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Elected representatives trump democracy, as Missouri legislature overrides initiatives

When a million Missourians adopt an initiative petition, why should our elected representatives be allowed to override the voice of the people? According to Howard Wright’s blog post, it’s because they can.

Wright describes how our elected representatives have acted to undermine legislation adopted through the initiative petition process provided for in the Missouri Constitution. In particular, Missouri’s puppy mill initiative adopted in 2008 was overturned by the General Assembly in 2009. After Missouri voters approved a minimum wage law in 2006 with a 76% majority, the Missouri House of Representatives attempted to repeal this law, though the bill died in the Senate.

A citizen group called “Your Vote Counts” is attempting to amend the Missouri Constitution to impose a requirement of a 75% vote of the General Assembly to override the voters. Wright suggests that the initiative procedure is a check against the power of dominant political parties, which could otherwise block the will of the vast majority of the voters.



About Harry Styron

I'm a lawyer and mediator who lives in Branson, Missouri, whose professional interests involve real estate, nonprofits, and local government. As of 2022, I'm shrinking my legal practice so that I have more time to mediate real estate disputes. I'm happy to mediate using video platforms like Zoom and WebEx, or in person anywhere in Missouri.

One response »

  1. Laura L Umphenour

    What everyone keeps leaving out about this bill is that it doesn’t only require a 3/4th majority vote in both houses, but they can still get a “simple majority” vote….be able to rewrite the bill, because you always hear them talk about how “bad” a bill was written (that is always their excuse for over turning it),….but then with any of the changes made they have to bring that bill BACK TO THE MISSOURI VOTER in the form of a REFERENDUM. I know when I am collecting signatures….the public, if they are hesitant (which few are) on the first half…they LOVE THE REFERENDUM part. So persons should not leave out this second half of the bill. It shows too that they are still able to legislate, but the people will be the final word instead of the lobbyist groups! YEA!


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