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Missourian seeks to strengthen union rights through initiative petition


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Just days after right-to-work legislation was filed in the state’s General Assembly, one Missourian filed four initiative petitions for the 2020 election cycle to strengthen unions and collective bargaining agreements.

In the last week, eight more initiative petitions have been submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office seeking approval for circulation. In total, 15 petitions have been submitted with one being withdrawn, six rejected, and eight accepting comments.

Mike Louis filed four initiative petitions with similar language that would prohibit any law from restricting the enforcement of any collective bargaining agreement. Petition 2020-012, Petition 2020-013, Petition 2020-014, and Petition 2020-015 would bar the state or any county from enacting right-to-work legislation through a constitutional amendment.

Gerald Peterson has once again submitted two petitions, both similar to ones previously rejected by the Secretary of State’s Office. Petition 2020-008 — similar to Petition 2020-001 — deals with an annual franchise tax and Petition 2020-009 — similar to 2020-002 — would expand Medicaid in Missouri. Both are proposed statutory changes

Two constitutional amendments submitted by Damien Johnson — Petition 2020-010 and Petition 2020-011 — would amend the initiative petition process. Both petitions — similar to Petition 2020-004 and Petition 2020-006 — seeks to allow for initiative petitions to collect signatures electronically in addition to existing requirements.

Petition 2020-005 filed by Theodis Brown and Petition 2020-007 filed by Carlton McRoberts have also been rejected. Petition 2020-003, also filed by Johnson, was withdrawn.

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. The office then has 23 days after the form of the petition is approved to draft ballot summary language.

Comments will be 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. The secretary of state’s office will review all comments submitted.

The office received 371 petitions in the 2018 cycle, which began the day after the November 2016 election. Of those, one referendum appeared on the August 7 ballot and five ballot measures appeared on the November 6 ballot. Only three initiative petitions in total passed — ethics overhaul, minimum wage hike, and one medical marijuana measure.

This article is part of a periodic update on the initiative petition process. Other stories in the series can be found here