Previous Years Ballot Measures

Missouri Ballot Measures: November 2020 Results

 

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3, Senate Joint Resolution 38 (SJR38)

Passed: November, 2020 ballot

Women’s Voices position:  Oppose Amendment 3 (Vote NO!)

SJR38 was passed by the Missouri legislature in May. This is the official ballot language contained in it.

“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • Ban all lobbyist gifts to legislators and their employees:
  • Reduce legislative campaign contribution limits; and
  • Create citizen-led independent bipartisan commissions to draw state legislative districts based on one person, one vote, minority voter protection, compactness, competitiveness, fairness and other criteria.”

Why Women’s Voices opposes this amendment.

Purpose of SJR38. The purpose of SJR38 is to reverse the changes that reduce the opportunity for gerrymandering contained in the CLEAN Amendment to the Missouri Constitution, which was approved by Missouri voters in 2018. It makes minimal changes in lobbyist gifts (reduces allowable gifts from $5 to $0) and reduces campaign contribution limits by $100 for Senatorial candidates. These are insignificant changes and are included to deflect attention from the real intent of protecting gerrymandered districts.

It ignores the will of Missourians. The CLEAN Amendment was supported by 62 percent of Missouri voters, over 1.4 million people, in 2018. This follows the pattern of the Legislature overturning votes by Missourians in regulating puppy mills, regulating concentrated animal feed operations, concealed weapons and right to work.

SJR38 uses deceptive language that increases the opportunity for gerrymandering. It does this by limiting the population taken into account in a voting district to citizens of voting age, instead of total population as in use under prior law. With this change, children and non-citizens will not be counted, reducing the representation of the state’s most diverse and highest-density population centers, Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield.

  • There are 1,471,488 Missouri children under the age of 18 (23 percent of the total population)
  • There are 126,000 noncitizens in Missouri (2 percent of the total population)

Beyond the impact on communities with relatively more children and high immigrant populations, the loss in representation would disproportionately impact children of color.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Dan Hegeman was explicit about the intent of SJR38: “We’re looking at the people that vote. The people that are able to vote are the people that are counted. Not registered voters, but the opportunity to do that.” This is a red herring. Voting age citizens are still a significantly smaller class than total population.

Changes made by SJR38 do not merely return redistricting to its current system. By counting only citizens of voting-age, weakening CLEAN requirements that result in a larger number of competitive races, and making it more difficult to file suits alleging a redistricting plan is unconstitutional, SJR38 opens the door to even greater gerrymandering.

Sources: Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed text of SJR38; CLEAN Missouri, Springfield News Leader.

City of St. Louis Proposition R

Passed: November, 2020 ballot

Women’s Voices position: Support Proposition R (Vote YES!)

Prop R increases the tax rate for community children’s services fund from the current 19 cents per $100 of assessed value to 25 cents, which is the maximum authorized by state statute.   Its purpose is to provide additional funding to the Community Children’s Services Fund, in particular for early childhood services to children 5 years of age and under. Since its inception in 2004, the Community Children’s Services Fund has been administered by the City Mental Health Board.

If approved, the tax will yield approximately $2.3 million annually.

The bill summary states that this is a braiding of a variety of funds together to create a high-quality system of early care and education for children.  It states that funds could be used for operating support grants, and increased compensation and training for staff.

Gloria Nolan, who staffs the Ready by 5 initiative, and Joey Saunders, Policy Director at WEPOWER, stated that additional uses of the funds could include health and developmental screenings, outreach and marketing by early care providers, data collection, evaluation and the administration of funds.

The Mental Health Board does not have specific information about the process about how the funds will be allocated or by whom.  In a conversation with a MHB staff, she shared that they want to support a regional effort to coordinate improving access to quality early care and education, and not act in a silo.

Our reasons to support:

  • Although property taxes are regressive, this is a modest increase that will not likely create a significant burden on property owners.
  • The need for quality early care and education in the City of St. Louis is great. Research has repeatedly shown that the early years of a child’s life are critically important to healthy development. The need far outstrips the supply of quality early care.
  • Access to quality affordable early education is critical in closing the equity gap in St. Louis.
  • The Missouri legislature has not shown a willingness to adequately fund quality early care and education in Missouri, and reimbursement payments for subsidized child care are too low to support quality programs that can employ and retain competent staff. Nor is there an adequate commitment to improving and assuring quality. This potentially improves early care and education in one geographic area.
  • The St. Louis Mental Health Board is experienced in allocating the Community Children’s Services funding and state the new children’s services funds raised through the tax increase will be earmarked for early care and education services.

Our reasons to oppose:

  • A property tax is regressive in nature.
  • Linking funding for elementary and secondary education to property taxes has resulted in great inequity of educational opportunity across the region and state. Linking early care and education funding to property taxes creates similar dynamics.
  • The proposed funding does not address affordability issues. Many low-income working families are not eligible for state subsidies and cannot afford quality child care, even when it is available.
  • This is a piecemeal approach that does not address systemic improvement of early care and education across Missouri.
  • The process to allocate funds, and the priorities considered as part of allocation, is unclear.
  • There is a lack of transparency regarding leadership of the efforts to coordinate early care efforts

Background

State efforts to increase investment in early care and education depend primarily on federal funds through the child Care Development Block Grant, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant and other similar sources of funding.  Efforts to increase funds for early care and education have been unsuccessful. All of the efforts to earmark all or a portion of an increased tobacco tax have failed, the most recent being Raise Your Hand for Kids in 2016.

Who supports the Ready by 5 effort?

In 2018, The IFF (Illinois Facilities Fund) produced a report called First Steps to Equity. Partners were listed as the Clark-Fox Policy Institute, IFF, Ready by 21, Skip NV (a consultant firm); WEPOWER, South Side Early Childhood Center and Urban Sprouts (early learning center).

The First Steps to Equity Collaborative was formed in 2019, and partners were listed as IFF, WEPOWER, Ready by 21, South Side Early Learning Center and Urban Sprouts.  Work was done under the auspices of WEPOWER.  The Collaborative had a group of 14 Fellows take the work of solution groups to prepare a report called The Playbook: An Action Plan.  Ready by 5 is part of the action plan, although the proposals for an increased property tax in the City of St. Louis was not recommended in The Playbook.

Ready by 5 is the campaign to pass a property tax increase in the city of St. Louis, and a tax increase in St. Louis county.  The St. Louis county proposal was brought before the council by Chair Lisa Clancy after the primary election. It raised some red flags regarding its timing, who would benefit from it, and who was supporting it.  It was summarily withdrawn from discussion, and Ready by 5 is going back to the drawing board to consider a different proposal.  This endorsement is only for Prop R.

Ready by 5 is housed at WEPOWER, although it is a separate campaign.  Ready by 5’s website does not list a steering committee or staff.  Gloria Nolan appears to be the sole staff. She was originally part of a leadership development program at WEPOWER.  In a conversation with Gloria and Joey Saunders (WEPOWER), they stated that there was no big funding supporting the campaign, and that it was being funded by small donations.  They are in the process of hiring a consultant. Gloria said they had an aspirational budget but was unwilling to share it with me. It appears their plans for phone banking, texting, canvassing and house parties will be driven by volunteers, although South Side Learning Center has at least one staff working on the campaign.

City of St. Louis Proposition D

Passed: November, 2020 ballot

Women’s Voices position: Support Proposition D (Vote YES!)

We propose that Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice support Proposition D, a referendum that will be on the November 3 ballot in the city of St. Louis.  Proposition D is a City Ordinance that establishes an open, non-partisan system for the elections to the offices of Mayor, Comptroller, President of the Board of Aldermen, and Aldermen.

Proposition D enables voters to choose all the candidates they wish in the open, non-partisan primary, and allow the top two candidates to then compete in a runoff election.

Our reasons to support Proposition D

  • Women’s Voices believes that elections should be structured in such a way that the will of the majority of voters is reflected in the results. To do this, the General Election must pit the strongest candidates against each other. The current system of partisan primary elections does not work well in an area in which one party overwhelmingly dominates.  The General Election is less meaningful when it pits partisan candidates from much smaller parties against a candidate that may have only lukewarm support from the majority party. (See the Background for examples of this.)
  • Open, non-partisan primary elections can increase voter participation, since independent voters as well as voters affiliated with any party, can select from the entire array of candidates.
  • Candidates may be more motivated to build consensus within and across party lines. Candidates can craft positions on what is best for the City, rather than focusing solely on party platforms.
  • Elected candidates will have a clearer mandate to govern, since they will have been elected by a majority of the voters.
  • By allowing voters to vote for all the candidates they choose to vote for in the primary, it minimizes the impact of candidates who enter the election as “stalking horses” to split either the White or Black vote.

Background

Several recent elections in St. Louis City show why partisan primary elections fall short. In the 2017 Mayoral Primary, a total of 1,657 votes were cast in the Republican primary. Andrew Jones won in the field of 3 candidates, with only 1,025 votes. Seven candidates ran in the Democratic Primary with a total of 53,854 votes cast.  The top candidate was Lyda Krewson, with only 32 percent of the Democratic votes cast.  Tishaura Jones was second, with 30 percent of the total Democratic votes cast. Two other Democratic candidates had almost 10,000 votes each.

In the General Election, Krewson ran against the Republican candidate and a handful of third-party candidates. She won with a total of 67 percent of the votes cast.  Clearly many Democratic voters “settled” for Krewson, rather than vote for the Republican, Libertarian, Green or Socialist candidates.   Under the process proposed in Proposition D, the General Election would have been between Krewson and Tishaura Jones and would have given city voters a choice between the two most popular candidates.

A similar situation took place during the 2019 election of the President of the Board of Alderman.  There was no Republican Primary race. In the Democratic Primary, there were 4 candidates.  At 36 percent, Lewis Reed won the highest number of votes cast. Megan Green won 31 percent and Jamilah Nasheed won 32 percent.  Lewis Reed went on to run in the General Election against the Republican and third party candidates, and won with 78 percent of the votes cast.

Missouri Ballot Measures: August 2020 Results

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2, Medicaid Expansion

Passed: August, 2020 ballot

Women’s Voices position:  Support Amendment 2 (Vote YES!)

Ballot language from the Secretary of State’s website

  • Expands Medicaid eligibility to persons 19 to 64 years old with an income level at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, as set forth in the Affordable Care Act.
  • Prohibits placing greater or additional burdens on eligibility or enrollment standards, methodologies or practices on persons covered under Medicaid Expansion than on any other population eligible for Medicaid.
  • Requires state agencies to take all actions necessary to maximize federal financial participation in funding medical assistance under Medicaid Expansion

 Why Women’s Voices supports Amendment 2: Women’s Voices believes that health care is a human right, and that every person should have access to affordable, quality care when they need it.

Background. This opportunity for Medicaid expansion was provided for in the Affordable Care Act. Missouri is one of only 16 states that has not adopted it. It is estimated that 230,000 low income Missourians will benefit from expanding Medicaid and that more than 15,600 deaths could have been averted if Medicaid had been expanded when first allowed.

The effect of the change. Missouri’s current eligibility limit is the most restrictive standard the law allows, about 20% of the Federal Poverty Level, and it is available only to adults with children. Under Medicaid expansion, the eligibility limit is 138% of the Federal Poverty level, which is still low, only about $17,600 for an individual and $30,000 for a family of 3.

Expanding Medicaid brings more Federal tax dollars Missourians pay home to benefit Missouri. Under Medicaid, the Federal government provides matching funds for state Medicaid programs. The current Federal match rate for Missouri is 65% of its Medicaid cost. Under Medicaid expansion, the Federal match rate will increase to 90% of this cost. Also, the increase is specified to be permanent, and no permanent Medicaid match rate has ever been reduced, showing that concerns about such a risk are misplaced.

Expanding Medicaid will save Missouri General Revenue funds and will increase economic activity. Missouri provides Medicaid to some populations solely from General Revenue. Increasing the Federal match rate from 65% to 90% for these Medicaid patients save the state an estimated $118 million, a big number, especially at this time of fiscal uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. See details here. A review of studies in 5 states that expanded Medicaid showed that in each state expansion either saved General Revenue or did not result in additional costs.

Other benefits that have been shown in research studies include:

  • Mitigating the number of deaths from opioid use
  • Increased financial security (indicated by a reduction in the number and size of pay day loans)
  • A decrease in bankruptcy (67% of bankruptcies cite medical debt and illness as contributing factors)
  • Stemming the closure of rural hospitals
  • Improving maternal and child health by improving access to both prenatal and postpartum care, reducing infant and maternal mortality, and increasing health insurance coverage among new moms and low-income women of child-bearing age

Sources: The Kaiser Family Foundation; Missouri Budget Project; CDC; National Health Law Program; the Urban Institute; Health Affairs; and Physicians for National Health Reform.

Missouri Ballot Measures: November 2018 Results

Constitutional Amendment 1, Lobbying, Campaign Finance, and Redistricting Initiative (Clean Missouri) 

Passed: November, 2018 ballot

Women’s Voices position:  Support Amendment 1 (Vote YES!)

 

Amendment 1, Lobbying, Campaign Finance, and Redistricting Initiative (Clean Missouri) would change the Missouri Constitution to require a “cooling off” period of two calendar years before members of the General Assembly or their staff can become paid lobbyists; limit lobbyist gifts to $5; limit campaign contributions in a given election to $2,500 for state senate elections and $2,000 for state representative elections; require that redistricting maps be created by a nonpartisan state demographer with the goal of partisan fairness and competitiveness; require legislative records to be public records; prohibit political fundraising in the state capitol on property owned by the state or an agency of the

Reasons we support: Wealthy individual and large corporate donors have disproportionate influence in Missouri elections because Missouri has no campaign contribution limits. Lobbyists provide more than $870,000 in gifts to state representatives and senators annually. Since 2012, only one in every 10 elections has been competitive. Half of the General Assembly races in November 2016 had a single candidate on the ballot. Amendment 1 has bipartisan support and will level the playing field so individuals and corporations with access to money will not have an undue influence in elections and policymaking.

 

Constitutional Amendment 2, Medical Marijuana and Veteran Healthcare Initiative (New Approach Amendment)

Passed: November, 2018 ballot

Women’s Voices position:  Oppose Amendment 2 (Vote NO!)

 

Amendment 2, Medical Marijuana and Veteran Healthcare Initiative (New Approach Amendment) would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes; create regulations and licensing/certification procedures; impose a 4% tax on retail marijuana sales, and use the funds for health care services for military

Reasons we oppose:  We do not believe that we should amend our constitution to address medical marijuana use. The proposal does not specify how much of the 4% tax would be used for veterans.

 

Constitutional Amendment 3, Medical Marijuana and Biomedical Research and Drug Institute Initiative (Find the Cures/Bradshaw Amendment)

Failed: November, 2018 ballot

Women’s Voices position:  Oppose Amendment 3 (Vote NO!)

 

Amendment 3, Medical Marijuana and Biomedical Research and Drug Institute Initiative (Find the Cures/Bradshaw Amendment) would allow use of marijuana for medical purposes and create regulations through a new independent entity called Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute; and would impose a 15% tax on marijuana sales and use these funds to establish the institute.

Reasons we oppose:  The initiative was sponsored by a wealthy lawyer and would impose the highest tax on marijuana in the country; and the sponsor would appoint the new entity’s board of directors.

 

Proposition B, $12 minimum wage initiative

Passed: November, 2018 ballot

Women’s Voices position:  Support Proposition B (Vote YES!)

 

Proposition B, $12 minimum wage initiative would raise the minimum hourly wage over a five-year period from the current $7.85 to $12.00 in 2023; government employers are exempt; private sector employers who fail to comply would face penalties.

Reasons we support:  Women’s Voices members have approved a position paper that calls for raising the minimum wage. More than 350 Missouri businesses have officially endorsed raising the wage. We realize $12.00 is not a livable wage, but this proposition is a start, increasing hourly wages by $4.15 in five years. The 2016 Economic Policy Institute found that for every $1.00 increase in minimum wages, the share of workers receiving public assistance is reduced by over 3%. Without the raise, by 2023, the share of workers receiving public benefits would be close to 10%.

 

Proposition C, Medical Marijuana and Veterans Health Care Services Education, Drug Treatment, and Public Safety Initiative (Missourians for Patient Care Act) 

Failed: November, 2018 ballot

Women’s Voices position:  Support Proposition C (Vote YES!)

 

Proposition C, Medical Marijuana and Veterans Health Care Services Education, Drug Treatment, and Public Safety Initiative (Missourians for Patient Care Act) would legalize marijuana for medical purposes by removing state prohibitions when there is a written certification by a physician who treats patients diagnosed with a qualifying condition; removes state prohibition of marijuana growth, which is to be regulated by the Department of Health and Senior Services; and imposes a 2% tax on retail sales, to be used for veterans services, drug treatment, education, and public safety.

Reasons we support: Marijuana has proven effective for treating some medical conditions. This initiative would use existing state agencies to regulate doctors, production facilities, and retail sale. Missouri patients could receive medication they need, and Missouri, like other states allowing medical marijuana, would benefit from the revenue.

Missouri Ballot Measures: August 2018 Results

Proposition A – Right To Work Referendum

Failed: August, 2018 ballot

Women’s Voices position:  Oppose Proposition A

Members of Women’s’ Voices Raised for Social Justice approved  a position paper on minimum wage and “right to work” laws in 2013.  Approval of Proposition A (to be voted on in August) will make Missouri a “right to work” state. This means that no person can be required to join a labor union or pay dues to a labor union as a condition of employment.

In 2017 the Missouri legislature passed SB19, which designated Missouri as a “right to work” state. The law was put on hold when citizens collected a sufficient number of signatures to put the repeal of SB19 on the ballot as a referendum.

Women’s Voices opposes “right to work” laws because:

  • They reduce the power of workers to bargain for wages that promote the growth of the middle class
  • Evidence exists that weakening unions leads to lower wages overall for both union and non-union workers
  • “Right to work states” have lower rates of employer-sponsored health insurance and pensions
  • There is no definitive evidence that businesses flock to “right to work” states. Business owners may stand to gain when a state enacts “right to work laws”, but the overall economy does not improve.

Missouri Ballot Measures: November 2016 Results

Following are Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice’s position on the measures on the November 8 ballot.  These positions were recommended by the Women’s Voices Advocacy Committee and approved by a vote of the membership.

 

ENDORSE

-Constitutional Amendment 1: Continues for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites.  PASSED

Amendment 1 will continue for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites. This will be resubmitted to the voters for approval in 10 years (2026) If passed, this measure will not increase the current tax rate.  The measure would continue to generate approximately $90 million annually for soil and water conservation and operation of the state park system.

ENDORSE

-Constitutional Amendment 2: Amends the Missouri Constitution to establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political committees, or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office.  Click here for Bill Moyers take on how opposition will fight this amendment if it passes. PASSED

Amendment 2 will amend the Missouri Constitution to establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political committees, or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office. It would prohibit individuals and entities from intentionally concealing the source of such contributions.  It would also require corporations or labor organizations to meet certain requirements in order to make such contributions.  It further provides a complaint process and penalties for any violations of this amendment.  If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.  While this is not the comprehensive election reform needed in the state of Missouri, Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice believes it is a start.

ENDORSE

-Proposition S:  A property tax increase in St. Louis City and County and St. Charles County to operate and support a Senior Services Fund.  FAILED

In Missouri, there is legislative language more than 20 years old that allows for property taxes to be raised in order to fund senior services. Seniors Count is attempting to make this tax a reality in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, which currently do not have a tax levy supporting senior services. Of the 115 counties in the state of Missouri, 51 have passed this initiative.

Proposition S would help address the needs of older adults and their ability to live independently as they age (aging in place) rather than a nursing home. Aging in place has been shown to improve quality and length of life. The proposition has the support of many senior services organizations including the Mid-east and St. Louis Area Agencies on Aging.

FAQs about Proposition S

*Each county, St Louis and St. Charles, and the City of St. Louis must approve of Proposition S independently, and operate its Senior Services Fund independently as well.

*The property tax (real and personal) of five cents per $100 assessed valuation would amount to an additional $9.50 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home A taxpayer with an automobile valued at $10,000 would pay $1.67 annually in personal property tax.

*Monies would go into a Senior Services Fund. An independent board in each of the 3 jurisdictions would be appointed to oversee distribution of the tax money generated.

*Non-profits and other community groups could then apply for grants from the Senior Services Fund in order to provide programs and services for people over 60. Programs include those focusing on transportation, medical and nutritional needs, home safety & maintenance, respite care, behavioral health, dental/vision health, homemaker services and other services not covered by Medicare.

*If Proposition S passes in November 2016, services could begin in early 2018. No funds shall be spent until the board of directors of the Senior Service Fund has been appointed and taken office.

OPPOSE

-Constitutional Amendment 3:   Amends the Missouri Constitution to increase taxes on cigarettes each year through 2020, at which point this additional tax will total 60 cents per pack of 20.  FAILED

Amendment 3, also known as “Raise Your Hand for Kids”, increases taxes on cigarettes each year through 2020, at which point this additional tax will total 60 cents per pack of 20.  This amendment also creates a fee paid by cigarette wholesalers of 67 cents per pack of 20 on certain cigarettes. Missouri’s enactment of the Tobacco Settlement resulted in a playing field that is not level between “big” tobacco (such as R.J. Reynolds that supports Amendment 3) and smaller wholesale tobacco companies. This amendment further provides that the funds generated by these taxes and fees shall be deposited into a newly established Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund.

Some groups have spoken out against this amendment for language they believe may limit or destabilize future funding for stem cell research or restrict access to abortions..  Some education groups have also criticized the amendment stating it would allow for state money to go to private and parochial schools.  Organizations publicly opposing this amendment include Missouri Cures, American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association in Missouri, Missouri Association of Rural Education, Missouri National Education Association, Missouri Retired Teachers Association, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Groups that support Amendment 3 offer research that shows investing in early childhood education is key to children’s success in school and later life. Groups that publicly support Amendment 3 include The Deaconess Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation of Kansas City, Children’s Mercy Hospital, the Missouri State NAACP, Metropolitan Congregations United Education Task Force, United Way of Greater Kansas City, Parents as Teachers, Child Care Aware of Missouri, and the Missouri Children’s Leadership Council

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice acknowledges that there are valid arguments pro and con. However we believe that the arguments against the amendment outweigh its potential good.

OPPOSE

-Constitutional Amendment 4: Amends the Missouri Constitution to prohibit a new state or local sales/use or other similar tax on any service or transaction.  PASSED

Amendment 4 will amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit a new state or local sales/use or other similar tax on any service or transaction.  It applies only to services or transactions that were not subject to a sales/use tax as of January 1, 2015. Potential costs to state and local governmental entities are unknown, but could be significant.  The proposal’s passage would impact a state/local governmental entity’s ability to revise its tax structures.  State and local governments expect no savings from this proposal.

OPPOSE

-Constitutional Amendment 6: Amends the Missouri Constitution to state that voters may be required by law to verify their identity, citizenship, and residence by presenting identification that may include valid government-issued photo identification.  PASSED

Amendment 6 will amend the Missouri Constitution to require a valid government-issued photo ID in order to cast a vote, weakening the voting protections in the Missouri Constitution. The proposed amendment itself will result in no costs or savings. However, if the amendment is approved by voters, there will be costs. This is because a bill passed by the legislature in 2016 to enable enactment of voter photo ID will result in costs to state and local governments that could exceed $2.1 million annually.

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice opposes this amendment because it weakens voting rights in the state constitution, opens the door to costly unfunded mandates to enforce it, and will likely disenfranchise vulnerable populations.  Currently, more than 220,000 Missouri voters lack a valid, government-issued photo ID.  These laws primarily impact low-income residents, the elderly, young people and communities of color. It will also make it more difficult for out of state college students to vote in Missouri.

OPPOSE

-Proposition A:

Amends Missouri law to increase taxes on cigarettes in 2017, 2019, and 2021, at which point this additional tax will total 23 cents per pack of 20. FAILED

Proposition A, proposed by Initiative Petition, will amend Missouri law to increase taxes on cigarettes in 2017, 2019, and 2021, at which point this additional tax will total 23 cents per pack of 20.  It also increases the tax paid by sellers on other tobacco products by 5 percent of manufacturer’s invoice price and further provides that the funds generated by these taxes shall be used exclusively to fund transportation infrastructure projects.

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice believes this proposed increase is insufficient and we need an immediate increase, not an extremely small increase over a 5-year period.

 

Missouri Ballot Measures:  November 2014

Women’s Voices opposed the three ballot measures below:

Teacher Evaluation: Failed

Amendment 3 would amend the Missouri constitution to: require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding; require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system; require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts; and prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system.
Reasons to oppose:
The Missouri-National Education Association states that the amendment will: take local control of our schools away from parents, teachers and school districts; force taxpayers to pay for even more costly government-mandated standardized tests even though school funding is already a problem; force teachers to teach to a test rather than focusing on actual instruction and learning.

Early Voting:  Failed

Amendment 6 would amend the Missouri constitution to permit voters, in years when the legislature provides funding, an early voting period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before election day to cast a ballot in all general elections.

Reasons to oppose:

This amendment does more to restrict early voting than it does to extend it.This amendment does not allow early voting on Saturday or Sunday. Early voting is limited to General Elections only (would not be in effect for local, special district or municipal elections); the legislature may restrict early voting by simply refusing to fund it; early voting is limited to regular business hours at the office of the local election authority. The amendment also includes a clause stating that this new section of the constitution cannot be changed or repealed by another amendment. This restriction alone is reason enough to oppose the amendment.

Budget Withholds:  Passed

Amendment 10 would amend the Missouri constitution regarding the requirements placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature. This amendment prohibits the governor from reducing funding passed by the general assembly without receiving legislative consent, and provides certain other restrictions on the governor’s ability to increase or decrease line items in the budget. This amendment further prohibits the governor from proposing a budget that relies on revenue from legislation that has not yet passed in the general assembly.
Reasons to oppose:
Critics of the amendment say that it would swing the balance of power too far back toward the legislature, because a governor is required to balance the state’s budget, a responsibility the legislature does not share.

Missouri Ballot Measures: November 2012

Tobacco Tax Increase: Failed

Women’s Voices supported Proposition B to increase the tax on cigarettes and tobacco-related products.  Prop B was defeated. It was the third attempt in 11 years to increase state taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. Missouri’s cigarette tax of 17 cents per pack remains the lowest in the country.   Women’s Voices also supported Amendment 3 on the November 2006 ballot which would have raised cigarette and tobacco taxes.

Non-Partisan Court Plan: Failed

Women’s Voices opposed Constitutional Amendment 3 which would have changed the way appellate court judges are selected and would have given more power to the governor to select judges. If approved, the amendment would have had the potential to politicize the judicial selection process. Voters  rejected Amendment 3  and the Missouri non-partisan court plan continues to serve as a model for a number of other states.

Health Care Exchanges: Passed

The passage of Proposition E means that the governor or other officials do not have the power to set up healthcare exchanges without the legislature’s and the voters’, input. The Affordable Care Act set a 2014 deadline for all states to establish insurance exchanges, either with or without the help of the federal government.  (In August 2010, Missouri voters passed Proposition C  which aimed to block the federal government from requiring people to buy health insurance; this was the “individual mandate” under the Affordable Care Act.  The Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in its June 2012 ruling.