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Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014

A closer look at the state's ballot issues

Saturday, October 27, 2012

When Missouri voters cast their ballots Nov. 6, they will be faced with more than candidates for office. Also on this year's ballot are one Constitutional Amendment and three statewide Propositions.

Down ticket measures on general election ballots generally garner far less attention than they should. The wording is often confusing to voters and their impact pales in comparison on the important decision of which leaders we will elect to take us into the future.

But each of the four other ballot measures will have an impact - some more, some less. And like the selection of candidates, these measures are important.

Constitutional Amendment 3

- The official language is: "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to change the current nonpartisan selection of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges to a process than gives the governor increased authority. If approved, the governor will appoint a majority of the commission that selects these court nominees and appoint all lawyers to the commission by removing the requirement that the governor's appointees be non-lawyers."

We will vote No on this proposed Constitutional Amendment for a variety of reasons. This solution puts far too much power on these important appointments into the hands of the governor. Missouri's process is a model for the nation and this Amendment should be soundly defeated.

Proposition A

- This measure deals with the long-running question over control of the city of St. Louis police.

If approved, it would allow St. Louis the ability to control their Police Department. Currently the board of police commissioners is appointed by the governor to run the police department.

I will vote Yes on this Proposition. Local control is always best and the current process is prone to undue influence. It is clearly time for a change.

Proposition B

- This measure will impose a substantial tax on cigarette purchases in Missouri with the funds put into a health and education trust fund. Revenue from the costly proposal would go to schools and smoking prevention programs.

This measure deserves a No vote. Now is perhaps the worst time possible to be considering any additional taxes. And though this new tax will decrease as cigarette sales decline, the state is very fond of pulling general revenue funds from schools when there is a new tax. Rest assured, this is the wrong approach at the wrong time.

Proposition E

- This measure would prohibit the governor or any state agency from establishing or operating state-based health insurance exchanges unless authorized by a vote of the people or by the legislature. In short, it would prohibit the governor from singlehandedly implementing health insurance exchanges - a provision in Obamacare.

I will certainly vote Yes on this measure. This costly intrusion by the federal government is highly unpopular but more importantly, it should not be in the hands of the governor - regardless of their party affiliation.

Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen