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Initiative petitions regarding freedom to work, judicial elections, Medicaid expansion OK’d to circulate


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Several initiative petitions covering a multitude of different topics — from freedom-to-work to sanctuary cities to Medicaid expansion to the initiative petition process — have been approved to start the signature gathering process.

The Secretary of State’s Office recently approved nine petitions for circulation. In total, 13 petitions out of 41 filed have been approved for circulation.

The batch of proposed measures span a wide range of topics from three different Missourians: Patricia Thomas, Damien Johnson, and Gerald Peterson.

All six initiative petitions filed by the treasurer of the Missouri Republican Party were approved for circulation. The proposals cover an array of conservative priorities.

The ballot language for Petition 2020-19 asks voters if they “want to amend the Missouri Constitution to provide that every employee shall have the freedom to work without being forced to join or pay any fees to a union (labor organization) in order to gain or keep a job?”

Petition 2020-22 also asks voters if they want to become a “freedom-to-work” state — otherwise known as right-to-work, but goes farther and states that “laws and ordinances cannot require certain wage rates (a prevailing wage) for maintenance or construction of public facilities.”

Petition 2020-20’s ballot language would read, “Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to provide that municipalities and their officials shall cooperate and comply with requests from United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to detain, maintain custody of, or transfer any alien to ICE?”

Petition 2020-21’s ballot language would read, “Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to require that certain historic memorials of any age on public property, such as statues, names of schools, streets, bridges and buildings named or dedicated in honor of any historic conflict, entity, event, or figure, may not be removed, renamed, or otherwise changed in certain ways unless provided by law?”

Petition 2020-23 asks voters to amend the constitution to provide that “appellate court (supreme court and court of appeals) judges shall be elected in partisan elections; the term of an appellate court judge shall be reduced from 12 years to 6 years;” limit appellate court judges to two consecutive terms; allow the governor to fill vacancies “without recommendations from the appellate judicial commission; and all judicial candidates can receive and make campaign contributions.”

Petition 2020-24 is nearly identical, expect that it requires judges to declare a political party while still running in nonpartisan elections.

Johnson seeks to preserve the current initiative petition process through a constitutional amendment. Petition 2020-25 would “prohibit any changes to election laws without voter approval; prohibit a filing fee for proposed initiative petitions; prohibit requiring an initiative petition circulator (signature gatherer) from being a Missouri resident or a registered voter…” according to the ballot language.

The two petitions filed by Peterson and approved for would reinstate a corporate franchise tax and expand Medicaid.

Petition 2020-26 is a statutory change that seeks to, “reinstate the corporate franchise tax for corporations which have outstanding shares and surplus exceeding $10 million at 1% of that value; use 40% of the revenues for constructing and maintaining state highways; use 50% of the revenues for early childhood, elementary and secondary schools with at least a 12% poverty level, with certain funding penalties; and use 10% of revenues for scholarships to Missouri public colleges and universities for students with an income below 12% poverty level and for certain other scholarships or student loan aid.”

Petition 2020-27 is a statutory changed adopting “Medicaid Expansion for certain people 19 to 64 years old as set forth in the Affordable Care Act” while requiring the state to pay for all birth control and family planning services (including the morning-after pill) for all state residents at least 13 years old, and Planned Parenthood if federal funding is discontinued.”

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