Missouri’s new constitutional amendments could face bumpy road ahead

Of the four constitutional amendments passed by Missouri voters on Tuesday, three are the subject of rumblings about potential legal challenges.

Campaign contribution limits

The most basic parts of Amendment 2 place a $2,600 cap on individual campaign contributions per election to people running for the legislature and statewide offices. It also bars political parties from receiving individual donations exceeding $25,000 per election for state and local races combined.

The measure had been challenged on its way to the ballot. Attorney Chuck Hatfield argued that the amendment allows investor-owned utilities to contribute to PACs, but it prohibits electric cooperatives from contributing. Appellate courts noted that if that particular provision were to be later found to be unconstitutional, the amendment was written so it could be severed from the rest.

Voter ID law

The other newly passed constitutional amendment that seems certain to be heading for a court challenge requires that people show a government-issued photo ID to vote. The implementation law for this was passed by the legislature this fall.

The issue here, says Richard Reuben, a law professor at the University of Missouri, is how it affects people’s existing rights.

And lawsuits aren’t the only obstacle to the new photo ID requirement. No money has been budgeted to pay for such mandates contained in it as providing a state-issued photo ID card, free of charge, to those without a driver’s license.

Prohibition of sales tax on services

Even Amendment 4, which bans sales taxes on services such as lawn care, haircuts, and doctor and dental visits, could see a court challenge. Here it’s a matter of definitions. Richard Sheets of the Missouri Municipal League says the concern is with the word “transaction,” which is also part of what cannot be taxed in the future.

Sheets says they have no plans at this time to file suit, but would support other legal efforts to combat any consequences, such as redefining “transactions.”

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio


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