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New IP filed hopes to revise ethics amendment


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A sweeping overhaul of the ethical standards relating to the Missouri General Assembly has been in effect for a little more than one week and one Missourian is looking to modify it.

Winston Apple is seeking approval from the Secretary of State’s Office to circulate an initiative petition that would alter the recently voter-approved Amendment III in the Missouri Constitution.

Petition 2020-017 seeks institute a ranked voting system that would also determine how vacant seats were filled. The proposal also seeks to alter how many legislative seats are in each congressional district.

“If a senator or representative resigns, dies, or is removed from office for any reason during the subsequent legislative sessions, the seat shall be filled by the next candidate from her or his party’s ordered list, or in the case of an independent candidate, the candidate would have been elected had there been one more member elected using the prescribed method for tabulating votes,” is the language Apple hopes to add.

Theodis Brown has also filed an initiative petition, Petition 2020-016, which states, “the director of the department of public safety to provide mandated consideration to minority disadvantaged small businesses owned by people of color, and female gender ownerships, as part of Missouri economic development.”

Both petitions are open for comments. In total 17 petitions have been submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office. Two have been withdrawn, six have been rejected, and 10 are accepting comments.

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 formation 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