David Lieb of the Associated Press wrote his Monday analysis on how a proposed ballot item raising tobacco taxes is really aimed at smaller firms.
From the article:
A proposed Missouri ballot measure poses the question: Should a $1 per pack tax be imposed on cigarettes made “by certain tobacco product manufacturers?”
Left unsaid is that the tax would not apply to the biggest tobacco companies, which sell the majority of cigarettes. What’s meant by “certain” tobacco makers is primarily the smaller companies, which sell cigarettes at the cheapest prices.
Although it’s dubbed the “Healthy Missouri Initiative Petition,” the measure appears to come not from health care groups but from large tobacco companies, which have been losing market share to upstart companies that were not part of the 1998 settlement among big tobacco firms and attorneys general in 46 states.
Here’s video of Department of Agriculture Director Jon Hagler speaking at a St. Louis City press conference Tuesday morning about changes to the state’s dog breeding laws.
Notably, Hagler talks about embracing someone from the Humane Society of Missouri after a memorial service in Joplin. Hagler remarked that was the first time such a sign of affection has occurred between the Department of Agriculture and the animal welfare entity.
The above video features Gov. Jay Nixon talking about legislation altering dog breeding regulations at a Missouri Humane Society in St. Louis City. The legislature altered aspects of Proposition B, a ballot item approved last year that tightened regulations on dog breeders.
Legislative efforts to change those regulations were controversial to the say the least. In the end, Nixon ended up signing legislation that altered the proposition.
It’s been an extremely busy day, to say the least.
First of all, Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation this morning making significant changes to Proposition B. By the end of the day, the legislature had passed even more changes to the measure in pretty rapid succession.
The governor ended up signing the so-called compromise into law. The next few videos features Nixon answering questions about the dog breeding issue. Click on the first video to hear Nixon answering a quesiton about whether his decision effectively rescinded the will of the voters.
And here’s video of Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, addressing a crowd opposed to Proposition B, the ballot item aimed at regulating dog breeders. Parson is the sponsor of a bill that would significantly alter the voter-approved measure.
Here’s an audio clip of Rep. Margo McNeil, D-Florissant, voting against legislation altering many aspects of a ballot item regulating dog breeding.
The bill ended up passing this afternoon 85-71. Click here for a breakdown of the vote.
The Missouri House took up legislation that would alter parts of Proposition B, the ballot item that enacted new dog breeding regulations.
Rep. Mike Lair, R-Chillicothe, spoke in favor of the legislation. Click on the audio clip above to listen.
No, that headline is not a misprint.
A group filed a constitutional amendment yesterday aimed at making it harder for lawmakers to alter parts of initiative petitions. If the proposed amendment passes, an initiative petition could only be altered if three-fourths of the House and Senate agree to alterations.
It’s similar to a proposal put forth by Rep. Scott Sifton, D-Afton, who is listed as a media contact for the initiative.
“A narrow legislative majority should not override the vote of millions of Missourians,” Sifton said in a statement. “The time has come for the Missouri Constitution to protect the will of the voters.”
The proposed amendment comes about as lawmakers appear poised to make changes to Proposition B, a measure that increases regulation on dog breeding. Thus, it’s not surprising that one of groups supporting this measure is the Humane Society of the United States, an organization that strongly backed Proposition B last fall.
“The Voter Protection Act allows the state lawmakers to continue to exercise their legislative authority, and if there are corrections or refinements needed, they will change an initiative if they can build consensus and secure a three-fourths vote,” said Wayne Pacelle on his blog. “But by requiring a higher threshold, the Voter Protection Act will protect citizen initiatives from arrogant attempts by lawmakers to substitute their judgment for that of the people.
According to a press release from the “Voter Protection Alliance,” the amendment is backed by groups such as Citizens in Charge, the ASPCA, Americans for Tax Reform, National Taxpayers Union, U.S. Term Limits, Stop Child Predators and Americans for Limited Government.
For the amendment to make next year’s ballot, organizers must collect signatures from registered voters equal to 8 percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor’s election from six of the state’s nine congressional districts.
When campaign finance limits were repealed in 2008, it was essentially like taking the genie out of the bottle.
What do I mean by using that overused cliche? Well, the state Senate vote on that bill pretty much doomed any future legislative initiative to put limits back in place. The move received support from nearly every Republican lawmaker and a handful of Democrats. Even if the measure passed the House - which was unlikely - it would likely not get floor time in the Senate.
Now that Republicans have 26 members of the Missouri Senate and nearly have a supermajority in the House, it’s even less likely that campaign finance limits would pass through the General Assembly. Hence the reason why supporters of campaign finance limits - including the Missouri Democratic Party - are pushing a ballot item that would accomplish their goal.
Such a measure was approved for circulation today by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. A news release from her office revealed the following ballot title language:
Shall Missouri law be amended to limit the amount of contributions that may be accepted by any candidate for state or local office to $5,000 or less per election from any individual or entity, other than the candidate, and establish penalties for violations?
It is estimated this proposal will increase state government costs by at least $127,000 annually and result in one-time costs of about $28,000. Any potential impact to state government revenue could not be determined. It is estimated this proposal will have no costs or savings to local governments.
The actual statutory language of the ballot item is not on Carnahan’s Web site as of 3:13 p.m.
The measure could be important for the state’s Democratic Party - at least from a state legislative level. Logically, campaign contributions tend to flow to the party that’s favored to be in power after the election. Barring an unforeseen circumstance, the GOP is likely to control both chambers for a while. And without limits, Democratic state legislative candidates in competitive districts could be at a financial disadvantage.