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Dedicated to the sovereignty
of Missourians.

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URGENT HEARING NOTICE

A hearing on 5 bills, 4 very bad and one very good, to be held Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at the Capitol in Jefferson City, MO.

See instructions, below for filling out witness forms online. SUPPORT HJR 30

Missouri First Home

January 21, 2023 -- Jefferson City, MO

Tuesday at 12:00 noon, the House Elections Committee will hold hearings on five bills, one of which includes the most pressing good legislation and the other four are among the most damaging to our republic.

Your help weighing in on these bills is urgently needed.

If you already know this issue, feel free to skip to the ACTION ITEM at the end of this email.


THE ISSUE AT HAND

How do we establish a fair standard for adopting changes to the Missouri Constitution – one that retains the people’s ability to rein in government -- while also preventing the Constitution from being a dumping ground for special interests?

For a quick answer, skip to THE RIGHT SOLUTION below.


BACKGROUND

For years, Republicans have wanted to “do something” about the ease with which our state Constitution is amended. Well, it’s not actually easy, but big-money interests have managed to get a lot of garbage in our Constitution, nonetheless.

Something should be done, but it must be the right and principled thing.

For years what has been termed “IP Reform” has been tried and failed, largely because the legislation has not considered the most important principles under-girding an American republic – specifically that:

  1. All political power resides in the people and government exists at the consent of the people, and

  2. The people have a natural right to alter or abolish their constitution and form of government.


The U.S. Declaration of Independence explains these principles eloquently, and Article I, Section 1 and Section 3 of the Missouri Constitution spell them out in plain language.

Article III, Section 49 of the Missouri Constitution gives effect to these principles. It says, “The people reserve power to propose and enact or reject laws and amendments to the constitution by the initiative, independent of the general assembly, and also reserve power to approve or reject by referendum any act of the general assembly, except as hereinafter provided.”

Our forefathers realized that free people should not have to ask permission from the government to change the law of the land in ways that limit the power of government, and we must not forget that limiting the power of government is the most important reason for the people to retain the right to use initiative petitions to alter our own Constitution.


TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY

On the other hand, an equally important founding principle is the prevention of tyranny of the majority.

Currently, it takes only a simple majority statewide vote of the people to ratify (adopt) a proposed amendment. Those votes can all come from a relatively small geographic area.

That’s why our current system for amending the state Constitution does a very poor job of protecting the rights of minority interests and preventing tyranny of the majority. A look at the recent vote for Amendment 3 makes that clear.

Of the 116 reporting jurisdictions (counties, more or less) only 16 of them approved Amendment 3 – the other 100 said no!

Those 16 are primarily the urban areas.

Amendment 3 Election Map


There is, indeed, a problem to fix, but until now there have been no equitable proposals.


HOW THE POLITICIANS HAVE GOTTEN IT WRONG

Rather than respect the rights and power of the people, past “IP Reform” proposals would have gutted the petition process, making in only available to selfish interests with deep pockets while making it virtually impossible for a grassroots effort to succeed.

For more than a dozen years these proposals have failed because a few principled senators have stood in the gap for the people of Missouri. You would think they would have learned by now, but they are proposing the same bad bills.

One of the things these short-sighted proposals fail to consider is the huge transfer of power to the courts that would result from making to too hard to amend the Constitution. For instance, a requirement of a 2/3 ratification vote would mean that one or two highly populated parts of the state would have a 1/3 veto power over any proposed amendment. The result would be that the only changes, in effect, to the Constitution would be the ones the courts make by judicial fiat.



THE RIGHT SOLUTION

The proper solution is something called Concurrent Majority Ratification (CMR).

HJR 30, which has a hearing on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, uses CMR. It would require that two conditions be met before a proposed amendment is ratified or adopted:

  1. A majority of voters, statewide with have to vote “yes” AND ALSO
  2. A majority of voters in each of more than half the 163 state House districts would have to vote “yes.”

This concurrent majority concept is actually the standard way of making public policy in America.

  • States vote to ratify amendments to the U.S. Constitution – we don’t take a national popular vote.
  • The Electoral College – we don’t elect the president by a national popular vote.
  • Two U.S. Senators per state, no matter the size of the state.
  • Bicameral legislatures.
  • Members of the House of Representatives (both U.S. and state) represent geographic districts.


Amending the state Constitution with merely a statewide popular vote is the exception – it is virtually the ONLY way we make “law” that is not by concurrent majority. (State statutes are sometimes also adopted by a statewide popular vote, but there remains a concurrent majority “check” on them, since the legislature can amendment them.)


ACTION ITEM – FILL OUT A WITNESS FORM

The hearing for the good HJR 30 and the other four bad bills is scheduled:

January 24, 2023
Noon
Hearing Room 6 at the Capitol in Jefferson City.
Click for Hearing Schedule

Click here to fill out a witness form on the House website: https://house.mo.gov/WitnessForm/Default.aspx?noticeid=7178


WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE OTHER HJRs?

HJR 43 is the same as HJR 79 that failed to pass the Senate last year and is essentially the same as many other attempt though the years. This type of proposal has also failed on the ballot in many states over the years because voters don’t want to give up their right to use the petition process. It:

  • Doubles the signatures requires to put a question on the ballot, so only the deep pocket special interests, not grassroots efforts, will have a chance.
  • Raises the ratification threshold to a 2/3 vote. That means urban areas will have veto power over the amendment process, leaving no real check on the courts’ powers.

HJR 18 is similar to HJR 43, and will also fail both in the Senate and at the polls. It:

  • Practically triples the signatures required to put a question on the ballot, so only the deep pocket special interests, not grassroots efforts, will have a chance.
  • Raises the ratification threshold to a 2/3 vote, but only for amendments proposed by petition.


HJR 24 and HJR 25 are the worst ideas of all. They:

  • Are purposely deceptive.
  • Require a majority of the registered voters to ratify an amendment proposed by petition. “Registered voters” would include every registered voter, even dead people and those who have moved out of state but not been purged from the database.
  • Since we only have much more than a 50% turnout at the presidential general election, that’s the ONLY time a constitutional amendment could be adopted.
  • The governor gets to pick which ballot a proposed amendment goes on, so he or she would have ultimate veto power over the amendment.


Please remember to fill out a witness form in support of HJR 30.



Resources

Virtually every law in American is made by Concurrent Majority, other than ratifying amendments to state constitution.

The U.S. Constitution is not ratified by a popular vote -- it is ratified by a concurrent majority consensus of the states. Every legislature is made up of representatives of citizens from districts from a broad geographic area and it takes a consensus of those areas to pass a bill.

Even the president is selected by concurrent majority – that's what the Electoral College is.

SJR 28, SJR 33, HJR 30 and HJR 19 would require a concurrent majority to amend the Missouri Constitution.

It requires two conditions be met for ratification: 1) A statewide majority popular vote, just as we have now, and 2) A majority popular vote in more than half the state House districts.

This requirement applies to initiative, legislative, and convention proposed amendments (or entire constitution in the case of a convention).

 

 

SJR 28 -- Senator Jill Carter

SJR 33 -- Senator Mike Moon

HJR 30 -- Rep. Ed Lewis

HJR 19 -- Rep. John Black

 

"That all political power is vested in and derived from the people; that all government of right originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole."

 

"That the people of this state have the inherent, sole and exclusive right to regulate the internal government and police thereof, and to alter and abolish their constitution and form of government whenever they may deem it necessary to their safety and happiness, provided such change be not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States.."

 

"The people reserve power to propose and enact or reject laws and amendments to the constitution by the initiative, independent of the general assembly, and also reserve power to approve or reject by referendum any act of the general assembly, except as hereinafter provided."

 

 

 

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