“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of Oct. 31: To Change Or Not to Change

Missouri voters will see five measures on their Nov. 8 ballot, in addition to the candidates who are running for the varying offices this year. Over the past several weeks, I have spent time talking about these ballot questions, but now, I would like to focus on one of the more unique items we will see on Election Day, one that we see every 20 years.

Simply titled Constitutional Convention Question, voters will be asked if they would like to call a state convention to revise and amend the Missouri Constitution. This is spelled out in Article 12, Section 3, of our state constitution. The basis of this was put into place by voters in November 1920. Since then, this section of our state constitution has been amended a number of times, including in 1962, when a stipulation to ask voters if they would like to change the state constitution was added. Since then, we have voted on this question every 20 years.

The wording voters will see on Nov. 8 is simple:

Official Ballot Title:

Shall there be a convention to revise and amend the Constitution?

 Fair Ballot Language:

“yes” vote will require the governor to call an election of delegates to serve at a convention for the purpose of revising or amending the Missouri Constitution. Any revisions or amendments will then be put to a vote of the people for their consideration.

“no” vote will mean no constitutional convention will be held.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

The Missouri Constitution has been changed, or completely rewritten, four times since 1820 — five, if you count the “Drake Constitution” that came about during the Civil War. Our current constitution dates back to 1942, when it was drafted. It was ratified in 1945. Since then, a number of items have been added. Over the past couple of decades, we have seen initiative petitions cover a large range of topics. We have also seen legislation introduced in the Missouri General Assembly that would change the way initiative petitions get on the ballot, in the hopes we do not continue to fill the constitution with things that could or should be decided by the Legislature.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.