We Do Have Ballot Proposals... - The Missourian: Opinion

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We Do Have Ballot Proposals...

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Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012 5:00 pm

For months we have had near silence on the state proposals that will be on the November ballot. They were published as public notices in detail in Wednesday’s Missourian. They will be published one more time in the next Wednesday Missourian.

There will be one Constitutional Amendment on the ballot. It is labeled Amendment No. 3. It is a proposal to amend the Missouri Constitution to change the current nonpartisan selection of Supreme Court and appeals court judges that would give the governor more authority in the selection process. People need to read the proposed amendment. It’s important. There isn’t expected to be any added cost to taxpayers under this proposal.

Proposition A concerns the St. Louis police department. Police commissioners are now appointed by the governor. The amendment would give the city the option of placing the police department under local control rather than state control. An estimated savings of $500,000 annually has been made.

Proposition B is the cigarette tax increase of 73 cents per pack and increases in other tobacco products. If passed, the tax would produce an estimated $283 million in new revenue for the state. The money would go for education at all levels, including higher education, and programs to try to get people to quit smoking and educational campaigns aimed at children to try to get them to not smoke. It is estimated the Washington School District would receive $632,000 annually in new tax revenue. East Central College would receive more than $500,000 annually.

Proposition E would prevent the governor or any state agency to operate a state-based health insurance exchange unless authorized by a vote of the people. This proposal is intended to block a provision of Obamacare. No direct savings or costs are associated with this proposition.

As with all constitutional amendments and propositions, the wording is long, somewhat complicated and many voters will tell you they don’t understand the full implications of them. Other voters take the time to read them in newspapers and to learn as much as they can about them.

As in past elections when there are several of these issues on ballots, some gain more attention than others. There can be almost near silence on some of them. Gaining the most attention up to now is Proposition B on the tobacco tax increase. Local control of the St. Louis police department is an issue that has been around a long time. We are unaware of any major “for or against” campaigns on the judges’ issue or the Obamacare proposition. There’s been some publicity on the latter two issues.

It is becoming more common for court challenges to ballot issue language. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, chief state election official, has been criticized for some of the ballot language she has approved. Her language has been upheld by judges more often than being disapproved. It should be noted that the secretary of state has in recent years been confronted with more ballot issues than ever before.

It’s difficult to predict the outcome for amendments and propositions unless a solid poll is taken. We haven’t seen a poll on any of the issues on the Nov. 6 ballots.

/opinion