Voter Guide: Understanding the Ballot Issues

As Election Day approaches, Missouri has placed what appears to be a few progressive issues on the Nov. 6 ballot—proving the state is trying to catch up with the times. Along with the usual ballot items like Senate, State Reps, and Circuit Court Judges, amendments and propositions focused on campaign financing, legalizing medical marijuana, and increasing the minimum wage to a livable amount are being placed in front of St. Louisans.

For many, amendments and propositions are where it gets confusing and uncertainty can settle in at the voting booth. Voting yes or no on the right amendment or proposition often affects a variety of things and unless there is clear information provided, voters are more likely to make a snap decision at the time of voting. This election cycle, The Northsider wants to provide residents with a few tidbits of information—breaking down each of the ballot items to give people a better understanding of what they will be voting on this coming Election Day.

AMENDMENT 1
Redistricting, Lobbying

This amendment consists of both redistricting and lobbying laws. The redistricting portion calls for appointing a non-partisan state demographer to draw state legislative and congressional districts. This person would be responsible for ensuring the map is fair, competitive, contiguous and compact in setting the boundaries of political subdivisions.

Lobbying laws breakdown:

  • Would place limits on campaign contributions for one election cycle.
  • Contribution limits are $2,000 for State Rep candidates and $2,500 for State Senate candidates.
  • Prohibits candidates from accepting contributions with a fake name, using another person’s name, or concealing the identity of the contributor/donor.
  • Places a two-year waiting period on all legislators and legislative employees before they can become a lobbyist.
  • Prevents legislators and legislative employees from accepting gifts from paid lobbyists exceeding $5.00.

AMENDMENT 2
Medical Marijuana

This amendment is the first of three marijuana-related issues on the ballot and does conflict with those other marijuana proposals. In the event both amendments pass (2 and 3), the amendment with the most affirmative votes will supersede the other initiative. This amendment does not change federal law and will not legalize the use, sale, and possession of marijuana for recreational use. 

Amendment 2 breakdown:

  • Legalizes marijuana for medical purposes only.
  • All marijuana sales will be taxed at 4 percent.
  • Use will be recommended by state-licensed physicians with nine qualifying conditions. Additional conditions will be based upon doctor’s approval.
  • Patients can grow 6 plants at home, purchase 4 ounces of dried marijuana or equivalent, or possess no less than a 60-day supply. Must have a written certification from two physicians to possess more.
  • Tax revenue will be allocated to healthcare, job training, housing assistance and other services for veterans.
  • The medical marijuana program will be regulated and overseen by the Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services.

AMENDMENT 3
Medical Marijuana

This amendment is the second of the three marijuana items placed on the ballot and does conflict with the other marijuana items on the ballot. This amendment does not change federal law and will not legalize the use, sale, and possession of marijuana for recreational use. 

Amendment 3 breakdown:

  • Legalizes marijuana for medical purposes only.
  • All marijuana sales will be taxed at 15 percent.
  • Marijuana flowers will be taxed at $9.25 per ounce and leaves at $2.75 per ounce.
  • Tax revenue will be allocated to create a Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute (BRDDI).
  • The BRDDI will be tasked with researching cures for cancer and other diseases and will be governed by a nine-member board.
  • The cures, if any, will be available to state residents at no cost.
  • Use will be recommended by state-licensed physicians with 10 qualifying conditions. Additional conditions will be based upon doctor’s approval.
  • Patients can purchase three ounces of dried marijuana or equivalent in a 30-day period. Must have a written certification from two physicians to possess more.
  • Will authorize no less than two dispensaries per 20,000 residents in counties and cities.

PROPOSITION B
Minimum Wage Increase

This proposition would amend state law and increase the minimum wage from the current $7.85 rate. Proposition B states the minimum wage will increase over a course of four years until it reaches $12.00 in 2023.

Proposition B breakdown:

  • Minimum wage would increase or decrease each year based on the changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Worker (CPI-W).
  • Government employers are exempt from increase.
  • Penalizes employers who pay employees below minimum wage and requires the employer to pay underpaid employees the full wage.
  • The minimum wage increase amounts are as follows: $8.60 (2019); $9.45 (2020); $10.30 (2021); $11.15 (2022); and $12.00 (2023).

PROPOSITION C
Medical Marijuana

This proposition is the third of the three marijuana items placed on the ballot and does conflict with the other marijuana items on the ballot. This proposition does not change federal law and will not legalize the use, sale, and possession of marijuana for recreational use. 

Proposition C breakdown:

  • Legalizes marijuana for medical purposes only.
  • All marijuana sales will be taxed at two percent.
  • Use will be recommended by state-licensed physicians with nine qualifying conditions. Additional conditions will be based upon doctor’s approval.
  • Purchase 2.5 ounces of dried marijuana or equivalent in a 14-day period and possess a 60-day supply. Must have a written certification from two physicians to possess more.
  • Tax revenue will be allocated to veterans’ services, drug treatment, education and law enforcement.
  • Medical marijuana program will be regulated and overseen by the Senior Services Division of Alcohol & Tobacco Control and the Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services.
  • Will authorize no less than one cannabis center (to sell) per 100,000 state residents. 

PROPOSITION D
Gas tax

This proposition will increase the gas tax by 10 cents per gallon for gasoline, diesel, natural gas and propane.

Proposition D breakdown:

  • Tax will increase 2.5 cents per gallon per year over four years.
  • Revenue from tax increase will help fund the State Highway Patrol’s enforcement and administration of motor vehicles laws and traffic regulations.
  • Will generate at least $288 million annually (if passed) for the funding of Missouri state law enforcement and $123 million annually to local governments for road construction and maintenance.
  • The gas tax increase amounts are as follows: 19.5 cents (2019); 22 cents (2020); 24.5 cents (2021); and 27 cents (2022).

— Reporting by Shadress Burks for The NorthSider

Shadress Burks

Author: Shadress Burks

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