TagMissouri news

Missouri Supreme Court issues one decision and hears arguments in four cases

The Missouri Supreme Court has made one decision, heard arguments in four cases, and has four more cases on the docket for May.

State of Missouri v. Joshua Steven Collins was argued on Dec. 8, 2021, and the opinion was issued on May 17. The circuit court’s decision was unanimously affirmed. The case summary can be found here.

The Court heard arguments in the following cases on May 11:

  • Bruce S. Schlafly v. Anne S. Cori
  • Carfax Inc. v. Director of Revenue
  • Robert March v. Treasurer of the State of Missouri – Custodian of the Second Injury Fund
  • Travis Poke v. Independence School District

In 2022, the Missouri Supreme Court has heard arguments in 29 cases and issued 26 decisions. The Court has eight cases on the docket for May. The final four hearings for the month will be held on May 24. 

Founded in 1820, the Missouri Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort and has seven justices. Justices are are appointed to 12-year terms by the governor from a list provided by the Missouri Appellete Judicial Comission. As of Sept. 2021, three judges were appointed by a Democratic governor and four by a Republican governor. 

The jurisdiction of the Missouri Supreme Court includes appeals concerning the validity of federal statutes and treaties in addition to state statues, state revenue laws, the right of a state elected official to hold office, and the imposition of the death penalty. The Missouri Supreme Court also has the discretion to hear appeals on questions of general interest and if a lower court’s decision is in conflict with a previous appellate decision. 



Summary of Missouri’s 2022 legislative session

After 128 days in session, the Missouri General Assembly adjourned the 2022 legislative session on May 13. There were a total of 2,104 bills introduced and two bills passed passed both chambers of the legislature and were signed by Gov. Mike Parson (R).

Both bills that passed are appropriation bills. House Bill 3014 was signed by Parson on Feb. 24, and House Bill 3015 was signed on May 13.

According to data from BillTrack50, the average number of bills introduced annually between 2017 and 2022 was 2,019 bills. The fewest bills were introduced in 2019 (1,826), while the most bills were introduced in 2020 (2,170).

The Missouri state legislature has passed 1,123 bills since 2011, an average rate of 94 bills per year. The most bills were passed in the 2015 session (154). Excluding 2022, the fewest bills were passed in 2020 (37).

The 2022 legislative session convened on Jan. 5 and adjourned on May 13. There are 20 state legislatures currently in session, 28 have adjourned, one is in special session, and one has yet to convene.

The Missouri General Assembly is the state legislature of Missouri. It is a bicameral legislature composed of a 34-member Senate and a 163-member House of Representatives. Senators are term limited to two terms and representatives are limited to four. The Missouri General Assembly is a part-time legislature. Legislative sessions are held between January and May. 

Missouri is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas in the U.S. The Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the General Assembly. There is a 24-10 Republican majority in the Senate and a 108-49 majority in the House. The Republicans have a veto-proof supermajority in both chambers. In the event of a veto issued by Gov. Parson, the Republican majority is large enough to override the veto without any votes from members of the Democratic party. 

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Missouri General Assembly passes one election-related bill in 2022 session

The 2022 session of the Missouri General Assembly adjourned on May 13. Ballotpedia tracked 21 election-related bills in this year’s session, 20 of which appear to have died (i.e., these bills failed to clear both chambers of the legislature by the time of its adjournment). One bill – House Bill 1878 – did clear both chambers of the legislature by the time of its adjournment. The bill would modify Missouri’s voter identification requirements as follows: 

  • Voters casting absentee ballots in person would be required to present photo identification. 
  • A voter without the required photo identification would be permitted to vote by provisional ballot upon completing an affidavit. If the voter subsequently submits a valid form of identification, or an election official verifies the voter’s identity by matching the signature on the provisional ballot envelope against the signature on file, the ballot would be counted. 

The final vote in the state Senate was 23-11, with 23 Republicans voting in favor and 10 Democrats and one Republican in opposition. The final vote in the state House was 97-47, with 96 Republicans and one Democrat voting in favor and 47 Democrats in opposition. It awaits action from Gov. Mike Parson (R).

The Missouri General Assembly is a bicameral legislature composed of a 34-member Senate and a 163-member House of Representatives. The 2022 session convened on Jan. 5. 

Missouri is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas in the U.S. The Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the General Assembly. There is a 24-10 Republican majority in the Senate and a 108-49 majority in the House. 



Missouri General Assembly refers two constitutional amendments to the ballot during 2022 session

The Missouri General Assembly passed resolutions for two constitutional amendments during the 2022 legislative session, which adjourned on May 13. Voters will decide on the amendments at the general election on Nov. 8, 2022. The two amendments join a third proposal that legislators referred to the ballot during the 2021 legislative session.

One of this session’s constitutional amendments received support from a majority of Democrats and Republicans. The second proposal, which addresses police funding, largely divided the parties. In Missouri, a simple majority vote is required in the General Assembly to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, and Republicans control both chambers. Constitutional amendments do not require the governor’s signature to be placed on the ballot.

The first constitutional amendment passed during the legislative session was House Joint Resolution 116 (HJR 116), which would provide the Missouri National Guard with its own department within the state government’s executive branch. Currently, the National Guard is housed within the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The vote was 126-2 in the House; the two “No” votes were Democrats. The vote was 32-0 in the Senate. The constitutional amendment was certified for the ballot on May 5.

On the final day of the legislative session, Senate Joint Resolution 38 (SJR 38) was passed. The constitutional amendment would allow the General Assembly to increase the minimum required funding for a police force established by a state board of police commissioners. Kansas City is the only city that does not have local jurisdiction over its department, and therefore the only city that this measure would currently impact. The amendment was passed along with a bill that would increase the minimum funding requirement for Kansas City’s police department. Currently, Missouri law mandates that Kansas City devote 20% of its general revenue to the police department. That bill would increase the funding requirement to 25%. 

The Senate passed SJR 38 on March 21. The vote was 23-10. Democrats were divided 1-9, and Republicans were divided 22-1. On May 13, the House voted 103-44 to pass the resolution. Democrats voted 3-41, and Republicans voted 100-3. 

In 2021, the General Assembly placed a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot that would authorize the state treasurer to invest in highly rated municipal securities. Voters will also decide a constitutional convention question, which automatically appears on Missouri’s ballot every ten years, asking voters whether or not to hold a state constitutional convention. Two citizen-initiated measures could also appear on the ballot. One would adopt top-four ranked-choice voting for statewide, state legislative, and congressional offices. The other would legalize marijuana in Missouri. Campaigns for these initiatives submitted signatures by the May 8 deadline. 

A total of 85 measures have appeared on Missouri’s statewide ballots between 1996 and 2020. Out of those 85, 54 (64%) were approved by voters, while 31 (36%) were defeated.

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Seven Missourian candidates complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey since May 1

Below are a selection of responses from the candaidates who filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey since May 1. To read each candidate’s full responses, click their name at the bottom of the article.

Christopher Davis is running for Missouri House of Representatives District 143 and the Republican primary is on Aug. 2. Here’s how Davis responded to the question “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?”

“As a single father I am extremely passionate about reforming child custody laws. The most common denominator in poverty, prisons, drug abuse, high school drop out rates, and just about every other negative metric is a Fatherless household. For far to long the state has played a very large role in the absence of fathers by alienating them and in many case removing any meaningful contact whatsoever. I will work hard to pass a 50/50 Shared Custody Presumption law that will ensure that the family court systems opinion is that equal time with the Father and Mother is in the best interest of the child.”

Click here to read the rest of Davis’ answers.

Joshua Shipp is running for U.S. Senate and the Democratic primary is on Aug. 2. Here’s how Shipp responded to the question “What qualities does the U.S. Senate possess that makes it unique as an institution?”

“It helps represent the voices of the population as an equal spectrum of billing, and provides a safety net of checks and balances to ensure tyranny, oppression, or any other abuses of power isn’t established against citizens.”

Click here to read the rest of Shipp’s answers.

If you’re a Missouri candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey. The survey contains over 30 questions, and you can choose the ones you feel will best represent your views to voters. If you complete the survey, a box with your answers will display on your Ballotpedia profile. Your responses will also populate the information that appears in our mobile app, My Vote Ballotpedia.

If you’re not running for office but you would like to know more about candidates in Missouri, share the link and urge them to take the survey!

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Two bills passed during Missouri’s 2022 legislative session

The Missouri General Assembly adjourned on May 13 having passed two bills during the 2022 legislative session. Both House Bill 3014 and House Bill 3015 are appropriation bills. There were a total of 11 resolutions adopted between the two chambers.

In 2021, Missouri state legislature passed a total 58 bills. That is 97% decrease in passed bills from last year’s legislative session to this year’s session. Alaska passed the fewest amount of bills last year with a total of 48 bills. 

After the Missouri legislature adjourns, there will be 20 state legislatures in session, 28 adjourned, one in special session, and one yet to convene.

The Missouri General Assembly is the state legislature of Missouri. It is a bicameral legislature composed of a 34-member Senate and a 163-member House of Representatives. Senators are term limited to two terms and representatives are limited to four. The Missouri General Assembly is a part-time legislature. Legislative sessions are held between January and May. 

Missouri is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas in the U.S. The Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the General Assembly. There is a 24-10 Republican majority in the Senate and a 108-49 majority in the House. The Republicans have a veto-proof supermajority in both chambers. In the event of a veto issued by Gov. Parson, the Republican majority is large enough to override the veto without any votes from members of the Democratic party. 

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Missouri Legislature passes constitutional amendment allowing increase in funding to Kansas City police

A constitutional amendment that would allow the state Legislature to increase the minimum required funding for Kansas City’s police department passed Missouri’s state Legislature on Friday. The measure passed in Missouri’s House of Representatives before they ended the legislative session, with 103 votes supporting the measure and 44 votes opposing the measure. 

Because the amendment was already passed in the Missouri State Senate in March, the measure will appear on the ballot before voters in November.

The measure, as written, would allow the Missouri General Assembly to increase minimum required funding for a police force established by a state board of police commissioners. Kansas City is the only city that does not have local jurisdiction over its department, and therefore the only city that this measure would currently impact. 

This amendment was passed along with another bill that would increase the minimum funding requirement for Kansas City’s police department. Currently, Missouri law mandates that Kansas City devote 20% of its general revenue to the police department. That bill would increase that funding to 25%. 

On KCUR, Celisa Calacal and Brian Ellison reported that some Democratic legislators argued that the bill was unconstitutional because it violates the Hancock Amendment of Missouri’s state constitution that prohibits unfunded state mandates on local actions. However, if voters approve of the constitutional amendment on the ballot this November, Missouri’s constitution will be amended to make an exception.

The support and opposition for the measure was mostly drawn between party lines. On Friday’s vote in Missouri’s House of Representatives, 100 Republicans supported the measure while 3 Democrats supported it. Forty-one Democrats opposed the measure while 3 Republicans opposed it. In the March Senate vote, 22 Republicans and 1 Democrat supported the measure, while 9 Democrats and 1 Republican opposed it.

This is the fourth ballot measure certified to appear on Missouri’s ballot this November. The other measures include:

  • A constitutional amendment that authorizes the state treasurer to invest in highly rated municipal securities.
  • A constitutional amendment that gives the Missouri National Guard its own department within the state government.
  • A constitutional convention question, which automatically appears on Missouri’s ballot every ten years, asking voters whether or not they agree with holding a constitutional convention.

A total of 85 measures have appeared on Missouri’s statewide ballots between 1996 and 2020. Out of those 85, 54 were approved by voters, while 31 were defeated.

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Missouri Supreme Court issues 10 decisions

The Missouri Supreme Court issued 10 decisions on April 26, 2022. This is the most decisions issued on a single day by the Missouri Supreme Court in 2022. 

Car Credit, Inc vs. Cathy L. Pitts was argued on March 22, 2022, and the circuit court’s decision was unanimously affirmed. 

State of Missouri vs. Eric G. Hollowell was argued on Feb. 7, 2022, and the circuit court’s decision was unanimously vacated and remanded.

John Doe vs. Kurt Frisz, Chief Law Enforcement Officer, St. Charles County, Missouri was argued on Feb. 23, 2022, and the circuit court’s decision was unanimously affirmed. 

City of St. Louis; St. Louis County; and Jackson County vs. State of Missouri; and Eric Schmitt, Attorney General of Missouri was argued on Feb. 7, 2022, and the circuit court’s decison was reversed and remanded with one justice dissenting. 

Christopher Klecka vs. Treasurer of Missouri as Custodian of the Second Injury Fund was ​​argued on Feb. 23, 2022, and the circuit court’s decision was affirmed with one justice dissenting. 

Clifton Jameson vs. Alexis Still was argued on Feb. 1, 2022, and the circuit court’s decision was unanimously vacated and remanded.

State of Missouri vs. Andrea Shaunte Straughter was argued on Dec. 14, 2021, and the circuit court’s decision was vacated and remanded with one justice dissenting.

State of Missouri vs. Timothy A. Shepherd was argued on Dec. 14, 2021, and the circuit court’s decision was vacated and remanded with two justices dissenting. 

City of Normandy, et al. vs. Michael L. Parson in his Official Capacity as Governor of Missouri, et al. was argued on Oct. 6, 2021, and the circuit court’s decision was unanimously vacated and remanded. 

Jefferson County 9-1-1 Dispatch vs. Joseph G. Plaggenberg, Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Revenue was argued on Sept. 15, 2021, and the appeal was dismissed with two justices dissenting. 

The Missouri Supreme Court has heard arguments in 25 cases in 2022 and issued 25 decisions. The Court has eight cases on the docket for May. Hearings will be held on May 11 and May 24. 

Founded in 1820, the Missouri Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort and has seven justices. Justices are are appointed to 12-year terms by the governor from a list provided by the Missouri Appellete Judicial Comission. As of Sept. 2021, three judges were appointed by a Democratic governor and four by a Republican governor. 

The jurisdiction of the Missouri Supreme Court includes appeals concerning the validity of federal statutes and treaties in addition to state statues, state revenue laws, the right of a state elected official to hold office, and the imposition of the death penalty. The Missouri Supreme Court also has the discretion to hear appeals on questions of general interest and if a lower court’s decision is in conflict with a previous appellate decision.



Marijuana legalization campaign submits signatures for Missouri ballot initiative

A marijuana legalization campaign submitted signatures for a Missouri ballot initiative on Sunday. Legal Missouri 2022, the PAC supporting the initiative, stated that it submitted more than 385,000 petition signatures. If enough signatures are verified, the initiative will appear on the ballot this November.

If implemented, the measure would legalize marijuana possession and use for anyone over 21 years of age. It would also legalize the purchase, delivery, manufacturing, and sale of marijuana and enact a 6% tax on marijauna sales. The proposal would allow those who have been convicted of non-violent marijuana crimes to petition for their release from prison or expungement of their records.

The measure received support from the ACLU of Missouri, NAACP St. Louis City, as well as MoCannTrade, an association of marijuana business owners. “Cannabis reform is about more than establishing a safe and legal market. It is about righting the many wrongs prohibition has caused to our communities, especially communities of color,” said Jamie Kacz, executive director of NORML KC.

Some marijuana legalization advocates have made arguments critical of the ballot measure, saying that the measure’s licensing provisions exclude entrepreneurs and favor existing businesses with medical licenses. “There is no reason why Missouri entrepreneurs, and particularly in minority communities, shouldn’t have full access to commercial licensing opportunities,” said Tim Gilio of the Missouri Marijuana Legalization Movement.

Representative Ron Hicks, a Republican, introduced a bill to legalize marijuana in Missouri, saying, “It’s coming. Whether we file legislation or not, it’s coming.” He argued that the legislature, not an initiated constitutional amendment, should legalize marijuana. “If it comes through the legislature, it can be fixed immediately. You don’t have to go gathering signatures or anything like that. I would like to see this as a law and not an initiative petition,” said Rep. Hicks.

If enough signatures are verified, it will make the ballot this November in Missouri. The minimum requirement of verified signatures needed to appear on the ballot in Missouri is calculated by 8% of the votes cast for governor in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the eight state congressional districts. The smallest possible requirement is 171,592. Often, campaigns collect beyond the signature requirement in case there are errors with some of the signatures submitted. Once these signatures are filed, they are sent to county election authorities to be verified.

In Missouri, 31 initiatives have appeared on the ballot from 1996 to 2020. Out of these 31 measures, 19 (59.4%) were approved and 13 (40.6%) were defeated.

Currently, there are three measures on the November 2022 ballot in Missouri, which are:

  • Amendment 1, which would authorize the state treasurer to invest in highly rated municipal securities
  • A Department of the National Guard Amendment, which would give the Missouri National Guard its own department
  • A constitutional convention question, which asks voters whether to hold a state constitutional convention.

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Signatures submitted for ranked-choice voting initiative in Missouri

The Better Elections campaign submitted petition signatures on May 8 for a top-four ranked-choice voting initiative in Missouri. The campaign stated that more than 300,000 signatures were submitted. If enough signatures are verified, the measure will appear on the ballot in November for Missouri voters.

If implemented, this measure would change the electoral system for electing state executive, state legislative, and congressional officials starting Aug. 1, 2024. It would change the current partisan primary process to an open top-four primary, which is an election where all primary candidates are on the same ballot. For the general election, these top-four candidates would all appear on the ballot together. Voters would rank the four candidates rather than select only one candidate in the voting booth.

The Better Elections PAC is leading the initiative, which is also supported by the organizations Article IV and RepresentUs. Scott Charton, a spokesperson for the Better Elections PAC, stated that this measure “actually encourages more people to get involved in politics because it’s not as controlled by special interests and politicians”, and that “we’re giving voters more choices and more options.”

The Missouri Republican State Committee passed a resolution to oppose the ballot initiative. “[T]he proposed constitutional amendment to establish a ranked choice voting scheme effectively eliminates the fair and honest voting method of one person – one vote,” read the resolution.

Alaska is currently the only state to use a top-four primary for both state and congressional elections. California and Washington use top-two primaries, where the top two candidates who have received the most votes appear on the ballot, regardless of party affiliation. Alaska and Maine have implemented ranked-choice voting for certain state and congressional elections.

More than 300,000 signatures were collected for the initiative, according to the Better Elections PAC. The minimum requirement of verified signatures needed to appear on the ballot in Missouri is calculated by 8% of the votes cast for governor in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the eight state congressional districts. The smallest possible requirement is 171,592 signatures. Campaigns often aim to collect beyond the signature requirement to account for issues with some of the signatures submitted. Once these signatures are filed, they are sent to county election authorities to be verified.

In Missouri, 31 initiatives have appeared on the ballot from 1996 to 2020. Out of these 31 measures, 19 (59.4%) were approved while 13 (40.6%) were defeated.

Currently, there are three measures on the November 2022 ballot in Missouri, which are:

  • Amendment 1, which would authorize the state treasurer to invest in highly rated municipal securities
  • A Department of the National Guard Amendment, which would give the Missouri National Guard its own department
  • A constitutional convention question, which asks voters whether to hold a state constitutional convention. 

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