The August primary elections drew a number of voters who wanted to make their voices heard on a variety of issues ranging from gun rights to farming rights. With a turnout of nearly 25 percent, this year’s primary saw an uptick in voter participation compared to the average turnout over the past few decades. However, it did fall short of the 27 percent turnout that many election officials predicted. Still, it was encouraging to see so many of you make your way to the polls to participate in our free and open elections, and I thank you for your support.
Voters decide right to farm is right for Missouri
While it was a close race, voters ultimately decided Amendment 1 was the right direction to take for Missouri’s family farmers and agriculture industry. Known as the “right to farm” bill, the provision changes the Missouri Constitution to “ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed.” In effect, the amendment will prevent changes made to state law that infringe on the rights of farmers. Considering Missouri’s history as an agricultural state and the huge impact the farming industry continues to have on our state, this is an important protection to have in place to ensure farmers will be able to continue to make a living by putting food on our tables.
Voters approve amendment to strengthen gun rights
Voters gave strong support to Amendment 5 - a constitutional amendment that reinforces 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 makes these rights inalienable, and obligates Missouri to uphold these liberties and under no circumstance decline to protect against their infringement.
Missouri constitution will now protect electronic information
We are accustomed to the idea that our homes are protected from unwarranted search and seizure, but many Missourians are surprised to learn these protections don’t extend to our electronic documents and communications. Voters gave strong support Aug. 5 to a constitutional amendment that will now extend these protections to Missourians’ electronic information so that they are not susceptible to unwarranted seizure. With this change, our state constitution now will 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.
Transportation tax and veterans lottery ticket suffer defeat
Two ballot measures that did not receive voter support are the transportation sales tax to raise new funds for our roads and highways, and the veteran’s lottery ticket to provide a new funding source for our veteran’s homes and programs. While voters obviously had their concerns with both amendments, these issues will continue to be ones that the legislature will have to address. Expect a great deal of discussion in the upcoming session on how to generate more money for both roads and veterans. As always, your input on these issues would be greatly appreciated.
Gary Cross is the Representative for District 35.