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Secretary of state details November's ballot issues

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Missouri voters will be asked to consider seven constitutional amendments and one change of status in the Nov. 3 general election. Secretary of State Bekki Cook offered the following plain-language explanation of the proposals in a news release.

A simple majority of votes cast will determine whether these issues pass or fail. The actual ballot language is in bold print.

Constitutional Amendment No. 1

(Proposed by 89th General Assembly, first regular session)

Changes the deadline for submitting initiative petitions from four months prior to the election to six months prior to the election. The proposal would have no direct fiscal impact.

If adopted, Constitutional Amendment 1 would change the deadline for submitting initiative petitions to the secretary of state's office from four months prior to the general election to six months prior to the general election. The deadline would fall in early May rather than early July.

The earlier deadline would give the local election officials and the secretary of state's office more time to determine whether sufficient valid signatures have been obtained from registered voters and to investigate allegations of fraud.

This will help finalize the ballot by the time absentee voting begins, six weeks before the election. It will also allow local election officials to verify signatures when they are not in the middle of preparing and conducting the August primary election.

This proposal would amend Article III, Section 50 of the Missouri Constitution.

Constitutional Amendment No. 2

(Proposed by 89th General Assembly, first regular session)

School board may set operating levy no higher than $2.75 without a vote. Voter approval by simple majority required to set levy up to $6. Voter approval by two-thirds required to set levy above $6.

If adopted, Constitutional Amendment 2 would change limits on tax levies imposed by school districts. Currently, the limit on levies not requiring voter approval is $1.25 per $100 assessed valuation, which was set in 1945. Under this amendment, the limit would be increased to $2.75.

This proposal also increases the limit on tax levies requiring voter approval by a simple majority from $3.75 to $6 assessed valuation. Levies above $6 would still require a two-thirds majority for passage.

This proposal would change Sections 11(b) and 11(c) of Article X of the Missouri Constitution.

Constitutional Amendment No. 5

(Proposed by 89th General Assembly, first regular session)

State treasurer to prepare a written investment policy for investment of state funds and authorizes additional categories of permitted investments to include banker's acceptances and commercial paper. The amendment is intended to increase earnings on investments of the state.

If adopted, Constitutional Amendment 5 would require the state treasurer to prepare and maintain a written investment policy. It would also give the treasurer additional options for investing by allowing investment of state funds in the highest-rated commercial paper and banker's acceptances issued by American companies.

The maximum length of time the treasurer could invest state funds in federal government securities would be increased from three years to five years.

The goal of this amendment is to allow more varied investment practices and increase earnings on state funds without an appreciable increase in the risk.

This proposal would change Section 15 of Article IV of the Constitution.

Constitutional Amendment No. 6

(Proposed by the 89th General Assembly, first regular session)

Allows financing of municipal or joint sewer improvement project by issuance of revenue bonds. Local government costs, to implement this proposal are at the option of political subdivisions. No state costs are anticipated.

If adopted, Constitutional Amendment 6 would allow cities, incorporated towns and villages, or joint municipal utility commissions to issue bonds for constructing, extending or improving sewer works projects which are revenue-producing, subject to voter approval.

The amendment also deletes language requiring that water works established by joint municipal utility commissions be regulated by the Public Service Commission.

This proposal would change Section 27 of Article VI of the Constitution.

Constitutional Amendment No. 7

(Proposed by 89th General Assembly, second regular session)

Authorizes the state to issue bonds to fund distributions by the Missouri Clean Water Commission of water and sewer grants or loans to counties, municipalities, sewer and water districts for design, construction or improvements to public sewage collection and treatment facilities, drinking water systems and stormwater control projects.

Assuming the General Assembly authorizes the issuance of these bonds, the fiscal impact of this constitutional amendment to the state is approximately $17.3 million annually in bond principal, interest payments and other costs over a 35-year period. Local governments which choose to participate will incur some of these costs.

If adopted, Constitutional Amendment 7 would remove planning and program administration from the purposes for which proceeds from existing bond issues for water pollution and stormwater control may be used. The annual appropriation for rural water and sewer grants would be increased from $25 million to $50 million.

This amendment permits state indebtedness of $100 million to fund the construction of rural water and sewer systems through grants and loans, including grants to establish water-supply hookups in incorporated areas of Missouri counties, to be administered by the Clean Water Commission and the Department of Natural Resources.

In addition, this amendment permits the General Assembly to authorize additional indebtedness not to exceed $200 million for stormwater control plans, studies and projects in first-class counties and the city of St. Louis through grants and loans administered by the Clean Water Commission and the Department of Natural Resources.

The General Assembly may appropriate no more than $10 million per fiscal year for grants and loans for rural water and sewers, and no more than $20 million per fiscal year for stormwater projects, with half of the appropriation of the latter applied toward grants and half applied toward loans.

The amendment also outlines the method of repayment of bonds and provides for participating local governments to cover some costs for retiring the bonds.

This amendment would affect Sections 37(e), 37(g) and 37(h) of Article III of the Constitution.

Constitutional Amendment No. 8

(Proposed by the 89th General Assembly, second regular session)

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit organizations recognized as charitable or religious under federal law to sponsor raffles and sweepstakes and also permit the General Assembly to provide standards and conditions to regulate or guarantee the awarding of prizes provided for in such raffles or sweepstakes?

The estimated fiscal impact of this proposed measure on state and local governments is $0.

If adopted, Constitutional Amendment 8 would permit federally recognized charitable or religious organizations to sponsor raffles and sweepstakes in which a person risks something of value for a prize.

This amendment would change Article III, Section 39 of the Constitution.

Constitutional Amendment No. 9

(Proposed by Initiative Petition)

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to authorize the General Assembly to permit upon the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers only, including artificial spaces containing water that are within 1,000 feet of the closest edge of the main channel of either of those rivers, lotteries, gift enterprises and games of chance to be conducted on excursion gambling boats and floating facilities and to provide that any license issued before or after the adoption of this amendment for any such boat or facility located in any such artificial space shall be deemed authorized by the general assembly and compliant with this section?

The fiscal impact to state and local governments of adopting this constitutional amendment is the continuation of revenues ranging from approximately $95 million to $170 million annually, that are currently received from gambling boats and floating facilities that most likely could not continue to be licensed under the present Constitution.

If adopted, Constitutional Amendment 9 would authorize the General Assembly to permit riverboat casinos to operate lotteries, gift enterprises and games of chance in artificial spaces that contain water and are within 1,000 feet of the closest edge of the main channel of either the Mississippi or Missouri rivers.

This amendment would apply to boats currently licensed and those that might be licensed in the future.

This amendment was proposed after a Missouri Supreme Court decision ruled that the Constitution does not currently allow gaming facilities to operate lotteries, gift enterprises and games of chance unless they are located along the main channels of the rivers.

This proposal would change Article III, Section 39(e) of the Constitution.

Proposition A

(Proposed by Initiative Petition)

Shall a statute be enacted making it a class D felony to bait or fight animals; permit such activities on premises you control; or promote, conduct, stage, advertise or collect fees for such activities; and making it a class A misdemeanor to knowingly attend baiting or fighting of animals; knowingly sell, offer for sale, or transport animals for such purposes; own possess, manufacture or deal in cockfighting implements; bear wrestle; permit bear wrestling on premises you control; promote, conduct, stage, advertise, or collect fees for bear wrestling; or market, possess train, or surgically alter a bear for bear wrestling?

This estimated fiscal impact of this proposed measure on state and local governments is $0.

If adopted, Proposition A would change Missouri statues to make cock fighting, bear wrestling and other kinds of animal fighting illegal and punishable under the laws of the state.

This proposed statute also makes attending or promoting animal-fighting activities, and manufacturing or possessing implements used in animal fighting illegal.

Certain exceptions for rodeos, hunting and agriculture are included in the proposition. This measure would add seven new sections to Chapter 578 of the Revised Statues of Missouri.

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