Date: January 23, 2024
To: Chairwoman McGaugh and Members, Elections and Elected Officials Committee
From: Trina Ragain, Lead Policy Strategist, Empower Missouri
Re: Opposition for Altering the Initiative Petition Process and Requirements through HB 1749, HJR 72, HJR 102
As the largest and oldest anti-poverty non-profit in our state, Empower Missouri is committed to improving the quality of life for all Missouri residents through advocacy. On behalf of our staff, board, and coalition members, we express our opposition to HB 1749, HJR 72, and HJR 102. We respectfully ask this committee not to pass any policy which will make the initiative petition process more difficult, including the slate of bills before it today.
The initiative petition process is foundational to the Missouri law making process and ensures each Missourian has a voice in the laws that govern our state. Proposals that seek to alter this one person, one vote tradition are fundamentally undemocratic. They will further polarize our community and frustrate citizens who do not feel represented in state policymaking.
The initiative petition process is one of the most important avenues for Missourians to directly engage in shaping the laws that govern our state. The bills being considered here today propose changes that will effectively exclude regular citizens from accessing the initiative petition process. Please do not take this important democratic tool away from Missourians. We respectfully request that you vote “no” on HB 1849, HJR 72, and HJR 102.