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Citizens look to address Medicaid expansion, St. Louis City/County merger through initiative petition

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A few Missourians are looking to take a few hot topics directly to a vote of the people. Three recently filed initiative petitions seek to expand Medicaid and merge St. Louis County with St. Louis City.

This week, Christopher Pieper withdrew Petition 2020-39 and refiled Petition 2020-54, both of which address the much-talked-about merger of St. Louis City and St. Louis County. The proposal is known as Better Together and is backed by campaign committee Unite STL — which was formed in January 2019.

The petition would combine St. Louis city, county and all 88 county municipalities under a unified government and department. The altered version of the petition no longer places the St. Louis County Executive as the mayor of the first metropolitan city.  

Under the constitutional amendment, there is an allocated transition period which would end January 1, 2023.

Heidi Miller filed two proposals: a statutory change and a constitutional amendment that would expand who is eligible for enrollment in the MO HealthNet program.

Petition 2020-52 and Petition 2020-53 both state those eligible “shall be eligible for medical assistance under MO HealthNet and shall receive coverage for the health benefits service package.”

To date, the Secretary of State’s Office has received 54 initiative petitions for the 2020 general election ballot. Of those, 16 have been approved to circulate, six are open to comment, one is closed to comment, nine have been withdrawn, and 22 have been rejected.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. 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.

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