Smart Decision 2014: Voter guide on local, state ballot issues

3 years 7 months 2 weeks ago Monday, November 03 2014 Nov 3, 2014 Monday, November 03, 2014 5:46:00 PM CST November 03, 2014 in News
By: Matt Kalish, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA - The Missouri ballot for election day Tuesday features four proposed amendments to the state constitution dealing with varying issues, including one that would change how school districts evaluate teachers and another which would allow state lawmakers to override additional actions by the governor.

Voters in Columbia will also see two propositions on their ballots.

To help voters make an informed, smart decision on Election Day KOMU 8 News has complied this guide which ties together our coverage and provides an overview of issue.

KOMU 8 News will provide complete election results online and on air after the polls close at 7 p.m.

Amendment 2:

Official Title:  Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that it will be permissible to allow relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecutions for crimes of a sexual nature involving a victim under eighteen years of age?

What it would do if passed: The proposal from Rep. John McCaherty, R-St. Louis County, allows prosecutors to use a defendant's criminal history, regardless of whether or not they were found guilty, in cases involving minors who've suffered sexual abuse.

Who's opposed to the measure? A rarity, the bill passed with overwhelming support in both the House and Senate. However some lawyers including Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis City, are against Amendment 2 because it could potentially deprive some defendants of a fair trial. The Missouri chapter of the ACLU also has concerns with the bill. The Columbia Tribune also came out against the measure in an editorial.

Who's in favor of the measure? More than 75 percent of state lawmakers, victims groups and several papers including The Joplin Globe and The St.Louis Post-Dispatch

How much will it cost taxpayers? According to the Secretary of State, the cost could be at least $1.4 million annually due to increased prosecutions and costs to government entities.

Where can I learn more?:  KOMU 8's Shannon O'Brien talked with local groups about their take on the issue.

Results of KOMU 8' News' non-scientific poll:  69 percent in favor, 30 opposed

Amendment 3

Official Title: Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding
  • require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system
  • require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts
  • prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system
What would it do if passed?  Fundamentally change the way teachers are hired, paid and retained in Missouri. Teachers would be prohibited from being signed to contracts guaranteeing employment for more than three years and their evaluation would be largely based on standardized test scores. Schools receiving state or local tax revenue would also have to develop standards to grade teachers. Those standards would then be approved by the state department of education.

Who's opposed to the measure? Teachers unions, the state chapter of the National Education Association, Democrats, local school boards including Columbia Public Schools and Jefferson City Public Schools, and parents groups.

Who's in favor of the measure? State Republicans. The largest group which was lobbying for the proposed amendment, Grow Missouri, dropped its support in September. The group, which declined to comment to KOMU 8 News, is primarily funded by billionaire Rex Sinquefeld.

How much will it cost taxpayers?: The Secretary of State's website did not provide a cost estimate.


Results of KOMU 8's non-scientific poll: 11 percent in-favor, 88 percent opposed

Amendment 6

Official Title: Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the election day in general elections, but only if the legislature and the governor appropriate and disburse funds to pay for the increased costs of such voting?

What it would do if passed?: Change the time frame for early voting and only allow for early voting if state lawmakers reimburse local governments for the cost of early voting.

Who's opposed to the measure?: Secretary of State Jason Kander, who's the state's chief election officer, Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren, numerous liberal groups, the editorial boards of both The Kansas City Star and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Who's in favor of the measure?:  Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit, who's running for the Republican nomination to face Kander in 2016, and the state Republican party.

How much will it cost taxpayers?: Auditor Tom Schweich and Kander's office said the proposal would cost $2 million the first year it's implemented plus other yearly costs to local governments.

Amendment 10

Official Title: Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to require the governor to pay the public debt, to prohibit the governor from relying on revenue from legislation not yet passed when proposing a budget, and to provide a legislative check on the governor's decisions to restrict funding for education and other state services?

What would it do if passed? It would permit state lawmakers to vote to override Gov. Jay Nixon's budget withholdings. Lawmakers would need a two-thirds majority to overturn his decision.

Who's opposed to the measure? Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, wrote an editorial opposing the measure. Democrats and Nixon also oppose the measure since it conflicts with the court ruling in Schweich v Nixon, which upheld the right for the governor to withhold funds in order to maintain a balenced budget.

Who's in favor of the measure? State Republicans in the legislature. They've butted heads with Nixon on his withholdings since he took office.

How much will it cost taxpayers? It won't cost the state anything,while the impact to local governments is unclear.

Where can I learn more?  KOMU 8 News' Michael Doudna has more.

Results of KOMU 8's non-scientific poll:  36 percent in favor, 63 percent opposed

Proposition One

What would it do if passed?: It would raise property taxes to pay for additional police officers and firefighters. 

How much would it cost taxpayers? Homeowners would see a 30 cent tax increase for every $100 of owned property, phased in over five years.

Who's opposed to the measure?: former Mayor Pugh and several homeowners' groups.

Who's in favor of the measure? City manager Mike Matthes, current Mayor Bob McDavid

Where can I learn more?: KOMU 8 News' Anders Aarhus has more.

Results of KOMU 8 News' non-scientific poll: 36 percent in favor, 63 percent opposed.

Proposition Two:

What would it do if passed? It would raise development fees to pay for roadway improvements

How much would it cost taxpayers? It's not entirely clear, however, major contractor would pay an extra $2 per square-foot while smaller builders would see a $1.50 increase.

Who's opposed to the measure? Columbia Chamber of Commerce

Who's in favor of the measure? The City of Columbia

Where can I learn more?: KOMU 8's Hanna Battah has the full story

Results of KOMU 8 News' non-scientific poll:  43 percent in favor, 56 percent opposed

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