Missouri House votes to raise bar for constitutional changes


The US Capitol is seen in the morning on March 10, 2021 in Washington, DC. – US President Joe Biden’s massive relief plan is on track to cross the finish line on March 10, 2021 with a final House vote, stimulating an economy digging out from the coronavirus pandemic and offering a lifeline for millions of families. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Republican-led Missouri House on Wednesday advanced two proposals to make it harder to amend the state Constitution.

One measure would require a two-thirds majority vote to enact constitutional amendments, compared to the current threshold that only calls for at least 51% of the vote.

The legislation also would increase the number of signatures required to put initiatives on the ballot.

It needs another vote of approval in the state House to go to the Senate.

The GOP-sponsored proposal comes after Missouri voters in recent years have adopted a number of ballot measures supported by Democrats, even as Missouri voters continue to elect primarily Republican candidates.

For example, voters in 2020 approved a measure to increase the number of low-income adults eligible for Medicaid health care. Republican elected officials in Missouri generally oppose Medicaid expansion.

GOP lawmakers argue that it’s now too easy to amend the state Constitution. Democratic lawmakers oppose the effort.

If approved by lawmakers, the proposed constitutional amendment on constitutional amendments would go before voters for final consideration.

Lawmakers on Wednesday also gave initial approval to a bill to charge citizens $500 to file an initiative petition. The money would be refunded if the proposed initiative petition is approved to go on the ballot.

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