According to the Kansas City Star, State Senator Kevin Engler, a Republican, is sponsoring a bill which would require that Missouri residents have more involvement in proposing initiatives. The Kansas City Star summarized the bill’s requirements.
The proposed bill would require petition circulators to be Missouri residents, prohibit them from being paid by the signature and restrict them to circulating one petition at a time.
Missouri legislators are concerned that wealthy groups from outside Missouri are abusing the initiative process.
More and more initiative drives, however, are coming from out-of-state groups and are being carried out by professional signature gatherers, said Sen. Kevin Engler, a Farmington Republican who’s sponsoring a bill in the Senate. That goes against the original intent of the process and opens it up to fraud, he said.
“Petitions are supposed to be rare exceptions backed by a movement of the people,” Engler said.
“Now, someone can come in with a couple million bucks, hire these people from out of state, pay them per signature and put something on the ballot that may sound good but isn’t necessarily good for the people of Missouri.”
State Rep. Michael Parson, also a Republican, is also sponsoring a bill in the Missouri House of Representatives.
I am glad the Missouri legislature is moving to control the initiative process. I have written in a related post about my concern about the unfair influence of money in the initiative process.
Moreover, I reiterate my view that the American Civil Rights Institute’s (ACRI) use of the initiative process to prohibit affirmative action in state education, employment, and public contracting is inappropriate. This issue needs to be resolved in the state legislature as the risk of causing a social minority to suffer is high.