PERSPECTIVE: Voters also will find lesser-known issues on ballot

As candidates for elective office are garnering most of the political attention, a number of ballot issues must also be decided by Missouri's voters.

Several of the higher profile issues have already been discussed, but there are more issues attracting less attention.

Constitutional Amendment No. 1 would require assessors in all Missouri counties with a charter form of government except Jackson County, to be elected rather than appointed. From a practical standpoint, this amendment will have minimal immediate impact.

There are only four counties which use a charter form of government; St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson and Jackson.

St. Charles and Jefferson already elect their assessors. On Aug. 3 of this year St. Louis County voters approved a measure providing for electing assessors beginning in 2011. Jackson County was to be exempted from the measure, but it may be included if the census shows an increase in population.

Counties and cities may not be specifically named in Missouri statutes, therefore, they are described by population, location and forms of government.

The exemption in the proposal mentions counties with a charter form of government and a population between 600,000 and 699,999.

In the 2000 census, Jackson County had a population of 654,000. If this number rises to 700,000 or above, the county will be subject to the law if it passes.

Constitutional Amendment No. 2 is a proposal to exempt certain retired soldiers from property taxes on their homes.

To qualify for the exemption, the individual must have total disability specifically connected to their military service and also have been a prisoner of war. The exact number of retired troops eligible for the exemption has not been determined, but it is expected to be minimal.

Voters will be asked whether they wish to retain Supreme Court Justice Zel Fischer to the bench. Under the Missouri Plan, Supreme Court Justices are selected by the governor from a list compiled by a judicial commission.

After serving one year, they must stand for retention at the next general election. Judge Fischer was appointed in 2008 by Gov. Matt Blunt.

Although there was a general election in 2008, Fischer had not yet served an entire year prior to the election date.

As usual, I can be reached at State Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101 or 573-751-2076, or carl_vogel@senate.mo.gov for your comments, questions, or advice.

State Sen. Carl Vogel, R-Jefferson City, represents Missouri's 6th District.

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