Minimum wage, medical pot among Missouri ballot proposals
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Several groups have submitted signatures for proposed ballot measures on a minimum wage hike, limits on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers and medical marijuana in time for the Sunday deadline to get initiative petitions on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The Secretary of State’s Office still needs to check the number of signatures for each proposal, and then local election authorities must verify signatures. The process takes weeks to determine whether measures received enough voter signatures to get on the ballot.
Here’s a round-up of the proposed ballot measures:
One proposal would ask voters to hike the state’s minimum wage from the current $7.85 an hour to $8.60 an hour in 2019, then gradually increase it to $12 an hour by 2023. The petition is backed by the organization Raise Up Missouri, which has said it turned in more than 120,000 signatures.
Proposed changes to state law require 5 percent of legal voters in six of the state’s eight congressional districts to sign petitions to get the issue on the ballot. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, that means a minimum of about 100,000 signatures.
A proposed constitutional amendment pushed by the group Clean Missouri would limit lobbyist gifts to lawmakers to at most $5 and require legislators to wait at least two years before becoming lobbyists. Currently, there are no limits to lobbyist gifts, although they must be reported. Lawmakers now must wait six months from the end of their term before lobbying.
Clean Missouri’s campaign director, Sean Nicholson, said the group had collected almost 347,000 signatures, more than twice the minimum amount needed to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot.
The measure faces pushback from some Republicans over a proposed change in redistricting.
Legislative districts are set to be redrawn after the 2020 census, and currently are created by two governor-appointed, bipartisan commissions. Those commissions would still exist under the ballot proposal, but they would instead be tasked with reviewing a map drawn by a “non-partisan state demographer,” with the aim of making future elections more competitive.
That demographer would be chosen by the state auditor, although Senate majority and minority leaders would be able to veto some candidates.
Current Auditor Nicole Galloway is a Democrat. She’s up for re-election in November.
Supporters of legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri have turned in signatures for three ballot initiatives that would let voters weigh in on the issue.
Three organizations — New Approach Missouri, Missourians for Patient Care and Find the Cure — submitted signatures for petitions to support allowing some patients access to medical marijuana.
Each initiative would allow patients with cancer, HIV, epilepsy and a variety of other conditions access to medical marijuana. The differences among the proposals largely stem from how marijuana would be regulated and taxed, and where those new tax dollars would go.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, if all three measures made it to the ballot and were approved by voters, the differences between them would be resolved by the following formula: Constitutional amendments would trump state law, and whichever amendment received the most votes would overrule the other.