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Override of Dog Bill Promps Call for Change

Ashley Massow, State Capitol Bureau
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Jefferson City, MO
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX/MDN) - Less than a year after Missouri lawmakers overrode the voter ballot decision to pass Proposition B, regarding dog-breeder regulations; Rep. Shane Schoeller, R-Willard, proposed a package of election changes which includes a change in the margin by which lawmakers could override voter decisions in the future.

Schoeller is calling his proposed package of changes the “Missouri Fair Elections Act.”

The package includes; changes in overriding ballot initiatives and ballot language, creating new commissions to handle redistricting, and requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

In Schoeller’s “Act” he proposed an amendment that would change the current margin by which lawmakers must unanimously override an initiative.

“Our proposal says that whatever the ballot referendum passed by – you would take that percentage that the ballot referendum passed by and have to exceed it by 1 percent in order to make changes to the referendum that passed at the ballot… that would be statutory and not constitutional,” Schoeller said.

These proposals come less than a year after lawmakers overrode voter’s passage of Proposition B, legislation regulating Missouri dog-breeders.

Schoeller also says he included creating a committee to make sure ballot language is bipartisan.

Currently, the Secretary of State writes initiative language based off an incentive summary and suggested language of the initiative committee.

“We’re looking at ballot language changes in that when people go to ballot to vote on an issue it’s clear, it’s understandable, and it’s something that they can look at and make a good decision on based upon the information put before them,” Schoeller said.

Schoeller also said he wants to make sure people vote for or against something because they are for or against it – not because they are against the politics or personal biases present in the issue.

As well as a committee on ballot language, the “Missouri Fair Elections Act” would create new commissions to handle redistricting.

There are currently two redistricting commissions made up of an equal amount of Republicans and Democrats. Schoeller says for some time these two groups have not been able to agree, which sends redistricting decisions to appellate courts.

“The goal we’re trying to fulfill here is to create a commission where we don’t continually have to go to the courts to get a map drawn,” he said.

Schoeller also included requiring photo identification at the polls. This legislation that has already been passed by lawmakers, but recent language was vetoed by Governor Nixon.

Though Nixon vetoed the photo identification requirement legislation, the amendment will be on the upcoming election ballot for vote.

These changes are all part of Schoeller’s “Missouri Fair Elections Act,” which he said will ensure fair polling places for Missourians.

Schoeller said he plans to file his proposal as a bill in the regular session in January.

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