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Legal fight still looms for RYH4K IP despite making ballot

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Opponents to Raise Your Hands for Kids’ ballot measure have stepped up their legal battle against the proposal.

Jim Boeving and Patty Arrowood each filed injunctions against Secretary of State Jason Kander Tuesday regarding the Early Childhood Education and Health Amendment (aka Amendment 3), which would raise tobacco and cigarette taxes and designate the revenue for early childhood education. Boeving’s injunction continues with his prior lawsuit against the ballot measure. As the Western District Court of Appeals ruled that the initial ballot language was misleading and ordered it changed, Boeving and his attorneys have argued the signatures collected under the initial language should be invalidated.

On the other hand, Arrowood’s lawsuit targets the intent of the ballot measure. She contends that the ballot measure would appropriate existing revenues by initiative, authorizes state revenues for religious institutions, surrenders the power to tax, violates uniformity of taxation, and amends multiple articles of the Missouri constitution – all of which are unconstitutional. Arrowood owns and operates Feerick’s Candy and Tobacco in Joplin.

A third lawsuit was also filed, acting as a combination of the two.

These suits are continuations of motions filed before Kander certified the petition to become a ballot issue.

While the suits are filed against Kander, RYH4K’s lawyer Jane Dueker believes they are a “Hail Mary desperation move” to remove the initiative from the ballot.

“They’re running out of room, they know it,” she said. “They’re going to pull out every constitutional claim they can think of, and they’re frivolous. I expect people will be voting for Amendment 3 in November.”

Dueker argues that the Arrowood case weakly argues that the petition is unconstitutional. She notes that the funding would not violate the Blaine Amendment because if money goes to a religious institution providing early childhood education, it would not be done for a religious purpose. Blaine Amendments at the state level are usually used to prevent the public funding of sectarian parochial schools, meaning ubiquitous organizations like the YMCA and the Salvation Army can receive public funds for their charitable or nonprofit purposes.

Dueker also points out that the IP would not appropriate money from any existing authority.

Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem of the 19th Circuit will hear that case Friday, Aug. 19.