On April 23, the House Elections Committee held a public hearing on SB 2, sponsored by Sen. Scott Rupp, which would change the laws regarding initiative and referendum petitions. The provisions of the bill include prohibiting anyone convicted of felony forgery from circulating petitions, and requiring petitioners to indicate whether they are volunteers or if they are compensated and by whom they are being compensated.
Alex Curchin, general counsel and director of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, testified on behalf of the bill.
“The Missouri Chamber strongly supports this bill because it will lead to more accuracy and transparency in the petition process. By requiring petitioners to identify the funding source of a petitioner, or if they are being compensated for collecting signatures, citizens would have a better understanding of the motivations behind a petition and the people funding a particular movement,” Curchin said.
The legislation would also require that a copy of the statement of Committee Organization filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission would be submitted with a proposed initiative petition, proposed initiatives would be posted on the Secretary of State’s website within two days of filing, that a public comment period be held after sponsoring signatures are verified and the Joint Committee on Legislative Research will hold a public hearing solely for the purpose of taking public testimony.
The Missouri Chamber has been advocating for initiative petition reform since 2011 with a group that includes the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Laclede Gas Company, Missouri Association of Counties, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Municipal League, Missouri Restaurant Association and the Missouri School Boards Association.
The bill now awaits a vote by the committee.
For more information about initiative petitions or referendums, please contact Alex Curchin at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-634-3511.