TABOR on Trial: Trashed in Missouri

Last week, the backer of Missouri’s TABOR initiative told a district court judge that initiative signatures should be considered valid even if submitted in a trash bag.

The judge, Richard Callahan, trashed the TABOR initiative instead. Yesterday he upheld the Sec’y of State’s decision to disqualify signatures in support of that initiative.The pro-TABOR committee, Missourians in Charge (MIC), obtained the requisite number of signatures but submitted them in such slapdash fashion that Secretary of State Robin Carnahan disqualified the whole batch, citing petition-submittal requirements. MIC sued, claiming that a) the submittal complied with the requirements, and moreover b) the requirements are stupid anyway.

“They started so late that anybody would have struggled to get those signatures gathered and turned in on time,” says Amy Blouin of the Missouri Budget Project (MBP), which led the opposition to the MIC campaign. “We’re very relieved that this is not going to be on our ballot this year.” (Here’s MBP’s press release on the ruling.)

A second court action, filed by MBP to keep the TABOR bill off the ballot, remains pending. That filing asked the court to strike down the initiative, citing an incorrect ballot summary, noncompliance with the single-subject rule, and inaccurate fiscal reporting.

Callahan has withheld his ruling on those claims, which would seem to have been rendered moot by yesterday’s judgment. However, if MIC appeals yesterday’s decision (as seems likely), Callahan may or may not issue a ruling on the MBP claims.

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Bob Spencer

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