Report: Representative Rodger Reedy, 57th District

Submitted by the Office of Rodger Reedy
Missouri House Advances Legislation to Reform the Initiative Petition Process (HJR 43)
Members of the Missouri House this week approved a proposed change to the constitution that would allow voters to decide if the state should raise the threshold to modify the constitution in the future. The House approved HJR 43 by a vote of 108-50.
The key component of HJR 43 would change the threshold required to approve changes to the state constitution. Currently, changes to the constitution require only a simple majority for approval. If approved by the legislature and voters, HJR 43 would raise the threshold to 60 percent voter approval for passage.
Supporters of the measure say it will protect what they view as a sacred document that should only be amended when absolutely necessary. They point out the current version of the Missouri Constitution has changed more than 60 times since it was written in 1945. In comparison, the United States Constitution has been amended only 17 times since 1791.
Proponents also say the increased threshold will help minimize the influence of out-of-state groups that have no ties to Missouri but spend millions of dollars to change the state constitution. The sponsor of HJR 43 said the groups “try to reimagine Missouri in their vision.” He said, “I think it should be in the vision of the people of the state of Missouri.”
The legislation also requires that voters in each congressional district have the opportunity to review and comment upon all initiative petitions proposing amendments to the constitution. The secretary of state would administer the public forums, which would take place at least 15 days before the measure appears on the ballot.
The sponsor said “This would require that you go into all eight and give people a chance to have their voice heard and submit testimony. We’re trying to give them a greater voice and give them a chance also to find out everything that’s in that.”
Another portion of HJR 43 would clarify that only citizens of the United States of America who are residents of the State of Missouri and who are properly registered to vote in the State of Missouri will be considered legal voters.
Supporters said the goal is to protect the voices of registered Missouri voters in every part of the state, and that ultimately voters will decide if the change is a good idea.
“We’re going to ask the people to vote,” said the sponsor. “The people of Missouri will decide if we are right or wrong. We are not overstepping the people. We are going to the people and asking them to say what is your opinion of this? Should it be changed to 60 percent?”
The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.