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Proposed initiative petitions include right-to-work, Freedom to Remember, and anti-sanctuary cities


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Republicans are looking to take a variety of issues straight to Missouri voters. The secretary for the Missouri Republican Party filed six initiative petition for the 2020 ballot that cover an array of conservative priorities.

Pat Thomas is seeking approval from the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office to circulate petitions on right-to-work, anti-sanctuary cities, and several other topics.

Petition 2020-019 seeks to make Missouri a right-to-work state through a constitutional amendment. Petition 2020-022 is also a proposed constitutional amendment related to unions. That petition includes right-to-work, but takes is a step further and regulates project labor agreements.

Petition 2020-20 would require every local government and government official to comply with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding an illegal immigrant. The proposed constitutional amendment would essentially prohibit any so-called sanctuary cities in the state.

Petition 2020-21 would establish a constitutional amendment known as the Right to Remember Amendment. The proposed language states, “No memorial that is, or is located on, public property may be removed, reamed, un-named, relocated, materially altered, rededicated, or de-dedicated, except in such a manner and to such extent as the general assembly may provide by law.”

Petition 2020-023 and Petition 2020-24 are both similar measures dealing with the election of judges. Both petitions establish term limits for judges and reduces the term of a Supreme Court Justice to six years from 12 years.

Damien Johnson has filed Petition 2020-25, which would amend the Missouri Constitutional regarding the process of initiative petitions including the signature collection. He has previously filed similar measures, two he has withdrawn and two have been rejected.

Gerald Peterson has also refiled previously rejected petitions. Petition 2020-26 would extend a franchise tax and Petition 2020-27 would expand Medicaid in Missouri.

All of the newly filed petitions are open for comments. In total 27 petitions have been submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office. Three have been withdrawn, 10 have been rejected, and 14 are accepting comments.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