Did Amendment 7 Mislead Voters?
Amendment 7 requires lawmakers, statewide elected officials and judges to give up their state pensions if they are convicted of a felony or if they are removed from office following impeachment or misconduct. The amendment also requires at least a two-thirds' vote of the General Assembly in order to reject pay raises proposed by Missouri's salary commission. The final part requires state funding for the raises if the legislature does not reject the salary recommendations.
"However, by looking at the ballot, you would never know about the pay raise part," said Harris. "On the ballot supplied to us by Boone County, there is only the pension part, as it was in the rest of the state of Missouri, and there is good reason why."
That's because, Rep. Harris said, when the legislature puts a measure on the ballot, lawmakers can dictate ballot wording, rather than the secretary of state approving the language.
"The majority [of voters] saw the language, read the language having to do with the forfeiture of pensions and may have not been as aware of the pay increase aspect of that," Harris added.
The Missouri salary commission now has three weeks to propose pay raises for state lawmakers. If the commission misses that deadline, there won't be another proposal until 2008.