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Capitol Update: February 5, 2024 | Protecting Citizen Initiative Power

By Missouri REALTOR Party posted 20 days ago

  

Missouri REALTORS®

A priority 2024 legislative issue for Missouri REALTORS® is protection of a key tool in our association’s arsenal for advocacy – the power of citizens to propose constitutional amendments and statutes directly to voters. REALTORS® have twice followed this constitutional process, in 2010 and 2016, to successfully propose and enact citizen bans on real estate transfer taxes and sales taxes on services. The citizens’ IP power has served Missourians well for 114 years.

A key legislative proposal that would weaken citizens’ power of direct democracy, Senate Joint Resolution 74, has been advanced to the Senate calendar for floor debate during the coming days. This legislation is being monitored closely by your REALTORS® lobbying team, as well as our citizens IP protection campaign team at Missourians for Fair Governance.

SJR74, sponsored by Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Jefferson County, was rewritten in the Senate Elections and Local Government Committee to fold in parts of four other bills (SJR48, SJR59, SJR61 and SJR83). Chief Lobbyist Sam Licklider testified that Missouri REALTORS® oppose the legislation.

SJR74 weakens Missouri’s century-old state constitutional requirement for simple majority rule to enact ballot changes by the people. It does this by adding a requirement that a proposed ballot measure also be passed in a majority of Missouri state House of Representatives districts (82 districts). This additional burden for passage is called “Concurrent Majority,” a term you will be hearing a lot this session.

Legal experts consider this a violation of the long-established principle of “one person, one vote,” because it gives unequal weight to some voters. SJR74 also includes so-called “ballot candy,” intended to increase its appeal to voters, including duplicating prohibitions already well established in Missouri law against non-citizens casting votes and foreign governments pushing ballot measures.

SJR74 is in line for Senate debate behind two other major legislative items that may consume considerable floor time. One is Senate Bill 748, which reauthorizes a tax on Missouri providers of medical services to leverage billions of federal dollars for the state’s Medicaid program. This legislation has been controversial in past years. The other major bill that is ahead of SJR74 on the debate calendar is Senate Bill 727, which deals with school choice and charter schools, always a subject that receives ample debate.

Please stay tuned for legislative updates and calls to action as required.

VIDEO:
Scott Faughn, Publisher of The Missouri Times, talked about Missouri REALTORS® clout and influence in the Capitol last week during a webcast interview with Senator Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg. Check it out HERE.

UNDER THE DOME:
Missouri Scout, the daily political newsletter published by veteran Capitol observer Dave Drebes, includes a weekly survey of lobbyists for their knowledgeable perspective about key issues. In his latest survey published over the weekend, Drebes’ headline is: “Concurrent Majority Is A Loser.”

Drebes reports that of 27 lobbyists surveyed, 81.5 percent predicted Missouri voters WILL NOT approve a legislatively proposed weakening of citizens’ IP power by requiring a concurrent majority in state House districts.

A sampling of lobbyists’ anonymous comments to Drebes:

- “98% of Missouri has no idea what house district they live in…That will only confuse voters and lead to a no…”
- “…it’s hard to imagine anything more undemocratic than taking the voice of the people away, because the Legislature doesn’t like their opinion.”

On a different note, REALTOR® Days have kicked off. REALTOR® Days are group visits to the Capitol every Tuesday and Wednesday during the state legislative session, from January through April. It’s an opportunity for REALTORS® and association leaders, along with their local leadership academies and governmental affairs committees, to come together and communicate with elected officials.

To learn more about REALTOR® Days and Missouri REALTORS® 2024 Legislative Talking Points, visit our REALTOR® Days & Legislative Visit Resources.

For questions, contact Erin Hervey, Vice President of Government Affairs and Local Board Relations, at erin@morealtor.com.

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