Initiative Petitions Up for Debate in Mo.
JEFFERSON CITY- Several initiative petitions have been approved by the secretary of state for circulation in Missouri. This is the first step in becoming an official ballot issue in November of 2014.
The secretary of state approved a petition initiative Wednesday that would repeal the nonpartisan court plan in the Missouri Supreme Court and Appeals Courts that was passed last November.
If the plan is repealed, judges will be elected in partisan elections, with political parties nominating candidates prior to the election.
The initiative would also reduce the terms for Supreme Court and Appellate Court judges from 12 years to nine years.
Another initiative which was approved for circulation in January by former Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, would raise the state's minimum wage from $7.35 per hour to anywhere from $8.40 to $9.25 per hour.
If approved, the initiative could increase state income and sales tax revenue by an estimated $34.6 million per year.
Columbia employees say the hike in minimum wage is necessary to maintain the standard of living in Missouri.
"I think it's important for Missouri to raise the minimum wage because there's a lot of families that simply can't live off of this minimum wage," said Sparky's Ice Cream employee Delia Rainey. "It's unrealistic and people who work food service jobs work really hard and are deserving of more than just that."
The Living Wage Calculator, put together by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), lists the living wage for Boone County at $7.65, 30 cents above the current wage.
Once the petitons are approved, the petitioner circulates it around the state, where any registered voter can sign.
From there, the petitioner will deliver it to the secretary of state, no less than six months before the election. The secretary of state sends it to the attorney general to review the legal content of the petition and write the petition language.
The secretary then delivers the petitions to local election authorities to verify the signatures of those in favor of the petition.
Finally, the secretary of state will determine if the petition has enough valid signatures. If he does, it is then placed on the ballot for the November 4, 2014 election.
The deadline to submit petitions to the secretary of state is May 4, 2014.