Breaking down issues on the Nov. 6 ballot

Saturday, October 20, 2018

In just over two weeks, polls will open in Missouri and the very long 2018 campaign season will finally end.

The spotlight will fall on the hotly-contested senatorial contest between Attorney General Josh Hawley and incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill.

As of this writing, that contest is simply too close to call.

But in addition to the Senate race, a number of issues will also be on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Most of these election issues have gained limited attention and, to be honest, they are often confusing.

Hereís my take on the ballot issues. I hope it helps.

Amendment 1.

Dubbed the Clean Missouri Amendment, this measure is a multi-issue question that, even if approved, may end up thrown out in a court battle.

State law says you can not combine multiple issues on one ballot, which this measure appears to do.

Regardless, Amendment 1 addresses redistricting, lobbying and open records.

Yep, all three issues in one tidy ballot initiative.

By tossing in the question of zealous lobbyists, the backers hoped this would entice voters to support the measure.

But the real issue is the partisan nature of the redistricting question.

And thatís where the problem lies with this measure.

A lot of liberal Democratic money has poured into this measure because it opens the door to partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts that would eventually dilute the rural voters around urban areas.

The Chamber of Commerce, the Republican party and others oppose the measure.

I will vote no on Amendment 1.

Amendment 2 and 3, along with Proposition C, all address the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

If thatís not confusing, Iím not sure what is.

All three measures would allow Missouri to join dozens of other states in recognizing the medical benefits to marijuana.

All three would tax the medical marijuana, but each would direct those funds to different purposes, such as veteransí benefits or medical research or childrenís services.

Now it gets real confusing.

If each is approved, the measure receiving the most votes would become law. It will be interested to see just where this ends.

Hereís my take.

If all three are approved ó and thereís a good chance of that ó I would bet the Missouri Legislature in the coming months or years, will adapt the measure to address any issues that arise and quite probably, adopt portions of each in the final law.

Without a doubt, the questions surrounding the benefits of medical marijuana are a hot topic in this country.

And despite some obvious potential problems, there seems to be ample evidence surrounding the benefits of medical marijuana.

This measure is far different from recreational marijuana which has been approved in some states.

The dispensing of medical marijuana would be limited to specific ailments and administered by a physician only.

I will vote in favor of each issue hoping above hope that the Missouri Legislature doesnít screw this up.

And if only one person is helped by this drug, it seems worthwhile. Granted, many will disagree. And I respect their opinion.

Amendment 4.

This measure addresses bingo advertising and who can conduct bingo games.

I couldnít care less.

Vote how you want.

Proposition B.

The ballot initiative would raise the minimum wage in Missouri to $8.60 per hour with increases of 85 cents per hour each year until 2023 when it would reach $12 per hour.

The long-debated issue is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, minimum wage is not a livable wage. But it was never designed for that.

Current wages are simply too low, and itís virtually impossible to exist on a minimum wage job for most people.

But the minimum wage is an entry-level pay designed primarily to allow younger workers to enter the workforce and gain experience.

Many small businesses ó really small businesses ó may find it difficult to pay this wage and some jobs would disappear.

Thatís the potential downfall.

Given the cost of living and the prospect of higher inflation, itís time for that minimum wage to increase.

I can argue with the amount and the timing.

But in the end, Iíll vote to hike wages and pray that no jobs suffer.

And finally, Proposition D.

State officials are all gaga over this measure which would raise the fuel tax a dime a gallon over the next four years.

The funds would be earmarked primarily for law enforcement with about a third of the money going to counties for road construction and maintenance.

Everyone wants to support law enforcement and who doesnít want better roads?

But I have a lack of trust on how these funds would be spent. And I seriously doubt we poor rural folk would get our share.

If state fuel taxes increase a dime a gallon over the next four years, that wipes out the minimum wage increase I just supported.

See how this works?

Maybe, just maybe, we have sufficient state funds for roadwork and what we need is improved leadership and stewardship over how to spend taxpayer dollars.

I will vote against Proposition D.

I donít pretend you should vote as I will on these measures. But I do hope this explanation gives you a little more information to help you make an informed vote come Nov. 6.

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