Thursday, September 10, 2009

Secretary of State Release on Court Reform Petition

Initiative Petition Relating to Repealing the Nonpartisan Court Plan Approved for Circulation for 2010 Ballot

Jefferson City, Missouri - Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced today that a new initiative petition met state standards for circulation. The petition would amend the Missouri Constitution relating to the repeal of the nonpartisan court plan.

The ballot title for the petition relating to the repeal of the nonpartisan court plan reads:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to repeal the current nonpartisan court plan for the selection of judges of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Courts in St. Louis City and Jackson, Platte, Clay, St. Louis, and Greene Counties and to create a new method of selecting such judges through appointment by the Governor with advice and consent of the Missouri Senate?

It is estimated this proposal will have annual costs of $121,802 - $129,543 and one-time costs of $5,660 to state governmental entities. It is estimated this proposal will have no costs or savings to local governmental entities.

The petition relating to the repeal of the nonpartisan court plan was submitted by James Harris with the group Better Courts for Missouri, PO Box 1524, Jefferson City, MO 65102, (573) 761-7875.

Before any constitutional changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November 2010 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to eight (8) percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts.

Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2010 ballot are due to the Secretary of State's office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 2, 2010.

Before circulating petitions, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the Secretary of State and Attorney General. The Secretary of State then prepares a summary statement of no more than 100 words and the State Auditor prepares a fiscal impact statement, both of which are subject to the approval of the Attorney General. When both statements are approved, they become the official ballot title.

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