Members of the Missouri House this past week approved a proposed change to the constitution of the state that allows voters to decide if the state should raise the threshold to modify the constitution in the future. The House approved HJR 43 by a vote of 108-50.
The key component of HJR 43 changes the threshold required to amend Missouri’s constitution. Currently, a simple majority vote by registered Missouri voters is required to change our constitution. If approved by both houses of state legislatures as well as the governor, it will be a ballot issue sent to our citizens to vote whether they think HJR 43 should be implemented to raise the threshold to 60 percent, in order to make changes to our constitution.
These changes will protect the sanctity of our most important, foundational state document, of which all our laws are based. Our constitution should only be amended when absolutely necessary and only when it benefits our citizens. Our current Missouri Constitution has been changed more than 60 times since it was written in 1945. In comparison, the United States Constitution has been amended only 17 times since 1791.
HJR 43 will help minimize the influence of out-of-state lobbyist groups that have no ties to Missouri, but spend millions of dollars to change our state constitution. These groups try to reimagine Missouri with their vision rather than the vision of Missouri citizens. HJR 43 enhances the ability for us, as citizens, to decide for ourselves.
The legislation also requires that voters in each of Missouri’s US congressional districts have the opportunity to review and comment upon all future initiative petitions, proposing amendments to the constitution. This would require an initiative sponsor to go into all eight districts and give people a chance to have their voice heard and submit testimony, this way citizens from all regions of the state will have their voices heard, not merely people in the largest metropolitan areas. The goal of HJR 43 is to give all Missouri citizens a greater voice.
Another portion of HJR 43 clarifies that only citizens of the United States of America who are residents of the State of Missouri and who are properly registered to vote in the State of Missouri will be considered legal voters.