Voters will have a chance to weigh in on a proposal to raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 60 cents, after the Missouri Supreme Court dismissed claims that the initiative was unconstitutional in a 7-0 ruling Tuesday.
The ruling marks the end of a long battle involving multiple lawsuits aimed at keeping the proposal off the ballot. Tobacco vendors sued Raise Your Hand for Kids, the nonprofit pushing the initiative for early childhood education programs, and Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, who certified the initiative for the ballot.
In a 7-0 decision, the justices rejected arguments from the measure’s opponents, notably the claim that required signatures should be invalidated because they were gathered before a change was made to the ballot title. Ballot initiatives require a certain number of signatures before they can go to a public vote.
The court also sided with proponents claims that the proposal doesn’t improperly alter the state constitution, and doesn’t improperly use tax dollars. As well, the justices said the opponents other challenges were premature because they dealt with the application of the measure after voters had passed it, and it was in operation, not whether it satisfied legal requirements to be put before voters.