Summary of the Committee Version of the Bill
HCS HB 1869 -- INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM PETITIONS
COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Elections
by a vote of 10 to 0.
This substitute changes the laws regarding initiative and
referendum petitions. In its main provisions, the substitute:
(1) Prohibits a person who has been convicted of, found guilty
of, or pled guilty to an offense involving forgery under the laws
of Missouri or an offense in any other jurisdiction that would be
considered forgery if committed in Missouri from qualifying as a
(2) Requires a person collecting signatures for an initiative or
referendum petition to indicate whether or not he or she is being
compensated by predominantly displaying a sign or button stating
that information. Any violation of this provision will be an
infraction subject to a penalty of not less than $100 but not
more than $500;
(3) Specifies that any person who knowingly signs any name other
than his or her own to any petition will, upon conviction, be
guilty of a class one election offense which is a felony.
Currently, any person who signs any name other than his or her
own to any petition is guilty of a class A misdemeanor;
(4) Allows any person who submits a petition to the Secretary of
State to withdraw the petition upon written notice;
(5) Requires the Joint Committee on Legislative Research to hold
a public hearing in Jefferson City on a ballot measure within 30
days of the Secretary of State’s certification to place the
ballot measure on the ballot. The hearing will take public
testimony in support and in opposition to the contents of the
(6) Requires the Secretary of State to post the full text of
proposed ballot measures within two days of its receipt and the
name of the submitting person or organization. A violation of
this provision will be a violation of the Open Records and
Meetings Law, commonly known as the Sunshine Law;
(7) Reduces the time that the Secretary of State has to approve
or disapprove the form of a ballot measure from 30 days to 15
days after its submission; and
(8) Requires a person submitting a sample sheet to also submit at least
1,000 but no more than 2,000 signatures to the Secretary
of State to place a proposal on the ballot. If the Secretary of
State verifies that at least 1,000 signatures are valid by
sending them to the election authorities to be verified, then the
proposal will be approved. The Secretary of State verifies
signatures by sending them within five days to the election
authorities who have 15 days to reply. The Secretary of State
then has 10 days to prepare a summary statement. Signatures
obtained prior to the date the official title is certified by the
Secretary of State cannot be counted.
The provision of the substitute requiring the Joint Committee on
Legislative Research to conduct a public hearing contains an
FISCAL NOTE: Estimated Net Cost on General Revenue Fund of
$35,750 in FY 2013, FY 2014, and FY 2015. No impact on Other
State Funds in FY 2013, FY 2014, and FY 2015.
PROPONENTS: Supporters say that the bill will increase security
and transparency in the petition signature process by enhancing
penalties for fraud and requiring a public hearing on a petition.
Currently, 140 or more petitions are submitted each year and the
process is in need of regulation.
Testifying for the bill were Representative Dugger; Missouri
Chamber of Commerce; Missouri Municipal League; Missouri
Association of Counties; Missouri Farm Bureau; Missouri
Restaurant Association; and Missouri National Education
OPPONENTS: Those who oppose the bill say that it makes it more
difficult for grassroots organizations to submit petitions while
allowing those with money to have continued access to the ballot
process because they can pay people to collect the signatures.
Adding a new signature requirement prior to circulation increases
the complexity of the process and unacceptably shortens the time
Testifying against the bill was Ron Calzone, Missouri First.
OTHERS: Others testifying on the bill say that the number of
petitions is increasing drastically and a new signature
requirement might help reduce the number of submissions. It
might be good to remove the fiscal note requirement for ballot
measures. The badge requirement indicating which signature
collectors are paid may be unconstitutional.
Others testifying on the bill were Office of the Secretary of
State; and United for Missouri.
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