YOUR LETTERS: You will not silence us!

The 2023 legislative session just began, and Missouri lawmakers are quickly making it a strategic priority to attack our right to direct democracy. With nearly 30 bills submitted that intend to make the initiative petition process more difficult, legislators are clearly worried about the people of Missouri having too much power. Voters in favor of protecting ballot initiatives have hit the ground running, mobilizing high numbers of Missourians across the state to submit testimony in opposition to these bills.

In addition to many other bills that aim to suppress our right to vote, the initiative petition legislation is nearly identical to proposed bills of the past. Broadly, these bills attempt to make it more difficult to get initiative petitions on the ballot and require approval much further than the standard 50 percent majority.

Missourians across the political spectrum have used the initiative petition process to organize around important issues that directly affect Missouri workers. In 2018, approved by 67 percent of the vote, the initiative petition was used to repeal a so-called “right-to-work” law enacted by the legislature. That same year, the minimum wage was increased with 62 percent of the vote statewide. These laws that protect unionized workers and increase the minimum wage greatly affect the bottom line for many working Missourian families.

Under currently proposed legislation, these protections and benefits would not have passed. The legislature’s initial passing of “right-to-work” and their resistance to increasing the minimum wage, shows they cannot be trusted with our best interest. The initiative petition has been called “the people’s veto.” In my opinion, the initiative petition process is a way people can fight corruption in government and keep the legislature from passing laws against the will of the people.

The legislature is trying to make it harder for Missourians to have a voice. These legislators attacking our democracy must be held accountable. People of Missouri, whether you are conservative or liberal or fall somewhere in between, we need to stand together in solidarity and say you will not silence us! Defending the initiative petition is defense of our right to direct democracy.

Business Agent
IUPAT Local 115

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