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The Missouri Senate is about to finally take up IP / Ratification Reform.

There are two significantly different “visions” for what that looks like and YOUR input is needed ASAP. Please do an objective evaluation of the pros and cons of each of the two concepts, below, and call or email your state senator before Wednesday, whether they are Republican or Democrat.

Tell them you support "Option 1: Petition, Legislative, and Convention" or if you prefer, "Option 2: Petition Only." And give them some reasons why.

Look up your senator here: https://www.senate.mo.gov/LegisLookup/Default
Or see this list: https://www.senate.mo.gov/Senators

Learn more about Concurrent Majority Ratification here: CMR Booklet

April 23, 2023

Missouri First Home

April 2023 - These two columns provide details about the two primary competing ideas for IP / Ratification Reform currently being considered in the Missouri Senate.

Option 1: Petition, Legislative, and Convention

Option 1 will raise the bar for ratifying (approving) any and all amendments to the Missouri Constitution, whether proposed by an initiative petition, an act of the legislature, or a constitutional convention.

Concurrent Majority Ratification will be required for all amendments. That means there will be one vote of the people of Missouri, but that vote will be counted two ways and BOTH conditions must be met to approve an amendment (or a whole new Constitution, in the case of a constitutional convention).

First, there must be a majority in a state-wide count, just as is currently required. Second there must also be a majority vote in EACH of more than half of the state’s 163 House of Representative districts.

 

Option 2: Petition Only

Option 2 will raise the bar for ratifying (approving) only the amendments to the Missouri Constitution that are proposed by initiative petition. Amendments proposed by the legislature or constitutional convention will continue to only require a simple majority state-wide vote to be ratified.

Concurrent Majority Ratification will be required for amendments proposed by initiative petitions (but not those proposed by the legislature or by convention). That means there will be one vote of the people of Missouri, but that vote will be counted two ways and BOTH conditions must be met to approve an amendment proposed by initiative petition.

First, there must be a majority in a state-wide count, just as is currently required. Second there must also be a majority vote in EACH of more than half of the state’s 8 congressional districts.

Option 2 also makes it harder for the legislature to put a proposed amendment on the ballot for voters to consider. Currently, only a simple majority vote of members of the House and Senate is required, but Option 2 would raise that to a 60% vote. (21 senators and 98 Representatives would have to approve before a proposed amendment could be placed on the ballot.)

Arguments From Proponents of Option 1

Arguments From Proponents of Option 2

Voters are more likely to accept Option 1

- Option 1 is the simplest, most straight-forward approach and addresses all three methods of amending the constitution in a consistent manner..

- Option 1 is more likely to be accepted by voters than Option 2 because it does not give preferential treatment to politicians and the special interests that have so much influence on the legislative process. The lower ratifying standard for legislatively proposed amendments in Option 2 will be used to impugn the legislators who are proposing it and will be a major talking point for those spending millions to defeat it.

- Raising the bar for the legislature to propose amendments, as Option 2 does, may actually encourage even MORE initiative petitions, since people may have even less hope that the legislature would put a particular measure on the ballot.

- This will be a special ballot issue that will get a lot of attention, and you should expect voters to be very informed and discerning.

- Option 1 uses state House districts instead of congressional districts. A very high rural turnout will be necessary to ratify whatever is proposed, and rural voters will be more excited about using state House districts than congressional districts

Voters will accept Option 2

- The extra complexity of Option 2 is worth it because it will make it easier to give Democrats concessions that end a filibuster.

- Complaints that Option 2 inappropriately gives the legislature an easier route to amending the Constitution than the people through a petition is countered with a requirement in Option 2 that 60% of reps and 60% of senators agree before sending any of their proposed amendments to the ballot. The bar is raised for the people and the legislature, just in different ways.

- Voters who are turned off by the easier ratification standard for legislatively proposed amendments will be won back by the other provisions that prohibit involvement by foreign countries in the amendment process, etc., found in both Option 1 and Option 2.

- Many, if not most, voters will not be focused on the intricacies of the amendment, but will mostly be influenced by the ballot title.

Option 1 is Better Policy

- Currently, the urban areas of the state have enough votes to ratify amendments even when a vast majority of rural voters vote “no”, but Concurrent Majority Ratification will require a broader geographic consensus and give more voice to outstate Missourians on ALL proposed amendments, whether by petition, the legislature, or constitutional convention.

- On the other hand, because Option 2 ONLY requires Concurrent Majority Ratification for petition proposed amendments, it will continue to allow the urban areas an advantage when considering amendments proposal by the legislature or constitutional convention. That’s a particularly bad idea, considering the fact that deep pocket special interests have so much influence on the election of legislators and also the legislative process, once they are elected.

The potential for the legislature proposing bad amendments, now or in the future, is real, and those bad amendments would still only require a simple majority state-wide affirmative vote to become part of the Constitution.

Option 2 is Better Policy -- Raises the Bar Where Needed Most

- Option 2 also levels the playing field between urban and rural, but does so only where it is needed most, that is, when an amendment is proposed by petition without going through the deliberation of the legislative process.

- See section about fixing constitutional problems.



The use of state House districts in Option 1 would require broader consensus to ratify

- Option 1 uses state House districts, instead of congressional districts. That means rural votes will not be diluted, or offset, by being lumped in with urban areas. Option 2’s use of congressional districts means that all but one or two districts will include large urban areas.

- Option 1’s use of state House districts provides better granularity, so it will do a better job establishing a consensus of the people. It is fundamentally the most fair form of ratification.

Option 2 Raises the Bar Higher Than Option 1 for Petition Proposed Amendments

- Because ratification of a petition proposed amendment would require a whole congressional district more than a 50/50 split would (5 of 8), you have to have a larger consensus to ratify.

- Using congressional districts would make it easier to determine where to focus efforts to support or oppose a measure, since there are only 8 to consider, instead of 163 House districts.

Option 1 Diminishes the Influence of Moneyed Special Interests Best

- Both Option 1 and Option 2 help to diminish the influence of well financed special interests from within and outside of Missouri for petition proposed amendments, only Option 1 diminishes the moneyed interests when amendments are proposed legislatively or by convention.

- Because Option 1 uses state House districts, individuals and local political organizations will have greater opportunity to effect the outcome without a lot of money. Option 2’s use of congressional districts will continue to allow special interests with deep pocket to run the show, since the campaigns will resemble campaigns for Congress.

Option 2 Diminishes the Influence of Moneyed Special Interests on petitions

- Option 2 helps to diminish the influence of well financed special interests from within and outside of Missouri for petition proposed amendments.

Option 2 makes it harder to fix constitutional problems

- Option 2 will require a super-majority (60%) vote in the House and Senate just to “ask” voters to adopt an amendment. Special interests already have a stranglehold on the legislative process and can stop virtually anything they want. This change will shift even more power to big money and make it even harder to give the people of Missouri an opportunity to amend their Constitution, even for issues that are immensely popular with the people.

A prime example is “private use eminent domain.” An amendment to end the practice of taking private property to give to another private party would get well over 80% support from voters, but special interests have kept the legislature from proposing such an amendment since 2006. Option 2 would make that problem even worse.

- Option 2’s requirement for a super-majority (60%) vote in the House and Senate may actually make it harder for the legislature fix constitutional problems created by the courts or prior amendments. Again, deep-pocket special interests have inordinate influence on the legislative process.

Option 2 Makes It easier to fix constitutional problems

- Since Option 2 allows legislatively proposed amendments to be ratified with only a simple majority vote of the people, it makes it easier for the legislature to fix constitutional problems created by the courts or prior amendments.

Option 1 Maintains Proper Structure of the Constitution

- Article XII of the Missouri Constitution is the “Amending the Constitution” article. Option 1 appropriately amends Article XII.

Option 2, on the other hand, amends Article III, the “Legislative Department” article without changing what will be conflicting language in Article XII.

The effects of Option 2 on the Structure of the Constitution are Acceptable

- Although it would be cleaner and more appropriate to place this proposed amendment in Article XII, putting it in Article III allows for changing things that relate to the petition process as well as the ratification process so the Senate has more tools to compromise over and encourage Democrats to end a filibuster.

Option 1 Minimizes the Effects of Voting Fraud

Because Option 1 uses state House districts as the second metric, it does a significantly better job isolating, or “quarantining,” voting fraud. The effects of the fraud will be limited to the House district it occurred in, and not cancel out votes from any other part of the state.





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Resources-

- CMR Booklet Link -

There is a great Rural / Urban divide in Missouri and the urban areas have much more influence on our state Constitution.

Amendment 3 Map

 

Map


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.

HJR 132 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).

 

Article I Section 3:

"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."

 

At the general election on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November 1962, and every twenty years thereafter, the secretary of state shall, and at any general or special election the general assembly by law may, submit to the electors of the state the question "Shall there be a convention to revise and amend the constitution?"

 

"At the election the electors of the state shall elect fifteen delegates-at-large and the electors of each state senatorial district shall elect two delegates."

"To secure representation from different political parties in each senatorial district, in the manner prescribed by its senatorial district committee each political party shall nominate but one candidate for delegate from each senatorial district,"

"Candidates for delegates-at-large shall be nominated by nominating petitions only, which shall be signed by electors of the state equal to five percent of the legal voters in the senatorial district in which the candidate resides"

"All such candidates shall be voted for on a separate ballot without party designation, and the fifteen receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected.:

 

 

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