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Proposed Transportation Tax To Join Pro-Gun And 'Pro-Farm' Proposals on August Ballot

Missouri’s proposed transportation sales tax could face another hurdle, as a result of Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision to place the measure on the August primary ballot – along with several conservative ballot measures aimed at enticing gun-rights and rural voters to the polls.

Rural voters are believed to be the least enamored of the transportation proposal, which would increase the state’s sales tax rate by three-fourths of a cent for 10 years to finance improvements to highways, bridges and urban transit systems.

Credit File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

And those voters are a key turnout target for the ballot proposals aimed at highlighting gun rights, curbing government collection of electronic communications, and protecting the “right to farm,’’ as one of the measure states. Conservative legislators had placed those measures on the ballot in the hopes of attracting like-minded voters.

On Friday, Nixon announced that he had decided to break up the growing list of ballot measures slated to go before Missouri voters later this year. At least eight proposals have been placed on the ballot by the Missouri General Assembly.

Nixon had no role in crafting those proposals, but he does play the biggest role in determining when voters will make their decisions.

Two controversial legislative proposals – one to allow for limited early voting, and the other to curb the governor’s powers – are being placed on the November ballot, when voter turnout is likely to be higher.  

Also expected on the November ballot are two initiative proposals that would curb teacher tenure and would expand early voting to six weeks. The latter proposal would conflict with the legislative early-voting proposal. If both are passed by November voters, a court fight is likely.

November turnout often includes more Democratic-leaning voters, who are less likely to vote in August.

Nixon announced that the measures placed on the August ballot will be:

  • House Joint Resolution No. 11, approved by legislators in 2013, that “proposes amending the Missouri Constitution to include language forever guaranteeing the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices.”
  •  House Joint Resolution No. 48, passed by the General Assembly this session, that “proposes amending the Missouri Constitution to direct the state lottery commission to develop and begin selling a ‘Veterans Lottery Ticket’, from which all net proceeds would be deposited into the Missouri Veterans’ Commission’s capital improvement trust fund.”
  • House Joint Resolution No. 68, passed by the General Assembly this session, that is the proposed transportation sales tax.
  • Senate Joint Resolution No. 27, passed by the General Assembly this session, that “proposes amending the Missouri Constitution to include language stating that people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects.”
  • Senate Joint Resolution No. 36, passed by the General Assembly this session, that “proposes amending the Missouri Constitution to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right.”

The three legislative ballot proposals slated for November all were passed this session:

  • House Joint Resolution No. 16, passed by the General Assembly in 2013, proposes amending the Missouri Constitution 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. 
  • House Joint Resolution No. 72, passed by the General Assembly this session, “proposes amending the Missouri Constitution to include language relating to a governor’s fiscal management authority. “
  •  House Joint Resolution No. 90, passed by the General Assembly this session, proposes amending the Missouri Constitution 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 all general elections.

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Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.
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