Thursday, September 18, 2014

Southwest Missouri Democrats take stances on ballot issues

(From Southwest Missouri Democrats)

Southwest Missouri Democrats met in Town Hall style last evening to listen to speakers, discuss, and vote on what stances to take on all 4 November 2014 ballot measures yesterday evening.

With over 30 members present and others sending proxies for their votes, the group voted to oppose all 4 ballot measures. They will be actively working against 2 of the 4 amendments.

Southwest Missouri Democrats plan to urge members and the public to VOTE NO on Amendment 3, which would weaken local control of our public schools, incur substantial costs for the tests, and degrade teachers' abilities to negotiate the evaluation system. All local teachers groups including NEA and MSTA have come out against this measure, along with several Missouri School Boards groups of School Principals.

The group also plans to urge members and the public to VOTE NO on Amendment 10. This amendment would weaken the important Constitutional checks and balances of power between the Legislative and Executive branches of Missouri Government. Krista Stark, SWMO Democrats Executive Director, explains "The Legislature already has a current veto-proof majority and does not need more power. This Governor and any that come after have the constitutional responsibility to balance the Missouri budget. The Governor will always need the tools to comply with this law. If this amendment were to pass, it would not only create an imbalance of power in Missouri, but it would also hinder the Governor in following the laws he is elected and sworn to uphold."

The group feels Amendment 2 is not well written and the consequences are not thought through. We have extreme empathy for the victims of crime, but also want to keep intact our judicial prudence and the criteria that a person is "innocent until proven guilty".

Regarding Amendment 6, Southwest Missouri Democrats want to emphasize that we support a vivacious and extensive process of early voting in Missouri. We do not feel that the "early voting" by mail amendment that has been placed on the ballot really helps the people who are most in need of early voting. Notice also this measure does not allow for any Saturday or Sunday voting and that it will only go into effect if the Legislature funds the measure, which they have not yet agreed to do. If this Amendment were to pass, it would preempt a successful and much needed citizen initiative Amendment on the ballot at a later date. A real early voting Amendment is needed!

Southwest Missouri Democrats also approved Elliott Denniston's motion that "Constitutional Amendments should be reserved for extremely important matters, should be initiated primarily by citizens' initiatives, and should not be tools of the legislature."

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