For over a century Missourians of all political stripes have relied on the initiative petition process to make policy changes when legislators refused to act on our priorities. Now, some legislators are threatening to change that.
Two bills, SJR1 and SB5 threaten our rights as citizens to come together and petition one another when legislature fails to act.
- Senate Joint Resolution 1 would increase – by over 125 percent – the number of signatures required to qualify an initiative for the ballot and require a higher threshold for citizen-initiated petitions to get passed.
- Senate Bill 5 would institute burdensome fees on citizens submitting petitions and would create confusing new signature requirements which will likely lead to valid signatures getting thrown out.
- (EDITOR’S NOTE: based on the proposed fees, it would have cost more than $1 million to submit the “right-to-work” ballot initiative signatures that were required to place RTW on the ballot for voters to decide. Any guess as to why Republican legislators would want to do this?)
Last year, Missouri Jobs with Justice supported three initiative petitions; two of these initiatives — Amendment 1 (fair redistricting, lobbyist gift limits, open records) and Proposition B (minimum wage) — addressed issues that the General Assembly refused to act on. The other, Proposition A (“right-to-work”), afforded Missouri voters the chance to invalidate a law passed by the legislature. Each of these measures passed with over 62 percent of the vote.Without our initiative process we have no recourse to correct the Legislature when it makes bad policy, or to make good policy when it fails to act. We cannot afford to lose this vital check on our legislature.
Email (or call) your Senator today and demand that they stand for democracy and defend the initiative process!
Richard Von Glahn
Policy Director, Jobs with Justice