At the beginning of August we will head to the voting booth to decide on a number of proposals that would make substantive changes to the Missouri Constitution. Changing the constitution is no small matter and for that reason I think it’s important that we all be as educated as possible before voting on these measures. Below is a brief overview of each proposed constitutional change. I hope you will find these helpful as you look ahead to the Aug. 5 election.
Amendment 1 - Right to Farm
Amendment 1 will give Missouri voters the opportunity to enact a constitutional amendment affirming the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices. Known as the “Right to Farm” bill, it would, upon voter approval, “ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed.” The amendment would prevent changes made to state law that infringe on the rights of farmers.
Amendment 5 - Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Amendment 5is aproposed constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters, would reinforce the right of Missouri citizens to keep and bear arms, ammunition and accessories in defense of their family, in addition to the current rights to protect a person’s home, property or themselves. The amendment would also make these rights inalienable, and obligate Missouri to uphold these liberties and under no circumstance decline to protect against their infringement.
Amendment 7 - Transportation Sales Tax
Amendment 7 will give voters the opportunity to decide whether to pay more in sales tax in order to provide additional funding for Missouri’s roads and highways. The proposed constitutional amendment would raise the state sales tax by three quarters of a cent to generate approximately $534 million annually for maintenance and construction projects for the state’s transportation infrastructure. If approved by voters, the sales tax increase would take place in 2015 and be in effect for a period of 10 years.
Amendment 8 - Veterans Lottery Ticket
Amendment 8 will give voters the opportunity to support the creation of a new lottery ticket to raise funds for veterans’ programs. If approved by voters, the Missouri Lottery would create a new ticket with proceeds from sales of the ticket to be deposited into the Veterans Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund, which is used to fund construction and maintenance for veterans’ homes and cemeteries in the state.
Amendment 9 - Protecting Electronic Information
Amendment 9 is a proposed constitutional amendment designed to protect Missourians’ electronic information from unwarranted seizure. If approved by voters, the state constitution would protect email, cell phone data and other electronic information in the same way it currently protects the papers, homes and effects of individuals from search or seizure without a warrant or probable cause.
Gary Cross is a representative of District 35.