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The Election Comes to an EndPosted Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at 2:05 PM
After weeks of campaign ads, polling data and expert analysis on "what happens next," the election season has come to a close. In Missouri, we saw voters decide the fate of four ballot issues, each with huge implications for our state.
Amendment 3 was designed to change the way judges are picked in Missouri. The measure would have actually given the governor more power to pick members of the commission that chooses Missouri Supreme Court and appellate court judges. The goal was to have more non-lawyers on the commission, but awarding more authority to the governor did not prove to be a popular aspect of this proposal. There is a better way to execute the Missouri Plan, and I have faith that someone will find it in the near future.
Proposition A was designed to return control of the St. Louis Police Department to the city, after 150 years under state rule. Missouri voters sided with common sense and made this move a reality. Lawmakers have been fighting for local control for decades, and after years of little movement, the matter finally went to a vote of the people. I think folks in St. Louis will benefit from controlling their own police force.
Proposition B would have raised taxes on cigarettes in Missouri by 760 percent. It is rare when raising taxes ever solves anything, but this idea was proposed at a bad time and would do more harm than good. I am all in favor of spending on education, but this plan had too many holes in it. To put together yet another governing body, with no oversight, and expect a different outcome than what has been done before is ridiculous. I am glad voters said "no" to this initiative.
Proposition E was drawn up in the Missouri Senate, and will keep the governor from instituting a health insurance exchange on his own. He already tried this once, but got caught, and was stopped by numerous lawmakers. Just because the federal government says it is a good idea, and promises to throw billions of dollars at states to start these exchanges, does not mean it should be done.
Over the last decade, the number of initiative petitions has grown. While it is good to see folks involved in what happens in the state, I have to caution them to fully understand the measures on the ballot. We have seen examples of initiative petitions that seemed good at the time, and then were discovered to be ineffective. The dog breeder measure from 2010 comes to mind. Fortunately, the Legislature stepped in to tie up some loose ends, and that is part of its role. Some of the measures on the Nov. 6 ballot came from lawmakers and were debated publicly numerous times, which allows everyone to be a part of the process. My hope, however, is that people fully educate themselves about the ballot measures before making their way to the polls.
I am glad we saw a high turnout on Election Day. This means folks are paying attention, and I am sure they will for a long time to come.
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Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, represented the 21st district in the Missouri Senate until January 2013, when he left after reaching established term limits. He is a life-long resident of Saline County, a farmer and small business owner. He and his wife, Sue Ellen, live on their family farm in Napton. He was the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight. He served on a number of other committees, including Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources; Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy & the Environment; Financial & Governmental Organizations & Elections; Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation; Missouri Alternative Fuels Commission; Missouri Civil Air Patrol; Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission; Missouri Senior RX Commission; Alzheimer's State Plan Task Force; Coordinating Council on Special Transportation; and Midwestern Interstate passage Rail Compact Commission.
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