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Blue Notes 8/2/2021

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Missouri Republicans Still Can't Get on the Same Page

Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on July 19 challenging ballot language Ashcroft’s office wrote for a proposed constitutional amendment that will go on the statewide ballot next year to give the treasurer greater flexibility in investing taxpayer funds. Both men are Republicans.

In the lawsuit, Fitzpatrick argues the ballot language is argumentative and likely to prejudice voters against the measure. In particular, the ballot language says it would “allow the General Assembly to override the current constitutional restrictions of state investments by the state treasurer.” However, the wording of the proposed amendment grants the legislature no role in managing state investments, which is the constitutional responsibility of the treasurer.

Lawmakers approved House Joint Resolution 35 in May to place the question before voters. HJR 35 passed on votes of 156-1 in the House of Representatives and 32-0 in the Senate. It will appear on the Nov. 8, 2022 statewide ballot as Amendment 1.

Fitzpatrick is asking a Cole County judge to rewrite the ballot language to impartiality reflect what Amendment 1 would do is ratified by voters. The case is Fitzpatrick v. Ashcroft.

Ashcroft has a history of approving ballot language other Republicans decide they disapprove of at later dates. The main argument Republican lawmakers held against Medicaid expansion was over the legality of the text approved by voters in 2018, an argument ultimately overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court in favor of the voters. Seems like the person in charge of approving specific wording, the Secretary of State, should be a little more certain when making these decisions so issues don't have to be resolved in a court funded by the taxpayers.


Speaking of Secretary of State Ashcroft...

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 26 ruled Missouri must pay $1.14 million in legal fees as part of a lawsuit the state settled in 2019 over allegations it had violated the federal National Voter Registration Act. Despite agreeing to comply with the law, the state disputed the amount of fees awarded to the attorneys who brought the case. The League of Women Voters of Missouri and other groups filed the lawsuit in April 2018 claiming the state hadn’t been automatically updating voter registration information, as required by federal law, when Missourians submitted address changes to the state Department of Revenue. In settling the case in November 2019, the Revenue Department agreed to redirect residents who submit address changes on-line to the Secretary of State’s voter registration site. The Revenue Department also agreed to modify its handling of address changes made in person or by mail to better ensure voter registration information is updated. In upholding the attorney fees, the appellate panel said the state offered no evidence those fees were excessive. The case is League of Women Voters of Missouri v. Ashcroft.


The 34th Annual Truman Gala

August 21, 2021

Stoney Creek Hotel - Independence

We are happy to be back in action with our signature event featuring our dinner and awards program with special remarks from Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Congressman Ted Lieu (CA), Congressman Adam Schiff (CA) and others.

We will have extra space between tables for safety concerns. Also, we will have masks available for those who don't have one. While currently not required by Independence or Jackson County, we will ask guests to wear a mask or face shield while not at dinner service.

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