RELEASE: House moves forward with disastrous measure to end majority rule

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Politicians scheme to trick voters into giving away rights, end 100 years of majority rule

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri House today moved forward with a measure designed to strip Missourians of their rights. SJR74, as currently constructed, would end majority rule in Missouri, potentially requiring more than 70% of a statewide vote for any constitutional amendment to pass. The House shamefully added so-called ballot candy to SJR74, a move meant to trick voters. 

The initiative petition process has been used in the past to both broaden Missourians’ rights, such as expanding Medicaid access, and keep legislators in check through lobbying reforms and term limits.

Missourians across the state decried the House’s passage of the joint resolution, which must now go to the Senate.

“The initiative petition process seems to be the only way for us to have our voices heard,” said Jane Holland, a retiree from Columbia. “The current efforts to change the rules would be a step backwards. Our current legislators constantly vote for things that most of us Missourians do not want.”

Getta Hall of Kansas City agreed.

“The initiative petition process must be maintained as is and is an important check to partisan politics,” Hall said. “The IP process that already exists requires a high threshold of signatures and has served us well. Medicaid expansion was an issue Missouri legislators failed to pass. It went to the ballot per the initiative petition process and has been a Godsend pre- and post-COVID to Missourians caught in the gap specifically, and to all of us indirectly.”

The House voted to add items to the Senate version of SJR74, including a requirement that those who vote in Missouri elections be U.S. citizens and a clause that foreign governments cannot fund ballot initiative efforts. BOTH OF THESE ARE ALREADY REQUIRED UNDER MISSOURI LAW.

“The ballot candy is designed to hide the true impact of the measure and gain support from voters who don’t know that several items in the ballot summary are already required by law,” said Marilyn McLeod, president of the League of Women Voters of Missouri. “The initiative process is an important part of democracy in Missouri and the suggested changes would squelch the voice of the people, overturning the sacred principle of ‘one person, one vote’.”

Since the beginning of the year, thousands of Missourians voiced their opposition to attacks on the initiative petition process, many pointing out that the process already in place gives Missourians the power to make direct decisions about policies that impact them and their families.

SJR74 will be referred to the Senate where it can be rejected, accepted and sent to the ballot, or sent to a conference committee. Missourians are urged to let their legislators know they oppose these efforts to trick Missourians into giving their rights away and making it harder for votes to count.