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Editorial: Ballot issues

Sunday, October 21, 2012

In addition to the intriguing races going on locally and statewide, there are several ballot issues to vote on come Nov. 6. Here, we will break down the statewide ballot measures, and offer voting suggestions for you to consider.

Amendment 3

Selection of supreme court and court of appeals judges

This amendment gives the governor increased authority to appoint a majority of the commission that selects the court nominees; to appoint all lawyers to the commission by removing the requirement that the governor's appointees be nonlawyers.

Our view: No. We acknowledge there are problems with the current selection process and that the trial lawyers have gained a lot of power in the process. But this solution could open up a new can of political worms.

Proposition A

Local control for the City of St. Louis police

Currently a board of police commissioners is appointed by the governor to run the police department; this would give the city control over the operation, and could result in significant savings to the state and local governments.

Our view: Yes. In principle, local control is preferred.

Proposition B

Cigarette tax increase

A new tax of .0365 per cigarette and 25 percent of the manufacturer's invoice price for roll-your-own tobacco and 15 percent for other tobacco products would be put into a health and education trust fund. Revenue would go to schools and smoking prevention and cessation programs.

Our view: No. Now is not the time for tax increases, and we'd hate to see schools attached to a revenue stream that is intended to decrease over time. As we've seen, the state government tends to pull general revenue money away from education funding when it receives designated funds from other areas (see lottery revenue).

Proposition E

Governor's role in establishing health insurance exchanges

This measure is intended to take executive power from the governor to establish health insurance exchanges, a state option under the Health Care Act, known as Obamacare. States can take federal money to set up the exchanges, which are online marketplaces intended to allow consumers to compare health insurance plans. If states do not set them up by 2014, the federal government will run them for the states.

Our view: Yes. Important decisions such as these ought not to be made by one person. This would create a check and balance for the state's executive branch.

The ballot language for each of these issues has been published in the Southeast Missourian and is available online at semissourian.com/elections.

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I wish the writer would have been listed, but assuming this is the official position of the newspaper, I have to disagree on two of the measures:

Amendment 3: I urge you to vote 'Yes'

Currently there is little accountability in the system, and this measure would add a modicum of accountability to the governor. Additionally, it would change the term of the appointed board that selects the judge to better coincide with the Governor's term and reduce the affect that Democrat governor Nixon can have on Republican governor Spence's judicial choices. Currently, all judges that are up for retention votes are believed to be pro-choice... ...which reflect Nixon and not Missouri.

Proposition A: I urge you to vote 'Yes'

While I agree that local control is a Conservative principle, there is much more to the issue. St. Louis has proven it can't even run its schools having the state step in to stop the madness. Why do we think the same people can run their police department without corruption? St. Louis needs to Show-Me / Show-Us that they can run their schools, then we will feel comfortable that their relationship will be on the up-and-up.

Many point to the $600,000,000 police pension that may be raided by the St. Louis Democrat Machine as well as this being a first step toward a city / county merger that will ensure a Conservative is never elected in St. Louis County again.

Proposition B: I agree; vote 'No'

Proposition E: I agree; vote 'Yes'

-- Posted by bbollmann on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 8:28 AM

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