percentage of electricity generated by wind and solar sources in Missouri to 90 percent. The tax revenue generated is unknown with a projected operating cost of at least $3 million annually.

Four new initiative petitions have also been filed with the Secretary of State’s Office — with one having been rejected and three open to comment.

Pauly Lentz filed Petition 2020-58, which seeks to alter the distribution of Missouri’s electorial votes to a presidental candidate. Under the proposal, each congressional district would vote for the candidate chosen by that district instead of the candidate chosen by the state as a whole.

Petition 2020-59, filed by Heidi Miller, amends the Missouri Consitution to expand Medicaid.

Charles Hurth filed Petition 2020-60, which seeks to change Article VIII, Section 2 of the Missouri Constitution to read, “Only a citizen of the United States” instead of “All citizens of the United States.”

Mark Pedersen filed Petition 2020-57, which sought to replace the recently voter-approved medical marijuana amendment with the “Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection.” The proposal has been rejected.

To date, the Secretary of State’s Office has received 60 initiative petitions for the 2020 general election ballot. Of those, 18 have been approved to circulate, six are open to comment, two are closed to comment, nine have been withdrawn, and 24 have been rejected.

Before circulating petitions for signatures, state law requires 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.

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