A judge has ruled today that Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey did not violate an order to forward cost estimates within 24 hours for several proposed abortion ballot initiatives, because Bailey had appealed the order to the State Supreme Court.

Cole County Judge Jon Beetem’s decision comes after he ruled last week that Bailey did not have the authority to withhold the fiscal notes because Bailey disagreed with the estimates. He’d also ordered Bailey to forward the fiscal notes to the Secretary of State’s office within 24 hours.

Tori Schafer, with the Missouri ACLU, argued that despite appealing the ruling, Bailey was still required to turn them over during that time period.

“He has concluded that he can ignore this court’s order because he filed a notice of appeal,” Schafer said. “The mere filing of a Notice of Appeal, however, does not excuse him from this Court’s directive.”

But Jason Lewis, with the Attorney General’s office, argued that decisions in past cases supported giving Bailey an automatic stay while he appeals the original ruling.

“The Attorney General acted swiftly upon receiving this court’s judgment,” Lewis said. “The Attorney General filed his notice of appeal within 24 hours specifically to ensure that the decision would be stayed.”

Judge Beetem agreed, ruling that Bailey’s appeal does excuse him from immediately handing over the cost projections.

Bailey contends the 11 ballot measures that would make abortion legal again in Missouri would cost the state more than $12 billion a year in Medicaid funding. State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick stands behind the fiscal notes, saying there is no estimated cost or savings to state government, though local governments could lose about $51,000 a year and that there could be an unknown financial impact.

The Missouri Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Bailey’s appeal on July 18.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.