January 27, 2023
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DANNY WICENTOWSKY

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The Missouri Republican Party is trying to put a stop to statewide simple majority initiatives.

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For some reason, this seems to be a cause that could only come from the scattered remnants of the Missouri Republican Party.

One of the GOP’s top priorities for the new year will be to finally put a clause on the statewide ballot to make it harder for would-be voters to act in their own interests through statewide voting. Every offer of this nonsense comes to you with the kind permission of the Department of Reductions.

As Springfield News Leader it was reported that “nearly a dozen pre-filed (in December) proposals will ask voters to raise demands for ballot initiatives that change the constitution or state laws. Missouri’s current petition process allows proposals on the ballot to be approved by a simple majority of the votes cast.”

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This attack on the Democratic principles of the small faction – but really the big group Democratic Party – has become a pernicious priority for Republicans this year. Before, it was just a pernicious idea leading nowhere.

This time, however, he appears to be heading for a vote. With a ludicrous supermajority in both houses of the General Assembly, the Republicans wield enormous power that only voters can test when they vote.

Judging by the sheer volume of pre-filed bills, it seems likely that Republicans are rushing to make it much harder for voters to impose their will on the people. This urgency appears to be driven by the main issue: abortion.

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Republican politicians can expect voters to take at least some steps through ballot initiatives to counter Missouri’s callous attack on reproductive rights. They are well aware that the vast majority of Missourians – regardless of party affiliation and gender – have big problems with things as they are in the post-Rowe vs. Wade World.

Virtually all abortions are illegal in Missouri. The state now requires women who are victims of rape or incest to bear the children of their attackers. It is one of the most repressive states in the country regarding women’s rights.

But by no means are abortions the only issue spurring lawmakers to stop voters from curbing them. All sorts of special interests that somehow hold a special place in the hearts of politicians have much to lose and little to gain when voters have direct access to the statewide voting process.

Call this lobby “We already have ours.” From the point of view of the National Rifle Association, Big Tobacco Company, Big Pharma, or the aforementioned anti-abortion movement—and now, yes, Big Marijuana—almost every idea that can be put forward by vote is bad.

It is much easier to buy the loyalty of politicians than to fend off the momentum of statewide movements. By the way, this is true across the political spectrum.

For every successful Medicaid expansion vote, there was one attempt to establish English as the state’s official language. For every marijuana legalization initiative, there is one that bans same-sex marriage.

If Republican politicians get their way, the vast majority of the ideas that Missouri voters want to promote will be thwarted by not having a large enough majority of their own. Common sense dictates that even Republican voters would not want to do this to themselves.

But the x-factor is whether politicians will have so many resources at their disposal – and not voters – that they can distort the issue, fool the electorate, or do whatever it takes to block the power of future voters. on the vote. It seems that they are unlikely to succeed, but this is not certain.

For proof of how brutal the anti-democratic forces are, look no further than this. News-Leader piece:

“Some of the proposals are aimed at tipping the scales in the vote to demand massive support in rural Missouri, which leans overwhelmingly Republican. One resolution by Rep. John Black of Marshfield calls for a constitutional amendment to gain a majority of the votes cast in half of the 34 districts of the Missouri Senate (24 represented by Republicans). Another of [Rep. Ed] Lewis [of Moberly] would do the same, but for the majority of districts in the House of Representatives (Republicans represent 111 of 163 seats).

“Other proposals focus on the signature collection process to make it more difficult to put the measure on the ballot in the first place. Currently, voters and groups hoping to get the measure on the ballot must collect signatures in six of Missouri’s eight congressional districts: 5 percent of residents per district for state law changes and 8 percent per district for constitutional amendments.

“The Lewis proposal would require the signatures of all eight congressional districts to amend the constitution; another from Rep. Hardy Billington of Poplar Bluff would require signatures from 15% of residents, rather than 5%, from each of the eight counties. Senator Sandy Crawford’s bill, which, if passed by the legislature, would not require voter approval, would require those who help collect signatures for initiative petitions to be registered voters in Missouri.”

These suggestions lift the veil on how biased and power-hungry these people are. It’s just math: they want their deceived advantage in the number of districts to outweigh the apparently outdated notion that the majority rules in a democracy.

One of the heroes of the opposition is Rep. Joe Adams, D-University City. Adams, a former mayor of University City who is serving his last of four terms in the House of Representatives, has carved a niche as a legislator who constantly annoys idiot Republicans by proposing amendments to their bills that require them to become laws only if they if they lived up to the demands they stood for for the future.

Do you want to demand that two-thirds of the voters approve the vote so that it becomes law? Well, good: agree that your ballot item must be approved by a two-thirds majority or it won’t go into effect.

In this session, Adams is also introducing a bill – HJR 13 – that will prevent the General Assembly from repealing the initiative petition. With the Republicans in power, he is unlikely to see the light of day. But what a good idea for voters to get on the ballot box and become part of the state constitution. By a simple majority.

Ray Hartmann founded
Riverfront Times in 1977. Contact him by phone [email protected] or catch him on Donnybrook at 19:00 on Thursdays on the Nine network.

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