By SHERI GASSAWAY
Jefferson City – Cole County Judge Dan Green ruled Friday, Sept. 14, that Amendment 1 – the CLEAN Missouri initiative to overhaul the state’s ethics and state legislative redistricting laws – contained too many subjects and ordered Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to “rescind and withdraw” his certification of the petition and remove it from the November ballot.
Chuck Hatfield, an attorney for CLEAN Missouri, said he will “immediately” appeal the ruling.
“The Secretary of State properly certified the measure so that voters may consider the measure, and voters will have their say on Nov. 6,” Hatfield said. “We have always thought that this legal matter would be decided at the Appeals Court level. This is a speed bump, but the law is on our side, the people are on our side, and Amendment 1 will be passed in November to clean up Missouri politics.”
Richard Von Glahn, Missouri Jobs with Justice policy director, recently visited the Jefferson County Labor Club to discuss CLEAN Missouri (Amendment 1) and Prop B, which would raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 by 2023. Both initiatives have been endorsed by the St. Louis Labor Council.
Of the court ruling, Von Glahn said: “It’s not surprising that lobbyists for Eric Greitens and the Missouri Chamber are trying to protect a corrupt status quo in Jefferson City. They’re terrified of voters because they know we are ready to clean up Missouri politics. We are very confident that the over 340,000 voters who signed the petitions will win on appeal and we will all be voting yes on Amendment 1 on Nov. 6.”
AMENDMENT 1: CLEAN MISSOURI
Von Glahn said Amendment 1 would:
• Lower campaign contribution limits.
• Eliminate most lobbyist gifts.
• Require state government to be more transparent by following the Sunshine Law.
• Stop the revolving door of legislators becoming lobbyists. Legislators would have to wait two years after leaving office before becoming lobbyists.
• Require fair legislative maps to eliminate the process of gerrymandering.
“Jefferson City is a mess, and Amendment 1 is our chance to really clean up Missouri politics,” Von Glahn said. “Everybody agrees with this whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative or Progressive. It’s been endorsed by reformers across the political spectrum.”
PROP B: RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE
The state’s current minimum wage is $7.85 an hour, Von Glahn said. For someone who is lucky enough to work 40 hours a week, that would amount to a whopping $314 a week or $16,000 a year.
“That’s simply not enough to survive on,” he said. “No one who works full time should live in poverty.”
Von Glahn said Prop B would:
• Raise the state minimum wage to $12 by 2023 by implementing 85-cent increases each year beginning in 2019. The gradual increases would allow businesses to prepare for the change.
• Help wages keep pace with rising costs by keeping the current law, which has a cost-of-living adjustment that goes up at the rate of inflation every year.
• Boost small businesses by creating new customers who have additional money in their pockets.
• Help families take care of their children. More than 170,000 people who would be directly impacted by this have children in their homes.
Von Glahn noted that government employees would be exempt from the initiative because by law, the state cannot be required to spend money via a ballot initiative unless there is a tax increase.
A WIN FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Increasing the minimum wage would be a win for small businesses, Von Glahn said, because putting more money in people’s pockets means more money going to local businesses.
“Prop B has already been endorsed by 375 Missouri businesses who have said this is the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s the right thing for families and the local economy.”
A TESTED SOLUTION
Raising the minimum wage is a tested solution that works, Von Glahn stressed.
Twenty-nine other states and cities have raised the minimum wage, and in every single one, unemployment has gone down and incomes have gone up.
“We’re coming off a great victory with the defeat of Prop A,” Von Glahn said. “When we were out knocking on doors, then asking ‘Do we want policies that drive down wages by out-of-touch special interests and rich CEOs?’ The answer was ‘No.’ In fact, 67.5 percent of voters said ‘NO,’ and I want to see if we can beat that with Amendment 1 and Prop B.”
For more information on Amendment 1, the CLEAN Missouri initiative, visit cleanmissouri.org.
For more information on Prop B, the raise-the-wage initiative, visit raiseupmo.org.