Missouri Gov. Mike Parson believes the legislature missed a couple of opportunities during the previous session — primarily, reforming the initiative petition process.

Missouri House and Senate Republicans have talked about increasing the voter threshold to amend the state constitution as well as changing some of the requirements for gathering signatures for ballot initiatives. Parson, a Republican, wants to see changes to the entire process.

“Half the states in the United States have this, half of them don’t. I just think it needs to be more difficult to change the constitution and change the law in the state of Missouri than currently what we’re doing,” he said. “I just think long term it’s going to get problematic.”

Critics say such efforts merely mask a desire to thwart the will of the people.

“I mean, when you say that, I would say that most of them anymore is driven by money – no matter what the issue is, whichever side of the aisle you’re on,” Parson said.

He contends the process has been co-opted by special interest groups and the money they bring to the table, and is no longer a grassroots effort to change state law.

“I think we want to protect the people’s choice, but I think the reality of it is most things that are going on today are special interests that are using the initiative petition process,” he said.

Parson suggested the last real citizen-driven petition campaign was the Hancock Amendment passed in 1980, which limits state government spending.

The 2024 legislative session begins Jan. 3rd.

Article by Brent Martin of Missourinet affiliate KFEQ in St. Joseph.

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