Not over yet for payday loans, minimum wage efforts
The Kansas City Star
Today the Missouri secretary of state declared that two of the initiative petition drives seeking a spot on the November statewide ballot had failed to gather enough valid signatures.
Backers of the Missouri petition drives to regulate payday loans and raise the minimum wage in Missouri had worried about problems with signature counts in the Springfield area. Signature gatherers faced intimidation and even a theft in that region.
It’s unexpected to have so many signatures invalidated in the St. Louis area, where supporters worked much more expeditiously.
But we’ll see. As this story on Midwest Democracy notes, courts have overturned initial signature counts on ballot issues in four of the last five election cycles.
It would be extremely frustrating for those initiatives not to make it onto the November ballot. Their backers, which encompass large numbers of unpaid volunteers, worked their tails off gathering those names. They’ve also survived court challenges over the ballot language and fiscal notes.
Though the news from the secretary of state’s office isn’t all good today, Robin Carnahan did approve two worthy initiatives. One would raise the state’s tobacco tax and the other would place the St. Louis Police Department under local, as opposed to state, control. Both of those deserve passage, although a move to local control for St. Louis would leave Kansas City in the embarrassing position of being the nation’s only big-city police department under state control.