Rounding out the final week of what has been a contentious 2024 legislative session is legislation that would make it tougher for voters to change the state constitution. The proposed vote of the people from Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold, would require a simple majority plus a majority of votes cast from most of Missouri’s U.S. House seats.

Senate Democratic Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, vowed to prevent so-called “ballot candy” from passing, which includes prohibiting non-citizens from voting.

“It’s going to be incredibly difficult to undo the damage that they (Republicans) would do to the initiative petition process if, in fact, they were able to put ballot candy in there, deceive voters, put it into the constitution, raise the threshold,” claimed Rizzo. “That’s hard to undo. That’s really, I mean, I really believe that. There’s not a conversation.”

Rizzo argued that the simple required majority has resulted in a lot of positive changes that would not have happened if the process was made harder.

“You don’t get Medicaid expansion. You don’t get minimum wage increases,” explained Rizzo. “All of these things that the people want, you don’t get. Medical cannabis. Recreational cannabis, all of these things. You can even make an argument for worker’s rights when it comes to right to work, even though that was a different process. But at some point, if people want to put worker’s rights into the constitution because they’ve been continued to get attacked down here, why should they not have the option to make their case?”

Rizzo said that Republicans are trying to “scare people.”

“That’s how they get votes. That’s what they do,” he said. “We saw today, the whole Republican Party in its glory. They don’t want to talk about numbers and budget. They want to talk about DEI. They want to make different comments regarding race and race bait and everything else because they don’t want to talk about their failings.”

Republicans argued that it should be harder to change the state constitution. Because it’s a high priority for Republicans, the measure will reportedly continue debate until it either passes or if the legislative session concludes on Friday night, whichever comes first.

If the resolution passes the Senate, it will likely appear on the August ballot, in an effort to prevent the passing of another ballot measure that would overturn Missouri’s abortion ban.

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